World Book Night is happening on April 23, so if a stranger or a friend tries to give you a book: TAKE IT!
This annual worldwide celebration of reading began in the United Kingdom in 2011 and has spread to the U.S., Ireland and Germany. The World Book Night organization is a nonprofit and the event centers around the idea of giving books to encourage reading in people who might not regularly do so.
The day was chosen because it is Shakespeare’s birthday and is also the anniversary of the death of Miguel de Cervantes. In Spain, April 23 is celebrated for Miguel de Cervantes by giving a book and a flower to someone you love. To honor this tradition, World Book Day was created to give books to people who are light or non-readers by people who may or may not know them.
Many education professionals in the surrounding area are Book Givers this year and have personally chosen a book from a variety of titles offered through the organization.
Tens of thousands of readers all over the US will be giving away half a million books on this special day. The goal is to give the books to light readers or non-readers to share the joy of reading person to person. All the Book Givers have read the book they are giving away and receive 20 copies of the same text. The Book Givers were able to make their top three choices on the application and then are notified if they were selected to give away multiple copies of one book from the list. The books are picked up by the Book Giver in various locations around the surrounding areas the week before the event. All Book Givers are encouraged to give out the books on April 23 or the day after to celebrate with the people worldwide that are participating.
The titles are a variety as wide as the people that are giving copies of the books away! There are titles that appeal to young adults such as "The Phantom Tollbooth" by Norton Juster and "The House On Mango Street" by Sandra Ciscernos. There are adult books as well such as "Handmaid's Tale" by Atwood, "Moneyball" by Lewis, "City of Thieves" by Benioff and "Fahrenheit 451" by Bradbury. A full list of books that are being given away this year can be found at www.us.worldbooknight.org/books.
The range of books chosen each year are selected carefully by a group of booksellers and librarians. The overall balanced list of books must be high quality, recently published, and available in paperback. These books are printed especially for the World Book Night event with generous support and permission from the authors. The authors receive no royalties for this special printing.
The effect this type of event has on the community can be incredible. Children and other adults who see people reading or even carrying a book can be a positive motivation to read. Reading often makes you a better reader! Alan Bennett says, “A book is a device to ignite the imagination.” The people who began World Book Night let their passion for reading inspire a worldwide event. Let your imagination be ignited and read…then pay it forward and give a book to a stranger or a loved one. If I see you on April 23 then you may be receiving a copy of "The House on Mango Street!" Happy reading!
This column solely represents the writer's opinion.