AN OPEN BOOK FOUNDATION IS HONORED TO HAVE BEEN NAMED A 2023
LITERACY AWARD HONOREE

Library of Congress Literacy Award Winner 2023 Successful Practices Honoree Badge

Over the past 14 years we’ve witnessed the impact that an author or illustrator visit can have on a student, and the power of receiving a signed book to keep. It’s so gratifying to be part of a community that understands and celebrates reading through equitable access to books and to the authors and illustrators who create them.

OUR MISSION

An Open Book Foundation connects Washington DC-area students with authors, illustrators, and their books to nurture a lifelong love of reading.
We support educational justice by building equitable access to interactive literacy enrichment and high-quality books.

Maria Gianferrari • Hawk Rising • Whetstone Elementary School

OUR VISION: Children see themselves as readers, who use their written and visual literacy skills to navigate a complex world and define their own future.

An Open Book was created to provide access to books, authors, and illustrators. AOB’s programs offer students in qualifying schools the opportunity to connect with authors, illustrators, and their books. Students receive their own signed copy of the featured book to add to their home libraries. Studies confirmed that growing up with home libraries boosts adult skills in literacy, numeracy and technological problem solving.

Some of our programs provide breadth—every year, our Flagship Program offers upwards of 10,000 students the opportunity to meet and interact with an author and/or illustrator. Some of our programs provide depth—an opportunity for students, teachers, and authors/illustrators to further explore a particular aspect of a book or a component of the writing or illustration process.

These personal connections are inspiring the next generation of storytellers.

PROGRAM FORMAT

Engaging School Visits
Preschoolers laughing uproariously as a visiting author regales them with her latest picture book. Elementary school students watching, rapt as an illustrator brings to life a character from his graphic novels. Middle school students working with an award-winning author in a writers’ workshop. High school students discussing with an author their experiences with peer pressure as compared to those of the characters in the book they just received.

Book Signings
A student shyly walks up to the table where the author or illustrator is waiting, sharing their name and engaging in a short conversation. Sometimes it’s just to smile and say hello, but other times there’s more to say—a connection with the presentation or workshop, or the observation that book creators are “just like us!”

Meaningful Conversations
A group of high school students sits in a relaxed and informal setting with an author. No technology, no elaborate presentation, but an honest discussion about current issues covered in the book students receive—identity, social justice, poverty, immigration, family dynamics. Being seen can make a difference.

New and Emerging Artists of Color
Our program for new and emerging authors and illustrators of color amplifies the creative voices of Black, Indigenous, and People Of Color authors/illustrators. It provides additional opportunities for the students we serve to see themselves, not only in books but also in the creators of these works. We offer a small stipend (and will cover travel expenses when we return to in-person visits) to debut authors and illustrators, acknowledging the very real financial constraints on emerging artists in the field of children’s literature.

Extension Activities
Students dig into their school gardens as they pick, prune, and plant alongside author Tony Hillery. Hillery shares his story, Harlem Grown, and tips based on his experience developing school gardens in NYC. Led by nonprofit partner FRESHFARM FoodPrints, students taste a variety of fruits and vegetables to compare flavors, discuss optimal growing conditions, and decide on their favorites. An Open Book partners with area nonprofits on selected events for a creative, connected activity that deepens learning.`

Artist-in-Residence
Equipped with a fresh set of paints, brushes, scissors, glue sticks, and a journal, students discuss personal narratives with author-illustrator Cozbi Cabrera. Using her books Me & Mama and My Hair is a Garden as case studies, they experiment with tertiary colors, painting, cutting, and pasting to create a collage that says “this is me.” Exploring composition to create interest, clarity, and tension, their final pieces are paired with others to create a collaborative class “quilt.”

STEM Residence
How can we protect wildlife in our increasingly congested world? Author Heather Montgomery encourages students to think creatively and design highway crossings using a selection of materials they each received from AOB. Straws, tape, rulers, paper, blocks, and putty become bridges with lanes, signals, and native foliage to support safe crossing for all sorts of creatures. Using Montgomery’s book, Something Rotten: a Fresh Look at Road Kill for primary research, students record their findings in a scientific journal as they test various methods and designs.

