Tag Archives: books

Inspiration: World Book Night 2014

“Let us remember: One book, one pen, one child, and one teacher can change the world.” Malala Yousafzai

Inspiration: World Book Night 2014

Inspiration: World Book Night 2014. Staffers at My Sisters’ Place received 20 books on behalf of the population they serve.

Welcome to World Book Night US!  It is an honor to commemorate the following momentous events;  World Book Night, UNESCO’s International Day of the Book,  World Book Days, Shakespeare’s 450th Birthday, and Miguel de Cervantes’ memorial, by sharing free books.  This year, I am thrilled to be a Book Giver again and to share them with My Sisters’ Place (MSP) in White Plains, NY.  My Sisters’ Place is a terrific organization and a much needed local resource that “strives to engage each member of society in our work to end domestic violence, so that all relationships can embrace the principles of respect, equality, and peacefulness.” 

What is the origin of this event? What do all of the above share? April 23 is the key date that unites them all. In 1995, at UNESCO’s General Conference,  attendees recognized the power of choosing April 23 as a way “to pay a world-wide tribute to books and authors on this date, encouraging everyone, and in particular young people {to read…}”  Fifteen years later, that special designation helped launch World Book Night in the UK (Britain and Ireland).

What is World Book Night? In case you’ve never heard of this special program, it was initiated in 2010, by Book publishers at a Conference in the UK in 2010, as a way to share the love of reading with new readers. Free books, donated by several local publishers, were distributed in the UK and quickly became a global event with thousands of volunteers connecting with appreciative book readers. To celebrate books and encourage more adults to read, the World Book Night organizers, in collaboration with book publishers around the world, arranged a massive book giveaway. 500,000 copies of 30 paperback books, selected by a special panel, were distributed to readers in organizations, clubs, on the streets and at designated locations.  The first World Book Night giveaway was celebrated in the UK and Ireland in 2011. By 2012, it had expanded to the USA and Germany. The practice continues today.

Inspiration: World Book Night 2014. Staff at My Sister's Place received 20 books

Inspiration: World Book Night 2014.

As a volunteer book giver, I received 20 copies of a special paperback edition of  Terry McMillan‘s, New York Times bestselling book, Waiting to Exhale.  It was one of three books I had chosen from the 2014 book list when I applied. A few days before I delivered my books, I got a call from the manager of  my local Barnes & Noble bookstore to pick up my boxed books.  When I arrived, a staff member welcomed me with a smile, brought out my box of books, and presented me with a thank you letter and a professional looking certificate. I was eager to share the books, but I had to wait till April 23rd to join the global effort and make sure the maximum number of recipients could be reached.

Inspiration: World Book Night 2014

Inspiration: World Book Night 2014. Staffers at My Sisters’ Place received 20 books

This year, I chose  My Sisters’ Place as the recipients of Terry’s book. I chose My Sisters’ Place not only for their superlative work to educate and end domestic violence, but also for their excellent service to the local community. On a personal level, I chose it because I know that books can provide a way out of misery, and a way in to healing during challenging times. When I called to set up the delivery, MSP staffers, Diana Eppolito, Development Coordinator, and Silvia Lederman, Volunteer Coordinator, were so kind to fit my visit into their very busy schedules. To memorialize the event, I took several photos of the books and of staff members at My Sister’s Place.  When I signed up to become a book giver, I identified the program as one of two choices to receive copies of the free book because all of us can find some comfort in the joy of reading  during tough times. In a world that continues to minimize the impact of domestic violence on households, MSP is an important voice of conscience by providing education and a wide range of other critical services to their growing clientele; primarily women and their children. In difficult times, reading uplifting or funny books, maintaining a sense of humor, and taking appropriate action can help us develop effective coping skills.

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The Gift: World Book Night 2013

“The book to read is not the one that thinks for you but the one that makes you think.” Harper Lee

Tina Fey's BossyPantsfor World BookNight

The Gift: World Book Night 2013… Readers in my group received Tina Fey’s Bossypants.

More student Bossypants recipients with program coodinator.

The Gift: World Book Night 2013… Some student recipients with Program Coordinator Claudette Spence(2nd left).

