If you’ve never heard of it before, World Book Night is an opportunity to spread the love of reading. It always occurs on April 23rd, Shakespeare’s birthday. Participants sign up online to become book givers, and, if accepted, they receive a box of twenty free books to give to light readers or non-readers.
This year, the media specialists at one of the schools I serve as an instructional coach encouraged the faculty to sign up to be book givers. Eighteen educators were selected as World Book Night givers. Many of the teachers gave books to students in the school.
Participants can enter their top three choices of which books they would like to give when they apply. One of the books was Kitchen Confidential written by celebrity chef, Anthony Bourdain, long before he was celebrity when he was working daily as a line cook in New York City. The book is a gritty, edgy, and sarcastic read, but it clearly illustrates to love and passion chefs dedicate to their craft.
I chose to give my books to students in a local program in my area. Students who end their teen years in foster care often struggle in the transition to adulthood. Eliada’s ESTA program provides these students, who are 18 to 21 years old, with housing, education, and training. They currently have these young adults participate in a culinary program, so that students both learn essential skills for adulthood while also learning a trade that they can use to find work in our city’s tourism-based industry. Although some of the students are regular readers, some have struggled with literacy and school achievement in the past because of inconsistent home lives.
Instead of giving the books t students on the night of April 23rd, I was invited to participate in a luncheon on April 24th. Eliada hosts a monthly luncheon for people who give to their programs, and the culinary students prepare the meal! It was awesome! All of the students were incredibly excited about the books. One student shared that he had planned on borrowing the audiobook from one of his friends, but now they hopes to read and discuss the book together! In addition, students were proud to share their successes from the program. One student recently got his GED and made a perfect score on the math section. Another student will be entering one our state universities next fall. This program is really working for these young adults, and I am so happy that I could make my own small contribution the community by sharing the love of literacy.