Blair Prepares for World Book Night by Shannon Pierce


An excited recipient from World Book Night 2012

This Tuesday, April 23, is the second annual World Book Night U.S. and Blair could not be more excited to be participating! Individual and groups of volunteers will head out into their communities armed with books and a passion to spread the love of reading.

April 23 was chosen for World Book Night as it corresponds with the UNESCO International Day of the Book, Shakespeare’s birthday, and the anniversary of Miguel de Cervantes’ death. Blair was thrilled to be a part of the initiative last year and we are eager to get out there again.


North Carolina rocks World Book Night.

Blair staffers aren’t the only North Carolinians who will be putting books into the hands of unlikely readers. The North Carolina Triangle area is the 7th top region in the country by givers per capita. Way to go North Carolina!


Our books are ready and waiting for eager readers!

This year Blair staff members will be handing out copies of Fahrenheit 451 in front of the BB&T Ballpark before the Winston-Salem Dash baseball game. Check back with us here to hear how it goes!


Blair Books in Action (or How Blair Books Saved My Relationship) by Shannon Pierce

Travis and me in front of the Biltmore House

Travis and me in front of the Biltmore House

I am a North Carolina newbie. I moved down here from the D.C. area with my boyfriend, Travis, a few months ago, and I am truly enjoying living in Winston-Salem and working at Blair. But I didn’t start out that way.

Winston-Salem is about a six-hour drive from D.C., and neither Travis nor I was at all familiar with the area or with North Carolina in general. Travis came down a couple of months earlier than I did, and on my visits prior to my own move, he would take me to Winston-Salem attractions, such as Old Salem, Salem Lake, and local hiking trails. I was disappointed to be leaving Northern Virginia, but all of my trips to N.C. were fun, so I was eager and hopeful about the change.

travis hiking

Travis hiking

But then I got down here, and Travis dropped the ball. He stopped trying to find fun things for us to do, since he no longer had to sell me on it: I was here. And rather than take any responsibility for the situation or make the effort to entertain myself, I wallowed in my resentment. HE had made this decision for us, and it was up to HIM to make me like it.

Except, of course, it wasn’t.

Me hiking

Me hiking

Fortunately, during this time, one of my first tasks at work was to check e-book conversions of Blair’s backlist titles. I skimmed through a wide offering of books devoted to highlighting attractions and activities in North Carolina and the South in general. Confronted daily with all that the region has to offer, I was robbed of my excuses for complaining. If I chose to be discontent, it was my own fault for not taking advantage of the opportunities around me.

So Travis and I started doing the things suggested in Blair books. We went hiking (Hiking North Carolina’s Lookout Towers), we tried new restaurants and recipes (Well, Shut My Mouth: The Sweet Potatoes Restaurant Cookbook), and we checked out the local museums (North Carolina Weekends). With so many excursions to look forward to, I was far too busy to bemoan the losses I had supposed I suffered.

Travis approves of Blair books at Biltmore.

Travis approves of Blair books at Biltmore.

Last weekend, we took the recommendation to visit the Biltmore Estate from Travel North Carolina. I had only heard vaguely of Biltmore, associating the name with expensive hotels. I did not know that it is actually the largest private residence in America, open for visitors, and completely amazing. We ended up spending a total of seven hours within the estate grounds and had not exhausted all of its possibilities. It is definitely worth checking out.

Travis in the Biltmore gardens

Travis in the Biltmore gardens

My original aim for this blog was to focus on our trip to Biltmore, but when I examined the true nature of how Travis and I have put Blair books into action, I realized that it has been much bigger than any one trip or outing. Blair books opened up the possibilities of my new home to me and even made me like it. They not only saved my relationship, but they saved me from myself.

Me in the back of Biltmore

Me in the back of Biltmore

Look for another installment of Blair Books in Action next week!

“Un-bee-lievable!!” by Shannon Pierce

Woody Durham Cover and Author Shot

Tomorrow, March 2, marks the 39th anniversary of one of the greatest comebacks in college basketball history. On this day in 1974, the UNC Tar Heels made up a difference of eight points within the last 17 seconds of the game to forge a tie with Duke. Coach Dean Smith then led the team to victory in the overtime. Hear announcer Woody Durham and other members of the Tar Heel community talk about that memorable feat here:

Pick up a copy of Woody Durham: A Tar Heel Voice to learn about more great North Carolina basketball moments from a man who witnessed them all.  Rah, rah, rah!

The Book That Smacked Me Upside the Head | A Guest Blog Post by Shannon Pierce, Sales & Marketing Intern at Blair

Shannon and AnimalsNote: Shannon Pierce is the new Sales & Marketing Intern at Blair. She has an MA in Language and Communication and attended the Denver Publishing Institute in 2012. She enjoys baking, learning about her new home in North Carolina, and playing with her niece and nephew. 

I started teaching preschool four years ago in a class of two- and three-year-olds. If we managed to get all 18 seated attentively, one of my go-to story time books was Bill Martin Jr. and Eric Carle’s Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?

But the book’s formatting drove me crazy. Each two-page spread features the illustration of an animal in the book’s series of animals. On the left side,Brown Bear the text addresses the illustrated animal with, for instance, “Brown bear, brown bear, what do you see?” On the right side, the text identifies the next animal in the series, “I see a red bird looking at me.” However, that animal will only be visible when you turn the page.

I never read the premature, in my opinion, description of the upcoming animal, instead allowing the class to yell out their own descriptions as it appeared (“I see a . . .”—page turn— “RED BIRD”). It was a simple fix and nicely interactive, but the fact that the layout was not designed with this type of reading aloud in mind always bothered me. Obviously I was right, and Eric Carle was wrong.

Then Brown Bear and I met under different circumstances as I was helping older kids practice their reading. All of a sudden, the formatting was perfect. The kids were challenged by trying to read the unillustrated text, and the corresponding image on the next page was an immediate correction or reinforcement. Basically the layout is brilliantly suited to literacy development.


Though embarrassed by how fervently I had misjudged the book, had I not been quite so irked by Brown Bear I would not have had the now obvious realization that a lot of interesting decisions go into the production of a book. And maybe Eric Carle knows what he’s doing.

Look for another installment of The Book That Smacked Me Upside the Head next week!