Who’s Behind the Book? – Meet Marcia!

This is Marcia, our Graphic Artist.

Marcia designs our website, formats and designs our newsletter, and designs the emails we send out to our volunteers, donors, and supporters. Marcia also designed our tenth anniversary logo, which we think is pretty cool!

logo anniversary curved banner - cropped

In addition to the work she does for us, Marcia volunteers her time and skills to several other non-profits, both locally and internationally. She does graphic design and creates posters for the Universal Temple of the Arts, a non-profit that provides her neighborhood with free art and music classes for local children, and which has staged an annual jazz festival for the last twenty-five years. She also does graphic and Web design for Hands of Action Uganda, an organization that feeds and houses around two hundred children orphaned by HIV.

When asked why she loves Behind the Book, Marcia said, “because, as an artist, I love to see children write and draw – I believe it is a very important process that students can hold on to for their whole lives. What impresses me most is how Behind the Book is able to incorporate  social issues into classroom programs, and encourages students to think about the pressing matters of our time, in an effort to produce artistic works in response.”

Her favorite childhood book is My Father’s Dragon by Ruth Stiles Gannett. She loves it for the illustrations, which she says are inspiring.

Marcia’s work and passion has been extremely valuable to Behind the Book, and we’re very glad to have her on board.

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The Importance of Reading – A Lesson from Judith Butler

by Jenna Danoy, Social Media Marketing Intern

This year, we’ve seen a pretty outstanding crop of college commencement speakers – ranging from author Toni Morrison to President Barack Obama to the Dalai Lama. Every one of them has delivered some piece of incredible advice – but one speaker’s words stuck with us in particular.

Post-structuralist philosopher, feminist scholar, and queer theorist Judith Butler gave the 2013 commencement address at McGill University in Montreal, Quebec. While her work stretches far beyond the realm of what Behind the Book teaches, we found her words to be very much related to our mission statement. (You can listen to the speech here.)

As Butler states in her speech, we read with the hope that “we [will] lose ourselves in what we read, only to return to ourselves, transformed and part of a more expansive world.” She goes on to say that, through reading, we become better people, more aware of our effect on the world and its effect on us. Reading is a means by which millions upon millions of people can learn more, be more, and think more, and through those processes we can achieve more.

While Butler’s statements sweep far and wide, and are generally geared toward an older audience, we agree with her sentiments. In fact, Behind the Book’s main goal, as you all know, is to empower kids to be passionate about reading, to want to read as much as they can, and to give them access to as many books as possible.

Eventually, we hope that our students will become scholars and educators, and people with vast and powerful critical thinking skills. We hope our students will take advantage of their chances to read, to learn, and to analyze. And, above all, we hope that they will carry their love of reading throughout their lives.

Because Judith Butler is right. Every time you pick up a book, you enter a new world. You are faced with new challenges, other people’s desires, other-worldly societies. Even if what you’re reading is classified as “realistic fiction,” it’s still fiction. Each time you pick up that book, you are still entering a new world, and that ability to transition from your world to the world in your book is invaluable.

Reading teaches you how to adapt. Reading teaches you how to put yourself in others’ shoes. And, above all, reading teaches you to be tolerant, and to think before you judge. All of these skills are immensely important to learn – particularly in today’s society, in which everyone seems quick to pass judgment and cut themselves off from a whole world they could have explored.

As we embark on the second half of our tenth year, we reflect on the hundreds and hundreds of students we have reached, and we are proud to know that we have, in some capacity, taught them how important reading really is.

Announcing: Who’s Behind the Book?

We’re introducing a new series – about who’s Behind the Book! Over the next few weeks, we’ll be introducing everyone who works in our office. From our executive director to our six interns, everyone does something awesome for the company – and we’re excited to show you!

Check back soon for our very first introduction.

Come one, come all!


The Young Executive Board
of Behind the Book invites you to:
An afternoon of food, games, and fun!
Saturday, June 22, 1pm – 6pm
at Freebird Books and Goods
123 Columbia St. in Brooklyn
*rain or shine!*
$35 includes access to the festivities, beer, wine and food.
For more details, visit our Facebook page. 

Proceeds will support Behind the Book, a literacy nonprofit that brings authors into classrooms to promote a love of reading and guide students in the creation of original writing. Learn more at Behind the Book.org.
Your ticket is tax-deductible.

Behind the Book’s Young Executive Board is at it again! As the above says, we’re hosting another Brooklyn Backyard Barbecue. The cost of a ticket gets you delicious barbecue delights, wine and beer, and the chance to play your hand at tons of fun games and activities for all ages. It also helps support our cause, which is pretty swell.

If you’d like to check out the fun from past events, take a look at the pictures from last year’s barbecue here.