Volunteers to Give Away a Half Million Free Books on Tuesday, April 23rd
NEW YORK, April 23, 2013 – From Kodiak to Key West, Concord to Carlsbad, Grand Forks to Galveston, in 6,200 towns and cities across America, more than 25,000 World Book Night U.S. volunteers will go out and personally hand out a half million free books to new or light readers on one day: April 23, 2013.
World Book Night is an ambitious campaign in which volunteer givers help promote reading and community by each distributing 20 specially printed copies of a book they have read and loved in both public and private locations. Givers will reach out to places with people in need such as nursing homes, underfunded schools, VA hospitals, and family shelters. The givers are also going to settings like Little League games, subways, firehouses, and diners.
In Kentucky, a woman who was once a resident in a women’s shelter, and is now living on her own, is returning to the shelter to give out books. Three generations of givers are going out in Detroit, New Orleans and on a military base in Okinawa. High school students and advisors in Queens, New York, are visiting a school damaged by Hurricane Sandy to hand out WBN editions in English and Spanish.
World Book Night U.S. Executive Director Carl Lennertz said: “Our volunteers are truly generous and creative people who love books and care about sharing the written word with those who perhaps lack the means or access to books, or have gotten out of the habit of reading.”
World Book Night U.S. is enjoying its second year of giving the gift of a printed book. World Book Night was successfully launched in the UK and Ireland three years ago, and is celebrated on the anniversary of Shakespeare’s birthday. This charitable effort is supported by publishers, book manufacturers, Federal Express Corporation, and 2,300 bookstores and libraries nationwide.
World Book Night U.S. honorary national chairpeople, Ann Patchett and James Patterson, were among a dozen authors who hosted World Book Night Kick-Off Events on the night before World Book Night. Monday, April 22, events were held in libraries and bookstores in San Antonio, Denver, Cambridge, Berkeley, and New York City, as well as Chetek, Wisconsin, and Pass Christian, Mississippi. Patterson and Patchett hosted a special event at Parnassus Books in Nashville. A book and music kick-off was held at a club in Portland, Oregon; St. Louis givers were invited to an arts space hosted by local booksellers, and there were WBN Poetry Nights in Brooklyn and Los Angeles. Closing day Book & Rose events are being held on April 23 in Craig, AK; Hilo, HI; Waterville, ME; and Wichita, KS, as well as Chicago, Iowa City, Seattle, Pasadena and Coral Gables. A full schedule of events is at WBN’s Facebook page and a map showing locations is available at US.WorldBookNight.org.
Additionally, many of the volunteer givers met each other in pre-World Book Night receptions last week at hundreds of bookstores and libraries. New this year, WBN accepted applications from over 150 groups that are doing coordinated activities, such as a downtown business effort in Sandusky, Michigan, a “book brigade” on Hollywood Boulevard, and the Prison Book Project in Massachusetts.
There are numerous individual stories of open-heartedness, from a Bronx D.A. to a Seattle bartender, a Bronx cabdriver giving from inside his taxi to a giver at an Alaskan harbormaster’s office reaching out to local fishermen.
Other unique spots givers have chosen to seek out readers include: ferry terminals, a hot dog stand, the Lincoln Memorial, Meals on Wheels centers, Dress for Success offices, Lackland Air Force Base, a national robotic competition, a Wii and X-box tournament, the High Line in New York City, Boston Common, and in a steel mill.
Several books’ subject matter has led to appropriate giving moments: Still Alice to a memory-loss caregivers’ support group; Fahrenheit 451 to firemen; TheLanguage of Flowers to foster care groups; and Population: 485, written by an EMT and being given to volunteer EMTs.
The books were chosen by an independent panel of booksellers and librarians. Thousands of each World Book Night title, including two Spanish-language editions and a book in large print, were printed as special paperbacks, totaling over half a million copies to be distributed nationwide on one day. Some of the books have an added page that the recipients can send back to World Book Night with comments and thoughts.
Lennertz added: “This is a beautiful mix of books that match the volunteers’ passion to share – the givers applied last fall to be WBN volunteers online by essay and book choice request – as well as appeal to the half million recipients of the books, some of whom might be getting the first book of their own, ever. We looked for diversity and variety in the book choices: subject matter, age level, ethnicity and geography. And we thank the authors, who have agreed to waive royalties on the World Book Night editions.”
The 30 World Book Night U.S. titles for 2013, alphabetical by author, are:
- The Handmaid’s Tale, by Margaret Atwood (Anchor Books/Random House)
- City of Thieves, by David Benioff (Plume/Penguin Group (USA))
- Fahrenheit 451, by Ray Bradbury (Simon & Schuster Paperbacks)
- My Antonia, by Willa Cather (Dover)
- Girl with a Pearl Earring, by Tracy Chevalier (Plume/Penguin Group USA)
- The House on Mango Street, by Sandra Cisneros (Vintage/Random House)
- La casa en Mango Street, by Sandra Cisneros; translated by Elena Poniatowska (Vintage Español/Random House)
- The Alchemist, by Paulo Coelho (HarperOne/HarperCollins)
- El Alquimista, by Paulo Coelho (Rayo/HarperCollins)
- The Language of Flowers, by Vanessa Diffenbaugh (Ballantine/Random House)
- The Worst Hard Time, by Timothy Egan (Mariner/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)
- Bossypants, by Tina Fey (Reagan Arthur/Back Bay Books)
- Good Omens, by Neil Gaiman & Terry Pratchett (William Morrow/HarperCollins)
- Still Alice, by Lisa Genova (Gallery Books/Simon & Schuster)
- Looking for Alaska, by John Green (Speak/Penguin Group USA)
- Playing for Pizza, by John Grisham (Bantam/Random House)
- Mudbound, by Hillary Jordan (Algonquin Books/Workman Publishing)
- The Phantom Tollbooth, by Norton Juster; illus. by Jules Feiffer (Yearling/
- Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers)
- Moneyball, by Michael Lewis (W. W. Norton)
- The Tender Bar, by J. R. Moehringer (Hyperion)
- Devil in a Blue Dress, by Walter Mosley (Simon & Schuster)
- Middle School, The Worst Years of My Life, by James Patterson and Chris Tebbetts (Little, Brown Books for Young Readers)
- Population: 485, by Michael Perry (HarperPerennial/HarperCollins)
- The Lightning Thief, by Rick Riordan (Disney-Hyperion)
- Montana Sky, by Nora Roberts (Berkley/Penguin Group USA)
- Look Again, by Lisa Scottoline (St. Martin’s)
- Me Talk Pretty One Day, by David Sedaris (Back Bay Books/Little Brown)
- The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency, by Alexander McCall Smith (Anchor Books/Random House)
- Glaciers, by Alexis M. Smith (Tin House Books)
- A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court, by Mark Twain (Dover)
- Salvage the Bones,by Jesmyn Ward (Bloomsbury)
- Favorite American Poems (Large Print edition), by various authors (Dover)
About World Book Night
World Book Night in the U.S. is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization. World Book Night U.S. is supported by authors, publishers, Barnes & Noble, the American Booksellers Association, the American Library Association, Ingram Content Group, Federal Express Corporation, Domtar Paper, RR Donnelley, and other printers and paper companies; a full list of sponsors is at our website.
Source: Press Release