The Island Book & Author Program inspires book-centered learning by bringing children’s book authors and illustrators and their books to children in IRW partner schools.

IRW collaborates with teachers and authors/illustrators to customize each program to the school’s needs and goals. Explore More Book Guides are created to inspire deep reading and engagement with a book’s content through suggested projects, research, place-based learning, and cross-curricular integration.

Each program culminates with a visit from the author/ illustrator, who then shares about their life and career, views and comments on student and school-wide book-inspired projects and creations, and leads small-group workshops in writing, art or natural history. A personalized copy of the featured book is given to each participating child, a treasured keepsake.

While these programs normally take place in-person, they were successfully offered as on-line experiences due to the 2020 pandemic.



WordCraft is IRW’s virtual creative writing program for middle-grade students. The program spans six weeks, during which students focus on different elements of story writing, such as character, suspense, dialogue and plot development. Teachers oversee in-class writing, while IRW author partners connect with students through one-on-one virtual writing critiques and group coaching. Students have the opportunity to receive feedback from their peers and showcase their work within and across participating schools.



Since 2008, Island Readers & Writers has hosted an annual island-wide read with students from all seven Mount Desert Island Regional School System schools.

Each year all seventh graders read a carefully selected book and come together for a half-day at Camp Beech Cliff in Mount Desert to participate in themed activities and small group discussions. They also hear first hand from the book’s author, engage in a Q & A session and get their book personalized.

Books are distributed at the beginning of the school year and prior to the event, ELA teachers lead their students in classroom discussion and guide book-inspired projects. On gathering day, kids are mixed into small groups with their peers from different schools and a community volunteer facilitator guides them through the morning. Each facilitator is well-prepared to help lead a vibrant discussion and model a lifelong passion for reading.

The MDI 7th Grade Read was successfully redesigned as a virtual program in fall 2020.