It seems only right on Thanksgiving to focus on things that, well, I’m thankful for. Here then is a short list:
I’m thankful that kids today are growing up with a vast treasure trove of reading material at their fingertips, in their ears, up the wazoo. It’s true that I think there is a lot of inconsequential "fluff" that’s being published nowadays, but there is a lot of truly fantastic stuff rolling off those presses too.
I’m thankful for authors and illustrators who conjure images and ideas that make my jaw drop or make me shake my head in wonder or just make me smile. It is a JOY to read books that elicit these responses. And a joy to respond these ways as often as I do.
I’m thankful for talented editors and visionary art directors and smart book designers and all the other skilled people who work their behind-the-scenes magic to turn collections of words and pictures into wonderfully convenient, sometimes life-changing things called "books." Just because we readers don’t see you people doing your work or see your names on the colophon doesn’t mean we don’t appreciate what you do. We can tell when books lack your insight and influence. (Oh BOY can we ever tell!!)
I’m thankful for the incredible number of people I’ve met in the children’s book world (and the book world at large) who impress me not just with their intelligence, but with their generosity of spirit. I’m bowled over by the number of truly NICE, interesting, entertaining people who work in this business, and I’m forever meeting new folks who belong to those ranks.
I’m thankful to be part of a staff of fantastic booksellers who will pitch in and do anything required in order to get the job done, make our store better, make our customers happy. There is no substitute for working with people you respect, admire and enjoy, and I feel all of these things for my coworkers at Wellesley Booksmith. They’re the reason I’ve been with this same store for almost eight years.
I’m thankful, too, that I feel the same way about the hard-working men and women in the larger community of booksellers that I’m blessed to be part of. The booksellers I’ve come to know through NEIBA, NECBA, and ABC are quick to lend a hand, give advice, grant support, and provide one another with entertainment. It’s incredibly comforting to know that your work is being cheered on and supported by a network of like-minded, similarly employed people throughout the country, or even the world.
I’m thankful that there are so many book-buying customers who actually make retail ENJOYABLE. Can you imagine such a thing? I can because I see customers like this every day. (All booksellers do, or our jobs would be misery!) Good, enthusiastic, supportive customers are our bread and butter. But they’re also our cake and ice cream. Our wine and cheese. Our sustenance and our pleasure.
Finally, I’m thankful that so many of you are reading this. Right now. And that so many of you have become regular ShelfTalker readers, though for the most part I don’t know who you are or where you are or what it is that you enjoy most about it. I’m content to remain in the dark about these things, so long as you continue reading. And posting great comments. And occasionally stating things that make me spew tea across my computer keyboard.
Thanks especially for those moments.