What People Think

Some of the people who embrace Never Counted Out and believe artists empowering at-risk youth is significant and life changing!

“Because it gives them a voice, it lets them be heard, and of all kids, of all of us, they need it the most. And because we need it, too. I want to hear the magic that is in their hearts and minds. I’m willing to donate time because if every author gives an hour we can help unlock a lot of what’s out there–pain, joy, and hope.”
Kathy Erskine, National Book Award Winner for Mockingbird


A.S. King Supports Never Counted Out!

A.S. King Supports Never Counted Out!


“Never Counted Out is a movement that refuses to ignore the youth in our culture who have been ignored the most. What good can come from encouraging at-risk youth to write and create art? A shift. Giving power to the powerless–power over their own stories and voices–causes a change. It is a clear message that says: What you have to say is important. It facilitates change within those individuals, within their communities and will forever serve them in positive ways.”
A.S. King, Michael A. Printz Honoree for Please Ignore Vera Dietz





Margarita Engle listens to a child’s poem. Photo by Freddie Gladdis


“During one’s teen years, a single encounter with hope can make all the difference in the world. One conversation with an adult who cares. One shared experience. One innermost emotion expressed through poetry or any other creative outlet. One way of knowing that you’re not alone. Imagine a future where every teen receives many opportunities to experience hope!”
Margarita Engle, Newbery Honor Award for The Surrender Tree


“It’s simple: art is about connecting with people. And when there’s no one to connect with, one is rarely left inspired. By listening to kids and urging them to create, you’re not only connecting with them, you’re allowing them to connect with the rest of the world through their art.”
Matt Roeser, Senior Designer, Candlewick Press

“Connecting youth with art, lots of arts, in a variety of formats and styles is so important to giving them a voice and the assurance that their voice will be heard. Teens don’t always feel comfortable in the formal environment of our library building. Inviting them in to take part in a creative opportunity is an entirely different thing. The initial shock of being in the space is quickly replaced with the wonder at what is in front of them. A painting? A drawing? A real live author? These can be foreign objects in the life of a teen. To be able to expose teens to these things, and to show them the opportunity that exists around them, and to introduce them to someone who is doing it. That is the stuff that turns dreams into reality.”
Amy Rhilinger, Librarian, Attleboro Public Library

“To me the most compelling part of working with “at-risk” kids is that you help young people stay connected not only to their sense of self right now but also to their hopes about who they will be later on. No one should grow up without that light.”
Meg Medina, Pura Belpre Award 2014 for Yaqui Delgado Wants To Kick Your Ass