OUR EVENTS

Our events reach students in PreK through Grade 12. Here’s a sample. To stay up-to-date, follow us on social media.

Author Heather McGhee at Ida B. Wells Middle School

HEATHER MCGHEE AT IDA B. WELLS MIDDLE SCHOOL

Students listened to stories from The Sum of Us and talked about the importance of economic, racial, and social justice.

Author Nick Brooks at H.D. Woodson and Eastern High Schools

NICK BROOKS AT H.D. WOODSON HIGH SCHOOL AND EASTERN HIGH SCHOOL

Students were all ears during Brooks’ interactive talk about Promise Boys.

Author Jacqueline Woodson with students at The Kennedy Center.

JACQUELINE WOODSON WITH HOUSTON AND CLEVELAND ELEMENTARY SCHOOL STUDENTS

AOB, along with 1st, 2nd, & 3rd graders took a field trip to the Kennedy Center to witness the debut of the commissioned musical, The Day You Begin.

Author Heather Montgomery at John Burroughs Elementary School

HEATHER MONTGOMERY AT JOHN BURROUGHS ELEMENTARY SCHOOL

Over the course of a three-day STEM Residence, students engaged in hands-on activities inspired by Something Rotten: A Fresh Look at Roadkill, building model bridges to transport wildlife.

Author Isabel Roxas at Twinbrook Elementary School

ISABEL ROXAS AT TWINBROOK ELEMENTARY SCHOOL

Students created their own characters and stories in a two day comics workshop inspired by The Adventures of Team Pom: Squid Happens.

Author Meg Medina with students at Planet World

MEG MEDINA AND ALEXIS ROMAY WITH THOMSON AND BANCROFT ELEMENTARY SCHOOL STUDENTS

In partnership with Planet Word, students visited the museum to learn about translanguage, language acquisition, empathy, and idioms. The featured book: Merci Suarez Changes Gears.

SINCE 2011…

101714

STUDENTS REACHED

275

SCHOOLS & INSTITUTIONS VISITED

2526

AUTHOR & ILLUSTRATOR PRESENTATIONS

122176

BOOKS DONATED

OUR IMPACT

An Open Book visits DC-area Title 1 schools. Since 2011, we have reached over 100,000 students, organized 2,500+ presentations, and donated more than 120,000 books.

Map of An Open Book Site Locations
    ROLE MODELS

    The generous authors and illustrators who donate their time and talent, and the publishers and literary agents who support their efforts, remain the backbone of An Open Book Foundation’s event program. The connections authors and illustrators make with students lie at the heart of an AOB event. They not only share their books with students, they often share their personal stories and their individual journeys – providing a glimpse into possible career paths.

    Participating Authors and Illustrators

    Participating Authors Chart

    An Open Book Foundation works with each author and illustrator to tailor each event; past presentations have included writing workshops, science demonstrations, work with primary sources, reading and Q&A, and art projects. Authors and illustrators who’ve participated in our program routinely describe their experience as impactful and meaningful.

    RESULTS
    Each year we survey educators and students after events. Here’s what they have to say:
      • 84% of educators could tie a flagship event directly to their classroom curriculum
      • 100% of our artist-in-residence programs sparked new ideas and conversations among students
      • 64% of students are more curious about a career as an author or publisher
      • 65% will read the new book they received “right away” or “soon”

    LITERACY PARTNERS

    Essential to the success of An Open Book Foundation are the dedicated educators and administrators at the schools we visit and the authors and illustrators who participate in our events.

    Hannah Barnaby • Garcia & Collette Go Exploring • Mary Harris Mother Jones Elementary School

    Combining all our efforts, we look to inspire the quiet kid in the back who always thought she might have a story inside of her, but was never brave enough to believe it. Or the struggling student who finds math and English a challenge but thrives in art and needed to see where that might take him. Perhaps connecting with an immigrant student who truly benefits from seeing someone who understands what they are going through. Finally, connecting with so, so many children and teens through quiet little conversations that happen during book signings.

