As we know, Region-at-Large stretches not just across the United States, but around the world! We are feeling especially grateful for our big, diverse RAL community this week as the many brilliant students, educators, families, and partner organizations that comprise our RAL crew have been sharing their favorite sources of inspiration. Thanks to all of the RAL-ers who emailed in this week. Let’s continue exploring new ideas and resources together!

Write-Minded Canada, courtesy of Queena from Ontario, Canada

Founded by young writers (including the RAL’s own Queena Yu!) for young writers, Write-Minded Canada is focused on providing resources, tips, and publication and recognition opportunities for teenagers interested in the literary arts. All Ontario-based teens are invited to submit their piece to Write-Minded Canada’s first-ever writing contest, on the theme of “Breaking Identity-Based Prejudice.” Even if you’re not eligible to participate in the contest, use this theme as a jumping off point for your next great work! Check out Write-Minded Canada for more resources for teen writers.

‘Ike Outside the Box, courtesy of Phoenix Maimiti from Hawaii

Scholastic Awards winner Phoenix Maimiti Valentine and HawaiiKidsCAN partnered up to bring young artists recommendations of free online content to explore from home. Check out the video ‘Ike Outside the Box to learn about some of Phoenix’s favorite free resources!

As a mentor for the Hawaii Youth Advocacy Film Contest 2020 (HYAFC2020), Phoenix has also made a series of three short tutorial videos for student filmmakers preparing to enter this year’s contest (entries are due Monday, May 18). Regardless of whether or not you plan (or are eligible) to participate in HYAFC2020, check out Phoenix’s tutorials to create your own PSA on a smartphone from home!

Other resources from our friends in Hawaii, free and open to all!

Write about the beauty in your home (inside, outside, a neighborhood, or even a state!), courtesy of Bella from California

Excerpt from My Dearest Golden, by Bella Epperson. Find Bella’s full poem here.

Join RAL West’s Bella in getting inspired by your surroundings, whether they be immediate or vast, whether you’re seeing them now or its something from the outside world that you’ve been missing. Check out Bella’s poem, My Dearest Golden, inspired by her beautiful home state of California, for more ideas!

Challenge yourself to create a piece inspired by a style you love, courtesy of Keith from Rockville Centre, NY

Whether your an educator or a student, if you’re at home now, you may find that you have more time than usual to work on your own art and writing. For example, visual arts teacher Keith Gamache of South Side High School in Rockville Centre, NY has found a silver lining amidst the stay-at-home policies, taking time to continue his own artistic practice. Check out Mr. Gamache’s new work below, created after schools closed.

I am a big fan of Folk Art traditions such as Pennsylvania Dutch Hex signs, early Modernists such as Mondrian, as well as contemporary text based paintings by Robert Indiana.” – Keith Gamache

Express what you might be experiencing or feeling now through your creativity. Find inspiration in techniques, styles, and traditions you love and admire– even if you’ve never created in that style before, why not take on the challenge now!

Read a free e-book with a side of thoughtful discussion, courtesy of Patrick from RAL Northeast

Whether you’re reading with a class or putting together a video chat book club with friends, the internet is full of free e-books, including from the Amazon Kindle Store itself! Find a book that interests you, or perhaps a classic that you’re already familiar with, and pair it with questions that inspire critical and creative thinking.

For example, Patrick, who is volunteering with students during this period of online learning, is reading C.S. Lewis’s classic novel, The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe, chatting about themes online, and providing students with a creative essay prompt to re-imagine their own version of the story. Patrick’s prompt asks students to write a narrative story about walking through their wardrobe, just as Lucy does in the novel.

As a starting point for your own book group, check out Book Riot’s list of 40 non-specific book club questions and let your imagination take off from there!  

Youth Media Arts, courtesy of Jonah from Long Island, New York

Youth Media Arts in action! Photo courtesy of Youth Media Arts on Facebook.

Scholastic Award winning photographer Jonah Elkowitz and a team of teen artists from around the globe have joined forces to support the creative exploration of young artists through their organization Youth Media Arts. Focused on providing every student the opportunity to network, learn, and grow as a creator, Youth Media Arts partners with professional artists to provide webinars, portfolio reviews, and insight into the challenges that come with pursuing a career in the arts. Check out the Youth Media Arts website to learn more about upcoming events and volunteer with their incredible team of young artists!

The WEIGHT Journal, courtesy of educators from around the country

Founded and edited by educators and writers from across the United States, The WEIGHT Journal offers free online publication opportunities for all high school writers. Young authors are invited to write about any topic, in a variety of genres. Check out The WEIGHT Journal to see what genres and topics young writers are tackling, and to learn how to submit your own piece for publication.

And last but not least… April’s Start.Write.Now challenge (due May 13)!

Learn from the experiences of Scholastic Awards alum, educator, and most recently RAL juror Mary Klein. Find inspiration in Mary’s prompt for our April Start.Write.Now challenge, and email in the art or writing you create in response to Mary’s prompt for the chance to win a random drawing for a $25 gift card and have your piece published on the RAL blog! Responses are due May 13, and gift card winners will be announced May 28–mark your calendars now!

Have something thoughtful to share?

Email us at to share your inspiration. We want to hear from you! #thoughtfulthursday

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