Our History

Incorporated in 2007, IRW grew out of Port In A Storm Bookstore on Mount Desert Island and the vision of its owner Jan Coates to venture beyond the walls of the bookstore to bring books and their authors and illustrators together with children where they lived. In the early days, IRW worked with two island schools and distributed just over 50 books to excited children.


Now IRW partners with 26 schools and communities spanning 3,000 square miles of coastline and provides upwards of 40 school programs annually - along with over 3,000 books - to Maine children. Forty-five different authors and illustrators have visited classrooms with IRW, each sharing a personal perspective on reading, writing, drawing, and the creative process. These visits help young readers make meaning out of story content and apply what they learn to their understanding of themselves and to the world around them.