INKPEN believes books inspire. Our mission is to connect readers and writers by building audiences for writers of color, giving books to teens, sharing stories and ideas, creating conversations, and inspiring cultural exchange.
Through partnerships with public school libraries and community library programs, INKPEN strengthens the voices of middle school and high school youth and their ability to craft stories. Craft talks and workshops with teaching artists and library read-ins with diverse writers share the experience of storytelling.
Our goal is to give 1,000 books each year to students. Book creates a legacy of stories that can be shared. Reading strengthens comprehension, critical thinking, and writing skills.
On reading Esperanza Rising by Pam Munoz Ryan, literature professor Renee Latchman says:
"I read this book for the first time during my graduate studies in my multicultural literature course. At this point in my life, I had only been living in the US for a year and was facing some personal challenges. When I read this book, I learned about a young girl whose life got turned upside down overnight. She faced tremendous obstacles when she moved to America, and her ability to rise above it gave me hope because her situation made mine seem so trivial that I had to get over myself. It pushed me to find strength in myself and it made me more sensitive to the struggles of other immigrants and their families."
Through our signature Read-In programming, INKPEN engages young readers in conversations with writers of color. The library is a safe space for discussions of topical issues. The students are heard. Importantly, students gain fresh outlooks on literature and life.
Breena Clarke discusses storytelling, research, the emancipation of Blacks enslaved in Washington, Georgetown's Black community, and the Civil War.
She reads from her novel Stand the Storm to students at Dunbar High School.
"INKPEN events have been informative and thought-provoking for our students. I have personally witnessed students who normally are not motivated to read become completely engaged in their interaction with the author," says Librarian Simone Harris-Woodard.
Author Karine Jean-Pierre tells students at Roosevelt High School:
“There’s a whole world waiting for you, filled with possibilities."
Simba Sana, the author of Never Stop, recalls DC street life, music, and friendship.
“Boys all around the city created little junkyard bands with fake instruments –buckets to serve as the drums, STP motor oil cans to fill in for the timbales, and a thick plastic cup or bottle to give off the sound of a cowbell.
The guys on H Place created their own little band, and they played in the wide alley behind H Place."
Meeting with students at Roosevelt and Dunbar High Schools, Simba Sana says:
"Stories can touch the imagination, provide insight and inspire us to make new discoveries."
INKPEN PARTNERS WITH DC NEIGHBORHOOD PUBLIC LIBRARIES
Bringing People Together Through Books
Support INKPEN. Donate books for school Read-ins. Sponsor an author visit.