Book People Are the Best People: How 100+ Authors and Illustrators Rose to the Occasion in a BIG Way
If you’re a bookseller whose life has been turned upside down by illness, natural disaster, or other sudden misfortune, the folks who write the books you sell have your back.
That’s what our manager of books for young readers and the ParnassusNext subscription program, Stephanie Appell, found out when she was diagnosed in April of this year at age 29 with breast cancer and faced months of chemo, surgery, recovery — and so many medical bills.
“I actually had the ‘it’s cancer’ conversation phone call with my doctor in the bookstore bathroom,” Appell remembers. “My first work-related thought was, ‘How are we going to get done all that needs doing if I’m out sick?’ But when I told everyone, they just said, ‘We got this. What do you need?’”
That’s when we started formulating an idea: Would some of the authors coming to town for book-signings be willing to contribute a little something the store could sell to raise money for Steph’s medical expenses? What if we asked authors to decorate, say, some little piggy banks? Ann Patchett reached out to a few friends; our events director, Niki Coffman, put out a few feelers; and as authors told fellow authors about it, word spread.
“We cast our piggy banks upon the water and what came back to us was more fabulous than anything we could have ever imagined,” Ann says. One big-name creator after another jumped to get on board. Pigs arrived back in the mail from John Green, Yo-Yo Ma, Barbara Kingsolver, and more than 100 others.
Julie Danielson, Nashville-based author of Wild Things! Acts of Mischief in Children’s Literature who writes about kids’ books at the Seven Impossible Things blog, played a big part in getting the movement rolling. She says, “The children’s literature community always restores my faith in humanity. When I reached out to some fellow authors and illustrators about this project, I got a flood of responses within hours. All in the name of kindness.”
With more than 100 authors and illustrators on board, we knew this effort had grown beyond just one bookseller and one bookstore. So we decided to donate a portion of the funds raised to the Book Industry Charitable (Binc) Foundation, a 501(c)(3) non-profit dedicated to assisting booksellers in need. (Along with fellow author James Patterson, Ann Patchett serves as co-ambassador this year of Binc, which has been leading the way in assisting booksellers in need for 20 years.) So every piggy sold helps not only this one bookseller, but others across the country as well!
Sharon Draper, five-time winner of the Coretta Scott King Literary Award and New York Times-bestselling author, says, “I am not a painter, but I am a cancer survivor. My little purple pig is my gift to Stephanie, to lovers of books, and to all who bravely face life’s obstacles.”
How You Can Participate (And Bid on the Piggies!)
- If you’re in Nashville, join us for the BANK ON BOOKSELLERS party on Sunday, September 25, from 5:30-7:30 p.m. to view all the piggies and get the bidding started! The party is open to the public. A $10 donation is requested at the door.
- No matter where you are, you can see all the piggies and bid online via BiddingOwl beginning at 6:30 p.m. on Sunday, September 25, 2016, through 8 p.m. on Friday, September 30.
- Spread the word: share this post and tag it #BankOnBooksellers!
And remember: you can always support Binc directly! Now, later, and long after this auction is over. When you do, you’ll be ensuring that another bookseller will be able to stay on her feet when hard times hit. (Donate here.)
“Whether you’re one of ours or you’re a bookseller somewhere else, we think it’s our place to help,” Ann adds. “I couldn’t be more delighted that all these authors and illustrators agree. Book people are the best people.”
Enormous thanks to these authors, illustrators, and notable book-lovers for contributing their artistic talents to the piggies!
Ashley Herring Blake
R. Gregory Christie
Matt de la Pena
Robin Preiss Glasser
Daniel Handler & Lisa Brown
Jason Isbell & Amanda Shires
Nicole Kidman & Keith Urban
Kim Williams-Paisley & Brad Paisley
|Mary Laura Philpott
Andrea Davis Pinkney & Brian Pinkney
Al Roker & Deborah Roberts
Amy Krouse Rosenthal
Laura Vaccaro Seeger
Phil & Erin Stead