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Who are we?

Last Updated: Dec 07, 2017 11:47PM EST

BookMentors was started by a group of friends who cared about the fact that many children in high poverty schools and communities do not have adequate access to children’s and young adult's literature.

Board of Directors
David Bienvenu
has worked as a programmer and software architect in the Silicon Valley for over 25 years at several companies, including Metaphor, Collabra, Netscape, and Mozilla. He is the co-creator of the Thunderbird e-mail client. He currently works at Google. His favorite children's books are the Freddy the Pig series. 

Charles Harvey is a professor of Environmental Science at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He has built field programs in Bangladesh and Borneo to study arsenic contamination of drinking water and carbon fluxes from tropical peat forests. His favorite young adult fiction includes His Dark Materials and The Earthsea Trilogy

Eric Martincavage has served in the U.S. Coast Guard for 20 years. He was part of the hazardous materials cleanup team for Hurricane Katrina, and teaches ship board firefighting. He was also an English major and writes short stories about his life at sea. Eric is a member of the Three Affiliated Tribes of the Fort Berthold Indian Reservation: Mandan, Hidatsa, and Arikara Nation in North Dakota. He also serves as a director on the Kelly Ann Brown Foundation. His favorite childhood book is Where the Wild Things Are, and as a young adult loved The Old Man and the Sea.

Web Team
Emil Sotirov
is BookMentors' web product manager and team leader. He also develops the website's architecture, interface and overall user experience. He has been a software/web product architect since 1994. Emil co-founded People Networks, Aidpage, and IDILOGIC. A favorite book from his college years is Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance.

Virginia Sotirova creates the visual identity and web design for BookMentors. She has helped nonprofits with web design and development since 2000, when she founded Zayko. A favorite book from her childhood is: Born Free: A Lioness of Two Worlds (Story of Elsa).

Val Valchev develops the BookMentors software platform. Val is a "full-stack" system engineer and programmer, who recently developed the latest version of Aidpage. He has worked at ProPeople, People Networks, Aidpage, and IDILOGIC. One of his all-time favorites is The City and the Stars

Stamen Georgiev is responsible for the front-end programming of BookMentors. Companies he has worked for include Telerik, Everbread, Lessno, and Aidpage. He loves The Hobbit, Dune, and The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy.

Elena Petrova works on the front-end of the BookMentors' site. She has worked at Telerik, Everbread, and Publicis. Her favorite books are The Hitchhiker's Guide to the GalaxyThree Men in a Boat, and The Little Prince.

Jennifer Soalt has worked as a teacher, reading specialist, literacy coach, and ELA curriculum director in urban and suburban schools. She holds a Ph.D. in English literature from University of Virginia, and an M.Ed. in language and literacy from Harvard Graduate School of Education. Two of her favorite children's books are D'Aulaires' Book of Greek Myths and D'Aulaires' Book of Norse Myths. Since 2015, she is no longer with the organization.


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