Mentor Texts: Best Arizona Teen Writing

Shine ImageWelcome to “mentor texts” from Young Authors of Arizona’s Best Arizona Teen Writing, a digitized collection of personal narrative/memoirs, critical essays, humor, poetry, flash fiction, short stories, dramatic scripts, journalism, and science fiction/fantasy compositions by grade 7-12 young authors, from Arizona, for Arizona: earned publication through past Scholastic Writing Awards entries.

YAA is one of only two Scholastic Art & Writing affiliates in America making our own “best of” book, and this summer YAA wants you to co-author the digital version by sharing your art, lesson plans, and other convergence media contributions to the book’s print compositions.

YAA, created to help young authors show-and-tell language and media arts, welcomes you, the reader, the teacher, the parent, the librarian, the partner organization, the partner business, and especially you, the aspiring young author, to help language and media arts converge in Arizona by “reading” and “writing” this page.

“Shine” by helping digitize the book

Do you know that, combined, Arizona now has over 1,700 middle schools and high schools and many home schools, each with potential storytellers? Media exposure too-often lets the wrong people define Arizona, and Arizonans, so maybe it’s time to create page space for Arizona’s grade 7-12 authors–writers and artists–as well as language and media arts community experts.

Opportunities to incorporate content from Arizona Scholastic Art & Writing Awards entries

If you click the below links, check out YAA’s gallery widgets to see art and writing displayed from this year’s entries.

Arizona’s Scholastic Writing Awards home page: See all Arizona Silver Key, Gold Key, and National Medalist works through the Best of AZ Teen Writing widget on the right-hand side of the web page.

Arizona’s Scholastic Art Awards home page: See all Arizona Silver Key, Gold Key, and National Medalist works through the Best of AZ Teen Art widget on the right-hand side of the web page.

“Mentor Texts” to read

Previewing this “mentor text” page development, consider what 71 Young Authors of Arizona have to tell. Soon you’ll be able to click on the links below to read the work and participate by creating and using related lesson plans, as well as create and use related works, shared by Young Authors of Arizona with you.

