Afterschool Programs

Members from WHEELS’s Green Corridor Project share their progress with our Earth DefendersMembers from WHEELS’s Green Corridor Project share their progress with our Earth Defenders
Environmental Summer Afterschool Program 2021

Providing education materials and workshops for youth has been a mission of Word Up from the beginning. Through funding, Word Up is able to provide afterschool programs for students of all ages, in person and online. Check out some of out news (and old) programs below. 

Earth Defenders Initiative

Uptown Stories x Word Up Once Upon Un Tiempo

Past programs

Earth Defenders Initiative - Fall 2021 for Grades 4 & 5 (8-10 years old)

Earth Defenders Initiative




Español abajo

Calling all aspiring defenders of our one and only planet!

The Earth Defenders Initiative is Word Up Community Bookshop’s free fall afterschool program for 4th and 5th graders (ages 8-10). With an environmental and cultural studies focus, the program seeks to promote ecological and cultural literacy, develop critical reading skills through our book club component, and engage with the community’s public shared spaces through our street/park clean-ups and educational field trips.

This program will be facilitated by two teaching artists, with Renzo Moyano as Lead Facilitator.

Days: Tuesdays (virtual) + Thursdays (in-person/outdoor)
Times: 3:30-5:30pm *

* On the following Thursdays, the program runs 3-6pm to accommodate special field trips: 9/30, 10/28, and 11/18.

Start date: Tuesday, September 28
End date: Tuesday, December 14 **
** The in-person/outdoor portion of the program ends on Thursday, November 18.
There will be NO program on public school days off: 11/2, 11/11; and 11/25.


  • Tuesdays are the required virtual portion of the program, during which book discussions, guest visits, and other activities will take place. The last half-hour on Tuesdays—5-5:30pm—is optional hangout time, for homework help, chatting, and more.

  • Thursdays—which are an optional part of the program—will feature in-person outdoor activities such as street clean-ups, walking tours, local hikes, and other field trips. In case of rain or worsening COVID-19 conditions in the neighborhood, Thursday will be cancelled.

  • All participants will receive a free copy of Hoot by Carl Hiaasen and other materials necessary for the program. Please note that Hoot is Guided Reading Level W and a Lexile Level 760.

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¡Llamando a todos los aspirantes defensores de nuestro único planeta!

La Iniciativa Defensores de la Tierra es el programa extracurricular de otoño gratis de Word Up Community Bookshop para estudiantes de 4º y 5º grado. Con un enfoque de estudios ambientales y culturales, el programa busca promover la alfabetización ecológica y cultural, desarrollar habilidades de lectura crítica a través de nuestro componente de club de lectura e involucrarse con los espacios públicos compartidos de la comunidad a través de nuestras limpiezas de calles/parques y excursiones educativas.

Este programa será facilitado por dos de nuestros artistas docentes, con Renzo Moyano como facilitador principal. 

Días: martes (virtual) + jueves (presencial/al aire libre)
Horario: 3:30-5:30pm *

* (El programa operará de 3-6pm durante las siguentes fechas para dar cabida a nuestras excursiones especiales: 09/30, 10/28, 11/18)

Inicio: martes, 28 de septiembre
Finalización: martes, 14 de diciembre **
** (La parte del programa en persona/al aire libre termina el 11/18.)
No habrá programa en los días libres de las escuelas públicas: 11/2, 11/11, 11/25


  • ¡Los martes son para club de lectura! Nos reuniremos virtualmente para discutir nuestro libro seleccionado: Hoot (2002) por el autor Carl Hiaasen. Tambien nos visitaran invitados especiales, completaremos actividades de artesania.
  • Los jueves, que son una parte opcional del programa, contarán con actividades al aire libre en persona, como limpieza de calles, recorridos a pie, caminatas locales y otras excursiones. En caso de lluvia o empeoramiento de las condiciones de COVID-19 en el barrio, se cancelará el jueves.
  • Todos los participantes recibirán una copia gratuita del libro Hoot y otros materiales necesarios para el programa. Tenga en cuenta que Hoot es un nivel de lectura guiada W y un nivel Lexile 760.

Uptown Stories x Word Up Once - Upon Un Tiempo

Español abajo

Uptown Stories gives young writers ages 8-18 the tools they need to tell their own stories. Classes meet once-a-week for 10 weeks—some virtually and some in person—providing our students with the space to explore the craft of writing, engage their imaginations, and connect with a community of writers. We have amazing teachers, small class sizes, and an inspiring curriculum. To ensure Uptown Stories is accessible to all children, our tuition policy is “Pay-What-You-Can.”

*Classes start September 27*

Once Upon Un Tiempo / Mondays 4:30-6:30 / Ages 8-11 *in person*

  • Word Up will be hosting the space for this workshop at Recirculation, 876 Riverside Drive @ 160th Street.
  • Participants will receive featured books 

REGISTER @ / (929) 27STORY

Uptown Stories x Word Up - Once Upon Un Tiempo

Uptown Stories ofrece a escritores de edades 8-18 las herramientas necesarias para contar sus propios cuentos. Clases se reúnen una vez a la semana por
10 semanas ofreciéndoles el espacio para explorar la magia de la escritura, in- volucrar su imaginación y conectarse con una comunidad de escritores. Tene- mos maestros increíbles, clases pequeñas, y planes de estudio inspiradoras. Para asegurar que Uptown Stories sea accesible a todos los niños, la cuota es “Page- Lo-Que-Pueda.”