    FOR TEACHERS, LIBRARIANS, AND SCHOOLS

    Participating schools across the DC area include qualifying public and charter schools, as well as institutions that support students with specific educational needs. We also reach students through after-school programs and other venues serving families in need. We work with Title 1 schools, or schools where at least 50% of the students qualify for free and reduced meals.

    Interested in having An Open Book visit your school? We look forward to partnering with you! Use our School Interest Form to reach out.

    A sample of schools with whom we partner:

    Washington DC

    Ward 1

    • Bancroft Elementary School
    • Benjamin Banneker High School
    • Bruce Monroe Elementary School
    • Cleveland Elementary School
    • Columbia Heights EC – Bell Multicultural HS
    • Columbia Heights EC – Lincoln MS
    • H.D. Cooke Elementary School
    • Marie Reed Elementary School
    • Tubman Elementary School

    Ward 2

    • Garrison Elementary School
    • Seaton Elementary School
    • Thomson Elementary School

    Ward 4

    • Barnard Elementary School
    • Brightwood Education Campus
    • Capital City Public Charter School
    • Coolidge High School
    • Dorothy I. Height Elementary School
    • E.L Haynes Public Charter School
    • Ida B Wells Middle School
    • John Lewis Elementary School
    • LaSalle Backus Education Campus
    • MacFarland Middle School
    • Raymond Education Campus
    • Roosevelt Senior High School
    • Takoma Education Campus
    • Truesdell Education Campus
    • Whittier Education Campus

    Ward 5

    • Briya Public Charter School
    • Brookland Middle School
    • Browne Education Campus
    • DC Prep: Edgewood Middle Campus
    • Dunbar High School
    • Friendship Woodridge International Elementary/Middle
    • John Burroughs Elementary School
    • McKinley Middle School
    • McKinley Technology High School
    • Noyes Elementary School
    • Washington Jesuit Academy
    • Wheatley Education Campus
    • Langdon Elementary School
    • Langley Elementary School
    • Luke C. Moore High School

    Ward 6

    • Amidon Bowen Elementary School
    • Eastern Senior High School
    • J O Wilson Elementary School
    • Ludlow-Taylor Elementary School
    • Miner Elementary School
    • Payne Elementary School
    • Richard Wright Public Charter School for Journalism and Media Arts
    • Stuart-Hobson Middle School
    • Tyler Elementary School
    • Walker Jones Education Campus

    Ward 7

    • Anne Beers Elementary School
    • DC Prep: Benning Middle Campus
    • Friendship Southeast Academy Public Charter School
    • H.D. Woodson High School
    • Houston Elementary School
    • Kelly Miller Middle School
    • Kimball Elementary School
    • Plummer Elementary School
    • Ron Brown College Preparatory High School
    • Thomas Elementary School 

    Ward 8

    • Anacostia High School
    • Ballou High School
    • Bishop John T. Walker School for Boys
    • Boone Elementary School
    • Charles Hart Middle School 
    • Excel Academy 
    • Friendship Tech Prep Middle and High School
    • Hendley Elementary School
    • Ketcham Elementary School
    • Kramer Middle School
    • Malcolm X Elementary School
    • Martin Luther King Elementary School
    • Patterson Elementary School
    • Savoy Elementary School
    • Simon Elementary School
    • St. Thomas More Catholic Academy
    • Stanton Elementary School
    • Turner Elementary School
    • Washington School for Girls: The ARC Campus
    • Washington School for Girls: The View Campus
    • Leckie Elementary School

    Maryland

    Prince George’s County

    • Barnaby Manor Elementary School
    • Buck Lodge Middle School
    • Flintstone Elementary School 
    • Hyattsville Elementary School
    • Mary Harris Mother Jones Elementary School
    • Mount Rainier Elementary School
    • Port Towns Elementary School

