What are our beliefs about what is right and wrong? How do our decisions impact those around us? Are forgiveness and redemption truly possible? These are just a few of the questions explored in The Battle Within, a collection of writing from the students of Ida B. Wells High School in San Francisco. Inspired by the themes in Khaled Hosseini's The Kite Runner, these young authors crafted powerful stories, poems, and letters that get to the heart of what it means to struggle, to regret, to overcome, to love. We invite you to take a moment to step inside each one of their boxes, to read their words, and to consider their hopes: "I hope that people see that there are always three sides to the story: your part, the other person's part, and the truth." "I hope they see that everyone has a story to be heard and that some people grow up in the struggle but could make it out of it, if they have motivation." "I hope that whoever picks up our book knows that the teens who wrote their own personal stories are mostly minorities. I want people to see past our color and our struggle, but I don't want anyone to feel bad for me. I just want someone to see the fight we are up against, to wake up from this fantasy world."
826 Valencia, based in San Francisco, is a nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting under-resourced students ages six to eighteen with their creative and expository writing skills and to helping teachers inspire their students to write. Our services are structured around the understanding that great leaps in learning can happen with one-on-one attention and that strong writing skills are fundamental to future success. The Battle Within is a collaboration between 826 Valencia and the students of Ida B. Wells High School. Khaled Hosseini was born in Kabul, Afghanistan, and moved to the United States in 1980. His first novel, The Kite Runner, was an international bestseller, published in thirty-eight countries. In 2006 he was named a goodwill envoy to UNHCR, the United Nations Refugee Agency. He lives in northern California. Reina Takahashi is a paper artist and illustrator based in San Francisco. Her work is created by hand from paper and ranges from editorial illustrations, book covers, and stop motion animations to set props and installations. She loves to combine the technical, tactile challenge of making a piece out of paper with the conceptual process of telling a story with the work. Her tool of choice is a K2 size Excel blade.