OUR MISSION

Between The Pages empowers children to discover a life-long love of reading using books as tools to immerse at-risk and avid readers in an engaging recreation of their favorite books, fostering literacy, creative play, creative writing and cooperative problem solving.

OUR COMMUNITY PROGRAMS

Do you remember your favorite book as a child and wondering what it would be like to live in that world with those characters? 

 

At Between the Pages, we make that happen. 

 

We offer Creative Play Literacy Programs designed to reach children from 5th-12th grades by building an active and supportive community of empowered readers and writers. We offer these programs both online and to at-risk schools, reaching children and students where they live, work, and play through the teachers and librarians that they know and trust.

 

Who do we reach? Children ages 8-18 yrs

What do we do? Distribute culturally relevant books to economically disadvantaged students, engage the children in dramatic readings and creative roleplay, encourage creative writing and print the student’s work in an anthology they keep.

Where does it happen? Online and at economically disadvantaged schools. 

When does it happen? During the school day, typically during library time. In the early evenings, online, after school is out.

Why does it work? Creative roleplay with books representing the students’ own culture, allows them to see themselves as heroes who can make a difference, and books as being relevant to them.

What do they learn? Improves reading literacy, reading aloud, promotes ownership of books and library as a safe space, many students who ‘never liked books, leave with their very own favorite book.

How do we know it works? Teacher/Librarian-based exit survey of motivation, book ownership, and students from lower grades enthusiastically. requesting the program for themselves next year – seeing it as a perk of the upper grades

How is it supported? Individual donations, grants, volunteer time

In School Programming

Our Hero Training 101 sends performance readers into 5th grade classes of partner economically disadvantaged schools immersing and engaging student readers. Leaping into the story allows them to see themselves as the hero and as a result, develop a life-long love of reading.

Summer Camp

Since 2006 Camp Half-Blood Austin has been empowering demigods to become creative problem solvers and inclusive community builders. Wrapped in STORY, sword training, archery, daily quests and battles against ancient evil help campers to navigate everyday life, developing a more expansive world view.

Book Talks

Going out into schools, Topher Bradfield has a 16 year history of performing and talking with kids about some of his favorite new books in his famous book talks. Where Topher goes, whimsy, magic, a little bit of mayhem, and an irrepressible love of reading are sure to follow!

365 Day Support

From Writing and Art Contests to sharing pictures of our pets and favorite books, our private social media platform, Half-Blood Hangout, provides a safe space for our kids, who used to only connect with their friends at school or our summer camp, to have connection and support the entire year!

Our Heroes Case Studies

Schools in Action

Kids come thinking reading is boring and libraries are scary and then leave with a new favorite book. Like the kids of our partner schools:
Sanchez Elementary
Metz Elementary
Joslin Elementary
St. Elmo Elementary
Campbell Elementary
TA Brown Elementary

 

Not only do they discover that they can be the hero of the story, this year, they are writing their stories and we are printing them in an anthology so that they can be heard

 

390 students participated

402 books were distributed

6 schools were served

Heroes in Action

For over 15 years we’ve seen our heroes grow up to become teachers, biomedical engineers, circus performers, stunt professionals, pop singers, Harvard graduates and more.

 

Imagination, teamwork and problem solving are the qualities that set our demigods up for success in everything they do, and that’s the environment that we create story after story. Let me introduce you to a few of our old-timers (as we call them!).

Joe Nalieth, College Student and Activist

Joe quested with us at Camp Half-Blood Austin for years. As a child of Iris, I’d often see him engaging in the camp story, laughing and looking out for his cabin mates during monster attacks. His cabin counselor always described him as kind, courteous and fun to be around.

 

Fast forward a few years, after getting the delightful news that Joe was to be featured on HBO’s Homeschool Musical 2020, (so cool), I hunkered down on the couch to watch. I was overjoyed to see Joe wearing his camp bandanna while being featured for his talents and accomplishments (see trailer below).

 

One of 7 high school seniors chosen from thousands of entries, Joe expressed his feelings of graduating from high school during covid with his rendition of the song, “It’s the end of the world as we know it” by REM. I was touched to hear Joe speak to many of the principles that we teach at Camp, through our stories, during his interview. Joe has always been an amazingly kind person and I hope that Camp helped to support his dedication to social justice and kindness.

