"I grew up loving books," Poehler, 42, who's best known for her roles on Saturday Night Live and Parks and Recreation, said in a statement. "In today's digital world, it's more important than ever to know how it feels to have a good book in your hands. I'm thrilled to be part of World Book Night. People who read are people who dream, and we connect through the stories we live and tell and read."
The third annual World Book Night U.S., to be held April 23, is organized by a coalition of publishers, booksellers and librarians. They will enlist 25,000 volunteers who give away a total of 500,000 books – mostly aimed at areas and groups where books are not that prevalent.
World Book Night Executive Director Carl Lennertz said: "This news is the icing, cherry and candles on the year three WBN cake. We've already announced a seven-author New York Public Library launch event, our highest percentage of free books going to teachers and students in underfunded schools, and a record number of participating librarians and booksellers, and Amy Poehler joining our cause is a happy, happy event. On behalf of our 25,000 volunteer givers and 500,000 book recipients this coming April 23, we say thank you."
Each year, the organizers select a broad range of titles to give away – in specially printed paperback editions. This year's list includes Malcolm Gladwell's The Tipping Point, Joseph Heller's Catch-22 and Carl Hiaasen's Hoot, as well as Solomon Northup's 12 Years a Slave, made popular by the Oscar-winning movie.
World Book Night U.S. is a celebration of books and reading held on April 23, when 25,000 passionate volunteers across America give a total of half a million books within their communities to those who don’t regularly read.
Each year, 30- 35 books are chosen by an independent panel of librarians and booksellers. The authors of the books waive their royalties and the publishers agree to pay the costs of producing the specially-printed World Book Night U.S. editions. Bookstores and libraries sign up to be community host locations for the volunteer book givers.
After the book titles are announced, members of the public apply to personally hand out 20 copies of a particular title in their community. World Book Night U.S. vets the applications, and the givers are chosen based on their ability to reach light and non-readers. The selected givers choose a local participating bookstore or library from which to pick up the 20 copies of their book, and World Book Night U.S. delivers the books to these host locations.
Reading for pleasure improves literacy, actively engaging emerging readers in their desire to read. Reading changes lives, improves employability, social interaction, enfranchisement, and can have a positive effect on mental health and happiness. Book readers are more likely to participate in positive activities such as volunteering, attending cultural events, and even physical exercise.
Givers pick up their books in the week before World Book Night. On April 23rd, they give their books to those who don’t regularly read and/or people who don’t normally have access to printed books, for reasons of means or geography. Books are fun—and they can be life-changing.
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