    Montgomery County

    • Brookhaven Elementary School
    • Burnt Mills Elementary School
    • Colonel E. Brooke Lee Middle School
    • Cresthaven Elementary School
    • East Silver Spring Elementary School
    • Gaithersburg Elementary School
    • Gaithersburg Middle School
    • Glenallan Elementary School
    • Highland Elementary School
    • Jackson Road Elementary School
    • JoAnn Leleck Elementary School at Broad Acres
    • Loiederman Middle School
    • Montgomery Knolls Elementary School
    • Montgomery Village Middle School
    • New Hampshire Estates Elementary School
    • Newport Mill Middle School
    • Northwood High School
    • St. Francis International School
    • Twinbrook Elementary School
    • Wheaton High School
    • Wheaton Woods Elementary School
    • Whetstone Elementary School

    Virginia

    Alexandria City

    • Ferdinand T. Day Elementary School
    • Francis C. Hammond Middle School
    • Jefferson-Houston School

    Fairfax County

    • Graham Road Elementary School
    • Lynbrook Elementary School
    • Poe Middle School

    FOR AUTHORS, ILLUSTRATORS AND PUBLISHERS

    AOB’s guests include a mix of award-winning authors and illustrators. Our New and Emerging Artists of Color Program amplifies new voices in children’s and teen literature. Representation is important, and each year, between 65-70% of the book creators we bring into classrooms are authors and illustrators of color.

    Publishers and their authors/illustrators often add an AOB event onto a DC tour so that the publisher incurs very little added expense. In addition to increased author and illustrator visibility, AOB book purchases lead to increased sales. However, publisher donations are always welcome.

    The following authors and illustrators joined AOB in the 2022-23 school year.

     

    A.S. King

     

     

    Adriana Bergstrom

     

     

    Aixa Pérez-Prado

     

     

    Alan Gratz

     

     

    Alexa Laurel Patrick

     

     

    Alexis Romay

     

     

    Ali Kamanda

     

     

    Alina Chau

     

     

    Alison Goldberg

     

     

    Alison Green Myers

     

     

    Andrea Menotti

     

     

    Andrea Rogers

     

     

    Angeline Boulley

     

     

    April Harrison

     

     

    Brent Schoonover

     

     

    C.C. Harrington

     

     

    Carole Boston Weatherford

     

     

    Carole Lindstrom

     

     

    Caroline Brewer

     

     

    Caron Levis

     

     

    Chad Sell

     

     

    Chana Stiefel

     

     

    Christian Robinson

     

     

    Christina Soontornvat

     

     

    Christy Hale

     

     

    Claribel Ortega

     

     

    Costantia Manoli

     

     

    Cozbi A. Cabrera

     

     

    Dan Gemeinhart

     

     

    Daniel Bernstrom

     

     

    David Barclay Moore

     

     

    David LaRochelle

     

     

    David Obuchowski

     

     

    Debbi Michiko Florence

     

     

    Des Cooper

     

     

    Elizabeth-Irene Baitie

     

     

    Emeline Lee

     

     

    Erica Perl

     

     

    Erminia

     

     

    Faith Erin Hicks

     

     

    Felicia Hoshino

     

     

    Frantzy Luzincourt

     

     

    Gaia Cornwall

     

     

    Gale Galligan

     

     

    Harold Green III

     

     

    Heather McGhee

     

     

    Heather Montgomery

     

     

    Hena Khan

     

     

    Ibtihaj Muhammad

     

     

    Isabel Roxas

     

     

    Ishita Jain

     

     

    Jack Wong

     

     

    Jacqueline Woodson

     

     

    Jamar Nicholas

     

     

    James Ponti

     

     

    James Smith

     

     

    Jane Park

     

     

    Jeanette Bradley

     

     

    Jerdine Nolen

     

     

    Jerry Craft

     

     

    John Parra

     

     

    Jonathan Hill

     

     

    Jonathan Roth

     

     

    Jorge Redmond

     

     

    Joy Jones

     

     

    Juana Medina

     

     

    Julia Kuo

     

     

    June Smalls

     

     

    Justin Reynolds

     

     

    Karina González

     

     

    Katherine Applegate

     

     

    Katherine Marsh

     

     

