Independent bookstores launch Storytime Day, set for this May

After the success of the Indies First movement this November, in which authors worked at independent bookstores, the newest event is called Storytime Day. Spokesperson Kate DiCamillo urges authors to read a story at their local bookstore.

Robert Harbison
Kindergarten teacher Casondra Johnson reads to her class at Daniel Webster Elementary School in Pasadena, Calif.

Indies First isn’t just for the fall anymore.

Last year, “The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian” author Sherman Alexie created the Indies First movement, suggesting that writers go and work as booksellers in independent bookstores on Small Business Saturday (traditionally the Saturday after Thanksgiving). The idea was a success, with more than 400 stores participating and more than 1,000 authors working that day. Some indie stores also reported that the day was a financial boon to them as well.

So now the American Booksellers Association, the Children’s Book Council, and the organization Every Child a Reader are suggesting Indies First come to springtime as well. Rather than work in a store, suggest the organizations, authors could come to an indie location and read a book. They’re calling it Indies First Storytime Day and it’s set for May 17, set to coincide with Children’s Book Week, which is from May 12 to 18 this year.

Author Kate DiCamillo, who was recently appointed National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature, is Storytime Day’s spokesperson.

“Come in and read a story (a story that you didn’t write) out loud,” DiCamillo wrote on the page for Storytime Day on the American Booksellers Association site. “The point is to show up and to read aloud, to celebrate stories and to celebrate the indies who work so hard to put our stories in the hands of readers.”

DiCamillo explained to Publishers Weekly why it’s suggested that writers don’t read from their own book.

“That way the event can be less about us as authors and more about the power of story and about bookstores as a place to gather for story,” she said.

Check out a map of what stores will be participating here (and it will be updated leading up to the day itself).

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