I just applied to be a book giver for next year’s World Book Night. I’m so excited by this prospect! I hope I’m approved! For those of you unfamiliar, WBN is an annual reading event where volunteers hand out books to light or non-readers. An independent panel of booksellers and librarians chooses 30 books of all genres to be handed out worldwide on the evening of April 23. Volunteers choose a title from the pre-selected booklist and receive 20 paperback copies to pass out. You must be 16 or older to participate, but I think this is a great opportunity to engage teens in such a wonderful campaign of giving and literacy.
So, what makes a good WBN book? The website stipulates that the books have the following qualities:
- Accessible books of high quality.
- Both recently published books and established classics.
- Books available in paperback.
- Any genre of book—fiction, mysteries, romance, sci fi and fantasy, classics, poetry, humor, autobiography, and young adult books.
- The list overall must have gender, ethnic, and geographical balance.
…WBN U.S. executive director Carl Lennertz said he was “over the moon with happiness that Jim and Ann have agreed to join our wonderful cause! I know that booksellers, librarians, and our volunteer book givers will be thrilled to have these two beloved authors support our reading and literacy effort in the United States in our second year.”
I’ll say they will be! I was pleased by the list’s variety and to see several young adult titles were included. Curious? I won’t make you wait any longer. Here are the 30 books chosen for the 2013 World Book Night:
- The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood (Anchor)
- City of Thieves by David Benioff (Plume)
- Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury (S&S)
- My Antonia by Willa Cather
- Girl with a Pearl Earring by Tracy Chevalier (Plume)
- The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros (Vintage)–also in Spanish
- The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho (HarperOne)–also in Spanish
- The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh (Ballantine)
- The Worst Hard Time by Timothy Egan (Mariner)
- Bossypants by Tina Fey (Reagan Arthur)
- Still Alice by Lisa Genova (Gallery Books)
- Looking for Alaska by John Green (Speak/Penguin)
- Playing for Pizza by John Grisham (Dell)
- Mudbound by Hillary Jordan (Algonquin)
- The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster (Yearling)
- Moneyball by Michael Lewis (Norton)
- The Tender Bar by J.R. Moehringer (Hyperion)
- Devil in a Blue Dress by Walter Mosley (Washington Square Press)
- Middle School: The Worst Years of My Life by James Patterson (Little, Brown Books for Young Readers)
- Population: 485 by Michael Perry (HarperPerennial)
- Good Omens by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman (HarperTorch)
- The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan (Disney)
- Montana Sky by Nora Roberts (Jove/Penguin)
- Look Again by Lisa Scottoline (St. Martin’s)
- Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris (Back Bay)
- The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency by Alexander McCall Smith (Anchor)
- Glaciers by Alexis M. Smith (Tin House)
- A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court by Mark Twain
- Salvage the Bones by Jesmyn Ward (Bloomsbury)
- Favorite American Poems, large print edition (Dover)
I know it’s a long way off, but if you are interested in getting involved, you can visit the WBN website or click here to apply to be a book giver. If you are a librarian who wishes your library to participate in the promotion and success of WBN, you will need to fill out this application for organizations rather than that for individuals. Booksellers who wish to host an event, click here.
Even if you don’t like the notion of passing out books to strangers, you can spread help the word or be a book giver in your own way. Give a book to a friend or neighbor. Make your own giveaway box to leave on the sidewalk for passersby.
It’s never too soon to put a good book into someone’s hands, in my opinion.