    Katie Yamasaki

     

     

    Katie Zhao

     

     

    Keila Dawson

     

     

    Kelly McWilliams

     

     

    Ken Daley

     

     

    Kim Taylor

     

     

    Krystal Quiles

     

     

    Kwame Mbalia

     

     

    Lamar Giles

     

     

    Laura Freeman

     

     

    Laura Gehl

     

     

    Lauren Castillo

     

     

    Linda Sarsour

     

     

    Lindsay Metcalf

     

     

    Liza Wiemer

     

     

    Lulu Delacre

     

     

    Lydia Lukidis

     

     

    M.T. Anderson

     

     

    Mac Barnett

     

     

    María Teresa Santiago Álvarez

     

     

    Marilyn Nelson

     

     

    Mary Quattlebaum

     

     

    Meg Medina

     

     

    Melina Bellows

     

     

    Michael Long

     

     

    Michelle Edwards

     

     

    Mika Song

     

     

    Mike Curato

     

     

    Misa Sugiura

     

     

    Naaz Khan

     

     

    Nathan Hale

     

     

    Nick Brooks

     

     

    Nick Bruel

     

     

    Ofosu Jones-Quartey

     

     

    Patricia Park

     

     

    Paula Shelton

     

     

    Raakhee Mirchandani

     

     

    Rose Bousamra

     

     

    S.R.P.

     

     

    Saadia Faruqi

     

     

    Sadé Smith

     

     

    Safia Elhillo

     

     

    Samantha Berger

     

     

    Sara Shepard

     

     

    Sarah Pedry

     

     

    Shadra Strickland

     

     

    Sherri Duskey Rinker

     

     

    Shreya Gupta

     

     

    Sue Fliess

     

     

    Suma Subramaniam

     

     

    Susan Katz

     

     

    Susan Stockdale

     

     

    Susan Verde

     

     

    Susie Jaramillo

     

     

    Sylvia Liu

     

     

    Tami Charles

     

     

    Terry Catasús Jennings

     

     

    Tiffany D. Jackson

     

     

    Tom Angleberger

     

     

    Tommy Greenwald

     

     

    Traci Sorell

     

     

    Useni Perkins

     

     

    Vashti Harrison

     

     

    Wendy Shang

     

     

    Winsome Bingham

     

     

    Yancey Labat

     

     

    Ying-Hwa Hu

     

     

    Yohuru Williams

     

     

    Young Vo

     

     

    Ysaÿe Barnwell

    SUPPORT AN OPEN BOOK FOUNDATION

    An Open Book Foundation depends on the generosity of donors of all types. We gratefully accept donations of any size.
    An Open Book Foundation is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization.

    Jarrett Krosoczka • Hey, Kiddo • Theodore Roosevelt High School

      INDIVIDUAL

      Your contribution will have a direct, meaningful impact on the literacy of a child. Whether you donate $30 to purchase beautiful new hardcover books for 3 PreK students, $100 to cover the cost of a set of books for the school library, or $1,000 to fund books for an entire grade level, you donation furthers the number of students we can reach.

      Spur Local 2023 Critical Nonprofit BadgeSince 2016, An Open Book Foundation has been recognized by Spur Local as “one of the best small charities in the Greater Washington region.”

      To donate online, visit our donation page.

      To donate by check, mail your donation to:
      An Open Book Foundation
      508 Kennedy St. NW, Suite 309
      Washington, D.C. 20011

      To donate through your Donor Advised Fund, please contact your financial advisor or use DAF Direct.

      To donate stock, please follow these instructions.

      BEQUEST

      Legacy Gifts to An Open Book Foundation

      Your donations today make a difference in the lives of the students we serve by providing funding for our current in-class programming and book purchases. The sustainability of An Open Book Foundation (“AOB”) for future DC-area students is equally important to us.

      To that end, we gratefully accept donations to help us grow and strengthen the organization for the future, to ensure that the work of AOB will continue to make a significant mark on the children we serve by nurturing a lifelong love of reading. You can amplify your impact by including An Open Book Foundation in your estate planning.

