Welcome to Carl’s Blog! Check here for news, updates, and more from our intrepid leader—Carl Lennertz, Executive Director of World Book Night U.S.
Due to overwhelming demand, we’re announcing 3 additional books from which to choose: 2 YA’s and 1 middle reader. The number of books to be be given away will increase to 550,000.
Sadly, the call for books for at-risk teens across the country is growing, from underfunded schools to foster homes to tutoring programs, but it's encouraging that our givers are seeing that need and want to reach out with a book. We had to move fast and get publisher approval to bump up the printings on the current YAs, which they did. Thank you! The applications from givers are so strong we added three titles. I didn't have time to go back to the voting committee, so I went through the long list ballot and ALA top 10 listings, and thankfully, Abrams, Candlewick and YMAA agreed to a title each right away, as did the authors, who have all waived royalties and agreed to take part in the 30 simultaneous April 22 WBN launch events across the country.
The additional WBN US picks for 2014 are:
We are proud to announce that Ingram Book Company has shipped several hundred World Book Night book boxes from 2013 to Operation Gratitude, an organization that sends packages of necessities – including a book - to military personnel overseas.
One of our interns found this great organization, and this is our second shipment to them.
Additionally, we continue to receive giver applications from individuals living on or near military bases across the country and on bases overseas, and from givers who will go to VA hospitals and Wounded Warrior facilities to share books.
Thank you, everyone, for your service and generosity.
The wonderful Stephen Chbosky, author of THE PERKS OF BEING A WALLFLOWER, shares with World Book Night some great stories and a little insight into his writting. We hope you enjoy it as much as we have!
I wrote the Perks of Being a Wallflower because I was going through a hard time and I needed to find some hope for my life. Charlie came out of my asking the question, “why do good people let themselves get treated so badly?” At the end of writing the book, I was in a much better place. Charlie was my answer. I will never forget the day I started writing Perks. I had been thinking about this story for five years. Then, one Saturday morning, I woke up, and it felt like Charlie tapped me on the shoulder and said, "It's time." I sat down at my desk, and the words just came out. "Dear Friend, I am writing to you because she said you listen..." That voice. Charlie's voice. It felt like an old friend. I poured all of my memories, thoughts, hopes, dreams, and passions through that voice. That's who Charlie is. That's what Charlie means to me.
Since I published Perks almost 15 years ago, I have received thousands of letters from young people. The letters are as unique as each person who writes one. Some are sad. Others are happy. But they all express a deep longing to be understood and accepted. These young people want to know that they are not alone. The wonderful surprise for me has been that every time someone lets me know that the book made them not feel alone, it makes me feel less alone. There was a time when Perks was not a published book. It was just me alone in a room dreaming about these characters and wondering if anyone would get it. Now, 15 years later, it is one of the most gratifying feelings I’ve ever had to know that so many people do “get it.” I feel far more connected to people now than I ever did.
The epistolary novel is the perfect form to have an intimate connection to the reader. Over the years, a lot of people have asked me who “Dear Friend” is. Of course, I have my answer, and I would give it. The problem is there have been 12 great theories about who dear friend is, and I don't want to take 11 of them away. To me, “dear friend” is like a song lyric. We’ve all had the experience of listening to a song and not being able to understand a lyric here or there. So, what do we do? We make up what the lyric is. We say it over and over until our version becomes the version. Then, sometimes, we will go online and look up what the actual lyric is, and 99 times out of 100, we are disappointed because our lyric was better. It was more personal. So, I can never take away anyone’s “dear friend.”
I will, however, offer this story of the only anonymous letter I personally ever wrote. When I was a senior in high school, I knew I wanted to study film. On the day that I visited the University of Southern California, a man named Stewart Stern was giving a seminar to the students. Stewart wrote the screenplay for "Rebel Without A Cause." So, if you could, imagine this... I am 17 years old. I am from Pittsburgh, and I don’t know anybody in the film business. And now, I am sitting in front of a man who's telling stories about how he met James Dean, and how he used to travel with Marlon Brando, and how Paul Newman was his best friend. I was so moved by this man and his passion for writing that I decided I would go to USC since he was a teacher there. After I arrived at school that fall, he suffered a massive heart attack. When he was recovering in the hospital, I wrote him a letter just to let him know that he had changed my life and how grateful I was to him. I didn't sign my actual name because I didn't want him to think I was just trying to get an agent or something like that. It took him a year and a half to figure out that it was me. He's been my hero and mentor ever since.
