Together, 826 National and Paramount Pictures are publishing three books of youth writing inspired by the upcoming film IF, written and directed by John Krasinski and starring Cailey Fleming, Ryan Reynolds, and Krasinski

San Francisco, CA (May 7, 2024)—826 National, the country’s largest youth creative writing program, is thrilled to announce its collaboration with Paramount Pictures for the cinematic debut of the film IF set to hit theaters on May 17, 2024.

With Paramount Pictures’ latest film IF as inspiration, children around the nation put pens to paper to bring their imaginary friends to life through writing. Together, 826 and Paramount Pictures are publishing three books of youth writing inspired by the upcoming film, starring Cailey Fleming, Ryan Reynolds, John Krasinski, Fiona Shaw, Phoebe Waller-Bridge, Louis Gossett Jr., Alan Kim, Liza Colón-Zayas and Steve Carell. 

The three Big Books of IFs were created from the minds of young writers across the country.  Like many great imaginings, it began with a spark and an invitation.

“Together, 826 and Paramount Pictures believe that writing is the key to cultivating a new generation of creative and diverse thinkers who will define a better, brighter, and more compassionate future,” said Laura Brief, CEO of 826 National.

“We are incredibly proud to partner with 826, which has been a singular force in stoking the imaginations of young minds everywhere and encouraging younger generations to tap into the incredible creative power within,” said Marc Weinstock, Paramount Pictures’ President of Worldwide Marketing & Distribution. 

It was in this spirit that Paramount reached out to 826 as they prepared to release the movie. IF tells the story of Bea, a girl who discovers that she can see everyone’s imaginary friends (“IFs”). Paramount Pictures wondered, “What would actual students joining us in classrooms and 826 writing centers imagine into this book? What would they come up with?” With this question a collaboration was formed and students in chapters across the 826 Network—in Boston, Chicago, Detroit/Ann Arbor/Ypsilanti, Los Angeles, Minneapolis/St. Paul, New Orleans, New York City, San Francisco, and Washington, D.C.—all set about writing. 

And with that, three real-life Big Book of IFs came into being.  With a foreword by director, actor, and writer John Krasinski, the books invite readers into a world filled with imaginary friends—from a pocket-sized creature who turns into a rainbow whenever their human is nervous, to a pigeon whose favorite activity is to nap with their human, young writers share what makes their imaginary friends so special and illuminate what is most important in a friend:

“She’s so funny and when she laughs, she makes sugar rain all around. That makes me smile even when I’m in an old grandpa mood. We’re very close and she is afraid of losing me in my world of friends. She always tells me she needs a friend just like me, and I know I need a friend like her. She’s the best person that I can count on. Sometimes, she even follows me around at school to make sure I’m okay. She makes me feel confident about myself and makes me feel safe every time I’m around her. No one can see her but me, and that’s great because I want Chante the Beignet all to myself.”
—B. Wimberley, Grade 4, 826 New Orleans

“826 is a beacon of creativity and exploration like no other. To be asked to be a part of anything to do with this organization is an absolute joy. But to then have 826 invite us to do a full-blown collaboration with them, and to have these brilliant students create such mind-blowing work based on my new film IF? …well, that is nothing short of an honor!”—John Krasinski

From May 11-14, each 826 chapter will celebrate and host a book release party, including a pre-screening of IF, courtesy of Paramount Pictures.

To inspire more young writers and students to imagine and create their own stories, the lessons created through this project are available through 826 Digital, 826 National’s free online writing education platform. All three books will be available online and at every 826 Chapter beginning in May 2024, in conjunction with IF’s film release.

Find out more about this project at 826 National’s website or please contact us at to learn more or to inquire about attending one of the nine book release events.


About 826

Founded in 2002 by educator Nínive Calgari and author Dave Eggers, what started as a writing program fronted by a Pirate Store at 826 Valencia street in San Francisco has grown into the largest youth writing network in the country, serving 710,000 students and 18,000 teachers in the US. 826 National leads the network in support of our nine chapters–826 Boston, 826 Chicago, 826DC, 826LA, 826michigan, 826 MSP, 826 New Orleans, 826NYC, and 826 Valencia, publishes young writers, and equips educators to help students discover the power and joy of writing. Learn more at, and find educational resources and lessons at Download our one-page press sheet here.

About Paramount Pictures

Paramount Pictures Corporation (PPC), a global producer and distributor of filmed entertainment, is a unit of Paramount Global (NASDAQ: PARA, PARAA), a leading global media and entertainment company that creates premium content and experiences for audiences worldwide. Paramount Pictures has some of the most powerful brands in filmed entertainment, including Paramount Pictures, Paramount Animation, and Paramount Players. PPC operations also include Paramount Home Entertainment, Paramount Pictures International, Paramount Licensing Inc., and Paramount Studio Group.

About IF

From writer and director John Krasinski, IF is about a girl who discovers that she can see everyone’s imaginary friends — and what she does with that superpower — as she embarks on a magical adventure to reconnect forgotten IFs with their kids. IF stars Cailey Fleming, Ryan Reynolds, John Krasinski, Fiona Shaw, and the voices of Phoebe Waller-Bridge, Louis Gossett Jr. and Steve Carell alongside many more as the wonderfully unique characters that reflect the incredible power of a child’s imagination.

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