It was a beautifully fitting scene: four small flower girls, three ring-bearer boys, and one teenaged cousin all sitting around a wedding table, reading.
Fitting because the bride and groom are both writers and voracious readers. Fitting because the bride was our first Flying Pig employee, almost 15 years ago. Fitting because the bride—we will now refer to her by name, Emily—is her family’s resident “book aunt,” keeping the kids immersed in delicious treasures from past and present.
So how wonderful was it that, in the midst of wedding-planning insanity, Emily took the time to select a book for every child attending the ceremony and reception? While of course Josie and I were in on this little bookish surprise, it was still a delight to walk into the reception tent and see the kids’ table, bedecked with a present at each seat.
Such a generous impulse to give presents at one’s own wedding — and a smart one, to boot. Even though there were babysitters on duty and plenty of arts and crafts for the kids to do (and they did them, oh yes, they did), having books on hand was brilliant. On a hot day, when the adults were primarily interested in enjoying the ceremony and drinking cool beverages, and not as interested in being climbed upon by their adorable yet heat-radiating offspring, a book and a glass of lemonade were a perfect alternative to offer the kiddies.
In my toast to the happy (really, deliriously happy and perfectly suited!) couple, I got to hearken back to the first time I met Emily. She was about 25, plunked down in the middle-grade section of the Flying Pig, re-alphabetizing some of the books. Correctly. I loved her already, but the deal was cinched when she chimed in to a conversation I was having with an 11-year-old about books we loved. Emily clearly knew not only fabulous older classics like Gone-Away Lake and The Wolves of Willoughby Chase, but was also up on new titles. The alphabetizing carried a lot of weight, though. When I saw her slip a Betty MacDonald Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle volume into the right spot on the shelf, I said, “You’re hired.” She replied, “Don’t joke.” I said, “I’m not,” and our first hire was born.
In the toast, I also got to celebrate the fact that Emily recently sold her first children’s novel, which will come out in 2013 and BLOW YOU AWAY, as well as a collection of poetry (for adults, not kids). As we’ve long known, our Emily is not only a magical reader, but a magical writer, as well.
So here’s to the happy couple, their creative lives, their bookish generosity — and a brilliant idea for weddings everywhere!
Sea of Monsters
Lost Warrior (Warriors graphic novel)
Mysterious Benedict Society
Clarice Bean, Don’t Look Now
Shark vs. Train
School of Fear
Star Wars Mad Libs
Elephants Cannot Dance!