Comedian Amy Poehler might seem an odd choice for this year's honorary chairperson of World Book Night on April 23 — previous chairs were authors Ann Patchett, James Patterson and Anna Quindlen — but World Book Night executive director Carl Lennertz calls it "a happy, happy event."
Poehler is best known as a star of the comedy TV series "Parks and Recreation," but she says that she has always been a reader. World Book Night is a spring ritual, now in its third year, during which 25,000 volunteers across the United States hand out books at random. Common Good Books in St. Paul will host a reception for local givers at 7 p.m. April 16 with Peter Geye, whose book "The Lighthouse Road" is a World Book Night title. The store will also have extra books for last-minute book-givers.
• Minneapolis poet Dore Kiesselbach is the 2014 winner of the Robert H. Winner Memorial Award of the Poetry Society of America, which goes to a poet in midcareer. Kiesselbach's work has also been awarded the Agnes Lynch Starrett Prize and the Bridport Prize.
• "Unforgettable," a collection of short stories by Paulette Bates Alden, has been published by Radiator Press. One of the stories was chosen as the Minnesota Center for Book Arts' 1993 Winter Book. Alden is also the author of the memoir "Crossing the Moon" and many other books.
• "The Forgotten Rabbit," by Nancy Furstinger and Nancy Lane, has been published by Gryphon Press in Minneapolis. The sweet picture book tells the story of Bella, a baby rabbit who is given to a girl as an Easter present and who ends up neglected and forgotten. (There is a happy ending.) Publisher Emilie Buchwald hopes the book will make "even a small dent" in the impulse purchase of rabbits at Easter.
• Poet and writer Gerald Vizenor has two new books out with Wesleyan University Press. "Favor of Crows: New and Collected Haiku," and "Blue Ravens," a historical novel, were both published in February. Vizenor, professor emeritus of American Studies at the University of California, Berkeley, is a citizen of the White Earth Nation in Minnesota. He will read at 7 p.m. on May 1 at SubText Bookstore in St. Paul.
• Michael Hall's new picture book, "It's an Orange Aardvark!," has been selected for Barnes & Noble's national story time; it will be read to children at Barnes & Noble stores across the country on April 24. Hall will launch the book at 11 a.m. that day at the Barnes & Noble in Har Mar Mall. He has many other events scheduled, including a party at Red Balloon at 10:30 a.m. April 26.