*Clases comienzan el 27 de septiembre*

Once Upon Un Tiempo / lunes 4:30-6:30 / Edades 8-11 *en persona*

  • Word Up albergará el espacio para este taller en Recirculation, 876 Riverside Drive @ 160th Street.
  • Los participantes recibirán libros destacados

REGISTRO @ / (929) 27STORY



Environmental Summer Program - Summer 2021

Spring 2021 Elementary (Grades 1-2) 

In Spring 2021, Word Up Community Bookshop offered a free virtual afterschool program for elementary school kids (grade 1-2). The program was open to kids interested in literature, visual arts, movement, music, and more, and was co-facilitated by actor Reza Salazar and Robby Kim, with visits from artists, writers, and musicians.

Each participant received free copies of the following books: 

April to June 2021
Tuesdays, 5-6pm on Zoom
Start date: Tuesday, April 7, 2021

Abril a Junio de 2021
Martes de 5:00–6:00pm por Zoom
Empieza: martes, 7 de abril, 2021

More about our teaching artists: 

Reza Salazar is an actor, producer and storyteller extraordinaire. He has appeared in tv shows such as DaredevilUnbreakable Kimmy SchmidtLouieLaw and Order, among others. He is a regular storyteller at the Sugar Hill Museum of Art and Storytelling, The Hispanic Society Museum and LIbrary and the 2020 Uptown Arts Summer Camp at Word Up. He stars in KCRW's first-ever bilingual radionovela, Celestial Blood and most recently worked on this summer’s Shakespeare in the Park production of Richard II airing this summer on WNYC. Reza began volunteering at Word Up with his sister in 2011 and was the host of Word Up's weekly open mic. Reza lives in Washington Heights with his wife, the artist Josefina Hernandez, where together they curate the @porlasventanas project.

Robby Kim is a Word Up collective member who works as Word Up's shipping and web associate. He is also an Uptown parent and has helped organize the annual Uptown Kid Lit festival. Recently, he was an after-school teacher in Flushing both in-person and online before assisting in the virtual 2020 Uptown Summer Arts camp. Robby is a 2019 graduate of the Publishing Certificate Program at The City College of New York.

This program was made possible by the Manhattan Community Award from Borough President Gale Brewer's Office and Coogan's and United Way of New York City. 

Spring 2021 Middle School (Grades 6-8)

In Spring 2021, Word Up Community Bookshop offered a free virtual afterschool program for middle school students (grades 6, 7, & 8). The program was open to middle school students interested in literature, visual arts, movement, and more, and was co-facilitated by two teaching artists and longtime Word Up community members, Rishauna Zumberg and Cindy Vasquez. 

Each participant received free copies of the following books:

Each month featured a different book. Writing, visual arts, and movement-based activities and projects centered themes from the featured books. 

April to June 2021
Wednesdays, 4:45-6:00pm on Zoom
Start date: Wednesday, April 14, 2021

Abril a Junio, 2021
Miércoles, 4:45–6:00 de la tarde por Zoom
Empieza: miércoles,14 de abril, 2021

More about our teaching artists:

Rishauna Zumberg has 20 years of experience in youth development and has worked as a facilitator, consultant, counselor, retreat leader, and director with various nonprofit organizations in NYC. Rishauna led a year-ling work-based learning program in the Bronx that evolved into the Thinkubator, an organization that incorporates design thinking, personal development, and job readiness. She has led an art club for high school students with Manhattan Youth since 2018 and before that directed a mostly arts and mindfulness afterschool program through Lineage Project at Horizon Juvenile Center for detained youth. As a movement artist, Rishauna has created participatory performances, processions, and improvisations, mostly in public spaces, with funding from Northern Manhattan Arts Alliance, Movement Research, and Friends of Inwood Hill Park. Rishauna was privileged to manage the Solitary Gardens northeast tour in September 2018. She currently improvises online and in Riverside Park with jill sigman/thinkdance. A 17-year resident of Washington Heights, Rishauna has a master's degree in social work from Hunter College and has volunteered at Word Up since its first summer.

This program was made possible by the Manhattan Community Award from Borough President Gale Brewer's Office and Coogan's and United Way of New York City. 

Hoot Cover Image
ISBN: 9780375829161
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Ember - May 11th, 2004

Chato's Kitchen Cover Image
By Gary Soto, Susan Guevara (Illustrator)
ISBN: 9780698116009
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Puffin Books - September 22nd, 1997

Have You Ever Seen a Flower? Cover Image
By Shawn Harris (Illustrator)
ISBN: 9781452182704
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Chronicle Books - May 4th, 2021

Harlem Grown: How One Big Idea Transformed a Neighborhood Cover Image
By Tony Hillery, Jessie Hartland (Illustrator)
Email or call for price.
ISBN: 9781534402317
Published: Simon & Schuster/Paula Wiseman Books - August 18th, 2020

Class Act Cover Image
By Jerry Craft, Jerry Craft (Illustrator)
ISBN: 9780062885500
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Quill Tree Books - October 6th, 2020

Measuring Up Cover Image
By Lily LaMotte, Ann Xu (Illustrator)
ISBN: 9780062973863
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: HarperAlley - October 27th, 2020

Ancestor Approved: Intertribal Stories for Kids Cover Image
Email or call for price.
ISBN: 9780062869944
Published: Heartdrum - February 9th, 2021