Monday, November 4, 2013

Everything's early this year. Even the "what I'm thankful for" list.

The calendar looks pretty crowded over the next month or two (and, if my crystal ball is working correctly, so does the store). Before one of my favorite holidays gets lost in the tinsely, candle-y, snowy shuffle, I thought I'd give Thanksgiving its due with a traditional (well, traditional except it's on a blog) list of things I'm thankful for. (Things for which I'm thankful? I'm thankful that grammatical rule has relaxed a bit.)

Shockingly, I'm thankful for children's books. I'm thankful for the classics that get grown-up customers squealing, "Oh, The Very Hungry Caterpillar!... You don't understand. This was my childhood." I'm thankful for the titles that bring out friends' concern for each other: "You've never read The Phantom Tollbooth? What kind of deprived childhood did you have?" And I'm thankful that great new stuff is coming out constantly, especially this time of year. (New Wimpy Kid tomorrow, guys!)

I'm thankful for the kids: the ones who eat up books so fast their parents complain about it, the ones who are still discovering that reading can be about pretty much anything, the ones who know better than I do when the next book in their favorite series is coming out and will happily tell you every detail in the first twenty-six books. (I was a Baby-sitters Club fan. I get it.)

I'm thankful for the parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and assorted other acquaintances who want to share their childhood favorites, or are willing to try anything - anything - to get Junior interested in reading, or who get that yes, it's worth coming in on a Tuesday morning to get House of Hades or Allegiant hot off the presses.

I'm thankful for the best darn teammates in kids' books. These ladies do it all. They shelve and restock and cancel, they sort overstock, they pick up the dozens of Clifford books that get pulled out of the spinner and then do it again with Caillou books. They keep up with what's coming out, they read read read, and if there's anyone who knows how to communicate enthusiasm so customers understand just how much they need a book, it's Amy and Clarissa. All that, and they keep smiling and nodding at my favorite rants, never indicating that they've heard my thoughts on books with "for boys" and "for girls" in their titles once or twice before.

I'm thankful for the rest of the Booksmith team, too. These people understand that kids' books are a complex subject worth knowing something about, and many are experts in their own right. They write staff recs for intermediate and YA titles. They listen to our suggestions of what they should buy for their nephews and what we should have in the store. They shrink-wrap.

As we plunge into the holidays, we're all going to feel a bit more rushed and do our best not to sound like it. But right now, while it's still possible to walk across the store to a computer and sit there long enough to write a few sentences (okay, so I started this at the register), I thought I'd say thanks.

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