An award-winning young adult author and filmmaker tackles an unconventional book tour when she packs her belongings into storage and travels America to workshop with at-risk youth at no cost to their programs for several months.
In late June 2013, e.E. Charlton-Trujillo embarked on an unparalleled, cross country and self-funded book tour for her third novel, Fat Angie (Candlewick Press). Driving from Cincinnati, Ohio, she traveled thousands of miles while pitted against personal phobias and doubts all in an effort to inspire youth on the fringe.
Holding free creative writing workshops in libraries, alternative education programs and even behind bars, Charlton-Trujillo guided kids to use their words and storytelling abilities to face their fears, embrace their imagination and most of all, never be counted out.
Authors appearing in the documentary are:
Laurie Halse Anderson, Kathy Erskine, Matt de la Peña,
A. S. King, Meg Medina, Ellen Hopkins,
Pat Zieltow-Miller, Michelle Embree
The film not only puts issues such as bullying, suicide, self-harm and homelessness into the spotlight, but it captures the experience of what it means to risk big for every kid. This is a film not about what we should do but what we can do when we show up. Through Charlton-Trujillo’s humor and heart, see why Kirkus Reviews calls her “a force of nature.”
Featured in Publishers Weekly, MTV, School Library Journal, Kirkus Reviews and The Huffington Post, At-Risk Summer is a voyage into the heart of inspiration, a testament to showing up and proof that a single idea can generate a creative revolution!
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Thoughts On The Movie
English & Creative Writing Teacher
Urbana High School, Urbana, Illinois
Watching At-Risk Summer, I realized that more of my kids are at-risk than who are typically defined by this term. I want to follow e.E. Charlton-Trujillo’s model of finding ways to honor these kids – helping them find their power through writing.
As an English teacher, I am always looking for ways to get my students excited about writing. While watching e.E. Charlton-Trujillo interact with my students and inspire them to break the rules and find their voices, I felt moved to add a creative writing component to the curriculum.
Division Chief . Brooklyn Public Library
On that rainy Wednesday, Jose, one of our Directors of Culture and Character, brought a group of students to see the screening and hear author e.E. Charlton-Trujillo. Here’s what he emailed me about the event: “We loved it! I was inclined to ask the director to come back to school with us that same day and speak to our kids. It was a tremendous experience and I know our students were receptive and gained so much depth from it. I’m looking forward to the release of the DVD to show to our school.”
Author & Activist
EVERY HIGH SCHOOL in this country should screen this film. Charlton-Trujillo connects on such a human level through the power of her art, the power of speaking our truth, and of telling and writing our own stories (literally and metaphorically). This film reaches everyone, from valedictorian kids to “hopeless” loners – and very possibly would encourage those kids connect with each other, too.
Author, Activist & The Original Outsider
At-Risk Summer is a deeply felt journey into the scarred landscape of the teenage heart and how the power of sharing stories can light up the darkness and inspire others to overcome their own obstacles in life.
Author & Former Middle School Teacher
Every kid deserves a chance – every kid has a unique voice – and this movie and the movement behind it reminded me to make it my personal responsibility to help especially those who are shunned, rejected, lost. I wish every teacher could see this film. I wish every politician would be required to watch this film. And I particularly wish that kids who feel lost would watch this film, because it inspires.
Author & Long-time Education Reformist
This stirring, distressing, yet hopeful documentary about lost kids and Trujillo’s work with them needs to be seen by everyone who knows a child—or thinks they do.
Texas Book Festival 2014
I’m an educator on the East Side of Austin. I definitely work with youth who are definitely at-risk. Being a teacher in the classroom, you want to bring some of these innovative ideas. Bring excitement. But when you have someone come and take time out of their schedule and doesn’t have to be there, it has more weight. This film is very touching. I don’t want to see my kids in the situation like many of the students in this film, but they could easily be there. I commend you on your efforts. It’s beautiful. I would love to be able to show At-Risk Summer in my class.
Hippodilly Circus (Educator Blog)
The film has been screened at festivals and at the National Council of Teachers of English conference in Minneapolis last year, but it needs to be seen by more people. It’s a powerful story of what can happen when you invite teens to take power over their own stories through art.