World Book Night arrives at Broadway musicals, baseball game

World Book Night was celebrated in the US on April 23.

Luke Macgregor/Reuters
A World Book Night volunteer distributes books in London.

The American edition of World Book Night was celebrated on April 23, and activities around the country involved a baseball game, a Meals on Wheels program, and Broadway musicals as well as the more traditional bookstore and library celebrations.

On World Book Night, volunteers distribute copies of pre-selected books to family, friends, or anyone they meet. The event was held in the US and Germany for the first time in 2012, while the UK and Ireland started it in 2011.

Some of the titles selected to be given out this year included “Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children” by Ransom Riggs, “Wild” by Cheryl Strayed, and “Where’d You Go, Bernadette” by Maria Semple.

This was the first year that a graphic novel (“Same Difference” by Derek Kirk Kim) was given out and the book “When I Was Puerto Rican” by Esmerelda Santiago, which was distributed in both English and Spanish, was the first title to be available in Spanish.

According to industry newsletter Shelf Awareness, this year’s WBN was the largest ever, with about 580,000 copies of books given out by more than 29,000 distributors.

Many bookstores held parties and some included authors, like the celebration at Seattle’s Elliott Bay Book Company that was attended by Semple.

Meanwhile, there were some creative distributions methods. According to the World Book Night Instagram account, books were given out at Broadway performances of “Matilda” and “Cinderella.” In Boston, those who attended a Red Sox game at Fenway Park had the opportunity to receive copies of Doris Kearns Goodwin’s baseball book “Wait Till Next Year.”

In addition, those who visited the American side of the Otay Mesa border crossing between the US and Mexico were offered copies of “Bridge to Terabithia” by Katherine Paterson and New York City’s Henry Street Settlement added a book to the meals they gave more than 1,000 Meals on Wheels participants, according to Shelf Awareness.

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