TSS – High School Book Drive Wrap-up

You may remember that over the last couple months I was soliciting books from people cleaning off their shelves for the students at my husband’s school. We ended up receiving about 400 books, not counting the ones that I pulled off my shelves.

That means I owe about $80 to First Book, with which they will be able to buy another 40 books for young children. So thank you, all of you readers and bloggers who participated, and thank you to the employees of Random House and HarperCollins who sent books cleaned out of their offices!

One of two totally full library carts

Historical fiction table before the kids got to it

Nonfiction/memoir table

Fiction tables

We had a great turn out, 50 or 60 kids, and they CLEANED US OUT, which was awesome. One girl told me that she was really excited, because she only had three books at home, and now she had a great pile for summer reading (6 or 7 books, some of them major chunksters).

One girl's book pile - she wasn't even done yet

Sci-fi/fantasy table before the kids made their last sweep

Historical fiction table before the last sweep

By the end, the kids picked up every single book, and they were all beyond thrilled about it. A book for every reader and a reader for every book.

Thank you!

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High School Book Drive

My husband teaches high school math in the Western/Northwestern suburbs of Chicago; last week he came home telling me that his students were begging him to ask if I had some books I was finished with that he could bring in to them. Kids excited about reading get me really excited, so I went through my shelves purging things I was finished with and didn’t want to keep, as well as books I knew I was never going to get to. I even pulled out a few books I would have probably kept otherwise, because I knew they would appeal to his students.

The kids got their books on Tuesday and they were Over. The. Moon. about them. In fact, they wanted to know when I would have more for them. I had to tell them that sadly I probably couldn’t put together another bag like that until the end of the year, and even it would be a stretch.

Their excitement got me thinking, though. My husband’s school and district are going through really hard times budget-wise (what schools aren’t, really?). Many of the kids are immigrants or the children of immigrants, and 65% of the students are low-income, as opposed to the 39% state average. The school library has no funding, and many of the kids don’t have a ton of books in their houses, but they still love books.

So, I thought I’d see if my bookish friends have any books they would like to donate.

Books will go to interested students, the school library, and perhaps also some classroom libraries (depending partly on the quantity we get). The kids are interested in things that are YA, or adult books with YA crossover appeal. Historical fiction seems to be a big hit with the students, and I know that at least one US History teacher is interested history and historical fiction for his classroom library.

Since my passion is early literacy, I’ll donate $10 for every 50 books we receive (up to $200) to First Book, which will buy an ADDITIONAL 5 new books for younger children, thus increasing your donations by 10%.

We need the books by mid-May at the latest, so if you are sending media mail (which I would encourage you to do if sending within the US, it is a much cheaper option), please mail the books by the end of April. I will provide periodic thank yous/updates on the books received.

Books can be sent to:

High School Book Drive
C/o Jen Karsbaek
738 E Dundee Rd #194
Palatine, IL 60067

If you are planning to send books, please take a moment to fill out the form, so we know how many to expect, and so we have your information to properly thank you.


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The Bookstore Celebrity Bookseller!

Not only have my bookseller friends at The Bookstore in Glen Ellyn been incredibly supportive of my Chicago Author Month, they have also taken the idea and run with it in their own way. For one thing, they and I are co-hosting a Chicago Author Month on Thursday, October 28th (put it on your calendar and join us!), but more information about that next week.

If you’re looking for more in-person Chicago Author Month fun this week, though, you can stop into The Bookstore on Friday morning from 10 until noon to shop with Celebrity Bookseller Melanie Benjamin. Melanie Benjamin is the author of “Alice I Have Been,” a book I absolutely loved. She has previously guest posted on this blog, talking about her inspiration for “Alice I Have Been,” and will actually be guest posting again for Chicago Author Month on Tuesday, October 26th, so look for that!

The ladies at The Bookstore have made sure to stock some of Melanie’s favorite books so stop by, have some coffee, and let her handsell you something! This could also be a good time to chat with Melanie about her upcoming work of historical fiction, due out next summer from Random House, it sounds like another winner!

Celebrate The Bookstore in Glen Ellyn!

Those of you in the Chicago area, what are you doing Thursday night?

I am going to be at The Bookstore in Glen Ellyn, celebrating the store’s 50th birthday. There will be cake, prizes, and even some free books! If you haven’t been to The Bookstore before, this would be a great time to come and check it out. Plus, you can come and say hi to me and Daniel!

For more information, see the post about the party on the The Bookstore blog!

Reminder: Glen Ellyn Book Fest THIS Saturday!

Just in case you live in the Chicagoland area and I haven’t already badgered talked you into coming to the Glen Ellyn Bookfest this Saturday, I thought I’d post a little information about what will be going down in the Western Suburbs this weekend.

This Saturday, June 19th, marks the first (annual? I hope so!) Glen Ellyn Bookfest. “Why do you care what is happening in Glen Ellyn when you live 30 minutes away?” you may be asking. Well, Glen Ellyn is the site of my favorite independent bookstore, The Bookstore. They, together with the Glen Ellyn downtown alliance have been planning this event for months and months now, and it is going to be awesome. I mean, Elizabeth Berg is the keynote speaker!

A bunch of authors whose books I have reviewed (and loved) are going to be there as well:

Here’s the basic schedule:

Time Event
8:30 – 9:30 Social Networking for Writers
9:30 – 10:30 “Kids Love Art Books” with Bob Raczka
10:00 – 11:00 Presentation and Book Signing:
Underground Railroad with Glennette Tilley Turner
10:00 – 11:30 Bagels at The Bookstore with Pamela Ferdinand
11:00 – 12:00 Children’s Writing Workshop with Rose Calkins
(ages 10-12, limited seating)
10:00 – 1:00 Book signings (Click for detailed brochure)
11:30 – 1:00 The Next Good Book Luncheon with Rebecca Vnuk
11:30 – 1:00 Claude and Camille Luncheon with Stephanie Cowell
11:30 – 1:00 68 Rooms Family Author Lunch and Art Event
1:30 – 2:30 Risky Business:  Writing about Literary Icons
1:30 – 2:15 Chillers – Be bold, be bold… with Marie Ringenberg
2:30 – 3:30 Watch – Listen – Perform
Poetry & Performance Slam
2:30 – 3:15 Zoos, Kazoos & Hullabaloos with Marie Ringenberg
3:00 – 4:00 Presentation and Book Signing: Keynote Speaker Elizabeth Berg
5:00 – 7:00 “Get Lit” with Authors J.A. Konrath
and Charlene Baumbich
6:00 – 8:00 Baseball Dinner with Billy Lombardo at Bells & Whistles

I am definitely planning on being at the bolded events above: Social Networking for Writers at 8:30, which is sort of a Tweet-up (in fact, I’m the cohost!), then at the lunch with Stephanie Cowell at 11:30, followed by the panel with Kelly O’Connor McNees and Melanie Benjamin entitled Risky Business: Writing about Literary Icons at the library. During my time between the social networking event and the luncheon I will probably be at The Bookstore, but I am available to meet up with anyone who is coming into town for the event. I can also meet up directly after Kelly and Melanie’s panel, although I will have to head home pretty soon after it is over. If you do want to meet up and talk books, please let me know.

There are also going to be author signings at a multitude of downtown businesses:

I hope you can make it out and join us!