The Bookman

On Friday, the Greater San Diego Reading Association ( had their annual Recognition Dinner. GSDRA honors teachers and literacy leaders from throughout San Diego City and County at the event. I was honored to present four of the Celebrate Literacy Awards.

The Celebrate Literacy Award recognizes organizations, institutions, and individuals making significant literacy contributions at the local or state level.

I met the Bookman!

Irwin Herman retired in 1988, but he found a new vision and gave us “The Bookman,” a wordwide charitable organization based in San Diego. It started one day when Irwin went with a friend who does outreach visits in local jails. He learned the inmates needed books. He gave some books and noticed how grateful they were.

An idea sprouted. Now Bookman organization provides books for free to anyone who asks. Can you imagine having such a vision? The bookman warehouse contains over 50,000 books with a daily turnover of 2000-3000 books. He enlists the help of Lenny the Elf (aka Leonard Pearlman) and other faithful elves including Tony Ross, a retired publishing executive, and Don Schultz, a retired bookstore owner.

The bookman’s motto is ”Providing books to anyone who wants to read and learn.” Please visit their website at to learn more about this fabulous project.

The bookman has given away an estimated 8 million free books to people in San Diego, every state, and seventy countries.