Who is Giving Out Half a Million Free Books All Across America?


Otowi Station Bookstore is a community partner for the first World Book Night in the United States. From Kodiak, Alaska, to Key West, Florida, in 5,000 towns and cities across America, volunteer book givers will give away half a million free books to reluctant or underserved readers on April 23.

Front row: Patrice Goodkind, Dana Kline, and Nina Thayer. Middle row: Judy Goldie, Kelly and Amelia Dolejsi, Thelma Hahn, and Melanie Sorsby. Back row: Linda Carver and Ellen Ben-Naim. Courtesy Photo

“We are so excited to host activities for World Book Night,” said Ellen Ben-Naim, children’s book buyer at Otowi Station Bookstore and coordinator of the event for Los Alamos. “We hosted a reception for givers on April 17 so givers could pick up their books, meet each other, talk about their books, and discuss their strategies before they head out into the community on April 23.Our givers will share books in locations as diverse as the Teen Center, Northern New Mexico College, the local laundromat, the Española hospital, the County jail, and the Department of Motor Vehicles.”

Givers in the Los Alamos area are Ellen Ben-Naim, Linda Carver, Blair Davis, Elaine Deschamp, Kelly Dolejsi, Judy Goldie, Patrice Goodkind, Thelma Hahn, Linda Hull, Dana Kline, April Nolen, Inez Ross, Melanie Sorsby, and Nina Thayer.

Thelma Hahn said she is excited to share I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings with gifted kids who have learning disabilities. “Maya Angelou touches people in a unique way,” Hahn said. “And I have several friends here and in Texas that I want to get reading again.”

Patrice Goodkind said that she’s going to give Bel Canto to people who are waiting. “I’m going to the DMV,” she laughed.

The 30 titles to be distributed during World Book Night are specially printed, not-for-resale paperbacks, including Little Bee, Bel Canto, The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, The Glass Castle, The Book Thief, and A Prayer for Owen Meany. Authors are foregoing royalties to make this possible, and American book publishers, the American Booksellers Association, Barnes & Noble, the American Library Association, the Association of American Publishers, Ingram Book Company, UPS, and a dozen printers and binders have paid for the production and shipping.

World Book Night US follows the impressive launch of this campaign by bookstores, libraries, authors, and publishers in the United Kingdom and Ireland last year.

Ben-Naim is working with representatives from several service organizations in Los Alamos to work on next year’s World Book Night. “Next year,” she said, “we hope to put several hundred more books in the hands of hungry readers. Anyone can participate.” Registration for next year’s event is open at www.worldbooknight.org.

Otowi Station is a full-service independent bookstore serving Los Alamos and the region. Located adjacent to the Bradbury Science Museum, the store also offers museum items, science-based toys, and an extensive collection of books related to the Manhattan Project and historical Los Alamos. The store supports literacy by supporting many events, including World Book Night. The store welcomes special orders. For more information, call 662-9589.



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