Looking for a one-stop-shop gift that supports small biz and gives back to the community? The 2021 Rhody Reader Box checks all the boxes. The brainchild of Lisa Valentino, owner of Warren’s Ink Fish Books, the package contains gifts paired with a signed book by a local author, with a portion donated to a community-based nonprofit. Pawtucket-based Books are Wings, which collects and distributes books and school supplies to elementary school children throughout the state, has been selected as this box’s donation recipient.
The book that anchors the current bundle is Elizabeth B. Splaine’s historical fiction novel, Swan Song, a tale of love, loss, and perseverance during WWII. The Barrington-based author appreciates the local love she has received from Rhode Islanders after her last book, Devil’s Grace, was a hit. “I’m grateful for the warm reception my books continue to receive here, and I’m really proud to be part of the Ink Fish Books Rhody Reader Box,” says Splaine.
Valentino came up with the idea for the Rhody Reader Box at the height of the COVID pandemic when so many local businesses were struggling to stay afloat. “I realized that authors and makers alike were not getting as much exposure and highlighting them in this special curated box is a unique way to support and showcase talent in Rhode Island.”
The initiative is a team effort among the participating partners to get the selections just right. “The book box is an extension of my vision for Ink Fish Books, to showcase local authors and makers in the community,” says Valentino, her enthusiasm infectious. “We have amazing talent here in little Rhody and for me there is nothing more satisfying than shining a bright light on all of it.”
In addition to Splaine’s signed book, the box contains a small-batch soy wax candle made in Bristol by Juniper Hill Apothecary, chocolate from Cranston’s Aura’s Chocolate Bar, and a beaded bookmark handcrafted in Riverside. There’s also an “add-on” option (you’re gonna need a bigger box), and as a special bonus, everyone who purchases the Rhody Reader Box will be invited to an exclusive author event with Splaine and given access to the Swan Song playlist on Spotify. Last year’s book box, featuring Vanessa Lillie’s For the Best, was a huge success – and not just here in Rhode Island – packages were sent to 23 states.
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