Sunday at the Bookstore

Josie Leavitt - June 18, 2012

Yesterday was a lovely day at the bookstore. School was over for everyone, so the kids were in great moods and the parents hadn’t started looking bedraggled yet. I had two lovely exchanges that just made me laugh.
The first was a grandmother and granddaughter shopping together. They were having a sparkling day. Each had something sparkly on: the little girl had the brightest, shiniest shoes that would have made even Dorothy envious; the grandma had a twinkling scarf. The grandma asked if I had Pippi Longstocking, which of course we did. Then she wanted to know if I had the book “about everyone having a rock.” She looked at me, expecting a blank stare. Instead, I leapt up and got the Byrd Baylor book, Everyone Needs a Rock, and handed it to her. She actually wiggled her feet in joy.
I went back to the counter and she shouted out, “You wouldn’t happen to have two of them, would you?” As a matter of fact I did. I rang her up and she was so happy with us for having all of her books she actually gave me a hug. My grandmas are long gone, so the hug was especially lovely. She was still marveling at us having the books as she left the store.
My next fun interaction was with a seven-year-old girl who had been told by her mom that it was finally time to spend some of her Christmas money from two years ago. The girl, Annabelle, apparently has difficulty making decisions and her mom had tired of indulging her. So, they came here. I could see the little one was struggling. Every time it looked she had made a decision, she would round a corner and get utterly distracted by other things, mostly non-book things. Annabelle was told to spend time in the middle grade section.
I sense that maybe I could help this poor child, because I was just like her as a kid. I hated spending my holiday money because I feared I was buying the wrong things. Annabelle kept saying, “But maybe there’s a better one!” whenever she had a book in hands. I saw that she had picked two very lovely books. One was a hard cover, Star in the Forest, and the other a paperback of Ivy and Bean. She had well over $30 to spend, but there was no rush, her mom just wanted her to buy something. So, we talked about the books and what she liked about them. She liked them both “the same.”
Now it was time for our magic Flying Pig decision-making tool that Elizabeth started. I took both books behind my back, mixed them up and had her pick one. Then I asked her how she felt about the choice, and she said she was disappointed. I told her that’s how you know you need to buy the other one. She was placated, but still stressed. She did really like the other book, too.
Ah, special order shelf to the rescue. I told her we could hold the book for her until she was ready to decide about it. I labeled the book and put it on the hold shelf after I rung them up. Three minutes later, Annabelle came skipping over to me to check that I had the book on the shelf. I took it out with a flourish and said, “Don’t you trust me?” And she fired back, in a way only a child can, “No!” I asked why and she said, “Because you’re a grown-up.” Ouch.
But I laughed and now we’ll see how long it takes her to come back to claim the book.

2 thoughts on “Sunday at the Bookstore

  1. B.J. Kass

    How exciting to think that there are bookstores that carry Byrd Baylor’s books. I spend the winter in Tucson and was taking a class at Tohono Chul Park and walked to the entrance with a lady who was parking her car at the same time that I was. She was older, but so incredibly beautiful – in that weathered, “Western” way one sees there so often.
    About an hour later as I was walking around there was someone signing books under one of the ramadas and the sign said Byrd Baylor. i was blown away and got in line to say hi, and thank her for her wonderful books. She was appreciative and delightful. She lives closer to the Mexican border near the town of Arivica.


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