I had never heard of World Book Day or World Book Night until this year and, as someone who wants everyone to experience the joys of reading a good book, I couldn't be more excited! March 1 marks the fifteenth annual World Book Day, which was started by UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) as a worldwide celebration of books and reading, marked in 100 countries all over the world. World Book Day is celebrated in the UK and Ireland by giving school children a book token that allows them to take a trip to their nearest bookseller and purchase any one of eight (exclusive, new and completely free) books or use the token toward the purchase of a different book. How cool is that??? World Book Night was introduced in the UK and Ireland last year and is for young adult and adult readers. April 23rd was designated as World Book Night in honor of Shakespeare and Cervantes, who both died on that day, which is also Shakespeare's birthday. This is the inaugural year for World Book Night in in the United States and, thanks to my thoughtful friend and co-worker Georgia who told me about it, we will both be participating in World Book Night next month!

So what happens on World Book Night? It is SO EXCITING! But first, this thought crossed my mind and was answered on the FAQS page at the World Book Night site: Why not kid's books? Here is the answer:

Many, many other wonderful programs already exist to get books to elementary age children. The goal of World Book Night is to seek out reluctant adult readers wherever they are, in towns and cities, in public settings or in places from nursing homes to food pantries, low income schools to mass transit.

Makes sense to me. On the night of April 23rd, people all over the country will be heading out to public places seeking out reluctant readers to give their books away to. Each volunteer will receive 20 copies of the special edition, not-for-resale book of their choice! From a book seller and book lover's perspective, the selection of 30 books to choose from was fantastic! Click THE BOOKS for a look at the list. I'm not sure what I'll be handing out - we were asked to pick three titles we wanted to share, but I am so excited and trying to decide the best place to take them in my neighborhood. One last piece of information I'd like to share are the businesses and organizations that came together to make this amazing night possible:

Authors are foregoing royalties to make this possible, and American book publishers, the American Booksellers Association, Barnes & Noble, the American Library Association, the Association of American Publishers, Ingram Book Company, UPS, and a dozen printers and binders have paid for the production and shipping. A full list is on the home page. Through their generosity, we are able to make the books available free of charge, along with the work of many volunteers

Hope you all will keep this in the back of your minds and sign up to give away books next year!

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