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About Us

Our Mission

Our Mission

The Bookshelf Project's mission is to cultivate an early love for books, reading, and life-long learning from birth thru age 8 by creating in-home libraries for children and improving access to culturally responsive books to support literacy attainment.

Reading in Tent
Our Mission
In Classroom

Our Vision

Closing the reading achievement gap and ensuring that all children, especially, Black and Brown children are prepared to succeed in school and everyday life.

Who We Are

The Bookshelf Project, Inc. is an evidence-based early literacy intervention model aimed at enhancing literacy outcomes for underprivileged children by providing in-home libraries and distributing culturally relevant books. The project was conceptualized by founder Ihkeem D. Ma'at, as a pragmatic approach to addressing the significant reading disparities among Black children.


His vision was based on the belief that access to books in their homes would inspire children's interest in reading. Backed by research data, The Bookshelf Project was established in 2017 in partnership with several community-based organizations and programs in Washington, DC.The initiative successfully distributed over 350 bookshelves and a substantial number of books to children in the region.


Since its inception, The Bookshelf Project has evolved into a fully incorporated Washington, DC-based 501(c)(3) licensed non-profit organization, which is overseen by a volunteer board of directors. The primary goal of the organization is to provide literacy resources that enable parents and caregivers to confidently read to and assist their children in developing age and grade-appropriate reading skills.


The Bookshelf Project is dedicated to closing the reading achievement gap and ensuring that all children, particularly Black and Brown children, are equipped to succeed in school and everyday life.

Girl with Bookshelves
Who We Are
My First Book

Why In-home
Libraries Matter

Children growing up in homes with at least twenty books get three years more schooling than children from bookless homes, independent of their parent's education, occupation, and class.


Early literacy encompasses all of a child’s experiences with conversations, stories (oral and written), books, and print.​​


The nurturing and one-on-one attention from parents during reading aloud encourages children to form a positive association with books and reading later in life.

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Our Children Deserve The Right to Read

“Human rights are not things that are put on the table for people to enjoy.  These are things you fight for and then you protect.”

Wangari Maathai

Meet Our Team

Meet Our Team
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