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Jason Reynolds and Independent Bookstores to Distribute 20,000 Books to Children in Underserved Communities This Holiday Season

In support of Reynolds’s second year as Indies First spokesperson, the American Booksellers Association, Simon & Schuster, and American Express announce “Indie Bookstores Give Back on Small Business Saturday” campaign


New York, NY, August 20, 2018—The American Booksellers Association has named award-winning author Jason Reynolds the 2018 Indies First spokesperson for his second year in a row. To support Reynolds’s mission of providing children in low-income communities with access to books that reflect their own experiences, ABA and American Express are working together with Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing to make available 20,000 special edition copies of Ghost, Reynolds’s first book in his New York Times bestselling Track series, this holiday season.

Through the “Indie Bookstores Give Back on Small Business Saturday” campaign (#IndiesGiveBack), independent booksellers across the country can sign up to receive a free box of special “Indies First/SBS” paperback editions of Ghost, to distribute to children in an underserved community on or around Small Business Saturday®, which takes place on November 24. Stores that participate in this giveaway will also be invited to enter to win one of two in-person visits from Reynolds in 2019 (check Bookselling This Week for more details in the coming weeks).

In 2018, Jason Reynolds received the Indie Champion Award, presented by independent booksellers nationwide, and has encouraged independent bookstores to be especially welcoming to those in their communities who don’t frequent their establishments, stating, “It is your responsibility to make sure people who come into your store know that they’re welcome there and that you are happy they are here, that their story is represented, and that what they need they may be able to find in your space.” Of his second term as Indies First spokesperson and of the #IndiesGiveBack campaign, Reynolds said, “Bookstores benefit their communities in a myriad of ways, and I’m thrilled that I get to sing their praises for another year. I’m grateful and honored that booksellers have this opportunity to share Ghost’s story with thousands of young people across the country who don’t have access to books they feel connected to.” Reynolds will support Small Business Saturday by participating in an event at a local independent bookstore.

“Jason Reynolds’s commitment to fostering the mission and passion of independent booksellers is unequivocal, and we did not think twice about naming him our Indies First spokesperson for a second year,” stated Joy Dallanegra-Sanger, Senior Program Officer at ABA. “We are proud to have the support of American Express and Simon & Schuster to advance Jason’s mission of providing children in underserved areas stories that speak to them.”

A 2016 National Book Award Finalist for Young People’s Literature, Ghost is the story of Castle Crenshaw (a.k.a., Ghost), a young man who wants to be the fastest sprinter on his elite middle school track team, but whose past keeps slowing him down. The recipient of four starred reviews, the book is nominated as one of America’s best-loved novels by PBS’s The Great American Read.

To participate in the “Indie Bookstores Give Back on Small Business Saturday” campaign, stores must sign up to receive their free 24-copy carton of Ghost by 5:00 p.m. EDT on Monday, September 10. Limit one carton per store while supplies last. In signing up to participate, stores agree to work with a local school, community or literacy organization, or youth group to give the books away to a program or school for underserved or low-income children at an event on or around November 24.

Stores have the option to purchase additional 24-copy cartons of the title, also for giveaway, at cost and including free freight. The order for extra cartons also must be received no later than 5:00 p.m. EDT on Monday, September 10. ABA will invoice stores for extra cartons. 

All books will ship free freight directly to stores and will arrive by November 15; the books are non-returnable, not for resale, and must be donated. This offer is available while supplies last, so stores are encouraged to sign up as soon as possible. Sign up now to participate.

Indies First, launched by the American Booksellers Association in 2013 and held each year on Small Business Saturday, the Saturday after Thanksgiving, brings together authors, readers, and publishers in support and celebration of independent bookstores.

November 24 will be the ninth annual Small Business Saturday (#ShopSmall, #SmallBizSat). Dedicated to supporting the diverse range of local businesses that help to create jobs, boost the economy, and enhance neighborhoods around the country, Small Business Saturday was created by American Express in 2010 in response to small business owners’ most pressing need: getting more customers. Learn more at ShopSmall.com or connect on instagram.com/shopsmall, facebook.com/SmallBusinessSaturday.

Jason Reynolds is a New York Times bestselling author, a Newbery Award honoree, a Printz Award honoree, National Book Award honoree, a Kirkus Prize winner, a two-time Walter Dean Myers Award winner, an NAACP Image Award winner, and the recipient of multiple Coretta Scott King honors. His many books include When I Was the Greatest, The Boy in the Black Suit, All American Boys (co-written with Brendan Kiely), As Brave as You, For Every One, the Track series (Ghost, Patina, Sunny, and Lu), and Long Way Down, which received both a Newbery Honor and a Printz Honor. He lives in Washington, DC. You can find his ramblings at JasonWritesBooks.com.

Founded in 1900, the American Booksellers Association (www.BookWeb.org) is a national not-for-profit trade organization that works to help independently owned bookstores grow and succeed. ABA’s core members are key participants in their communities’ local economy and culture, and to assist them ABA provides education, information dissemination, business products, and services; creates relevant programs; and engages in public policy, industry, and local first advocacy. The Association actively supports and defends free speech and the First Amendment rights of all Americans. A volunteer board of 11 booksellers governs the Association. ABA is headquartered in White Plains, NY.

Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing, one of the leading children’s book publishers in the world, comprises the following imprints: Aladdin, Atheneum Books for Young Readers, Beach Lane Books, Libros para niños, Little Simon®, Margaret K. McElderry Books, Paula Wiseman Books, Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, Simon Pulse, and Simon Spotlight®. While maintaining an extensive award-winning backlist, the division continues to publish acclaimed and bestselling books for children of all ages. Simon & Schuster publishes numerous Caldecott, Newbery, and National Book Award winners. For more information about Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing, visit our website at www.simonandschuster.com.

Publicity Contacts:

American Booksellers Association: Sydney Jarrard, sydney@bookweb.org
Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing: Lisa Moraleda, lisa.moraleda@simonandschuster.com

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