Spellbound Children’s Bookshop Event with author Marcus Sedgwick to Benefit the Literacy Council

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Marcus Sedgwick event posterTickets are on sale now: Spellbound Children’s Bookshop presents internationally award-winning author Marcus Segdwick on the publication day of Saint Death, his newest novel for young adults. This special event benefits the Literacy Council of Buncombe County and will take place at Twisted Laurel in downtown Asheville on Tuesday April 25th at 5:30pm. 

Guests are asked to arrive at 5:30 to eat and mingle. Marcus will be speaking from 6:00 to approximately 7:00 and will sign books directly afterward. The event will be emceed by fellow young adult author Allan Wolf.

Each $45 ticket includes appetizers and a non-alcoholic beverage plus a copy of Saint Death to be signed by the author. Event details and online ticket sales at www.spellboundbookshop.com. (Direct link to order page is http://bit.ly/MSLCOBC.)

Sedgwick’s unflinching narrative is timely and guaranteed to incite discussion, if not debate.”– Booklist, starred review

About the author

Marcus Sedgwick was born and raised in East Kent in the South-east of England. He now lives in the French Alps. Alongside a 16 year career in publishing he established himself as a widely-admired writer of Young Adult fiction; he is the winner of many prizes, most notably the Michael L. Printz Award for 2014, for his novel Midwinterblood. Marcus has also received two Printz Honors, for Revolver in 2011 and The Ghosts of Heaven in 2016, giving him the most citations to date for this prize. His books have been shortlisted for over forty other awards, including the Carnegie Medal (six times), the Edgar Allan Poe Award (twice) and the Guardian Children’s Fiction Prize (four times).

About the book

Saint Death by Marcus Sedgwick
US hardcover edition available April 25, 2017

A propulsive, compelling, and unsparing novel set in the grimly violent world of the human and drug trade on the US-Mexican border. On the outskirts of Juarez, Arturo scrapes together a living working odd jobs and staying out of sight. But his friend Faustino is in trouble: he’s stolen money from the narcos to smuggle his girlfriend and her baby into the US, and needs Arturo’s help to get it back. To help his friend, Arturo must face the remorseless world of drug and human traffickers that surrounds him, and contend with a murky past. Hovering over his story is the unsparing divinity Santa Muerte, Saint Death–and the relentless economic and social inequalities that haunt the border between Mexico and its rich northern neighbor. Crafted with poetry and cinematic pace and narrated with cold fury, Saint Death is a provocative tour de force from three-time Printz Award honoree Marcus Sedgwick.

 

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Scrabble Night

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The Literacy Council hosted a Scrabble Night on Thursday, February 2nd in honor of National Literacy Action Week, an initiative to strengthen literacy activism in local communities. During the week-long celebration, literacy programs across the nation join together to raise awareness about literacy and create change on college campuses and within the greater community. 

From Competitive Scrabble to Informal Bananagrams

Dr. Bill Snoddy and Jacob Cohen of the Asheville NLAWScrabble Club partnered with the Literacy Council to provide necessary gear including game boards, racks, tiles, clocks, and score sheets for tournament style play. Their Scrabble expertise helped create a competitive environment for players both new and experienced to test the limits of official game rules. Limited to only 25 minutes of play, challengers had to think about word choices quickly and were subject to an electronic word judge program called Zyzzyva to make decisions fairly.

For participants who were uninterested in Scrabble, there was a wide selection of other word games to choose from, including Upwords, Boggle, Apples to Apples, Bananagrams, and Sentence Cubes.

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While the Scrabble Night event was offered as a way to engage the community in fun literacy activities, there was also plenty of time for reflection on the impact of literacy in every day life. Volunteers and literacy advocates in the community shared why literacy was important to them by writing responses on a dry erase board.

Literacy is Important to Me Because…

DSC_0612The Student Coalition for Action in Literacy Education (SCALE) collected responses like the one pictured as part of a social media campaign for National Literacy Action Week. Individuals could submit their pictures for a chance to win a free t-shirt and other prizes over the course of the week. SCALE also offered two free webinars: “Why Literacy Matters” and “Race Based Conversations with Kids Matter”.

Words (and Photos) with Friends

For more photos of Scrabble Night, scroll through our image gallery below or share your own on our Facebook page!

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Literacy Council Corporate Partners share “An Hour with Author Wayne Caldwell”

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Author Wayne Caldwell keynoted an event for the Literacy Council's Corporate Partners Monday, Jan. 23, 2017

Locally acclaimed author Wayne Caldwell keynoted an event for the Literacy Council’s Corporate Partners Monday, Jan. 23 aimed to both inspire new strategies for working together and provide a special experience for current partners. 

Wayne Caldwell’s Teachers Inspired His Craft

Caldwell spoke about the early influences that provided him the impetus to not only learn to read, but to read great works of literature. These influences included his adoptive mother and many teachers in the Enka community. A high school teacher even encouraged him to “write the Great American novel.” Caldwell knows that she would be proud, as his novel, Cataloochee, is a 2013 James Still Award winner and a Southern Independent Bestseller Award winner. Caldwell attributed his success to the encouragement he received throughout his childhood.

