Joyous Thoughts

Josie Leavitt - December 22, 2009

As the year winds down, I can’t help think of just a few of the things that made me smile during the past year.

– My staff, who have been tireless workers this whole year, working extremely hard and recommending great books, even when facing daunting challenges of lack of information and time, and a constantly ringing phone.

– The great kids who come in eager to read, and requesting books even as young as two and a half. This little girl came right up to the counter, stood on tippy toes, head barely visible and asked in a loud, piping voice, "Do you have any books on moo-cows?" Well, everyone on staff practically leapt to help moo-cow girl, who left with a charming touch-and-feel book. It made me really happy that her dad was training her for a lifetime of being engaged in bookstores by making her ask for the moo-cow books, not just finding one for her. Okay, I have to admit, moo-cow is a really fun word to say, which is why I can’t stop repeating it.

– The customer from Albany, N.Y. (three hours away) who made me a scarf last week because I helped her find a book and complimented her on her beautiful scarf. Now I’ve got a stunning scarf to wear for the holidays, and a really sweet note.

– The woman who came in asking for the book that was in the window last year, who was patient enough to let us help actually find it for her. Hugs all around on that coup.

– The customer who just yesterday sent me a 16-month tea-cup piglet wall calendar. Adorable mini-piglets for more than a year. I can hardly stand it.

– The many children, boys and girls, young to teens, who have left the store hugging their book.

– One other thing that always makes smile are the many customers who surreptitiously sniff their books after they buy them.

– And lastly, the customers who come back to us and say how grateful they are that we’re in their families’ lives. This is why I love going to work every day. A book can make a huge difference in someone’s life: be it a moo-cow book, the breakthrough book for an emerging reader, the book that reminds teenagers it’s fun to read when they feel oppressed by schoolwork. It can be the book that is full of wonder, the great story they might not have picked up on their own, but the one that we enthusiastically told them they had to read.

So, enjoy the books you’ll get on Christmas morning and spend some quality time with your family, all cozy, all reading books.


12 thoughts on “Joyous Thoughts

  1. LM

    Thank you for your wonderful blog — I’ve really enjoyed reading it this year. I’m a reviewer who’s always had a hankering to be a bookseller, and you give a great picture of both the ups and the downs. Happy new year!

  2. Beth

    Made my day. I’ve so enjoyed reading this blog every day. You and Elizabeth are a joy because of your love of books. Thank you and Happy New Year!

  3. Vicki

    A true bibliophile doesn’t surreptitiously sniff–addicts like me actually open it up and breathe deeply, regardless of who is looking! (Oh, and I love moo-cows too, I’ll be saying it all day!)

  4. Michael

    Josie- as a fellow manager of a children’s bookstore, you just hit on why I think I have the best job in the world! I hope some day that I can visit your store. It sounds like it’s an amazing experience!

  5. Eva

    So many of the wonderful sentiments you express are true for public librarians as well – except that library patrons might well be advised NOT to sniff the books!

  6. T.A.

    The warm and fuzzy aspects of being a bookseller sound great! My athletic son (age 11) wrote two Christmas lists — the first one was just books. The second one was other stuff that he wanted AFTER we got him books. I love it.

  7. Donna S.

    Love your comments – you’ve captured the reasons why I can’t give up my p/t bookseller job, even though I have a f/t job that keeps me very busy! Those moo-cow kinds of kids make it worth our while (they grow up to be the book-sniffers 🙂

  8. Andrea Vlahakis

    Your moo-cow girl made me choke up. She’s why children’s writers, write and why kid’s booksellers, sell books. She’s been the best Christmas present I’ve gotten so far.(And you’re right, moo-cow is so fun to say!) For the record, I am a book smeller. I’m also a book feeler–I have to pass my hand over the cover and the pages. And I certainly hug my books. Thank you both for this wonderful blog. Have a jolly holiday!

  9. Susanne Gervay

    Love your comments – what makes me smile is you. Children’s booksellers keep kids and YA books alive, relevant and open the world to young people. Thank you from an author Down Under.


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