April 23rd is William Shakespeare’s birthday, the UNESCO International Day of the Book, the day of Miguel de Cervantes’ death and World Book Night.
To celebrate, volunteers all over the world are offering free books to reluctant readers, encouraging people to read more. I was fortunate to be chosen as a volunteer this year.
The book I distributed was Doris Kearns Goodwin’s memoir Wait Till Next Year, a story of baseball, family, and growing up in Brooklyn in the 1950s.
The Stevens Point YMCA seemed like a good place to find a diverse group of people who might not be regular readers.
I was a little nervous about asking people if they liked to read, and then telling them if they did they couldn’t have a free book. It seemed tricky to me, so mostly I offered the books to everyone who walked by. I explained the purpose of World Book Night and, to my surprise, several people who loved to read gave me the book back and told me to find someone else; they also wanted to spread the love of reading to non-readers.
I hope the people who got books today, from me and from others around the world, give reading a chance. I am crazy happy to have been a part of World Book Night 2014.
My impression is that World Book Night/World Book Day was started in Spain. The Spanish website is La Noche de los Libros (I think. I don’t speak Spanish, so can’t read much of the site.)
If you know of any other countries participating and have their websites, please post in the comments below.