Today is World Book Night, UNESCO‘s International Day of the Book, World Book Day, Shakespeare’s Birthday, and Miguel de Cervantes memorial. To celebrate books and encourage more adults to read, the World Book Night organizers, in collaboration with book publishers around the world, arranged a massive book giveaway. 500,000 copies of 30 paperback books, selected by a special panel, were distributed to readers in organizations, clubs, on the streets and at designated locations. What I found remarkable was how the program, initiated by Book publishers at a Conference in the UK in 2010, became a global event with thousands of volunteers connecting with appreciative book readers.

Program Coordinator Claudette and Instructor Fay admire the books.

The Gift: World Book Night 2013… Program Coordinator Claudette and Instructor Fay admire the books

Box of Books picked up at Barnes and Nobles

The Gift: World Book Night 2013… The box of books picked up at Barnes and Nobles

As a volunteer book giver, I received 20 copies of a special paperback edition of Tina Fey‘s BossyPants. It was one of three books I had chosen from the list when I applied. Earlier in the week, I stopped by my local Barnes & Noble bookstore to pick up my boxed books. The store manager welcomed me with a smile, and presented me with a thank you letter and professional looking certificate. I was thrilled and ready to share the books, but I had to wait till April 23rd to join the global effort and make sure the maximum number of students could be reached. The first World Book Night giveaway was celebrated in the UK and Ireland in 2011. By 2012, it had expanded to the USA and Germany.

Some of the student recipients of the book.

The Gift: World Book Night 2013… Some student recipients displaying their books

Bossypants on display at theYWCA

The Gift: World Book Night 2013… Bossypants on display and admired by instructor Fay

Today, I handed out copies of the book to Students in the Women’s Empowerment/Women in Transition program at the YWCA in Manhattan. To memorialize the event, I took several photos of the books and the grateful students/recipients to share with you here. When I signed up to become a book giver, I identified the program as one of two choices to receive copies of the free book because our students are learning new skills to help them get back to work, and most are on a tight budget. Tina’s hilarious and candid book was the perfect choice for my recipients because during tough times, reading uplifting or funny books, maintaining a sense of humor, and smart planning, can help us develop effective coping skills.  More below!

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Chinua Achebe: Celebrated Nigerian Author Dies at 82

“The Ibo people have a proverb that when a man says yes his chi says yes also. Okonkwo said yes very strongly; so his chi agreed.” Chinua Achebe

Chinua Achebe: Celebrated Nigerian Author Dies at 82. 1930-2013 RIP Photo of Chinua Achebe by Craig Ruttle, Associated Press

Chinua Achebe: Celebrated Nigerian Author Dies at 82. 1930-2013 R.I.P.  Photo of Chinua Achebe by Craig Ruttle, Associated Press

It is with great pain and sadness that I share the news of the passing of an illustrious writer, a great son of Anambra State, Nigeria, and one of the pivotal influences on my life as a reader/writer. It was Chinua Achebe’s book, Things Fall Apart, that opened my eyes to the rich and varied culture of my people, the Igbos of Eastern Nigeria. I read it as a preteen in Nigeria and it left an indelible mark on me; it gave me a clear understanding of the importance of roles, rituals and respect in Ibo land.  Ikemefuna and Okonkwo’s harrowing tale gave me both nightmares and a deep appreciation for the traditions and tribulations of our culture.

“Among the Ibo the art of conversation is regarded very highly, and proverbs are the palm-oil with which words are eaten.” Chinua Achebe

Chinua Achebe: Celebrated Nigerian Author Dies at 82. Book: Things Fall Apart

Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The Falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart, the center cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world. – W.B. Yeats, “The Second Coming”

Who could ever forget the power and magic of Achebe’s mastery of idiomatic expressions that remain a fairly ubiquitous part of every day speech in Ibo culture? Who could forget the quote above that laid the foundation to the title of his book? Or the opening paragraph in Things Fall Apart that introduced us to Okonkwo? I ate up Achebe’s words like candy, devoured all his other books, and developed a lifelong love for his writings. His Fiction echoed the messages passed on through our collective history and ancestral lineage. His words were stark reminders of what shaped ancient Ibo history and the legacy we could pass on. More below.

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