So, after being a student at USC for three years, I was sitting in my apartment at 1137 W. 36th Place. After writing several screenplays as a student, I had been encouraged to try writing a novel. I had no education in prose. But film professors like Stewart Stern had faith in me. So, I’d started writing a first person narrative, and in a moment of inspiration I will never forget, I wrote...“I guess that’s one of the perks of being a wallflower.” I stopped. I knew I had my title. I thought about the title for 5 years. I kept picturing this boy and his two friends and the tunnel and those moments when we feel so alive. And as I mentioned, during a dark time, on a Saturday morning, Charlie finally told me he was ready. The book has changed my life in every way it could have. Because of my book, I met my wife Liz, I got my first job in television, and I made the movie, which was the culmination of a 21-year dream.
It's here! We are happy to announce World Book Night's 2014 books tonight at 6:30 in a live online event. And here are tonight's amazing presenters....
Michael Pietsch, Hachette
Jamie Byng and Julia Kingsford, World Book Night UK
Kathleen Marran , Director of Marketing, UPS
Dave McCree, RR Donnelly
Janet McGrimm, Lindermeyer Paper
Calvin Reid, Publishers Weekly
Melissa of Poets & Writers
Christopher Platt, New York Public Library
Miwa Messer, Barnes & Noble
Booksellers group meeting in Austin
Jenn Worthington, Word Books
Robin Dellbabough, Publishers Lunch
Laura Biagi, Young to Publishing Group pres
Group of NYC givers
Ed Nawotka, Publishing Perspectives
Michelle Glorioso, NYC teacher and giver
NYU publishing grad class
Mark Nichols, American Booksellers Association
John Evans, Diesel Books
Amy Cox Williams, Ingram Book Company
Tina Jordan, Association of American Publishers
Brigitte Young, Entertainment Marketing Group
Kris Kliendiest, Left Bank Books in St. Louis
Chris Cander, author and giver
Angela Bolie, IndiePub
Wanda Jewell, SIBA Regional Direcotr
Jessica Stockton, Greenlight Books
Carol Fitzgerald, BookReporter.com
Jenn Risko, Shelf Awareness
Morgan Entrekin, Grove Atlantic
Well, let’s see. Where were we?
Oh right! YOU made World Book Night in Year Two a smash success!!
You did a great deed and gave books to those in need, helping improve a life. We received thousands of letters from book recipients this summer and we were very, very moved!! We are thinking of a way to archive the letters and might do a video; stay tuned.
Your work as volunteers also resulted in news coverage to the tune of 137 million media impressions in local and national radio, TV, and online coverage! 137 MILLION messages about the power of reading, giving, community, and books. Thank you!!!
(Did you see your friendly WBN team on the Today Show talking with Al Roker the morning of April 23? A cool experience for us. Well, literally. It was 50 and windy out there on the plaza. Al was great and we’d been sucking down hot coffee since 6 AM.)
This summer, we were able to offer every giver a free e-sampler of upcoming fall books, and we got great feedback about that.
Also, your survey answers were both wonderful supportive and constructively critical, and we are always striving to be better.
AND you all got to vote on next year’s picks and man oh man did you recommend some great books! Many giver picks made the final list along with indie and library picks; the full list is announced this week as you know!! The book announcements will be live online at 6:30 PM EST this Wednesday, Oct 23 at www.shinding.com/wbn. We’ll post the video on our site a few days later. The book list will be posted at www.us.worldbooknight.org at 8 PM EST – but please please give it time to filter out and refresh for all computers and ISPs.
About your applications for next year, you can start on Oct. 24! We are eager to hear from you soon, so we can read them all very carefully, and it’s cool to take time and read through the list of books. We’re doing everything earlier this year, so 2014 is not such the stressed-out time it’s been for us the first two years. Applications are open until Jan. 5, 2014, and we really want to stop then and do our work to let you know your giver status.
April 23rd is almost upon us. We have a few last-minute instructions for givers, as well as some good news about World Book Night events.
