"Letters of Hope" Student Writing Lesson

Think about what matters most to you about our country’s future. Write a letter to someone important to you, describing that future you imagine and hope for.
Don't Lose Hope

So many people wanted—needed, even—to channel their energy into something positive after the election. For the collected authors in Radical Hope, letter writing to loved ones was a way to do that.

Photo by Kunal Mehta/Shutterstock. 

Students will read and respond to Aura Bogado's article, "Love Letters to the Resistance."


The book is comprised of letters written by 30 novelists, poets, and activists who seek hope and guidance from people who hold importance in their lives—elders, grandparents, activists, future children, even strangers.


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YES! Magazine Article and Writing Prompt

Read the YES! Magazine article by Aura Bogado, "Love Letters to the Resistance."


Writing Prompt:

Think about what matters most to you about our country’s future. Write a letter to someone important to you, describing that future you imagine and hope for.


Writing Guidelines

The writing guidelines below are intended to be just that—a guide. Please adapt to fit your curriculum.

· Provide an original essay title

· Reference the article

· Limit the essay to no more than 700 words

· Pay attention to grammar and organization

· Be original. provide personal examples and insights

· Demonstrate clarity of content and ideas

· This writing exercise meets several Common Core State Standards for grades 6-12, including W. 9-10.3 and W. 9-10.14 for Writing, and RI. 9-10 and RI. 9-10.2 for Reading: Informational Text.*

*This standard applies to other grade levels. "9-10" is used as an example.

Evaluation Rubric


Sample Essays

The essays below were selected as winners for the Spring 2018 Student Writing Competition. Please use them as sample essays or mentor text. The ideas, structure, and writing style of these essays may provide inspiration for your own students' writing—and an excellent platform for analysis and discussion.

Dear Emma González by Lucy Shuler-Morgan, grade 6.  Read Lucy's letter to Emma González, activist and survivor of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting, about how González inspires countless kids like her who sometimes feel they are too young to make a difference in the world.

Dear Mary Magdalene by Charlotte Wagner, grade 10.  Read Charlotte's letter to Mary Magdalene about how she's working to make sure the stories and struggles of women like her will be truthfully told and recognized.

The Righteous Path of María the Sage by Malena Vargas Sáez, grade 11. Read Malena's letter to her grandmother that seeks to harness her strength and resilience in order to overcome today's corrupt and turbulent times.

The Paradox of Support by Carly Nelson, university senior. Read Carly's letter to her friend Peach about the paradox of support systems and finding hope from those who share struggles of being disabled and fighting bureaucracy.



We Want to Hear From You!

How do you see this lesson fitting in your curriculum? Already tried it? Tell us—and other teachers—how the lesson worked for you and your students.

Please leave your comments below, including what grade you teach.




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