BtB hits the Brooklyn Book-Fest!

BtB hits the Brooklyn Book-Fest!

We’re off to the Brooklyn Book Festival this Sunday!

We love the Book Festival: We get to hang out all day and meet fantastic authors, teachers, parents, potential volunteers, and then maybe – if we’re lucky – play matchmaker.

If you’re an author with a penchant for encouraging young readers, come over and introduce yourself. If you’re a young reader, a parent of a young reader or a teacher and you like the idea of having established authors come to your school to talk about writing – come talk to us. Graphic designers, illustrators, teaching artists – please drop by and let us know what you do!

Or if you’re just browsing the book fair and you’re interested in children’s literacy, we want to meet you too.

We love the Brooklyn Book Festival because we love meeting people. The more people we know, the more access our underserved school communities have to enriching literacy programs.

Also, we don’t mind a good chat. We’ll be at table 426, by the garden near the fountain.

See you there!


Back to school in time for Literacy Day

Back to school in time for Literacy Day

After cleaning out school supply stores around the city over the weekend, NYC’s kids settled into their first full week of school today. They drew their name tags; got to know each other and their new teachers, and then it was time to get down to business. It was time to catch up on some reading after the long summer.

What better way to mark World Literacy Day? World Literacy Day was first designated by the United Nations in 1966, when around 44 per cent of the world’s population was illiterate. Right now it’s around 16 per cent. A great reason to celebrate – if you’re not one of the remaining 16 per cent.

According to an infographic by Media Bistro’s publishing blog, Galleycat, 20 to 30 per cent of New York State’s population was below fifth grade level of literacy in 2012. The latest census by The National Assessment of Educational Progress shows that only 47 percent of fourth grade students were at grade level on the NAEP tests in 2013. Only 35 percent of 8th grade students achieved grade level scores and just 17 per cent of African American fourth graders were proficient.

Illiteracy is inextricably linked to the poverty cycle and to help break it, New York City schools have their work cut out for them. At Behind the Book our mission is to help them by bringing accomplished authors and their books into classrooms creating rich, innovative literacy programs. We take our hats off to the passionate teachers and inspiring authors we get to work with.

Writing Visits (5)

With 55 programs planned this year, we’re looking forward to getting our favorite authors into classrooms to meet some truly awesome kids. Wait ’til you see the stories they come up with!

Happy Literacy Day everyone. What are you reading right now? let us know or share it with a fellow reader!

Back to School News

We’re excited to announce our partnership with two new schools this year, PS 98 in Inwood and EBC High School for Public Service in Bushwick.

At PS 98, we’ll be working with a kindergarten, 1st grade, and 4th grades our first year.  The principal and teachers seem to be particularly dedicated and came in to meet with us after school had ended with suggestions and ideas.  What a great way to begin the school year.  Welcome to Behind the Book, PS 98!
Our first meeting at EBC High School took place in the library, which had a warm, welcoming vibe. During our meeting we spotted an impressive display of books by some of our BTB authors, including Rita Williams-Garcia and Matt de la   Peña.
The students seemed very comfortable peppering the librarian with questions and asking for book suggestions and the teachers were enthused about our programs. We’ve already added a forth program and couldn’t ask for a better beginning for us. EBC is committed to creating avid readers for life, and Behind the Book is excited to help make that happen.
We’re already looking forward to the fall to begin working with the students, teachers and principals of these wonderful schools!

Join Our Team!

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Location: New York, New York, 10030, United States
Organization: Behind the Book

Area of Focus: Children and Youth, Art, Education and Academia
Skills: Writing, Marketing


Behind the Book is a literacy non-profit that serves students in low-income NYC public schools.  Working with classrooms from K-12, Behind the Book identifies books that speak to urban youth and partners with teachers to create immersive curriculum units by bringing the authors of those books into the classroom.

