In which Annie (high school teacher, mother of two young girls and a younger boy) and her aunt Deborah (children's bookseller, mother of two young women in their 20s) discuss children's books and come up with annotated lists.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Bookselling symbiosis

Dear Annie,

We had such a lovely time seeing you and the extended family over Thanksgiving!  A crowd of mostly-related-to-each-other people, mixed with a few newcomers from distant shores: it was excellent.

Your last post brought one of my regular customers into the store looking for Global Babies.  She got it, and another wonderful photo board book which is going to appear under your tree this Christmas: My Face Book. It's from Star Bright Books, publishers of Eating the Rainbow, and stands out for at least two excellent reasons.  First, it's the only book in this genre that I know with a majority of non-white faces.  And one of the smiling babies is a child with Down syndrome.

This time of year of course brings more people into the store, some of whom I see only once a year.  One of the things that gives the book section its character is the constant input from customers.  Some of the best and most off-the-radar books I carry were introduced to me by customers. 

Who Made This Cake?
This week, a woman came to the store looking for Who Made This Cake? by Chihiro Nakagawa.  I was unfamiliar with it and offered to special-order the book for her.  She described the delightful plot to me: a mother leaves various ingredients on a table and then leaves the house with her child.  About 100 tiny people swarm over a group of construction vehicles, fire them up, and create a cake.  They mix:
 They bake, then bring on the decorations:
And a helicopter adds the final touch:
The book ends with a family birthday celebration; the little people are nowhere to be seen.

I was entranced by her description.  She asked me to order it for her, and another mom who had been browsing piped up and asked me to get one for her too.  And of course I ordered a copy for the store.  It was a perfect example of how a neighborhood store and and the people who shop in it build something special.  Made me happy.



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