      For more information on Planned Giving options, please review our Planned Giving documentation and contact our Development and Communications Director for more questions. All requests will remain confidential.
      INSTITUTION

      Support from corporate and foundation donors is critical to the ongoing success of An Open Book. Our programs support equitable access to literacy, arts and humanities programs for students in low-income communities from early childhood through high school. While all of our events promote literacy, they also address specific curricular goals including ELL, S.T.E.M., Common Core, and fine arts.

      Given the variety and number of An Open Book events, we are happy to match an event(s) with your philanthropic goals. If your staff is interested in seeing the work we do, contact us about attending an event by sending an email to [email protected].

      Grants
      An Open Book’s funding sources include grants from local government, corporate and family foundations, public charities, and individual donors. 

      BookplatesAn Open Book Bookplate
      AOB places a printed bookplate label in every book a student receives. For individual, corporate and foundation donations of $5,000 or more, An Open Book will create custom bookplates with your name or logo to include in the books you’ve helped support.

      ABOUT AN OPEN BOOK

      Author Book Signing

      Meg Medina • Merci Suárez Changes Gears • Takoma Education Campus

      OUR STORY

      An Open Book was founded in 2010 by former children’s booksellers Dara La Porte and Heidi Powell. After years of hosting author events for and recommending books to young neighborhood customers, they continued to struggle with the fact that the vast majority of local students were unable to attend the store’s author events or purchase the books.

      After receiving unanimous encouragement from teachers, librarians, authors, illustrators and publishers Dara and Heidi used that positive energy to create An Open Book and begin to take authors into qualifying schools. By the end of 2011, they had hosted 11 events and given away more than 1,000 books to students and libraries.

      BOARD OF DIRECTORS

      Portrait of Carolyn Vinson BouCarolyn Vinson Bou
      Carolyn Vinson Bou is Counsel in the Tax and Wealth Planning Group at Venable LLP, specializing in estate, gift, and generation-skipping transfer tax planning and wealth preservation strategies. Carolyn has chaired planned giving committees at the Washington National Cathedral and the National Cathedral School (“NCS”), is a former board member at NCS and also co-chaired its last capital campaign. A mother of three, Carolyn is passionate about improving literacy in the District of Columbia.

       

      Portrait of Hope HerrodHope Harrod
      Hope Harrod has been a 4th and 5th grade teacher in DC Public Schools for 15 years. She has a Master’s in Education from Boston College. In the 2012-13 school year, she received DC’s highest teaching honors, the Excellence in Teaching Award and Teacher of the Year. She currently serves on the boards of An Open Book Foundation and Live it Learn it, a non-profit, also in DC. She is also a trustee at Kenyon College.

       

      Portrait of Deborah LittDeborah Litt, PhD
      Deborah Litt is an independent consultant providing professional development in literacy instruction. In 2016 she retired from Trinity University in Washington, DC after teaching there for more than thirteen years. She received her Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction (Reading) from the University of Maryland, College Park in 2003. Prior to that she worked for nine years as a Reading Specialist in Title 1 schools in Prince George’s County, MD.

       

      Portrait of Deep MasterDeep Master
      As a tax manager at the Han Group, Deep Master helps run the non-profit practice at his firm. Deep has expertise working with non-profit organizations such as hospitals, healthcare organizations, public charities, private foundations, social welfare organizations, trade associations, private schools, and affordable housing organizations. Deep has taught courses related to Form 990 compliance, lobbying, and compensation issues for tax-exempt organizations. Deep has a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration and a Master of Science in Taxation, both from American University where he also competed on the Division 1 varsity swim team. Deep has served as a volunteer for Mission for Vision Foundation USA and is currently a champion board member at Pool and Hot Tub Alliance.

       

      Portrait of Drew AdesDrew Ades
      Drew is a senior advisor to RMI’s Climate-Aligned Finance Program and the Carbon-Free Buildings Program, where he uses his extensive real estate, finance, and executive experience to help RMI create and equitable, just, and climate-aligned real estate finance industry and decarbonize the building stock.