 

Seeing Joe lean fully into social justice issues was thrilling to see. During his senior year of high school, Joe organized a Black Lives Matter march with his friends, attracting the support of 3000 peaceful protesters. Joe and his friends also submitted a list of changes they wished to see implemented by the city. The city complied with all of them!

 

Using his voice as an ally, insisting on positive change to make a difference in the lives of others is what makes Joe one of our Heroes in Action!

Zoe Wolszon, Biomedical Engineer

Daughter of Athena and competitive as hell! Zoe came to Camp first as a Camper and then as a counselor. She seized the opportunity to help her boss build and run Camp Half-Blood Austin, an innovative literary camp program, and learned management and interpersonal skills through trial by fire at a young age. 

 

Passionate about exploring the intersections of biomedical engineering (in particular, innovative medical devices), clinical medicine, public health, and business and entrepreneurship, and how those intersections can be leveraged to improve health on a global scale, she became a management consultant, biomedical engineer, EMT, and aspiring entrepreneur working on non-profit and for-profit ventures, including volunteering with a women’s development group in rural Tanzania, working as an EMT in Orange County, North Carolina, researching traditional medicines and local healthcare systems across Asia, working for a medical device company in Silicon Valley, teaching English full-time in a middle school in South Korea as a Fulbright grantee.

 

She recently completed her latest adventure as a Leaders for Global Operations Fellow at MIT, earning both her MBA from MIT Sloan and a Masters in Electrical Engineering & Computer Science. Currently, Zoe serves as President of Between the Page’s Board of Directors, bringing her keen business sense, fair play and kindness back to the team. 

 

Her drive to give back to the world and increasing access to public health are what make Zoe one of our Heroes in Action!

Emma Dean, Young Musician

Part of a crew of young demigods who started coming to Camp at 12 years old thru her teen years, despite knowing her all that time, I had no idea she was musically inclined. Emma was always kind and lovely and always expressed what Camp meant to her life. She graduated high school and went on to Berkeley School of Music and became known internationally for her guitar picking. (see below)

 

We very much admire how she’s continued her musical education even having to come home to Austin during covid. Always loving and kind, the way we see EmmaDean spreading love in these trying times is what makes her one of our Heroes in Action.

Maddie Ward, Circus Performer

Maddie was a Camper, came back as an actor becoming one of our chief villains before we introduced our Roman Camp (the year Camp Jupiter was released.) Then Maddie went to circus school in Montreal and is currently a performer in different circuses around the world. Turning her love of acting into joy for others is why Maddie is one of our Heroes in Action.

The Marions, Sister & Bro Dynamic Duo

Sister, Monica Marion, started Camp in our second year and came to Camp many years, became an outstanding counselor, then went to Harvard studying mythology and folklore.

 

Her brother Max Marion, Son of Ares, notorious clutz due to rapid growth, was always really funny and kind. Max is AI think tank coding these days bringing us the next generation of computing. Bringing their imagination into changing the world makes Monica and Max two of our Heros in Action.

Eli Schmerler, Harvard Graduate

Son of Zeus, natural athlete, went to LASA High School, and came through Camp with a group that grew up together and supported each other. When he applied to colleges, even though he was a good student, he still didn’t get into any of his college choices.

 

So after much thought, he decided to put all his drive into the military. It turned out that he had floating cartilage in his sternum, eliminating him from being first team, so he went into geospatial engineering and got to play with satellites. After serving several terms of service, he attended his first college choice, Harvard! And for that drive to never give up on his dreams, we salute Eli as one of our Heroes in Action.

Sofia Martinez, Hollywood Writer in Training

Sofia, daughter of Dionysus, started as long time Camper, became a CIT and then started writing story for Camp. With the dream to write for Hollywood, she started working on her first screenplay and is getting great initial response from her mentors. 

 

Currently, Sofia is paying her dues in Hollywood, putting her Camp skills to use wrangling kid actors on set while she continues working on her screenplay. Walking the path to her dreams with persistence and kindness is what makes Sofia one of our Heroes in Action.