Teaching Teens News and How to Cramm

By Carly Williams   |   March 8, 2022
Olivia Seltzer, 18, at the Montecito Mercantile on February 16 for the signing of her book, Cramm This Book: So You Know WTF Is Going On in the World Today

“I was twelve years old when I decided I needed to change the world.” 

Olivia Seltzer, an 18-year-old Santa Barbara local, was shocked and scared by the results of the 2016 election and by what that meant for her and her peers. 

While attending Santa Barbara Junior High, many of Seltzer’s friends came from families of undocumented immigrants. “After the election, there was a lot of talk about the future of our country and the future of immigrants,” said Seltzer. 

The main issue, she said, was that while there was a lot of talk about the election, none of her peers were actually reading or watching the news. “The news is created by and geared towards an older demographic,” she said, “which doesn’t give historical context to the younger generation.” 

To solve this problem, Seltzer founded The Cramm, when she was just twelve years old. Many of the youth of today do not have the means or the background to follow the news, Seltzer says. 

The Cramm is a daily newsletter and news platform written by Gen Z writers – for Gen Z readers. “I compile a crammed version of the daily news where I pull out the details that are actually relevant to people who are not news junkies,” said Seltzer. 

This newsletter struck a nerve with the youth, reaching over one hundred countries on six continents daily, expanding far beyond Seltzer’s expectations. 

In January 2017, Seltzer decided to play a deeper role in educating her generation on world affairs, leading her to write her first book: Cramm This Book: So You Know WTF Is Going On in the World Today.

Montecito Mercantile recently hosted a book signing with founder of The Cramm, Olivia Seltzer (right)

“Over the years of writing The Cramm, I realized that there is this assumption in the news that we have an understanding of the major events that have happened over the past century or so, but in reality, most of us don’t,” said Seltzer. Cramm this Book provides a deeper historical foundation to world events.

Fans and followers of Seltzer filled the Montecito Mercantile on February 16 for the signing of Cramm This Book, freshly released the day before. Fans ranging in age from Gen Z to Baby Boomers lined up outside the Mercantile to talk and celebrate the work of the young writer. 

“The signing was incredible for me. I was so happy and excited to see so many people show up to get a signed copy of the book,” said Seltzer.

Broken up into four sections, Seltzer writes in a fresh and engaging manner, providing insight to subjects including the ongoing conflicts in the Middle East, the origins of Black Lives Matter, background of the Me Too Movement, “deets” of the Cold War and historical context to the Arab Springs anti-government protests.

It’s hard to fit a background of history into a 273-page book, Seltzer said. “So I picked out what is essential for young people to know in order to best understand what is going on today and how we got there.” 

Cramm This Book tells history in a way that speaks directly to Generation Z. Seltzer said, “I write how I would talk to my friends about the news and put that in written word. We can’t be expected to solve the world’s problems if we don’t actually understand them,” she said. So, Cramm this book so you know “WTF is going on” and how to fix it.  


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