Share Our Books: A Community Reads Program for Elementary Schools

Share Our BooksA couple of weeks ago I had the privilege of hearing Sara Pennypacker give a talk to children's librarians, during which she mentioned a program that she and a few of her children's author friends have launched:

"Share Our Books was born from a conversation a few of us children's authors had about how much we loved Community Reads. The idea is for an entire elementary school community from the principal and teachers to the bus drivers and nurses and, of course, the students and their families to share the experience of reading the same book at the same time. It's an honor and a joy to have our books chosen to help bond a community this way. What could we do to encourage more of it, we asked each other? The answer was obvious...provide the books."

The concept is simple:

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The Sanctuary Bookstore & Booklovers' Bed and Breakfast

Bob Speer, Santuary Bookstore Just back from a wonderful, but all too short, stay at the Booklovers' Bed and Breakfast in Lyme Regis, on the South coast of England. Run by Bob and Mariko Speer (Bob pictured right), the three room bed and breakfast is perched on the top two floors of the Sanctuary Bookstore - a booklover's paradise where antique books jostle for space with the not so antique but often exotic and sometimes rare. From travel and topography to mysticism and religion by way of a generous helping of novels, thrillers, mysteries, sci-fi and much more, The Sanctuary has it all, including a popular section devoted to the most requested authors - a wonderful section in which to pick up a long lost favorite. Downstairs is a bargain basement where all books are £1 or less. And when you've had your fill of books, you can start on the bountiful collection of prints and original works of art - many of which are stored in the downstairs loo, which makes for a convenient seat while browsing the racks.

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Everything You Need to Know About World Book Night

World Book Night LogoOn Monday April 23, to celebrate World Book Night, tens of thousands of volunteers across the USA and UK will give away books - a million copies in the UK and half a million in the USA.

If you're not familiar with World Book Night here's a quick overview:

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What Do a Pedophile, a Polygamist and a Tattooed Girl Have in Common?

The Girl With The Dragon TattooWith the recent release of "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo" I've been thinking about some of my favorite fictional characters. Because, naturally...or not, Lisbeth Salander ranks right up there as one of my favorite female fictional characters of all time. I know that Stieg Larsson's gritty series with its share of graphically violent content doesn't suit everyone's taste. Furthermore I imagine the movie image of the dark, pierced and spiky-haired Swede might leave many folks cold, wondering what there is about her that could possibly appeal to anyone. And yet, several months after I finished reading Larsson's trilogy this married, advanced-age mother of two grown men still sometimes wonders what Lisbeth might be up to.

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The Secret Life of Books

Ever wondered what happens inside the bookstore when the last staff member turns the key for the night?

Thanks to Sean Ohlenkamp, an associate creative director at Lowe Roche Advertising in Toronto, and about 25 volunteers, we now know!

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How my father inspired me to read banned books

When I was a kid I brought home a paperback book that my parents didn't think I should read. Mind you, this was during an era when our neighborhood drugstore's book racks never sported anything but the most innocuous (by today's standards) sorts of pulp fiction, from detective stories to romance novels to true crime. So you can be assured that my selection was about as tame as, say, a Disney animated movie. But it had a lurid cover photo and a rather suggestive title, suggestive, at least, to my 12-year-old sensibilities. Also to my mom because when she spotted it on my nightstand she freaked. She asked my dad to speak to me about it and confiscate the book.

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A Star for Mrs Blake