Seniors Help Launch Bridges & Books Teen Literature Podcast

Bridges & Books logoRiley Doyle, Vanessa Han, Inyaa AshokShady Side Academy seniors Riley Doyle and Vanessa Han are among a group of local teens who founded Bridges & Books, a Pittsburgh-based literature podcast created by and for teens, while senior Inyaa Ashok designed the podcast's logo.

Bridges & Books features teen-hosted interviews with best-selling, award-winning and acclaimed authors of teen literature. It was created by a team of 10 teens with support from Kelsey Ford, creator of Bookish in the 'Burgh, Pittsburgh's Teen Book Festival.

In addition to championing teen voices and stories, the podcast spotlights diverse teen literature and amplifies authors from historically marginalized backgrounds. The aim is to create a safe environment that encourages teens to cultivate empathy through reading, develop a passion for writing their own stories, connect with their peers, and share their opinions of teen literature.

Doyle and Han heard about the podcast from Senior School Librarian Lindsey Myers, and both applied and were selected to be part of the founding team about a year ago. Doyle is one of the podcast host, while Han is an author liaison, producer and editor. Both are members of the Artistic Programming and Logistics Committee, which helped to determine what the podcast would look like and which authors to invite for interviews. Ashok was recruited to create the logo after the podcast team agreed she had serious design skills, and she also was interviewed as part of the third episode.

"The podcast has overall been an amazing experience, as not only have I gotten to meet the people who write the books I read, but I have also had the chance to work with a talented group of people to produce something I am proud of," said Doyle. "I have also learned a lot about the publishing industry and the importance of reading many different and diverse books."

"My experience with the podcast has been such a fun a great learning opportunity," said Han. "I have learned so much about communication, whether it is through my role as an author liaison or just within the podcast team. I am also a part of the production and editing team where I had zero experience before, but now am able to record, edit, and produce many of our podcast episodes. It is amazing to see what teens can achieve when we come together on topics that we are passionate about!"

The first 10-episode season of Bridges & Books was released in summer 2021 and features interviews with authors Rachael Lippincott, Elise Bryant, Joan He, Ryan La Sala, Adiba Jaigirdar, J.Elle, Kit Frick, Ashley Woodfolk, Rhiannon Richardson and Romina Garber. The first episode of the second season will drop Oct. 26, 2021, featuring an interview with author Victoria Lee.

Listen to the Bridges & Books podcast on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or the Bridges & Books website. Or follow the podcast on Instagram or Twitter @bridgesandbooks.

Congratulations, Riley, Vanessa and Inyaa!

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