In the ongoing spirit of us giving back to our communities, Penguin Random House has been a longtime supporter of Shakespeare in the Park, one of the cornerstones of the Public Theater’s mission to bring performing arts to the people of New York City. Since 1962, over five million people have experienced more than 150 free productions of Shakespeare and other classical works and musicals. As New Yorkers waited in line this summer for tickets to watch free performances of Twelfth Night at the Delacorte Theatre in NYC’s Central Park, our Penguin Random House employee volunteers cheerfully distributed free books on three different August afternoons. Penguin Random House gift bags and Hogarth Shakespeare totes were filled with such titles as Judy Blundell’s THE HIGH SEASON , Christina Dalcher’s VOX (distributed in advance of the book’s 8/21 pub date), Shakespeare’s TWELFTH NIGHT, Margaret Atwood’s HAG-SEED, Edward St. Aubyn’s DUNBAR and Jo Nesbø’s MACBETH. Volunteers had the opportunity to talk with Shakespeare fans from all walks of life, including an educator from New Jersey who shared that she would assign an acting session from VOX for her class. A librarian from Yonkers also shared her excitement about receiving a second copy of VOX (she had already pre- ordered one). Another group of women announced that they would start a book club with all the books they received. Volunteer Matt, Academic and Library Marketing Assistant, Penguin Young Readers, said, “While the perks of a morning in the park and two free tickets to see Shakespeare can’t be understated, what really made this a pleasure was seeing the enthusiastic responses to the books we handed out, as well as the love and recognition of Penguin Random House as an institution.” Penguin Random House imprints continue to publish the full range of Shakespeare’s plays, as well as books inspired by of The Bard’s works, such as SHAKESPEARE BASICS FOR GROWN-UPS by B. Caotes and E. Foley, and THE GAP OF TIME by Jeanette Winterson, a re-telling of Shakespeare’s play The Winter’s Tale and part of the Hogarth Shakespeare series, an international Penguin Random House publishing initiative. Penguin Random House volunteers in action:
Who better to give book recommendations than the bookish experts? Penguin Random House employees are sharing their favorite reads every month. Browse below! Megan, Assistant Editor, Audio Megan is the friend who’s reading a book when you show up to dinner and recommends no less than six others over the course of your meal. If you can’t find her in a book or at a restaurant, she’s likely listening to a podcast on her commute or up in the air en route to her next trip. Megan is also a member of Read Ahead’s Junior Board and has been a volunteer for four years. Read Ahead is a charitable organization that matches mentors with children to foster a love for reading and promotes literacy. Read below for Megan’s interview about her volunteer work! RA: What is the most rewarding part of volunteering with Read Ahead? MM: The most rewarding part of my experiences volunteering have been with my student, Yetzibeth. She brings so much excitement and enthusiasm to every kind of book that we read together. We’ve read books that range from Barbie princesses to non-fiction books about bees. It’s incredible to see her excitement grow with each session – she is just so imaginative. When we start to get into a book she really likes, she can’t wait to turn the page and see what’s next. I learn as much, if not more, from her than she does from me. RA: How has your relationship with her grown? MM: We understand each other more as we continue to get to know each other. We aren’t just reading together the whole time. When we first started she would come in and we would sit down and read together, but as we’ve gotten to know each other we’ve become a lot more comfortable, spending more time talking and learning about each other. RA: Is there a book you’ve read together that has been particularly successful? MM: She has such a range of interests – we’re always reading about something new. One book that she really loved was “The Day The Crayons Quit” by Drew Daywalt – it really is a great story and she was so excited by it.
Who better to give book recommendations than the bookish experts? Penguin Random House employees are sharing their favorite reads every month. Browse below! Today, we spotlight Ron, who works as Retail Chain Manager for Adult Mass Merchandising. He also volunteers for Camp Kowakan and has kindly shared some of his experience. Learn more about Ron’s service time by reading his story below: Just over 1 million acres – – 1,090,000 to be specific. So many lakes it’s almost as if they had help from Dr. Seuss in naming them – – there really is a Lake One, Lake Two, Lake Three and Lake Four. That’s the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness. (BWCA) There’s no other place like it on earth and its located in Northern Minnesota. Since about 2004 I’ve been on the leadership team for a wilderness canoe base called Camp Kowakan. To keep it a wilderness experience, the U.S. Forest Service limits groups to nine including a guide and chaperone. We ask them to leave behind smart phones and take off watches – – they won’t be needed. We teach them to live with the natural rhythm of life: eat when you’re hungry; sleep when you are tired; get up when it feels right, or when the canoe guide rousts you. Group members learn teamwork and leadership skills, along with the rigors of life on the trail while, hopefully, seeing the beauty surrounding them. The resulting experience isn’t for everyone, but you’d be surprised at how many kids take to it. My next trip is in August. All of the kids have gone on trips with me before and for two of them this will be their fourth time. I always tell the kids that my job is to keep them safe and theirs is to make sure we have fun. They are good at that. I try.
Volunteers from across Penguin Random House participated in the Bronx Book Fair on May 5th. It was a jam-packed day of events at the Bronx Library Center, with speakers such as Noëlle Santos from The Lit. Bar, as well as coaching sessions with local writers and book sales from community bookstore Word Up. This was the first year Penguin Random House participated in the Bronx Book Fair, and we had a tremendous response to the call for volunteers! We were so impressed by the enthusiasm and support of our employee volunteers. Here is what some of the volunteers had to say:
“It was great to see so many PRH employees show up excited to help their fellow book lovers!” “Everywhere I turned at the Bronx Book Fair, there was passion–passion in the speakers, whose wealth of knowledge included everything from copyright law to fostering women’s leadership; passion in the authors, booksellers, and publishers reading from their work and selling books at their booths; and passion in the event staff, whose beaming faces were #BronxProud. It was such an honor to see the rich literary culture of the Bronx in action beyond the classroom where I used to teach ELA in the Bronx, and I especially loved the slam poetry and spoken word presentation by Project X–it’s heartwarming to see the youth shine a light on their fellow artists in their community!” “The Bronx Book Fair was wonderful–the event organizers were lovely, and the day’s events and panels were organized with great care. I welcomed the opportunity to get to know colleagues across other departments who I normally wouldn’t connect with in my day-to-day. A personal highlight was the chance to chat with young readers/writers who came to check out the book fair–their enthusiasm was infectious!”The Bronx Book Fair is dedicated to engaging and growing the community of poets and writers in the Bronx, and to connecting to readers and book lovers of all ages. Launched in 2013, The Bronx Book Fair, along with Bronx Book Festival and The Lit. Bar bookstore, are contributing to revitalizing book culture in the Bronx, needed especially after the 2016 closure of the Baychester Barnes & Noble.