Build 2 libraries, win a HTC smartphone & a literary agent’s critique of your masterpiece

Donate $10 through Passports With Purpose and you will be entered to win a HTC 7 Surround smartphone and 50-page manuscript or proposal critique and a follow-up phone call with literary agent Jon Sternfeld of the Irene Goodman Literary Agency.

Books Matter

I have 30 books in one arm and my two-year-old daughter, who is wearing her princess frog pajamas, in the other.

This is our morning routine. We get up. We read. She’ll “read” to herself and then she’ll have Annie or myself read to her. She must read 40 books a day.

A 2010 study published in “Research in Social Stratification and Mobility journal” highlighted the importance of books in the home:

Growing up in a home with 500 or more books offers a child the same advantage as “having university-educated rather than unschooled parents, and twice the advantage of having a professional rather than an unskilled father.” Even with as few as 25 books in the home, a child, on average, will complete two more years of education than a child growing up in a home with no books. (Via Today’s Zaman)

We have books coming out of our books. We also visit the library a few times per month. And while our little reader-in-training will likely be reading on her own in the next year or two, many children around the world aren’t so lucky.

In Zambia 46% of women will never learn to read or write.

Room to Read is helping change that. Room to Read has opened 12,000 libraries around the world. That’s five times more libraries than philanthropist Andrew Carnegie opened. Room to Read just doesn’t build libraries and fill them with books. They also find local talent to translate and illustrate books. They give people jobs and skills that will serve them the rest of their lives.

From Nicholas Kristof’s recent column on Room to Read:

“There are no books for kids in some languages, so we had to become a self-publisher,” [John] Wood [founder of Room to Read] explains. “We’re trying to find the Dr. Seuss of Cambodia.” Room to Read has, so far, published 591 titles in languages including Khmer, Nepalese, Zulu, Lao, Xhosa, Chhattisgarhi, Tharu, Tsonga, Garhwali and Bundeli.

I’m thrilled to announce that I’m participating in Passports with Purpose’s efforts to raise $80,000 for Room to Read to build two libraries in Zambia.

Books, like travel, can change your life forever. Both can take you to distant realms, forgotten times, and introduce you to a new way of seeing the world and yourself.

Readers and travelers give sh!t!

The Goods

Each year Passports with Purpose gathers travel bloggers to raise money for a cause. Donors give $10 to be entered into a raffle to win a host of prizes, including trips, gadgets, and gift cards. The more you enter the better your chances are. And if you don’t win, at least you gave to a great cause.

Bing Travel has provided me with an ultra-sweet prize to give away – a HTC 7 Surround smartphone. Remember those boom boxes that break dancers shouldered back in the day?  The HTC 7 Surround is like that except it fits in your pocket. Finally a phone with real external speakers!

But wait, there’s more!!!

I also want to give all of you writers out there a good reason to put your shiny new phone to use, and I can’t think of a better way to do that than for you to talk with a literary agent about your in-progress masterpiece.  My agent Jon Sternfeld will read 50 pages of your manuscript or proposal, give feedback, and then chat with you about it.

The Phone

The HTC 7 Surround retails for $499. The winner will be responsible for all charges related to activation with AT&T, carrier contract and data services. (US only).

The Agent

Jon Sternfeld is a voracious reader and admitted book nut. He is looking for literary fiction (including well-researched dramas and historical thrillers) and narrative non-fiction that deals with historical, social, or cultural issues a la Erik Larsen, Mary Roach or Eric Weiner. He has a particular interest in fiction that has a large, ambitious canvas (exploring a time, place, or culture) and non-fiction that does the same.

A former creative writing and literature teacher, Jon Sternfeld is a book lover, first and foremost; he views agenting as an extension of this passion. Always up for an adventure, Jon once canoed the entire length of the Mississippi River and sold a new author for a hefty six figures–but not in the same week.

Enter now! Enter often!


Let your voice be heard!