Givers, you should have heard from the bookstore or library you designated as your pick-up location; if not, we apologize. It's time. Please go in and pick up your box this week. (A note: The big Giver sticker on the box has a reminder not to hand out books 'til April 23. That's for you, the giver, but last year, some store or library staff thought it was meant for them. Boxes ARE for picking up this week and weekend.) When you pick up your books, you should also be given a letter from us, a thank you certificate and a "I am a Book Giver" sticker. If not, no worries; you can download them from the Resources page on our website. Even if you do receive all of those items from your pick-up locations, we recommend you visit our Resources page and check out the other printable items we've posted there.
This year, we're happy to announce 28 World Book Night kick-off and day-of events. We only mustered up two last year, so that's progress. More next year. If you're near one, try and attend. To see a map and list of the 28 events, please visit the Events page on our website. And, of course, these are in addition to the hundreds of bookstore and library giver receptions happening this week.
Peace to all, and thank you for all you do every day.
With only two weeks left till World Book Night 2013, things are shaping up nicely. Participating bookstores and libraries are receiving the shipments of books for givers, and we've emailed all of the givers with reminders of the pick-up locations they selected. If you're a giver this year, please do not inquire about your box at your store or library yet. Not all store or library staff will be up-to-speed on WBN until the week of April 15; they have very full days and a lot on their plates already.
If you haven't yet, visit our Resources section and check out WBN 2013 book quotes we're highlighting on Facebook and Twitter this week. You can even nominate your favorite line from one of this year's books!
In the meantime, we're finalizing all of the last-minute details of some really cool event and publicity news around the country. We can't wait to share it with you next week!
There are three weeks left until World Book Night 2013 - and things are shaping up nicely.
Over the next ten days, givers should be hearing from their pick-up locations with information about when they'll be able to pick up their boxes of books. All box pick-ups will be during the week prior to April 23rd (from Monday, April 15 through Monday, April 22).
In the meantime, don't forget to check out all of the downloadable items in the Resources section on our website. We have templates there for everything from bookmarks to stickers to our logo, for those folks who are especially crafty and want to make a t-shirt. We also have brief descriptions of every book, some giver tips, and a recipient feedback letter to print off and put in the books before handing them out.
As always, be sure to follow us on Facebook and Twitter for updates and other information. This week, we're posting regional maps of givers across the country--four new ones each day!
While World Book Night is completely focused on the 25,000 volunteers and getting you the books and materials, supporting the bookstore and library host locations, and the 500,000 future book recipients, we DO want to get publicity for World Book Night, of course. We want to support your efforts as you go out on April 23, and we want to increase awareness of the value of reading and community.
To that end, we’ll have news of confirmed national and local media coverage soon, but one thing we can control is the planning for official Kick Off events around the country with the authors whose books were chosen as WBN picks.
We are holding over a dozen open-to-the-public events around the country on Monday, April 22. Why the night before? With WBN on Tuesday, we have Monday eve to properly hold events, vs. last year, when WBN on Monday left us with Sunday for kick-off, which is difficult. Also, events the night of WBN are kinda anticlimactic. AND, we want givers to attend, so events the night of might conflict with your giving time. With a kick off the night before, givers can come by, meet some authors, and even come up the mic and talk about where they are going. (Of note: There aren’t any free WBN editions available at April 22 events, of course.)
These are not normal readings, but looser, more fun events, so we hope you can make it if you live near one. If not, there will be, of course, hundreds and hundreds of Giver-only Receptions being held the week of April 15 at bookstores and libraries across the country! Come, share, enjoy.
We’ll continue posting news of the April 22 Kick Off events as the times get set. AND follow us on Facebook and Twitter for regular updates about a few Poetry Nights, a Theater Night in Chicago, and Book & Rose events.
Lots to come!
With only four weeks left until World Book Night 2013, we're still working to make sure everything is coordinated between over 2,000 bookstores and libraries, and for the thousands of passionate volunteer givers.
We've uploaded a LOT of downloadable items to the Resources section on our website, everything from our logo to signs to bookmark templates. This year we've also added, by giver request, short and printable descriptions of all of this year's picks. You can find all of those items here.
In the upcoming weeks, we'll be sending out additional information to everyone participating in this year's World Book Night. This will include reminders about givers' selected pick-up locations and important dates, as well as events and publicity news.
In the meantime, there's nothing you need to do other than read your book, check out our online Resources, and--if you haven't already--follow us on Facebook or Twitter for updates and other information.