Book lovers catch Bainbridge High students on the fly for World Book Night

Bainbridge Island book lovers filled both the stomachs and imaginations of Bainbridge High students with pizza for World Book Night’s second year in the United States.

Three years ago, World Book Night — an evening in which volunteers hand out free copies of books to passersby in public places — began in England after members of the London Book Industry Conference both planned and sponsored the event. It has since spread across the Atlantic to America, where more than a half million books were handed out last year alone in thousands of towns and cities around the country.

On Bainbridge Island, Eagle Harbor Book Co. acted as the supplier, signing up volunteers and providing boxes of special edition World Book Night copies of popular books to be handed out around the island on Tuesday, April 23.

Books selected for 2013’s World Book Night included classics like “The Phantom Tollbooth” by Norton Juster and “Fahrenheit 451” by Ray Bradbury, along with contemporary popular literature like “The Language of Flowers” by Vanessa Diffenbaugh.

“It’s meant to get books to people who might not have an opportunity to read,” said Victoria Irwin, Eagle Harbor Book’s events coordinator.

World Book Night’s success in 2012 made her especially excited for this year.

“Last year someone came into the store after World Book Night saying, ‘I haven’t bought a book in years, and then this guy gives me this book to read, so I read it and it was great,’” Irwin said.

One of World Book Night’s most enthusiastic volunteers, Carol Carley, orchestrated a plan for handing out the book she offered to distribute, “Playing For Pizza” by John Grisham. Being the mother of multiple student athletes, she arranged with Bainbridge High’s Ultimate Frisbee coach to hand out 20 copies of the book, along with pizza donated by Treehouse Café, to the team members after practice that night.

A lifelong avid reader, Carley was perfectly suited for the event.

“Carol was one of the first people I met when I moved to the island,” Victoria said. “And I knew I would see her around the bookstore all the time.”

The students were grateful both for the food and literature.

“Most kids don’t really have time to read that much,” said John Baker, a Bainbridge High junior and member of the Ultimate Frisbee team.

“We do a lot of reading for class, but no one reads much other than that. I’ll definitely read this,” he said, referring to his copy of “Playing For Pizza.”

To get more information on how to get involved in next year’s World Book Night, contact Eagle Harbor Book Co. at 206-842-5332.

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