From the Office of the Future of Reading

Please join me in welcoming today’s guest blogger, Amanda Furman. Amanda is an elementary school English as a Second Language teacher from Virginia. She loves to read and share the love of books! She is a member of the Virginia Reader’s Choice book selection committee for elementary readers. This is NOT a picture of her. This is a picture of Luna, her Frenchton (French Bulldog/Boston Terrier) puppy who comes to school with her to listen to her students read (again–spreading the love of and excitement for reading!) Amanda can be found on twitter, on her blog, and on instagram (which, be warned, is usually filled with ridiculously cute pictures of Luna). Her school will post pictures on twitter on April 23 of the students receiving their books (@alesbuzzybees).


I first heard about World Book Night and being a World Book Night Giver three years ago, the day before the applications for being a giver were due. I remember thinking, “This is WONDERFUL! I’d love to give books to kids at my school!”

World Book Night US is an organization that basically wants to get books into the hands of readers. They understand the importance of reading and how books can change our lives. For more information, links on how to become involved, and order merchandise, click here.

But, back to my story. Unfortunately, that year, they didn’t have any elementary-level books. But, I was able to share THE HUNGER GAMES by Suzanne Collins with students at the high school my elementary school feeds into. In fact, I gave books to some of my former students. Here is a link to my write up of that experience. I don’t know what happened to the pictures 🙁 

Last year, I was able to give away MIDDLE SCHOOL: THE WORST YEARS OF MY LIFE by James Patterson to 20 fifth grade students at my school. I asked the five fifth grade teachers to send me a list of four students who weren’t necessarily the students who always won, or got recognized, who enjoyed reading, but might need a little encouragement. I took that list of 20 names and read them aloud on the morning announcements for the entire school to see and hear. I asked them to wait until announcements were over to meet me at my room (you know, to give me time to get down there!), but by the time I got there, all 20 kids were waiting at my door! For weeks afterwards, I had students coming up to me telling me how jealous they were of the fifth graders, how they got that book from the library because they saw it on the announcements, that it was one of the best books they had ever read, and that they had read it in two days! Here is a link to that write-up post.

This year, I was chosen to give away HOOT by Carl Hiaasen. I haven’t read HOOT yet, but I have read CHOMP and thought it was hilarious! I think it worked really well last year to have teachers nominate 4 students and then call them down on the morning announcements and make a big deal of it. I want to get as many kids as possible excited about reading, and I know this will! 

Here is a list of 2014 books that are available to be given away.

I always feel so lucky when I get that email saying I’ve been chosen to be a giver. April 23 has been my favorite day of the school year for the past few years. I can’t think of a better way to spend my day—spreading the love of reading, creating excitement about books, and making kids happy. 

Thank you Amanda for sharing about this amazing opportunity and how you have used it to impact so many students!