Arizona Convergence |  editor introduction by Billy Gerchick


An Electric Urgency |  portfolio introduction by Navya Dasari

Passion | poetry

Crescendo   | personal narrative

Oasis  | poetry

Shakti  | critical essay

Bridging Divides or Banning Discussion? | journalism

To India in Forrest Fire | poetry

This is a Blessing | poetry

Twin Storms Hit | poetry

First Summer Back  | flash fiction

Are they Water Lillies? | portfolio introduction by Nailah Mathews

Cupid’s Bow |  poetry

Chasing Infinity  |  personal narrative

colour safe bleach. |  short story

dear white heterosexual male | poetry

Windows  |  personal narrative

Esurient | science fiction-fantasy

The Sun in Our Teeth | short story

Water and Chocolate | flash fiction


The Other | Kimaya Lecamwasam

Printed Voice | Hyeji (Julie) Cho

Mechanical Heart | Allison Boyce

The Birth of Creativity | Amanda Gong

Where is My Home Sweet Home? | Jane Wang

The Fears of a Black Belt | Audrey Ennis

Title; 5 Down: the Name of a Story | Michelle Goldberg

No Longer Sleeping Soundly | Aman Agarwal

Mind Meadows | Grace Gay

Aly Fell | Taylor Shewchuk

Home | Angela Hemesath

Satisfied by | Mandri Randeniya

An Inspiration | Akshar Pandia

Surviving Post-Paradise | Hannah Weisman


Urban Lemmings | Justin Zhu

Advice for Parenting | Daniela Ramras

Something Wicked | Alex Cohen

The Great Emancipator | Emma He


On Technology | Justin Zhu

Elsa’s Personality Disorder | Katie Frye

Taking Up Arms: An Exploration of War in Homer’s Iliad | Simon Essig Aberg

Pay for Play? | Yash Pershad

Food Aid Reform | Logan McAvoy

Renewing the World | Miguel Opena


The Trail of Teams | Kamren Gilbard

Red Ants, Pythons, and Dog Meat | Madeline Shuler

Teenage Zombies Crave… Sleep? | Lauren Appel

No Child Left Alive | Kamren Gilbard


Where I’m From | Kaly Arvizu

We Are Many Languages – The Basket | Kaly Arvizu

In Case You Die Out There | Heather Jensen

Terminal Trait of Curiosity | Katie Barnhart

From Now Until Then | Amaya Lim

A Whisper in the Frost | Isabel Marshall

I Might Be Young But We Are Not | Kara Sherman

To the Girl Who Sits in the Back of Math Class | Madison Waaler

Bloody Mary | Sophie Sieckmann

The Civilization of Morals | Gloria Martinez

The Green-Eyed Feline Casino | Gloria Martinez

teetering | Grace Gay

Love in The Time of Numbers | Alexandra Karaim

Faces | Samantha Locklear

The Craft of the Alphabet | Justin Zhu

Jewels | Alex Cohen

On Taking the SAT | Alex Cohen

I Remember | Jillian Gilburne

How Dare I | Hannah Cooper

String Theory | Zoe Isaac

Judge Not | Evan Lamb

It | Evan Lamb

Dust Bowl | Ruohan Miao

Scream | Amanda Pruett

Highest | Joseph Scaven

Rolling Waves | Kolbe Riney

Hinged On a Golden Age | Kolbe Riney

Distractions | Hyeji (Julie) Cho

Chicks | Anvita Gupta

The American | Lina Khan

The Housewife | Lina Khan

The Site of the Storm | Misako Yamazaki

Purple Hands and Goldfish Eyes | Misako Yamazaki

Self-Destruction | Brenley Markowitz


Apathy Did Not Become Her | Carolina Mesquita

A Tight-Dress Ghost | Allison Boyce

President’s Drink | Kathleen Wu

The Squirrels Are Mocking Me | Grover Greenberg

The Woman with the Shoes | Molly Maricle

Elizabeth McHenry | Malavika Krishnan

Draft Day | Varun Kukunoor

Time of Death | Malavika Krishnan

Flowers | Hee Won Park

Storms on a Cliff Edge | Stirling McDaniel


The Girl and the Bear  |  Amy Schneider

A Boy Named Andrew, A Girl Named Elena | Andrew Rangel

Nothing Boy | Sue Kim

Tom and the Cold Heart  |  Alexandra Karaim

Within the Walls | Julia Gonzalez–Caro

Lost Your Chips | Nathaniel Larreau

Storm | Rachael Merkt

A Walk of Hope in the Arizona Desert | Sharon Marie Vaz


Rockstars | Amanda Pruett


Garden | Matty Ortega

Split Second | Daniel Flores

The Message Runner | Aden Polydoros

Legs | Aden Polydoros

The Day America Died | Rachel Cannon

Morbidity | Shelby Coup

Glint in the Overcast Sky | Audrey Ennis

Enter the 2018 Scholastic Art & Writing Awards by December 13, 2017

So what language and media arts authorship will you submit to the Awards by this Wednesday, December 13th, Arizona’s upload and postmark deadline for the 2018 Scholastic Art & Writing Awards?

Five steps to enter the 2018 Scholastic Art & Writing Awards:

1. Create your Scholastic Account

Students can begin creating 2018 art and writing works as early as desired; starting in mid-September, students and educators can register your accounts at:

2. Access, read, & share YAA’s 2018 participation materials

Anyone can go to or YAA’s Scholastic Art & Writing Awards affiliate page to access, read, and share 2018 participation materials.

3. Submit your work(s) according to Awards category specifications

Because YAA now accepts entries for art and writing in 28 different Scholastic Awards categories, pay attention to category-specific submission requirements and remember to:

  1. Review category descriptions and guidelines.
  2. Revise, edit, and proofread your work.

Tech note: You can upload your work to the Awards and edit that work, without having to re-submit, until 9:59 MST on Wednesday, December 13th.

4. Print and complete each work’s entry form

In addition to completing account registration and submitting work, each student must:

  1. Print the submission form for each entry.
  2. Obtain required signatures from a teacher and guardian on each entry form. Guardian signatures are not required if the student is 18 years or older.

5. Mail forms and payment by December 13, 2017

Submission is complete once you mail your signed submission forms and payment (if applicable) and they are received by YAA. Please mail your envelope as soon as possible, but it must be postmarked by December 13th. Individual submission entries are as follows:

  • $5 per work (submit as many entries as desired)
  • $20 per portfolio submission (12th graders only)
  • Some students can qualify for a fee waiver

Benefits of entering the Awards and participating as mentors

  • Each submission is eligible for scholarships and an invitation to the national ceremony at Carnegie Hall in New York.
  • Earn Honorable Mention, Silver Key, or Gold Key Certificate for the State of Arizona and an invite to YAA’s Scholastic Awards Ceremony in April of 2018.
  • Select Gold Key and Silver Key-winning compositions offered publication in the Best Arizona Teen Writing of 2018 book; 2018 “best of” art publication opportunities will also be available.
  • Educators can use Awards as a 1st semester tool for enrichment, PLC collaboration, and portfolio-based assessment of Common Core-aligned writing projects.
  • Educators earn professional development credit as a YAA volunteer judge, from home.
  • More benefits available, including YAA partnerships with other organizations.
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