Tag Archives: literacy

World Book Night America – It’s Time!

23rd April 2012

Yea! It’s here! World Book Night America is the product of a lot of different people’s and organizations’ hard work. As the website says, World Book Night is “a celebration of reading and books” – and I am honored to be a part of that. It is incredibly powerful to know that the US, UK, and Ireland will all be giving out books the same night.

When I applied to be a giver, I mentioned in my application that one of the locations I wanted to include is the downtown branch of my library. I’ve mentioned in the past that it is a gathering place for a lot of low-income or homeless people. Here’s the thing, guys: everyone always has a book in his or her hands. It’s fantastic. So for me to be able to give a book – one that these people could own – is really important to me. And as my mom mentioned, it kind of sucks to give homeless people books and not food…so she’s making sandwiches. Thanks, Mom – for making sandwiches and for thinking about it when my head is in the clouds. My mom and sis are both joining me, and after the library, we’ll either head to the park or to a local hospice center, depending on how many books we have left.

My birthday is Thursday, and honestly, I have to say this is the best present. WBN sent me a box of 20 books, and I get to give them to others!! Sorry, I just can’t quite get over it. Which book? Well, you guys know I rave about The Book Thief. It was my first choice from the list of 30 books to give out, and I got it! It’s ironic because when I first read this book, I went and bought two extra copies so that I could pass them on to other people (my mom and bff) to read and discuss.

I went to Barnes & Noble last Tuesday and picked up my box. They said there were actually 6 or so other boxes there, and I was so curious. How did other people in my area hear about it? If I weren’t a blogger, I don’t know that I would have known about World Book Night. Some bookstores and libraries are having events so the givers can meet, but unfortunately, I don’t think that’s the case in my area. Ah well.

I promise to take photos and record my experience for you guys. I’m a little nervous. Giving away books sounds like a piece of cake, right? But what if they think I’m handing out religious tracks or pushing a political agenda? I would certainly be a bit wary of anyone approaching me with a “free” book. Yeah, right. Nothing in life is free. I can hear it now.

How will I combat this? I’m going to be a book pusher. I’ll be giving away The Book Thief, but the only thing I’ll be taking is, hopefully, a contentedness for having participated. I’ll try to use a bit of humor, disarm possible recipients with my charm (*snort*), and get those books out.

If you’re participating or have participated in the past, I’d love to hear your advice or your own anxieties. Where will you be giving away books and which book is it? No matter what, have fun tonight! And if you’re not a giver, keep an eye out for those who are. It should be a really neat experience.

World Read Aloud Day 2012

7th March 2012

I am so excited for today’s post and have been looking forward to it for a couple of weeks because today is World Read Aloud Day: Change the World, Story by Story.

LitWorld has this to say about WRAD:

Worldwide at least 793 million people remain illiterate.

Imagine a world where everyone can read…

World Read Aloud Day is about taking action to show the world that the right to read and write belongs to all people. World Read Aloud Day motivates children, teens, and adults worldwide to celebrate the power of words, especially those words that are shared from one person to another, and creates a community of readers advocating for every child’s right to a safe education and access to books and technology.

By raising our voices together on this day we show the world’s children that we support their future: that they have the right to read, to write, and to share their words to change the world.

Thankfully, I grew up in a household where books were always important. My mom and dad both love to read, and not only did my mom read and do great narration when she read to us, but in the summertime, we also chose a family book and read from it each night. These are such special memories for me. So, in honor of World Read Aloud Day, I asked my aunt if she would let me share my cousin’s newfound love of books in a video. My mom read her The Monster at the End of This Book by Jon Stone and illustrator Michael Smollin a few weeks ago, and she’s officially in love. Ella even got her own copy for her birthday and didn’t really want to open her other presents. She walks around saying, “Oh, I am so embarrassed” – her favorite line from the book. So here we are, Ella and her Gigi, reading The Monster at the End of the Book. I hope you enjoy, and I hope you take a chance to check out LitWorld and its message and consider making a donation.

I know. Cuteness overload. 🙂 So what’s your favorite book to read aloud or be read aloud?