      Prior to joining RMI, Drew was part of the Leadership team of the Multifamily Lending Platform at Capitol One. Drew was also the founding president and CEO of the Housing Partnership Equity Trust (HPET), a private REIT focused on the acquisition and preservation of affordable and workforce housing properties. He previously served as co-president of CAM LLC, a wholly owned real estate operating company subsidiary of Fannie Mae. Prior to this, Drew served in various management positions within Fannie Mae’s multifamily business and was the visionary behind the creation of Fannie Mae’s Multifamily Green Lending Program. He holds a BA from Williams College and an MBA from UC, Berkeley.

       

      Portrait of Deb ShapiroDeb Shapiro
      A former journalist and bookseller with an MA in children’s literature, Deb Shapiro worked for more than twelve years in book publishing, creating and executing publicity and marketing campaigns for publishing houses large and small before launching her own company in 2011. She is also an instructor at the Columbia School of Journalism’s graduate publishing course, and an active volunteer with several literacy organizations. For more than a decade she traveled extensively on book tours, fostering relationships with booksellers, educators, and media throughout the country and developing a broad understanding of what readers of all ages respond to and are interested in. She lives in Washington, DC with her daughter.

       

      Alissa Platz photoAlissa Platz
      Alissa Platz is currently the Donor Engagement and Stewardship Manager at Inova Health. She is a fundraising and communications professional with a passion for creative storytelling and strategy development. In August 2023, Alissa completed her Master’s degree in Public Relations and Corporate Communications from Georgetown University’s School of Continuing Studies. She has previously worked in fundraising and community engagement roles for nonprofits across Washington, DC. She is an active member of the Washington, DC Chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP DC) and regularly volunteers with Washington Improv Theater. Outside of being a fundraiser, Alissa enjoys doing improvisational comedy and going to concerts around the city. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from American University in International Studies and Spanish.

       

      Portrait of Marie LeBlancMarie LeBlanc
      Marie LeBlanc is a senior associate with the Leadership Development team at the Annie E. Casey Foundation, where she develops and implements programs designed to build leaders’ capacity to make powerful contributions to equitable outcomes for young people and families. Marie has over ten years of experience in nonprofit capacity building, strategy planning, and leadership development. Outside of work, Marie enjoys exploring her neighborhood in Silver Spring, practicing yoga, and reading with her cat. Marie earned BAs in International Affairs and Spanish & French from the Florida State University, and an MSc in International Development from the London School of Economics.

       

      Portrait of Chantalle Carles SchroppChantalle Carles Schropp
      Chantalle serves as Legal Director of Litigation for PepsiCo, Inc. Before joining PepsiCo, Chantalle practiced law at a global law firm in Washington, D.C. where she focused on commercial litigation and congressional investigations.  Prior to her legal career, Chantalle was a public school teacher in rural North Carolina and later a philanthropic fellow for The Duke Endowment where she focused on education-intervention programs. A native of Miami, Florida, Chantalle earned her Bachelor’s degree in Political Science from the University of Florida, a Master’s in Public Policy and Administration from Northwestern University, and her J.D. from Duke University.

       

      Portrait of Niesha ParekhNiesha Parekh
      Niesha Parekh is Director of Investments at the Chicago Office of Graystone Consulting from Morgan Stanley with more than 24 years of institutional portfolio management and investment consulting experience. She supports a team of institutional consultants who worked with a broad range of foundations, endowments, nonprofits and religious organizations throughout the country. Originally from Mumbai, India, Niesha holds an M.B.A. with a concentration in Finance and Economics from Loyola University Chicago. Outside of work, Niesha is an avid reader and passionate about encouraging reading in young people. She lives in Rockville, MD with her husband and two middle school age boys.

      STAFF

      Portrait of Heidi PowellHeidi W. Powell • Executive Director
      Before joining An Open Book full time in 2017, Heidi managed the children and teens department at a large independent bookstore. Heidi participated on several American Booksellers Association panels on coordinating book fairs with local schools. Heidi has worked as a city planner at the national, state and local levels. She holds a master’s degree in city and regional planning from UNC Chapel Hill, a B.A. from UC Berkeley, and enthusiastically recommends podcasts to anyone who will listen.

