World Book Night: A Well-Documented Celebration

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The first World Book Night in the U.S. has come and gone, but the stories of thousands of givers across the country are still being chronicled on Twitter and Facebook, on blogs and in photos, and in local and national newspaper coverage.

Here’s a sampling:

USA Today looked at World Book Night events ranging from Brooklyn, New York, to Sitka, Alaska, and points in between, including North Kansas City, St. Louis, and San Diego.

The Washington Post reported on Politics and Prose staff members who gave away titles at D.C. Metro stations and the Washington Animal Rescue League. More than 100 people signed up to pick up titles at the store.

Saturn Booksellers “was at the epicenter of Monday’s celebration in Gaylord [Michigan], with more than a dozen book lovers fanning from the business and into the community to share 440 free books at a variety of locations,” according to the Gaylord Herald Times.

Pottsville, Pennsylvania’s Republican Herald reported on two Penn State Schuylkill English instructors who learned about WBN from Mystery Lovers Bookshop in Oakmont and brought armfuls of books to Schuylkill Women In Crisis in Pottsville.

Manhattan Beach reported on the owners of Pages: A Bookstore in Manhattan Beach, California, and a handful of volunteers who handed out book to Homeboy Industries, the Downtown Women’s Center and LAMP, organizations dedicated to ending homelessness and helping people get back on their feet. followed the town’s Vice Mayor, Hilary Bryant, who peddled on her bicycle with a mesh backpack filled with 20 copies of Octavia Butler’s Kindred wrapped in plastic sandwich bags that she was giving to surfers on the beach. reported on volunteers who distributed books at a wide range of locations from a restaurant in Northvale to an alternative incarceration program in Newark, from a building supply store in Midland Park to Girls & Boys Club in Hawthorne.

Laurie Hertzel, books editor of the Star Tribune, was the master of ceremonies at a WBN closing event at Minneapolis’ Magers & Quinn Booksellers that featured two of the authors whose books were among the 30 being handed out by the thousands of givers — Kate DiCamillo (Because of Winn-Dixie) and Leif Enger (Peace Like a River).The event, which drew about 100 people, honored those who chose to spend their day out distributing books.

The Riverfront Times reported on the ReadMOB at the Gateway Arch, staged by members of the St. Louis Independent Bookstore Alliance. The Alliance created a cool video of the event, which it shared on YouTube. talked to Next Chapter owner Lanora Haradon and Boswell Book Company owner Daniel Goldin, who each had some 30 volunteers picking up WBN titles at their stores for distribution at family centers, outside shopping centers, in schools, and elsewhere.

In Frankfort, Kentucky, retired high school English teacher Kay Scott hosted a New Orleans-themed party at a community center, complete with homemade jambalaya, the Spike Lee documentary When the Levees Broke, and 20 copies of Dave Eggers’ Zeitoun, according to the State Journal.

 Among the most touching commentaries on World Book Night is a blog posting by novelist and children’s book author Chris Cander, who distributed Leif Enger’s Peace Like a River at Covenant House, a shelter for homeless for teens. Giving the book to  “two dozen or so teenagers — many of them scarred, tattooed, broken-looking,” she said, “was one of the most beautiful experiences of my life.” For Donny, a tall, thin boy with a track-marked arm, it was the first book he could ever call his own.

“I looked around the room at these drug users and abuse victims — these beautiful souls with their own stories whose lives were changed by their circumstances,” Cander wrote. “I told them that I would come back in a month, and we could have a discussion of the book. They were all so unexpectedly enthusiastic about the idea of a Covenant House book club, even though some of them will have moved on by then. By discovering the freedom and self-reliance and majesty and bravery within this book, perhaps these kids will be better able to find it within themselves.” (Read the entire entry on Cander’s blog.)