I have known since I read his first adventure in 2015 that Pajama Night needed Mother Bruce. It must be. It was destined to be. And in 2019 it was!
Mallett School’s Prime Time Reading, aka Pajama Night, is still, for 13 years running now, my favorite event of the year. How could it not be? After all, it has some of the best ingredients an event could have: a shared love of reading, widespread community support and partnerships, great authors, a great crowd, amazing decorations, and pajamas.
“My son is in 8th grade, and he needs to read that one book. CAUTIOUS AFTER DARK? I think that’s it. But you can check your computer. He’s in Mr. Teeter’s Gifted and Talented English class. Do you have it in paperback?”
“Hmmmmm…. I’m not sure what the classroom reading assignments are in every school right now, but maybe I can help. Would you like to text your son quickly to check, and I’ll look up that title…. ”
As I returned to the register to type, my staffer quietly walked over to the young adult section, slid a copy of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon from the shelf and placed it next to me on the counter. (“It’s OK,” she murmured. “We had another one from that class yesterday, and they wanted the “Dog Man at Night.” It took us a minute to figure out that 8th graders were not assigned Dav Pilkey graphics.”)\
Well, that title got your attention, didn’t it? Me, too. That imaginary half-asleep visual made me sit suddenly upright in bed one night this week, during those predawn hours when shopkeepers toss and turn, as the myriad of details and responsibilities and events and tasks mount in the 4th quarter, and each day we worry and wonder if we’re doing all the right things. And so our incredibly stretched brains work a little overtime, and process our anxiety through a series of strange dreams. This week, I dreamed that there were a family of snakes living behind and in the huge stacks of boxes in our storage room, peeking their little heads out unexpectedly when I moved around the baby toys, looking for that stack of Who Was? paperback overstock.
Of course, my brain was telling me that I’m anxious about all those boxes of merchandise, and perhaps advising a slowdown on the roller coaster of ordering new stock. Sadly, though, this dream will be followed by another in a few days, in which I step into our stock room only to fall into a giant abyss, falling down, down, down like Alice, with no White Rabbit to save me. That’s the dream of “you don’t have enough stuff!” and the fear of empty shelves, big title shortages, and the customer who remarks to her friend that they should “just head to Target, because this store is too picked over.”
Last week Mervyn, DDG’s Octopus oracle, delivered his predictions as to which titles would sell strongly during Downtown Farmington’s Early Bird sale. It is time now for us to do some fact checking.
The Early Bird started out with the usual spectacle of long, pre-dawn lines outside the downtown’s three story anchor store, Reny’s, whose well earned slogan is “Maine’s Shopping Adventure.” The Early Bird Sale involves all the downtown stores offering specials from 6 a.m. to 9 a.m. Reny’s offers time-sensitive specials. This means deeper discounts between 6:00-7:00, creating a bit of a stampede when the opening bells go off, as you can see in the photo.
A massive signing operation!
At the beginning of Tuesday night’s Wrecking Ball
release event, Jeff Kinney said that after 14 years of straightforward tours, he wanted to mix it up—and that’s exactly what he did. The show pulled out all the stops and more—raising the bar for interactive, kid-oriented fun that rewards longtime super-fans and newcomers alike. With a set that took a full afternoon to set up, a wheel of activities to drive the action, and plenty of goofy, unpretentious fun, the 2200 people in the audience were in for a rollicking ride. Continue reading
It looks like a new-baby book. And it IS a new-baby book, but it’s also so much more. Kyle Lukoff’s picture book, When Aidan Became a Brother (fabulously illustrated by Kaylani Juanita and published by Lee & Low), takes on—in the most clear, lovely, and warm way—the desire for families to unlearn gender assumptions, especially when a new baby arrives.
The story begins with Aidan, who, when he was born, was assumed to be a girl. His room was decorated the way girls often liked their rooms decorated; his clothes were the kinds of clothes many girls liked wearing. But Aidan was a boy, and after realizing it, Aidan and his parents set about to fix the parts of Aidan’s life that didn’t work anymore. Boom! Not a big deal, just a process. The simplicity and caring of this opening slays me; it’s like reading the first lesbian YA novel that didn’t end in tragedy. You mean, gender coming-out, too, can be a joyful and textured experience for a kid? Hooray!! Continue reading
We were unusually well-staffed at the store this weekend, so I volunteered to take the cash-and-wrap spot behind the register for the entire open-to-close shift. I twisted a knee this week (not doing anything remotely athletic, I just tripped over a snoozing bulldog) and thought that if I could just stay put in one spot, perhaps propping my foot up behind me on a step stool in a modified flamingo pose, I could make it through the day at work and still be helpful. My ever-energetic 4 Kids crew could cover the floor and more active duties, and I would just scan items at the register, swipe credit cards and answer questions. It sounds easy, right?
As the weather in Austin turns suddenly autumnal, all our kids’ thoughts turn naturally to CANDY! Yes, the adorably costumed, greedy hordes will be out in force tonight, armed with soon-to-be weighted bags and buckets. At BookPeople, we have been known to indulge in a little candy (and will have plenty onhand for our Halloween costume party with Eva Chen tonight!), but we also think that books make the very best treats. Wednesday morning we hosted our annual Halloween trick-or-treat-for-books storytime and costume parade. Donning my witch’s hat and giving out books to eager pandas and scarecrows, cats and bats, dinosaurs and superheroes, princesses and aviators is one of my favorite times of the year, and in honor of the holiday (and all our staff members who dressed up), I wanted to share just a few of our favorite moments with you!