       

      Portrait of Jennifer Barnes EliotJennifer Barnes Eliot • Development and Communications Director
      Jennifer has worked in communications, development, and marketing in a wide array of not-for-profit and for-profit organizations in the US and internationally, including stints in Bangkok, Hong Kong, Istanbul and New Delhi. She has a B.A. in Public Communication from American University and looks for every opportunity to jump on a plane and explore.

       

      Portrait of Angela BrooksAngela Brooks • Development Coordinator
      Angela Brooks is a librarian with experience in both public and school libraries. She’s also worked in social services. A native Washingtonian, she holds a BA in Human Relations from Trinity Washington University and an MSLIS from Catholic University. Her favorite genres are poetry, fantasy, biography, & realistic-fiction and she enjoys reading (mostly graphic novels and fiction) with her children.

       

      Portrait of Naaz KahnNaaz Khan • Education Coordinator
      Naaz has worked in the field of education, refugee resettlement and more recently as a storyteller and bookseller at an independent bookstore. As a third culture kid, she feels connected to multiple places including India, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Kenya, and the United States. Her first children’s book, ROOM FOR EVERYONE, which is set in Zanzibar, will be published through Caitlyn Dlouhy Books. Aside from reading and writing, Naaz’s soul is nourished through nature, tinkering around with music, and hosting interfaith gatherings. She holds a Masters degree in Education from Columbia University’s Teachers College and a diploma in Refugee Studies from the American University in Cairo.

       

      Portrait of Hallem MartinHallem Martin • Office Assistant
      Hallem has previously worked for a real estate company and in library settings, including two positions at the Smithsonian Institute. Hallem attended Ivymount School in Rockville, MD. He describes himself as “easily approachable.”

       

      Portrait of Josarie MolinaJosarie Molina • Education Director
      Josarie has been serving children and families for over 20 years as an art teacher, museum educator, art historian, school librarian, school and family program coordinator, storyteller and stage performer. She has a passion for events that foster life-long learning. Josarie loves to spend summers with family in her native Puerto Rico. She has a B.A. in visual arts, an M.A. in art education, and continues learning and creating every day.

       

      Portrait of Kerri PooreKerri Poore • Program Director
      Prior to joining AOB, Kerri served as the director of publisher and author relations for First Book, a national nonprofit that provides new books to children in need. She also worked for 11 years in the Children and Teens Department at a large independent bookstore. Kerri has a Master’s degree from American University in international politics, has worked for the World Bank, the US State Department and lived in Madagascar for four years. She shares her home with her husband, son and their dog Waffles who hails from a small farm in Ithaca, NY.

       

      Portrait of Kathie WeinbergKathie Weinberg • Program Coordinator
      Kathie is the Co-Director of We Need Diverse Books Walter Award, an award created to honor Walter Dean Myers. She is a library consultant with the Library of Congress, and provides leadership for their Teen Board. An active member of the American Library Association, YALSA and ALsC Divisions, she has presented at annual conferences and served on several awards ceremonies. Kathie has a Masters in Library Science from Simmons College and a B.A. from the University of Wisconsin.

       

      Portrait of Misael YanesMisael Yanes • Ordering and Receiving Manager
      Misael is a DMV native, who has worked in a variety of spaces ranging from retail work to non profit advocacy groups, such as Asian American LEAD and Association on American Indian Affairs. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in English from University of Maryland, where he also spent time volunteering with America Reads. In his free time he enjoys boxing, playing video games, and organizing with environmental groups.

       

      Portrait of Dara LaPorte

      Dara D. La Porte • Founding Director, 2010-2023, Retired
      Before founding An Open Book, Dara was the manager of the children and teens department at a large independent bookstore. Dara served on the board of the Association of Booksellers for Children, was appointed to the American Booksellers Association’s Advisory Board, and participated on several national panels on young adult literature. Dara also taught middle school for 12 years.

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