Kate DiCamillo’s Top 10 Reasons to Participate in Indies First Storytime Day

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People, oh my people! (All you glorious and talented authors and illustrators) Have you signed up for Indies First Storytime Day yet?

If you haven’t here are my top 10 reasons why you should volunteer a few hours of your time to your local indie bookstore on May 17, support small business, and celebrate Children’s Book Week:

#1. You believe in the power of stories, and in the beauty of communities formed by and around those stories.

#2. Um … when Sherman Alexie asked, over 1000 authors showed up at local bookstores on Small Business Saturday in November 2013. Granted, I am not Sherman Alexie, but still … we can beat that, right? Authors and illustrators, we can do this, right?!

#3. You get to come in and read a story (a story that you didn’t write) out loud. The pressure is off. If the kids don’t like, it, well … you didn’t write it!

#4. You can help children and families discover the work of new authors and illustrators that you cherish and admire. You will be a book evangelist. It’s an honor to connect a reader with a new writer or artist (and that honor also honors the book stores we are visiting, because it is part of what they do for us every day).

#5. You can help draw attention to your local indie bookstore and help generate foot traffic and book sales. Help them spread the shop local message.

#6. You can stand in the shoes of a hardworking bookseller for a brief time and appreciate what they do to connect, and handsell, and create reading communities. Thank them for their work as well as for being the face of your book to inquiring customers day after day. A little piece of advice, load up on caffeine. These people are hard workers and you need to keep up!

#7. You get to meet kids. Funny ones. Cute ones. Squirmy ones. Curious ones. For a brief time, YOU get to fill their hearts and minds with the wonder of a good story.

#8. You get to be a really important part of Children’s Book Week, now in its 95th year of existence! Run by Every Child a Reader and the Children’s Book Council, it is the longest-running national literacy initiative in the country.

#9. You have a great excuse to visit a bookstore. You’re a writer, an illustrator, a book lover? Enough said.

#10. I’ll be your best friend (and yes, I know. That line belongs to the Mo and the pigeon. But isn’t it a great line? Don’t you want to go into your local independent bookstore and read Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus out loud? Don’t you? Huh?)

Indies First Storytime Day is a grassroots movement so bookstores and authors are encouraged to contact each other directly to make plans for the day. Authors who wish to participate but do not have a particular bookstore in mind can sign up via the Volunteer Sign-up page, and their names will appear in an index on BookWeb that bookstores will be able to access in order to make arrangements with the author.

Once a bookseller has scheduled one or more participating authors, they can complete the editable Event Detail Form on BookWeb, and the store’s location will automatically appear on IndieBound’s Event Map within a few days of the submission.

The Indies First Event Participation Guidelines outline the ways in which authors and illustrators can support the movement –– year-round and by participating in dedicated Indies First events. Links to all Indies First Storytime Day resources can be found on the ABA Promotions page on BookWeb.

Indies First Storytime Day is open to children’s and adult authors who are willing to read from a children’s book at an indie bookstore of their choice on May 17.