The Literacy Council Can Support Local Businesses

Robert Foster, of Biltmore Farms Hotels, presented about how his company has partnered with the Literacy Council for the past two years. During this time, the Literacy Council has provided English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) classes at the DoubleTree Biltmore hotel for housekeeping employees. Robert shared stories of employees who had previously declined offers to move into higher positions because they were not confident enough in their English language skills. After spending time in ESOL classes, Robert now found the same employees approaching him more confidently and asking for new positions, in English! He found a way to encourage these employees to take the classes by lightening their workload the day they have class and providing lunch during class. Robert says he has seen such a benefit to his business that he plans to expand the program to other Biltmore Farms Hotels.

How Your Business Can Partner with the Literacy Council

A partnership between a corporation and the Literacy Council can be a critical step toward improving basic literacy and English language skills for employees or other contacts, which in turn improves employee retention, productivity, and promotability. Ultimately, adults with increased literacy and English language skills positively impact our local workforce, economy, and community.

To learn more about starting an on-site class or referring an employee in need of assistance, contact Ashley@litcouncil.com.

To learn more about how to support with the Literacy Council through your business, click here.

Special thanks to Malaprop’s Bookstore, Asheville Area Chamber of Commerce, Lenior Rhine University, Sierra Nevada, and Biltmore Wines for contributing to the event.

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The 26th Annual Spelling Bee Team Registration Open Now!

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Calling all bibliophiles, word-nerds, and linguists…
The Spelling Bee is back for its 26th year!

Save the Date

salvagestation-logoThe 26th Annual Spelling Bee benefiting the Literacy Council of Buncombe County will be held Wednesday April 5, 2017 at The Salvage Station, 6-9pm 

Recruit two friends to complete your team and sign up to compete in the most spirited and outrageous word challenge of your lives. Choose your teammates carefully — they must have both spelling and concentration skills in order to disregard the pandemonium caused by a costumed, cheering audience.

How does it work?

  • Recruit two friends and register your team by calling 828-254-3442 or emailing luann@litcouncil.com. Once you register, you’ll get a team packet that includes event rules, study materials, and fundraising suggestions
  • Choose your team name and plan costumes (optional, but there are prizes for best costume!)
  • Study the word list provided
  • Raise funds online or make a personal donation to cover your team’s entry fee 
  • Encourage your own personal cheering squad to come and support your team

Why participate?

  • It’s fun! Unleash your inner geek and join us for a zany, raucous good time
  • With comedian David Ostergaard as the emcee, you’ll be laughing the entire evening
  • You can cheat! Teams that raise funds over the entry fee can pilfer another team’s word or purchase clues
  • The top finishers win generous prizes, but no one walks away empty-handed. Every speller receives a prize
  • Your team could be crowned “Best Spellers in Buncombe County!”

How much does it cost?

Teams contribute a collective $250 to participate. Most of our teams raise this amount (and more) through friends, coworkers, family members, and others. We will provide access to CrowdRise, a fun and easy-to-use fundraising web site. Even little donations add up to a cheat-worthy stash! We can also offer some pointers on using social media to reach more people who want to support literacy. You have until the day of the event to raise the funds.

Who is involved?

The Spelling Bee committee is hard at work with the Literacy Council’s staff, planning an unBEElievable event. This year’s volunteer committee is being spearheaded by celebrity restaurateur Joe Scully, 2016 Top Fundraiser Katherine Cross, former speller Lauren Harr and more. 

Let’s get serious for a moment.

The Literacy Council of Buncombe County works to increase comprehensive literacy and English language skills through specialized instruction by trained tutors and access to literacy resources. In 2015/16, 200 volunteer tutors gave over 14,000 hours of direct literacy tutoring to 350 students. We work with both native and non-native English speakers to help improve job prospects, ensure parents can help their children in school, and give students support as they enroll in a GED program. The gift of literacy is truly transformative. Our students gain self-confidence and develop the self-sufficiency to improve their lives as individuals, parents, workers, and citizens. As always, proceeds from the Spelling Bee benefit the work of the Literacy Council of Buncombe County.

Are you eager to compete?

We will limit the competition to 15 teams, so be sure to reserve your spot by contacting LuAnn today.

Email luann@litcouncil.com or call 828-254-3442 ext. 206

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Make a Difference Day

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In honor of Make a Difference Day, the Literacy Council of Buncombe County partnered with the Leicester Community Center to provide a wide selection of free books to community members living in rural areas. Participants were able to take home as many books as they wanted, with options that included board books for toddlers, early readers, chapter books, and even bestselling paperbacks for adults! 

mannaThe books were an addition to the free produce and perishable items that are offered at the Leicester Community Center on the third Tuesday of each month as part of MANNA’s Food Distribution initiative. MANNA provides goods such as bread, bakery items, and seasonal produce. This month lots of butternut squash, spaghetti squash, and root vegetables lined the tables.

For more information on food distribution or services offered at the Leicester Community Center, please contact them at:

Leicester Community Center
PO Box 1518
2979 New Leicester Highway
Leicester, NC 28748
828-774-3000
http://www.leicestercommunitycenter.com/home 

Make a Difference Day is an event that began in 1992 as an idea for a national day of service and has since transformed into one of the largest, annual, single days of service nationwide! With the intent of showing that anyone, regardless of background, is able to make on impact on their community, Make a Difference Day has resulted in thousands of projects taking place on the fourth Saturday of October each year. 

Many national projects have focused on pressing global issues, such as:

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  • Disaster Relief
  • Disability
  • Domestic Abuse
  • Education/tutoring/mentoring 
  • Unemployment
  • Environment
  • Healthcare
  • Homelessness
  • Housing 
  • Hunger
  • Poverty

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