Wednesday, April 25, 2012

World Book Night: Before and After

If you're reading this blog post, there's a good chance you've already heard from us, or another bookseller, or another bookish source, about World Book Night.  Just in case you're new to this bandwagon, here's a short recap: It started in the UK last year as a means of increasing awareness and enthusiasm for literature.  This year it hit our American shores and a big ol' committee chose 30 titles with widespread appeal for teens and adults and then printed up a bazillion of them for readers to give away FOR FREE.

Yes, you read that correctly.  Free books to give away to people who do not identify themselves as readers.  Some book givers went to non-profits, prisons, or after school programs, while others selected a street corner in their hometown and let the people come to them.  It all happened on Monday, 23 April, which happens to be the birthday of Cervantes and the birthday and deathday of Shakespeare!

On Saturday we hosted a reception for the 25 book givers who selected The Odyssey Bookshop as their distribution center, and we asked the ever-lovely Carlene to cater the reception for us.  She pulled out all the stops, creating four different pastries, one of which even dates back to Shakespearean times, and we all enjoyed her warm-weather version of high tea with an iced raspberry zinger lemon tea and sprigs of fresh mint!
Carlene's amazing treats!
I signed up as a book giver the morning I first heard about World Book Night, and I selected a YA novel called Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson as my title to share with others.  Like all of Anderson's books, it's a powerful and sensitively told story that realistically depicts teen situations without ever talking down to them. For my location, I chose Girls, Inc.of Holyoke, MA, where my part-time co-worker, Sarah, works as her day job. She and I both signed up to give books away to their teen program, and Odyssey co-owner Joan Grenier also went with me to share one of her favorite books.  When we asked for a show of hands for how many of the girls in the room loved reading, only a few went up, but there were lots of squeals of excitement when we actually started distributing the books to the girls. I even overheard a small group of them trying to decide which book they were all going to start that night so that they could read it together. Now that is what World Book Night is all about!
Girls Inc.


Jeannine Atkins said...

This story just makes my day. Thank you a million times over!

Jeannine Atkins said...
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