Through a series of workshops, authors discuss their book and teach a genre of writing, encouraging students to see themselves as readers and writers and ultimately guiding them in the creation and publication of their own original writing.  Learn more about Behind the Book on our website ( or our blog (

Behind the Book seeks a Social Media Marketing intern to coordinate BtB’s various social media platforms.  The position is ideal for a go-getter with a strategic mind and excellent communication skills. The intern will be an integral part of designing and implementing BtB’s social media strategy. The position will be based at our Harlem office.

The commitment is for one semester, minimum two days per week, hours are flexible.

Web/Social Media Marketing Intern responsibilities include:
*updating blog (wordpress) regularly with new content that features stories and pictures from our school programs
*Selecting and editing pictures, student work, and videos related to our programming for the blog

*Staying up to date on news relevant to Behind the Book, especially related to our authors, and posting commentary on the appropriate platforms
*Managing social media outreach and content on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Goodreads

The successful candidate will be someone who is detail-oriented, eager to learn, and able to manage tasks independently. Excellent written and oral communication skills in English are required. Experience with social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads required and with Photoshop, Adobe Dreamweaver, and Constant Contact a plus.

The intern will report directly to the Director of Development.

Application instructions:

If interested, please submit a resume and cover letter to Amy Berg at “Social Media Marketing Internship” should appear in the subject heading of your email.

Behind the Book is an equal opportunity, affirmative action employer that especially welcomes applications from women and people of color.

Behind the Book
216 West 135th Street, Ground Floor

New York, NY 10030

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Behind the Book is Hiring!

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We’re seeking to fill the following positions:



Behind the Book’s Director of Programming is responsible for organizing and managing all aspects of programming from conception to execution and measurement. The Director of Programming works closely with the ED and with partner schools and manages a team of program coordinators, including part-time and volunteer.


The Director of Programming is primarily responsible to:

  • Work with ED to identify potential partner schools
  • With ED, present and position programming to school administrations
  • Work with teachers to define program goals to support curriculum objectives that are in line with BtheB’s mission
  • Identify and recruit authors/illustrators appropriate to program goals
  • Work with classroom teachers and authors to design program curriculum and goals for measurement (including aligning program to Common Core and/or NYC DOE standards)
  • Document program goals and standards
  • Manage execution of program, including staffing volunteers and coordinating dates/assignments with classroom teacher and author
  • Manage team of part-time and volunteer program coordinators
  • Work with ED to manage program spend against budget, with goal to increase efficiency of visit costs
  • Work with ED to measure program impact both short and long-term, including setting goals for efficacy and ensuring programs track toward those goals


  • Master’s degree (or equivalent experience) in education (or related field)
  • 3-5 years experience implementing in-school programming, preferably in NYC public schools

Please submit resumes to

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New School Partner

Every day, as students enter PS 241, they walk across a mat that says, “Read as if your life depends on it”.  Could we have found a better match for Behind the Book programs?

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Author Andrea Pinkey working with students at PS 241

We’ve seen this go-getter attitude in the students we’ve worked with. From the second grade class who screamed in excitement when we explained we were going to publish their writing, to the 4th grade class that took persuasive writing to a whole new level by challenging their local bodega to offer a sale on sandwiches, students at PS 241 have read, written, edited and made art with gusto.

We are very excited to partner with PS 241 to build their community of readers and writers.

After School Pilot

As more and more schools extend their day beyond 3pm into after school, our principals have been asking for programs that support and enrich the academics of the school day, and we’re excited to announce that we’re piloting an extended day program at PS 46 this spring.


BtB author Tony Medina signs student books after leading the class in poetry and spoken word in our After School Program at PS 46.

Working in the after school hours allows us to do more sessions than are possible during the school day. This means we are going deeper into content subjects and can do more complex, multilayered projects. For our pilot, veteran BtB author Tony Medina will be leading a poetry and spoken word program with a mixed grade group of third to fifth graders. Be sure to check out their work at our gallery exhibit on June 17!