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.

Friday, September 5, 2014

Back to bookselling

Dear Annie,

I love visualizing you five in a house -- with stairs! -- snuggled together reading ancient tales.  We carry both of those chatty Greek mythology series.  I prefer Myth-O-Mania too, but The Goddess Girls sell more.  Holub and Williams have also written a slightly younger series called Heroes in Training, with titles like Zeus and the Thunderbolt of Doom, and Poseidon and the Sea of Fury.  It does similar messing with the mythology in cute fashion.

I got back from Maine at the start of the week.  The book section was in more than the usual chaos: the young woman we had trained to look after it while I was away left for another job two weeks ago.  (Life in retail).  So I've been digging out from a certain amount of chaos while the new fall books are already arriving.  Lots of good ones, which I'll be writing about soon.

Today, though, was a day that made me happy.  Fridays are always fairly busy, and I had my hands full.  Several of my favorite grandparents showed up -- two of them had vacationed (separately) in Alaska; all had tales of summer ups and downs.  The man who has been so delighted anticipating and then greeting his first grandchild came in looking for a book for another child, a kindergartner in a Spanish immersion school in the midwest, whose parents don't speak Spanish.  He ended up with an Elephant and Piggie, and the bilingual version of
Nuestro Autobus/The Bus for Us
by Suzanne Bloom.  I also encouraged him to find Emily's splendid post about reading to infants.

A wonderful retired school librarian wanted a board book for an energetic one year-old who wasn't into sitting quietly with books.  She ended up with a book with holes in the pages that are good for grabbing:
Who Do I See?
by Salina Yoon.

A mom needing gifts for a third grade book exchange birthday party -- and who wanted hardcovers -- took Odd and the Frost Giants  and Fortunately the Milk, both by Neil Gaiman.

A mom who I met years ago when she became the stepmother of a friend of Lizzie's came in with her 10 year-old son -- they're just back from living two years overseas.  They left with a Calvin and Hobbes book.

I played what's-that-book with a fourth grader: she couldn't remember the name of a funny series about a brother and sister who are magicked into different fairy tales.  I tried a couple of series: A Tale Dark and Grimm has a brother and sister, but wasn't it (probably a little too dark for her taste); The Sisters Grimm doesn't have a brother in it.  Then it hit me: a couple of times in the past few months I've been asked for the Whatever After series by Sarah Mlynowski, which we don't carry.  That was it: she'd read
Dream On
, about Sleeping Beauty.  So I special ordered a couple of other titles for her, and ordered one of each book for the store.  I've heard enough about the series that it's worth giving it a try.  Another case of a customer turning us on to books worth carrying.

A box of special orders which I'd been told wouldn't arrive until Monday popped up in the middle of the afternoon, complete with What to Do When You Worry Too Much.  I called the mom who'd ordered it and she showed up right away, relieved to have the weekend to read it with her child.

And somewhere in that busy day three of us at the store spent a total of maybe an hour and a half interviewing a candidate for a job which would include doing a lot of work in the book section.  A very likable person, knowledgeable about kids' books -- she even volunteered (with no prompting) that she can't stand the Berenstain Bears. A woman after my own heart.

Other folks showed up all day long, with other questions to make me think.  At the end of a day like this, I go home knowing that I've supplied a fair number of kids with the experience of opening up a book they haven't seen before.  It's very satisfying.



No comments:

Post a Comment