I had the opportunity to spend some time this week on the phone with Ann Braden, a former teacher and current author. Her debut novel The Benefits of Being an Octopus comes out in September 2018 from Sky Pony Press.
I reached out to Ann one day after she posted this intriguing Tweet from her account (@annbradenbooks) on May 5:
Ann attended a conference for librarians last weekend and returned home with a number of books. Keenly aware of the need for kids to have books in their hands to grow as readers and writers, she took to Twitter to find a good home for these treasures and the rest is history!
There was immediate outpouring of generosity that followed on the part of other authors as they followed suite, posting pictures of stacks of books and offering to give them away to classrooms of students.
Ann explained to me that she didn’t intend on this to become so popular, so quickly. She said she expected around 6 responses to her initial message. But, as you can see from the image above, at the writing of this post there have been nearly 200 responses, 300 retweets, and 336 likes to that original message. Author after author has joined in on the excitement, tweeting images of stacks of literature and explaining how the middle grades, young adult, or kidlit books will be shared.
Ann mentioned to me that she is inspired by Donalyn Miller (@donalynbooks) and her clear message that it all comes down to ‘kids need books.’ The kidlit community includes a huge number of teachers who are passionate advocates and, unfortunately, there are a lot of classrooms that need books. Ann’s methodology of using social media to connect authors with classrooms is simple, direct, and fulfills an immediate need.
I encourage you to search Twitter for #KidsNeedBooks for inspiration from this recent surge to generously put books into the hands of kids who need them.
Truly, the community that supports our students extends beyond our local school districts.