On Monday night tens of thousands of people across our country gave and received books–lots of books. I was lucky enough to be counted among their number and had a great experience. Seeing the reactions on people’s faces is, as the commercial says, “priceless.” In my little corner of the world, I handed out 20 copies of The Hunger Games to unsuspecting townsfolk both young and old. From the local martial arts school to the McDonald’s drive thru window, spanning three counties in two states, the book prevailed. People were surprised (“Wow”), thrilled (“OMG *fan girl squeal*”), suspicious (“What’s the catch?”) and grateful. The best stories are of those teens who said things like, “The library copies are always out, and I don’t have the money to buy my own.” That’s why we did this!
So how did this all come about? World Bok Night started in the UK last year and has spread across the ocean. April 23 is UNESCO’s International Day of the Book in honor of Cervantes’s death and Shakespeare’s birth and death, so the date seemed fitting. The purpose of World Book Night is to get books into the hands and homes of adults and young adults since there are already many programs focusing on getting books to children. Thirty books were chosen and givers volunteered via email. Each giver chose three titles and received 20 copies of one of those titles to distribute throughout his/her region.
Stats are coming in and stories are piling up about Monday night’s events. Will it happen again next year? YES, and this year’s givers get to help choose next year’s books, so start sending me suggestions to add to the list. If you’re interested in being a part of the next World Book Night, just head over to their website for more details.
— Michelle Blank, currently reading Ashen Winter by Mike Mullin