Saturday, January 21, 2012

A Dispatch from the Kids' Section

Today's post comes from Ashley, with some thoughts on young adult recommendations, the joy of discovery, and that of sharing in it.

so the other night it was a little on the quiet side in the bookstore, and i was merrily working on the mezzanine shelving and rearranging the kids and young adult book sections. there were two other people on the mezzanine with me, a woman with her middle-grade school age son. they were chatting about books that he has read, liked and disliked, and how his mother was willing to get him something new if he could find something that interested him. of course, i politely interjected that i could give some suggestions if they wanted. after all, i may be a bit older, but spending pretty much full-time elbows deep in that section i have a fairly good idea of what the kids these days are into. it’s like that saying: “never trust a skinny chef.” i also happen to have my master’s degree in children’s book illustration from a certain university in the city, so i like to think that helps a little bit as well. as we started chatting, he mentioned that he liked steampunk stories like Leviathan by Scott Westerfield, so i suggested Candleman by Glenn Dakin. when he brought up Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins, i suggested he take a look at The Unwanteds by Lisa Mcmann. now, you may be thinking right now, “well, he was just being a bookseller that evening.” no, there was more to it than that. after they left i remembered when i was younger and how my mom would take me to the bookstore and offer to buy me whatever caught my eye. how she always payed close attention to my rambling accounts of the science fiction storylines. how she expressed genuine interest in the robot and alien characters that i was so absorbed with. and how i couldn’t get myself out to the car and buckle myself in fast enough when she asked if i wanted to go to the bookstore to get a new book. i will never be able to thank my mom for those special times that we had together, but watching those two leave the store, books in hand, excitedly reading the descriptions from the dust jackets, sharing a moment, however brief and seemingly inconsequential, just, you know, you don’t see that too often these days. but how those moments and memories stick with you after so many years.

1 comment:

CLH said...

Thanks for writing abt this so beautifully . . . It's really true, how these "little" things become very big & lasting memories. It can't be a coincidence, either (can it?), that kids are particularly drawn to quest narratives, and there's something about getting to the bookstore, discovering & choosing your next book/clue/adventure/talisman (and being assisted somehow in that), and then departing, all have real significance.