Steinbeck Young Authors

Steinbeck Young Authors is an innovative program that was created to provide an opportunity for middle school students to explore the excitement of writing, enhance their writing skills, and introduce them to the works of John Steinbeck.

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Over 4,600 students participated in the 2014/15 Steinbeck Young Authors Program. Thank you to all the students, teachers, schools,  writing coaches, and supporters who helped make this such a successful year!

Registration for 2015/16 will open in the summer, and updated information will be added to this site by July 2015. For further information or to express interest in joining the program, contact Sean Rose at

Steinbeck himself was inspired by a good book and strong teachers—a combination we hope will motivate students to discover the power of the written word. Teachers in the Steinbeck Young Authors program use a specially developed curriculum written especially for The Red Pony.

Over 25,000 middle school students from Monterey County, Santa Cruz County and Solon, Iowa have participated in this program since it began. Steinbeck Young Authors teachers select two students to attend a special Day of Writing at the National Steinbeck Center, where they meet a real “Red Pony”, write an essay combining their personal life experiences and their studies of The Red Pony. They are then paired with a volunteer writing ‘coach’, a community member who uses writing as a part of their careers, who reviews their work with them. After the session with their coaches, students have an opportunity to edit their essays and turn them in for a final review. A panel of experts judge the students’ works over a two-week period. All “Day of Writing” participants are invited to celebrate their accomplishments and award recipients are acknowledged at an award ceremony held at the World Theatre on the campus of Cal State University, Monterey Bay. All of the student essays are published in the Gabilan Journal.

Download Coach Letter: ( PDF )

Download the Coach Response form: ( PDF )

Download the Steinbeck Young Authors' CCSS Alignment: ( PDF )

Download the 2014-2015 SYA Program Description: ( PDF )

Download the 2014-2015 SYA Program Timeline: (PDF)

Download the 2014-2015 SYA Program Recruitment Letter: ( PDF )

Download the 2014-2015 SYA Teacher Participation form:  (PDF)

Download the Student Nomination form: ( PDF )

Parent Consent Form  (English): ( PDF )

Parent Consent Form (Spanish): ( Doc )

Download the 2014-2015 Lending Library Application form: (PDF)

Download the Teacher Evaluation form: (doc)

Download the 2014-2015 NSC contact information sheet (PDF)

Please send completed registration forms to Jesse Banda at or fax to 831.796.3828

Or by mail:
Att: Steinbeck Young Authors
National Steinbeck Center
One Main Street
Salinas, CA 93901

Download the Curriculum Binder

The 2014-2015 Steinbeck Young Authors program is supported by the generosity of the following individuals, businesses, and foundations. Without their generous support, this program could not have existed.

Nancy Buck Ransom Foundation

Portobello’s Catering 

Richard Green Photography 

Rodger I. Thompson


Taylor Farms

Tutor Doctor 

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