Writing Through Trauma to Empower Readers:

A Working In-Community Retreat for Storytellers

Hope Through Storytelling

Authors who craft books for young people dealing with themes of trauma, mental health, grief, and beyond, do so to give kids a gift—the gift of transformative authenticity, representation, hope, empowerment, and inspiration through difficulties.

These stories can make a big impact on kids, and also on writers—especially when they center themes that mirror the writers’ own lived experiences.

Writing Through Trauma to Empower Readers is a program that offers writers a chance to work on their stories in the company of peers, with therapeutic writing techniques that enable them to create empowering and uplifting narratives.

By supporting this in-community working retreat, you help storytellers:

  • Learn with and work alongside hosts A.S. King, Padma Venkatraman, Heather Demitrios, and Bethany Walker
  • Find support and inspiration as they write through the lens of their lived experiences
  • Create books that offer young audiences valuable insights and resilience in the face of adversity

Good thing that stories are safe spaces to explore the toughest stuff in life. A place where we can ask questions, get answers, find our edges. We can put the book down when we need to. We can skip to the end—just to make sure the protagonist will be okay. A story is a container between two covers that cultivates empathy, respect for human dignity, equality, and compassion. (Heather Demitrios)

Rebecca Dykes Writers Logo

Thank you to the Rebecca Dykes Writers for providing support for this important program.

To learn more about Rebecca Dykes Writers, please visit:

Related Programs

#HFGather graphic with three panelists; Free

Free #HFGather: Crafting and Sharing Books From the Heart

This #HFGather will thoughtfully discuss the weaving of personal stories into fictional narratives for kid and teen audiences.

February 26, 7:30pm.  Learn more.

Writing About Mental Health for MG and YA Readers: A Two-Night Mini

Middle grade novelist Crystal Allen and young adult author and pediatric neuropsychologist Katie Keridan help storytellers develop authentic representations of mental health that hold reality and hope throughout a novel.

April 2 + 4, 7:00pm.  Learn more.


$100,000 in 3 Years for a Fully Funded, Sustainable Program

  • 2024 Program Dates: April 11-14
  • Available for up to 25 participants

Can We Count On Your Support?

Our Mission in Action

Share Your Story, Inspire a Child
Equity & Inclusion in Kidlit
Partners & Sponsors

The Highlights Foundation positively impacts children by amplifying the voices of storytellers who inform, educate, and inspire children to become their best selves.  Learn more about our impact.