OK, I know it was only the second one. But when I stood at the back of my hometown Watchung booksellers, and saw the children’s room packed wall-to-wall, I felt like I was part of something…magic. The enthusiasm of the storyteller who was reading winter-themed stories was magnetic. “All around the country, kids are going into bookstores today!” she said. “And I’m so happy you all came here to be with us.”
I was, too.
At last count, over 255 bookstores participated in Take Your Child to a Bookstore Day today. They’re from all 50 states and four Canadian provinces. Plus England and Australia. And 7000 people (!) visited the website. A comment on a blog asked if Malaysia should get involved. Please do! Wow–what if the Day could be a global phenomenon??
Most of you probably know that I am a big-time print book lover. In fact, it wouldn’t be offensive to call me a Luddite, so non-gadget-y am I. I don’t have a cell phone. The other day I actually went into a store and bought floppy disks for the non-internet-enabled machine I write novels on. (That’s right. No USB port either. )
But I certainly don’t begrudge any e reader lover his device. If you love yours, that’s great–variety is the spice of life. And cutting down on printed textbooks, say, which require new editions before the ink is hardly dry on the first, is certainly a great application of the technology. I even hear there are some folks who prefer a Nook to lugging fifty pounds of books on an airplane. Go figure.
But from the groundswell behind TYCBD it seems that we haven’t heard as much from the people who cherish bookstores and want to pass on to kids a place that brings back fond recollections and current pleasures. That as technology continues to surge forward, there’s a hefty slice of people who like tactile, olfactory pages, human interaction, and the variety inherent in every bookstore across this great country of ours. That’s what TYCBD is all about.
And I have another goal for next year’s Day.
I would like to be able to offer small grants to children, or possibly classes, who cannot experience the joy of a bookstore for financial or logistical reasons. The grants would include a gift card from a participating bookstore, transportation to that store, and lunch out. I think that this kind of Day could make a pivotal difference in a child’s life–something that says, You are special, and here’s a special place to find out more about yourself, and put yourself back into.
If anyone is interested in getting involved with this next chapter of Take Your Child to a Bookstore Day, please come find me on FB or email me or leave a comment right here. And I do hope your Day today included a treasure or two!
Thank you, everybody, who has made this holiday what it is. Happy Take Your Child to a Bookstore Day!