Thursday, May 3, 2012

World Book Night Givers Stories

World Book Night was a chance to celebrate the power and importance of books in our world by giving away thousands of copies of thirty different titles.  Over 70 people picked up books here at PSB and distributed all over the area. Some givers had such a good time they came back for more distributing the extra boxes of books we had. Here are some of their stories.

I signed up thinking it would be an okay thing to do and was completely unprepared for how positively people responded to getting the books. I'm still choked up.

I hope all of the kids who read the books I gave out end up as your customers.
Leslie Gildart

I had such a good time giving out my book, The Kite Runner. My partner drove me to the YWCA and Senior Center in Central Square, and the Rindge Ave. and Churchill Ave. apartments in North Cambridge. I, too, wish I'd had more books to give out! The people I met were so happy to receive a book I loved, and they couldn't believe it was free. I'll always remember each delighted, beaming face.

I'm so grateful to you for volunteering to be the drop-off point for books and to all the publishers, shippers, paper companies, and authors that enabled this great event. This kind of thing always makes me so hopeful about humanity. We CAN easily be generous, kind, and open to one another.

I can't wait until next year!
C. Barrett

I distributed all my books today....
I had planned to distribute the books at the Park Street T (subway) station during the early morning rush, but unfortunately it was pouring rain. (We are having a nor'easter.) There was a break in the rain at lunch time, so a colleague and I returned to outside the station where people re-emerged from below and handed out the books. They went pretty fast, but it is funny how many people would not even stop to hear what we were doing. Those who did however seemed genuinely interested. We were out of books in about 12 to 15 minutes and then returned to work. I hope some get journaled!

My first book was Little Bee.

 Today over my lunch hour I took the copies of A Prayer for Owen Meany to Charles Street in Beacon Hill, at the crosswalk that connects the Boston Public Gardens to Boston Common.  I was on the Boston Common side of the street first until the hotdog vendor asked me to move.  For a short while he was yelling “Forget about the books.  I’ll give a free drink with every hotdog sold.”  So I went across the street to the Public Garden side.  In about 20 minutes I was able to give out all my books.  It was tougher to give out A Prayer for Owen Meany than it was for Little Bee due to the book’s heft.  Many people would take it from me and flip through it but give it back to me due to its size in spite of my sales pitch.  Something to remember for next year; book size may scare off light readers.  Also, some people thought it was a religious book because it had the word “prayer” in its title.  I assured them it was not.  This is in line with another bookcrosser’s experience who was distributing The Poisonwood Bible.  She had to assure people it wasn’t a religious bible.  Many people shied away from her because they did not want a religious indoctrination of any kind, even though the book had nothing to do with that.  Tomorrow I plan to release the box of The Hunger Games.  I am thinking of doing it outside the Lowe’s Boston Common as the movie is being shown there.  All these locations are near the office where I work.  Thanks again!   

I ended up giving out the HungerGames books at the Davis Square T station Saturday morning.  A lot of people walking by told me they had already read it and that they really enjoyed it.  I gave one to a girl who was sitting at the outside patio tables at Au Bon Pain next to the T station.  She had a small suitcase with her and it looked like she was going to be traveling.  She eagerly accepted one.  Then a friend started to approach her (who also had a suitcase) and she yelled out to her “Hey, Cheryl that lady just gave me a copy of the “Hunger Games”.  And I ended up giving a copy to her friend too.  They both thanked me as they left to get on the red line.  I think we supplied their reading material for the trip.  I was able to give several copies to people waiting for the bus in front of the station.  I wish I had taken my camera as several of them stood in a loose knot together waiting for the bus reading Hunger Games before the bus came.  Another young woman, probably around 14 was sitting on a bench in front of the station and I asked if she wanted a copy of the book and she said “no”.  After she saw I was giving them away to others without there being any strings, she shyly came over and asked for a copy which I gave her.  She went back to her bench and began reading.  Later I asked a grandmotherly woman if she wanted a copy but she said “no”.  She sat next to the young teen on the bench and asked her about the book she was reading, Hunger Games.  The girl told her it was good and that it had been made into a movie.  Then the grandmother came over to me and asked for a copy after all based on the recommendation the young teen had given her.  Another grandmotherly type woman was walking with I assumed to be her granddaughter and I asked if they wanted a book.  At first they said “no” and she asked me what this was all about.  I told her about World Book Night and that the idea was to encourage people to read more, especially those that were light readers.  She thought that was a great idea and took a copy.  I can see that becoming a grandmother-granddaughter shared activity for them.  But my favorite was the woman who was passing by and said World Book Night was Monday and why was I passing out books now?  I told her I passed out my books on Monday, but these were copies people did not pick up from Porter Square Books.  She said she thought the whole idea of World Book Night was a fabulous concept and was appreciative I was out there distributing the additional books.  All in all it took less than 20 minutes for me to give away this batch of books.       
I stopped by Porter Square Books on Sunday (I was going grocery shopping at Shaw’s) and asked someone at the desk if there were any WBN books left that still needed to be distributed.  They said “yes” and gave me a box of Housekeeping which I plan to distribute sometime this week.  Thanks again!  Passing out these books has been a blast!

Annamarie Kersten

My friend Leslie and I, along with her son Sam, distributed our books this afternoon along Rindge Ave. in North Cambridge. Of the first 6 people we offered a book to, 3 refused. That was surprising! But within an hour I had given out all of mine and Leslie had given out half of hers. At one point, we followed an ice cream truck into the public housing on Rindge Ave., feeling sure that we would find lots of people ready for a book with their ice cream. Sadly, as it was raining, there was only one customer, but we gave a book to him and one to the ice cream truck man as well. It was very satisfying to give away books. As a children's librarian, I know how important it is for people learning to read to have books around at home. If you have any influence with the World Book Night people, I would recommend that they include books for younger readers next year.

Thank you so much for participating. Porter Square Books is the best!

Stephanie Tournas

I gave my twenty copies of Sherman Alexi's book to my ESL adult students at SCALE in Somerville and one to my boyfriend's daughter. We took a picture of the whole class with each student holding their copy of the book. We read the first chapter aloud to give them a taste of the book, but I told them that it is theirs to do whatever they want with - read, not read, or give to someone else. It is not a class assignment. I'm very curious to see who reads it and to hear their reactions. They seemed very pleased with the gift. One student talked about how in Brazil (where she's from) a teacher would never do that sort of thing. I think she was very touched. After one student asked me to write something in his book, there was a chain reaction of requests to do the same. I felt like a celebrity. It was the perfect book for me to give away because I am so CRAZY about it. In the next class, I'm going to have each of them write about their reaction to the whole thing. Then I'm going to write an article for the school newspaper about the whole experience and I can include quotes from the students' writing.

I can't wait for next year to do it again!


I gave away Little Bee at a Roxbury charter school called City on a Hill.  I am forwarding pictures (I hope you can see them!) of our give-away.  Three teachers signed up to give away books, and we quickly gave away all 60 books.  You can see that we were mobbed (the group outside the classroom door is waiting to get in to get their books)!  It was wonderful to see students so excited to get a book.  Thank you so much!

Kim Jalet, English Teacher, City on a Hill 


No comments:

Blog Archive