Happy Summer Reading! – A note from Jo

Dear Friends,

We are still recovering from our busiest and most rewarding year yet. I know that I say that every year but it’s true. I still get excited when I explain the depth of our programs to new principals and when I watch a child eat chicken feet with gusto on a field trip to Chinatown.

We completed the 2016-17 school year with 68 programs consisting of 408 workshops in 16 schools in the Bronx, Brooklyn and Manhattan. We made 1,509 students Behind the Book kids and gave out more than 10,000 books to those kids and their school and classroom libraries. (Our thanks to our new partner – KPMG Families for Literacy – for enabling us to more than double our book distribution this year!) We also created 20 student anthologies making over 700 students published authors.

We added three new schools this year; PS 4 in Washington Heights, Community Life Center Mt. Morris Head Start and Tiano Towers Head Start. We piloted two programs last summer with Head Start and they went so well that we expanded to include a second site during the school year. We’re looking forward to a long partnership with these schools.

We worked with quite a few new-to-us authors this year including Tad Hills, Danette Vigilante, and Daniel Jose Older. And many author who have worked with us before returned including Paul Griffin, Tony Media, Doreen Rappaport and Lesa Cline-Ransome. There is one author who has worked with us every year since our founding and that is Rita Williams-Garcia. She is a delight in the classroom and its been a pleasure to watch her books receive the acclaim they deserve.

We went on field trips to the United Nations, Kings County Supreme Court, Central Park Zoo, Statue of Liberty, the African American Burial Ground, and countless neighborhood walks.

The interaction between students and volunteers has become a vital part of our services. They enhanced our research and writing workshops as well as supervised field trips. The teachers appreciate the one-on-one attention given to their students and have continuously credited their help to writing improvement.

This year volunteers donated more than 1,250 hours to Behind the Book.

As we complete our seven summer school programs, we’re looking ahead to September with excitement as we pore over new, delicious books and partnerships.

We work every day to light a spark and sprinkle fairy dust over young people. But we would never be where we are today without your support. Thank you!

Happy Summer Reading!