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We Read Youth Voices Anthology

We Read Youth Voices Anthology Author Reception at Wisconsin Book Festival October 2023About the Contest:

The We Read Youth Voices Young Writer’s Contest is a collaboration between Madison Public Library, Forward Madison FC, and the Wisconsin Book Festival, with funding from the Madison Public Library Foundation. Young writers across Madison were encouraged to submit stories on the theme Moving Forward - Together. We encouraged any story, poem, song, or submission that showcased empathy; stories about seeking to understand each other's differences, looking at different perspectives, and moving forward together rather than apart. 144 kids submitted works, with 52 selected for the anthology and we're excited to share some of their submissions below! A print version of the anthology is now available at all Madison Public Libraries and at all school libraries in the Madison Metropolitan School District. The anthology represents highlights of some of the best submissions, judged by a panel of Madison community writers and advocates for youth. We sincerely thank all of the writers who found the courage to share their voices with us: you are truly an inspiration! Read more about the contest...

A Celebration to Remember

Young authors who were selected to be in the anthology were invited to attend a special reception during the Fall Celebration of the Wisconsin Book Festival in October 2023. This was the first year we recognized the authors in this way and we didn't know quite what to expect, so we were equally delighted and shocked when more than 150 kids and their accompanying family members arrived on a sunny Saturday morning excited to celebrate their accomplishments!

Each author was invited to sign copies of the anthology for the Mayor of Madison, stopped in at a special selfie station with a huge copy of the cover, and were given a ribbon that read "author". They also received three print copies of the anthology to take home with them and share with friends and family. Kids got to make their own buttons and enjoy coloring sheets before the program began, then we got to acknowledge all of our winners for the contest and do a Q&A with the Grand Prize Winner and two of the runners up. Donuts and coffee flowed throughout, and some of the judge's comments were read aloud so kids could bask in the positive feedback and encouragement from the community.

The 2023 WE READ YOUTH VOICES ANTHOLOGY [download] contains more than 50 stories expressed in formats ranging from poetry to comics to choose-your-own-adventure! Click the link to download the anthology and enjoy the stories created by Madison's youth. 

  • We Read Youth Voices Anthology Author Reception at Wisconsin Book Festival Fall Celebration October 2023 Signing Table
  • We Read Youth Voices Anthology Author Reception at Wisconsin Book Festival Fall Celebration October 2023 signed copy
  • We Read Youth Voices Anthology Author Reception at Wisconsin Book Festival Fall Celebration October 2023 Q&A with winners
  • We Read Youth Voices Anthology Author Reception at Wisconsin Book Festival Fall Celebration October 2023 button making
  • We Read Youth Voices Anthology Author Reception at Wisconsin Book Festival Fall Celebration October 2023 crowded room
  • We Read Youth Voices Anthology Author Reception at Wisconsin Book Festival Fall Celebration October 2023 selfie station

Past Anthologies

The We Read Youth Voices Writing Contest began in 2021 as a way to uplift the voices of young writers in the Madison, WI area. The contest received 40+ submissions in its inaugural year and awarded cash prizes to five lucky winners. An anthology of their work was compiled and is available for checkout at any Madison Public Library location. You can read an online version of the anthology, see the 2021 judges, and learn more about the contest on the Youth Voices Anthology 2021 page.

Sponsor(s)

This program was made possible in part by generous support from: