PaperBackSwap Blog

Our Love Of Books – World Book Night

World Book Night Giveaway

by Chris H. (challada)


I remember reading a passing comment on that social media site about some kind of world book giveaway.   My first thought was, “hey, I remember those encyclopedias….they sure were heavy”, but then my interest was peaked.   I did some searching and found out there were people giving away books on a certain day in great places and I could be one of them.  I submitted an online application and then put it out of my mind.  Why would they want to pick little ol’ me anyway?

Next thing I know, I’m getting an email saying I’m a World Book Giver and all sorts of details about getting the books and where to get them and who to see.  This was starting to sound complicated.   I persisted, found in the end it was not too complicated at all, and ended up armed with a box of a great books ready to give away.

I should note, as a teacher, I figured I had an inside edge to finding the reluctant readers this was meant for.  Now, however, I have 20 copies of a book and about 150 reluctant readers to give them to.  How would I pick the worthy students?  How would I make sure they weren’t in the garbage can outside the door?  How would I get rid of these books in one day?  The pressure was scaring me.

I decided to go with a system.  I would gather a list of my special education students and then narrow it down to those who are graduating seniors.  This group has fought some difficult odds to get where they are at this point and deserve a gift.   I decided to hunt them down individually and have a meaningful discussion rather than just slip a book in their direction between classes.   In doing this individually, I ended up crossing campus dozens of times, and creating some great conversations.   I didn’t prepare a speech or anything, so I just started talking with each student.  Many of them were so excited as their faces lit up at the prospect of getting this gift, even stating “you mean, this is for ME?” that it was certainly a great energy charge for me.   Of course, I had a few that listened to my reasons, looked at the book and said, “well, I’ll never read it anyway” and hand it back to me, but that gave me a chance to get it out to other students.

The gift of a book is a universal symbol in our world, meant to express a desire to enrich another person’s life.  On World Book Giveaway Night, I found the gift to be so much more than a book.  I was able to give reading to students that have walked a hard road of reading in the past.   I was able to make students who often feel they are not a part of anything feel like they were a part of an important movement across the entire globe.  I was able to convey a message to these students that I believe they will be life-long readers and become World Book Night givers themselves.   More than anything, the gift of hope was renewed in me today, and for that I am ever grateful.




What is World Book Night?

World Book Night is an annual celebration designed to spread a love of reading and books. To be held in the U.S. as well as the U.K. and Ireland on April 23, 2012. It will see tens of thousands of people go out into their communities to spread the joy and love of reading by giving out free World Book Night paperbacks.

World Book Night, through social media and traditional publicity, will also promote the value of reading, of printed books, and of bookstores and libraries to everyone year-round.

Successfully launched in the U.K. in 2011, World Book Night will also be celebrated in the U.S. in 2012, with news of more countries to come in future years.



You can also read about other members’ experiences with World Book Night, in this thread in our Club Member Thoughts Discussion Forum: LINK




10 Responses to “Our Love Of Books – World Book Night”

  1. Lori B. says:

    WBN was a blast! Thanks to PaperBackSwap Club Member Thoughts discussion forum, I stumbled upon this wonderful way to share the love of reading. After filling out an online application , I became a “giver”. Picked the case of books up at my Barnes and Noble Thursday evening and passed along a great book to many bemused and interested people Monday. The Stand was my book. It was an enriching experience for the giver as much as for the recipients!

  2. Ivy M. (Luvbug) , says:

    I am also a giver…I have several friends that don’t even begin to read as much as I do so was able to give some of my copies to them. The rest of the books were given out to strangers waiting for a bus to go on their way home. It was so much fun giving the books away and to see each person’s face light up when I handed them a book and asked them to hand it off when they were finished. I got Blood Work by Michael Connelly and since I have not read this book kept one for myself to hand off when I am finished reading it. So much fun and will for sure do this again…

  3. Gail P. (TinkerPirate) Montara, CA says:

    That’s my DD! Thanks for dragging me (kicking and screaming) into PBS! Thanks for nagging (mercilessly) about joining the Swaps! Thanks for letting me know about World Book Night! And, lastly, thanks for reminding what a great DD and human being you are by writing this Blog!!!!!!

  4. Linda (Angeleyes) , says:

    This sounds wonderful. I’l so glad you all got to experience this. I’d like to do this next year. Chris or Tink can you send me a link or website so I can check this out. Of course by this time next year I’ll probably forget. lol

  5. Angela H. (Halti4) says:

    This sounds like a lot of fun. I always love to share my love of books. I will have to remember this next year. Also on a side note I would also like to thank Chris for dragging you here, what would we do without the TinkerPirate.

  6. Angela H. (Halti4) says:

    P.S. Roomie please note I READ THE BLOG (and enjoyed it, Thanks Chris)

  7. LaVonne W. (Grnemae) , says:

    Chris – you put a great deal of thought into who to give your books to and more importantly how to give the books. Glad you had such a great experience.

  8. Chris says:

    Thanks all! This was such a great experience that I would do this a hundred times over. I ended up having many staff members asking about doing this as well so I know this will spread. Asking each student to figure out a friend to pass the book along to was just as meaningful as giving them the gift of the book in the first place as I could see a new spark of importance in each one of them. May “the Lovely Bones” scatter far and wide!

  9. Cindi W. (bookladyofhmb) says:

    I was part of giving out the boxes for givers and loved hearing the stories of the places & people the books were going to and the reasons people wanted to give them. The reasons people picked the specific book they picked. So many stories! I can’t wait until next year, while it sounded complicated, hopefully now that we have one under our belt, we will be able to have so many more next year.

  10. ANNA S. (SanJoseCa) says:

    What a wonderful (new) way to spread the love and joy of reading….but this is something that Chris has already been doing. I found out about PBS from my dear friend Gail, who found out about it from her DD Chris. Thanks Chris!

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