WHAT IT COST US: Celebrate Youth Voices and DC Resilience *VIRTUAL*

Loyalty is pleased to host a virtual celebration of What It Cost Us with contributors Joseph Chuku, Iman Ilias, Deyssy Mosso, and Saylenis Palmore, moderated by Candice Iloh! This event is free to attend and will be held digitally via Crowdcast. Click here to register for the event. You can also order a copy of the book below to be automatically added to the registration list, and there will be an option to snag the book during the event. 


This novel-in-stories by ten diverse young writers, complete with illustrations and photographs, chronicles the historic year of 2020 in Washington, DC, through pandemic, protests, election, and insurrection.

In this collaborative novel, ten diverse young writers from Washington, DC recreate the historic year 2020 from their perspectives, through fictional stories inspired by their own lived experiences. Told chronologically from the onset of the pandemic to the insurrection of January 6th, their stories of change and resilience are accompanied by maps, social media, original artwork, and real-life headlines to create an immersive experience of an unprecedented coming of age.

You'll meet Faiza, a Muslim high school student, who struggles to celebrate Ramadan during the worst of the COVID-19 shutdowns. You'll protest with Roman, the only Black student in his class, whose relationships are challenged in the wake of the murder of George Floyd. You'll face the fraught 2020 election with Dennis, a young Nigerian immigrant, as he questions a democracy that seems to count him out.

By examining the shards of this shattered year, these authors explore "what it cost us" through stories that both acknowledge loss and celebrate what got us through. 


Joseph Chuku (he/him) was a senior in high school when he wrote his story, “Democracy How?”. He is currently a freshman at Lewis & Clark College. This is his second book with Shout Mouse, as he also helped write the children’s book Shayla’s Shutdown Solution (2020). In the future, Joseph plans to go to grad school and study medicine in hopes of becoming a radiology oncologist. He hopes that readers of this book know they are never alone.

Iman Ilias (she/her) was 18 years old when she wrote her story, “A Ramadan to Remember.” This is her second book with Shout Mouse, and is also an author of I Am the Night Sky (2019).She is currently a freshman at the University of Pennsylvania, studying International Relations and exploring the great Philly food scene. After she graduates, she would love to be a diplomat living in DC and working at the State Department. She hopes, even though the pandemic felt isolating for so many, that this book makes readers realize that we all went through this tumultuous period together, and that they have people who understand what they went through.

Deyssy Mosso (she/her) was a junior at the University of the District of Columbia when she wrote her story, “The Storm, the Rainbow, and Valentina”. She is majoring in Social Work and expects to graduate in May 2023. She has already published two other books with Shout Mouse Press: Voces Sin Fronteras (2018), and Perla’s Magical Goodbye / El adiós mágico de Perla (2021). When she graduates from UDC, she would like to attend law school and enter a full-time job where she can keep helping vulnerable communities. Deyssy wants her readers to know that no matter how hard or difficult times can be, there is always a light of hope encouraging you to not give up–as human beings, we are fighters.

Saylenis Palmore (she/her) was 21 years old when she wrote her story, “Damaged.” This is the second book that she has published with Shout Mouse Press. She is also one of the authors of Voces Sin Fronteras (2018). She is currently a senior at the University of the District of Columbia. Though she is still figuring out what she would like to do when she graduates, she would enjoy working for an organization that helps kids around the world. She hopes that those who read her story learn that we are responsible for our own futures and that it’s never too late to start fresh.


Candice Iloh is a first-generation Nigerian American writer from the Midwest by way of Washington, D.C. and Brooklyn, New York whose books center home, self-awareness, and black sustainability. They are a proud alumna of the Rhode Island Writers Colony and their work has earned fellowships from Lambda Literary, VONA, Kimbilio Fiction and a residency with Hi-ARTS, where they debuted their first one-person show in 2018. Candice became a 2020 National Book Award Finalist and in 2021, a Printz Award Honoree for their debut novel, Every Body Looking. Break This House is their second novel.


Shout Mouse Press is dedicated to centering and amplifying the voices of marginalized youth (ages 12+) via writing workshops, book publication, and public speaking opportunities. The young people we coach are underrepresented—as characters and as creators—within young people's literature, and their perspectives are underheard.  

Shout Mouse Press titles are youth-authored, relevant, diverse, and inclusive. The characters in these stories reflect the over 500 authors who wrote them: they are Black, incarcerated or formerly incarcerated, low-income, Latinx, Muslim, and of many other backgrounds. Shout Mouse titles have won national awards, earned starred reviews, and received prominent media attention; they are read in classrooms and homes across the country.

Please note Loyalty has a zero tolerance policy for harassment or intimidation of any kind during this virtual event. 

Event date: 
Tuesday, April 18, 2023 - 6:00pm
Event address: 
What It Cost Us: Stories of Pandemic & Protest in DC By Shout Mouse Press Young Writers, Candice Iloh (Foreword by) Cover Image
ISBN: 9781950807550
Availability: Not In Store - Available to special order for pickup or ship. For even speediest shipping we suggest our Bookshop.org page!
Published: Shout Mouse Press, Inc. - April 4th, 2023

Every Body Looking By Candice Iloh Cover Image
ISBN: 9780525556220
Availability: Not In Store - Available to special order for pickup or ship. For even speediest shipping we suggest our Bookshop.org page!
Published: Dutton Books for Young Readers - September 21st, 2021

Break This House By Candice Iloh Cover Image
Email or call for price.
ISBN: 9780525556251
Published: Dutton Books for Young Readers - May 23rd, 2023

Salt the Water By Candice Iloh Cover Image
ISBN: 9780593529317
Availability: Not In Store - Available to special order for pickup or ship. For even speediest shipping we suggest our Bookshop.org page!
Published: Dutton Books for Young Readers - October 3rd, 2023