Photo courtesy of I Write

6th Annual I Write Luncheon and Book Signing celebrates young writers and illustrators

It was a day of recognizing hard work, imagination and the determination of 68 young authors and illustrators as they shared their published ideas at the 6th Annual I Write Luncheon and Book Signing.

photo credit: Valerie Sweeten

photo credit: Valerie Sweeten

The event, held at the Hilton Americas, was hosted by the I Write, the non-profit literacy organization formerly known as READ3Zero. Guests celebrated exceptional literature works and art illustrations of 3rd-12th grade students that were professionally published in the 6th Anthology of “I Write Short Stories by Kids for Kids.”

Among the celebrations, students were recognized and awarded in an intimate ceremony, Honorees Neil and Maria Bush received an award for their literacy advocacy, and a high school senior was awarded a textbook scholarship.

“Our organization has grown immensely over the last six years, and we had so much to celebrate with our student authors and literacy supporters at this year’s luncheon,” said I Write founder, Melissa Williams.

Authors and illustrators signing their books. photo credit: Valerie Sweeten

Authors and illustrators signing their books.
photo credit: Valerie Sweeten

The changing of the name from READ3Zero to I Write was a decision based on the organization’s level of outreach and progression added Williams. “The next stage on our journey of growth is very exciting. Through careful consideration and the guidance of my literacy mentors, as of January 1, 2016, the READ3Zero Organization will be known as the I Write Literacy Organization,” she said.

Williams, a children’s author and public speaker, founded READ3Zero in 2009.

Over 300 students have been published through the I Write organization, and many have become professionally published authors several times within the last six years.

This year’s luncheon spotlighted their twelfth-time published author, Sarah Young, a high school senior. Young not only received the organization’s first ever scholarship, but it was also named after her. The Young Textbook Scholarship will help cover textbook costs throughout the first year in college in hopes to inspire students to continue their higher education.

“I am genuinely honored to be a part of a new tradition for the I Write Luncheon,” said Young. “This scholarship proves that any student writer who stays committed will be awarded and recognized for their accomplishments.”

All of the funds raised at the luncheon will benefit the organization’s year-round programs that give student authors the opportunity to be literacy leaders in the community and inspire other kids to read and write. I Write announced their official partnership with the Barbara Bush Houston Literacy Foundation to continue their mission beyond story writing.

To continue their mission, the I Write Literacy Organization was awarded $3,500.00 by Staples Foundation, the private charitable arm of Staples, Inc., under a program that lets Staples’ associates direct donations.

One of the primary creative projects at I Write is the annual short story contest, I Write Short Stories by Kids for Kids, which emphasizes the concept that reading and writing go hand in hand. The program provides leadership and speaking opportunities to the students after they are published. Children are also allowed to submit drawings for the front and back cover of the book.

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From left to right: Neil and Maria Bush, Matt Burrus, Melissa Williams, Deborah Duncan and Michael Pearce

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