Some budding young authors at Benjamin Franklin Middle School are still basking in the glow of admiring customers who attended their December book-signing celebrating publication of Falcon’s Anthology, a collection of the students’ poems and prose.
Dallas ISD librarian of the year Rosenid Hernández-Badia, Ph.D., supervised the students’ efforts and accompanied them as they read their works aloud to the audience at Barnes & Noble.
“When I told my family that I had two poems that were going to be published in a book they felt so happy to know that because they know I love writing and expressing myself,” said seventh-grader Isis Aguilar. “When I was signing books at Barnes & Noble I felt special and felt that what I wrote was going to make a difference.”
Creating the anthology takes months of preparation. Partnering with the Dallas Public Library, Hernández-Badia brings in local poets to conduct poetry workshops to enhance the student’s writing abilities. Submissions are accepted months before the anthology is compiled and there is no limit to the number of poems a student can enter. Anthology submissions are not limited to Franklin students. The school community, including teachers, staff, and parents, can also submit their work. Hernández-Badia enters the poems into the Dallas Public Library’s Express Yourself Youth Poetry Contest, which motivates the students to write even more, she said.
The first Falcon’s Anthology was created last school year as a way to provide a forum to encourage students’ creative self-expression, she said. Although her students are sometimes reluctant to showcase their work, Hernández-Badia continues to encourage them to write. “When students take ownership of their success, there is no turning back. They will aim for more,” she said.
The 2014 Falcon’s Anthology is available for purchase on Amazon, and all proceeds go toward next year’s edition.