Visual arts

elementia number xix is ​​now available

The 19and problem of elementiafeaturing stunning writings and illustrations on the evocative theme of “the unknown,” is now available at Johnson County Library branches.

elementia is Johnson County Library’s award-winning literary magazine for teens, published to represent and uplift young adults. The magazine’s editorial and design committees include high school students from across Johnson County who volunteer their time to read and discuss each article submitted. elementia accepts original poetry, fiction, non-fiction, graphic stories, photography, and illustrations.

The editors had speculated that this theme might prompt entries about outer space, aliens, and other mysteries. But, as Emma Fernhout, youth information specialist at Monticello, says, they were surprised.

“The teens who submitted weren’t so much interested in the unknown of the distant world as they were interested in the unknown of their own lives,” said Fernhout, one of three youth services specialists who facilitated the project. with teenage writers.

The library received poetry and prose about relationships, changing friendships, family dynamics, and even explorations into math.

This year’s issue again focuses on the creativity and originality of teenagers. Gaby Kill, a 19-year-old KU freshman who was in her third and final year as a elementia editor, said they received poems that were uniquely introspective and intimate.

“That’s the beauty of elementia,” she said. “Even the publishers who are hosting it don’t know what it’s going to look like.”

The submissions were more upbeat than expected, even though they were written during a time of pandemic and fear.

“These are the people who find all the good in the bad,” Kill said. “We were all really surprised at how uplifting it was.”

the elementia publishing process was a labor of love. This year, the magazine had 16 teenage writers from Johnson County and the metro area. This included 14 poetry/prose editors and five designers, with some teenagers doing both. The meetings were held virtually on Zoom.

Riley Strait, 15, a sophomore at Olathe North High, worked on both editorial and design duties.

“I ended up loving the experience,” he said, adding that it was a very deliberate conservation project. “It’s a lot more about considering what’s best for the magazine rather than what I like. It’s a good experience to work in a professional environment like this.

He learned a lot about different writing styles, was captivated by fantastic artwork, and enjoyed the collaborative and respectful editing process.

Kill majors in computer science, but writing is a passion for her. elementia helped her forge lasting bonds with amazing young writers and editors.

Editorial facilitators were Fernhout and Tiffany Rinne, Youth Information Specialist at the Blue Valley branch. Cassandra Gillig, Leawood Pioneer Branch Information Specialist, moderated the visual arts component.

The group met once a month from September 2021, preparing submissions and planning for next year. From January to February, the editors selected 922 submissions from teenagers aged 13 to 19. It’s a big commitment, with editors spending 50 hours reading submissions and reviewing art. They had 16 hours of meetings, most of which were Saturdays in February.

They finally accepted 54 pieces of poetry or prose and 61 pieces of art, 12% of the entries, so it was very selective. Fernhout enjoyed the articulate debates over the submissions, as editors advocated for different works.

“Teenagers want to change each other’s minds,” she said. “We love it. This ensures that every submitter has a fair and competitive chance of being in the magazine.

The coins accepted, she said, were exceptional. “I still have great hope for the future of these children’s literature,” she said. “They’re so experimental and they’re so attached to their own voice.”

Work on elementia brings out the best in the people involved.

“It’s very motivating and fulfilling to see young people overcome so much exhaustion and stress over the past year to be truly excited about creating something so beautiful,” Fernhout said. “They are so smart. They know what they like. »

Printed copies of 2022 elementia issue xix is ​​now available at Johnson County Library branches. All previous issues are available online at

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