P.S. I love listening to books, and Audible is a convenient, relatively inexpensive way to do that. Right now they are having a special where you can join for $7.50 for the first three months. You get one credit for an ebook each month. If you’ve ever priced audiobooks, you know that’s a deal. Plus, right now they’re running a $4.95 sale for members only. It would be a great time to join up!
[The Picky Girl makes a small percentage if you click on the affiliate link, fyi.]

An Open Letter in Support of Libraries*

1st March 2011

*Forgive me, dear reader. In the midst of all this political insanity, I had to take a minute to talk about libraries. If you have anything to add, I sure wish you would in comments.

Seattle Public Library received this from a young supporter.


Dear Legislators:

This nation is in a financial crisis. At this point, you would have to be one of my freshman college students (I say this with endearment) in order to be oblivious to our debt. I also understand you have to find ways to cut back, but I urge you – no – I plead with you to reconsider the massive public library budget cuts.

Growing up, my public library was a magical place. My mom would take me for story time, and I will never forget walking into the sizable children’s section where there stood a circus cage with all manner of stuffed animals – giraffes, bears, monkeys. Even though I had to be incredibly young, I still feel that wholesome rush when I step back into that library all these years later.

We moved several times when I was young, but the library was a constant. The librarians knew the names of all my family members, and my mom’s huge tote somehow managed to carry all the books we checked out. My biggest problem at that age was the checkout limit or the missing Babysitter’s Club book 12 from the series. Where was that book? What insufferable pre-teen had not returned it?

One night during the hot, humid Texas summer, the librarians hosted a lock-in. I still think their sanity may have been compromised, but oh my goodness, was it fun. All activities were library themed, and any movies were adapted from beloved books. I, though, didn’t go in for the popcorn and Coke float crowd. No, I wandered the aisles, finding books and curling up in my sleeping bag to read. It was a dream come true. I won the summer reading contest that year and several years after.

As a high school, college, and graduate student, libraries became pragmatic, a means to an end. In fact, after graduating with a Master’s degree in English, having checked out over 100 books from the university library to complete my thesis, I was finished for a while. I appreciated what the library had done for me, but I didn’t want to be anywhere near it.

Then this past year, I was an adjunct instructor at a local university, and as secondary education suffered budget cut after budget cut, I again returned to the library. I had very little income, and I had no money for entertainment. The books I had so loved purchasing were now out of reach until I remembered all those happy days spent at the library.

I marched down, signed up, and checked out almost a dozen books. The librarian seemed surprised, and I told her she hadn’t seen anything yet. Nearly a year later, I am still at the library every couple of weeks. I have struck up friendships with the men and women working behind the desk and in the stacks. I bring paperback books to donate as I cull through my personal library, as well as DVDs I will never watch again.

As an adult, what strikes me most is not story hour or lock-ins with sugar-hyped children running around. No, this time around, I am astounded by the other purposes for the library. My library downtown is a place for those with no Internet access. They can pay bills, catch up with family members, or file taxes on the computer. There is a large contingent of homeless people who sit in the chairs quietly with a magazine or a book, resting tired feet and enjoying the heat or air conditioning the building provides. Children dressed in mismatched clothing and worn shoes eagerly look through the shelves to find a book to take home for a little while.

Of course, there’s me, loading up on new releases and filling out requests for books I cannot find among the shelves; however, the library does not and should not exist for people like me alone. The library also provides much-needed services, teaching literacy and language courses, offering book club times for those who want or need company and community.

That is what makes libraries so vital; they exist for those who love to read and those who don’t, for those who can afford to buy books and for those who would not read without the library. They exist for the man who cannot read and the man with a desire to teach him how to read. They exist for students to have a safe haven to study with no distractions from home and television and noisy dorms. Libraries exist, not for profit, but to provide information. Its civic duty, as well as yours, is to educate citizens.

Take my library away, and even with my limited income, I will still read. However, take a library away from a society, and watch as your citizens plummet further into ignorance.


jenn aka the picky girl who will get a heck of a lot pickier if you close my library

*end rant*