Kay Scott hopes “Zeitoun,” a book about a Syrian-American and the injustices he faced during the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, touches the lives of those who picked up a copy at The Kings Center Monday night.
Scott hosted a New Orleans-themed party, complete with homemade jambalaya, the Spike Lee documentary “When the Levees Broke” and 20 copies of Dave Eggers’ novel, in celebration of World Book Night, an event where tens of thousands of “givers” in the U.S. and United Kingdom handed out copies of select books to reluctant readers.
At least a dozen givers planned to hand out books at various locales in the community, such as Wilkinson Street School, the Franklin County Women’s Shelter and churches.
Scott, a retired English teacher at Frankfort High School, said the event was tailor-made for her because of her love of reading and literature. Givers had to choose from a list of about 30 books, and “Zeitoun,” a book she called “powerful,” immediately grabbed her attention.
“I knew it would be a book some people wouldn’t be familiar with and I could share it with them, and that’s the whole point of World Book Night,” Scott said. “Their whole goal is that people who love to read and love books will share that love with someone else.
Scott also had copies of Maya Angelou’s “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings” available, thanks to a shipping error. She taught the book during her days at Frankfort High, she said.
About a dozen people filtered into The Kings Center Monday night and heard excerpts of “Zeitoun” read aloud between Spike Lee’s Hurricane Katrina documentary and bites of the spicy Creole dish.
Scott, a volunteer at the Kings Center, said she chose the site to reach more people in the South Frankfort community. She had posters advertising the event hung at downtown stores, Kentucky State University and Frankfort High School. She also emailed friends and advertised through the South Frankfort Neighborhood Association.
For next year’s World Book Night, Scott hopes the dozen or so Franklin County givers will meet as a group and strategize together. They recently met at Paul Sawyier Public Library to discuss individual plans for World Book Night Monday, she said.
“I think what we want to do first is find out what worked and what didn’t work, then get together and discuss what people did that really worked and share those ideas,” she said. The group could also talk about locations that worked or might work for finding reluctant readers. After all, that’s the purpose of World Book Night –reaching out and helping others discover the magic of reading.
“It’s people saying, ‘Here, I want to give you something because it really meant a lot to me and I think it’ll mean a lot to you,’” Scott said.