Today’s guest post comes from Nicole White, a former Vroman’s children’s department bookseller and current Penguin Young Readers Rep. She will be at Vroman’s Hasting Ranch on Thursday, December 22 at 6pm to discuss her holiday picks.
When I think about what is great about independent bookstores, I think about all of the wonderful conversations and connections that are made there. I think of the five years I spent in the Children’s Department at Vroman’s and the many, many people who came in looking to make just that connection for themselves or more often, someone special in their lives: a student, a grandchild, a whole classroom or a new baby. It was the most satisfying part of my day to make such a pairing and hear back on occasion that it was a good one. It’s like introducing someone to an old friend and the satisfaction that comes from seeing them hit it off.
I loved to introduce young readers to Cinder Edna and her sensible approach to getting to the ball: the bus! And Emma Kate and her (possibly) imaginary best friend – involving a pachyderm in calico, was among my favorite for sharing in a lap. And while we’re talking about imaginary friends, have you ever met Ted: the fun-loving, trouble-making pink oversized bunny-like creature who shows up to wreak good natured havoc with a boy and his harried and too-busy-for-fun-and-games father? I love that guy!
And I bet you know Grandma Dowdel…the lyin’, cheatin’ gun-totin’ granny who is the star of Richard Peck’s Newbery honored A Long Way from Chicago and their equally entertaining follow-ups. I will never forget Moose Flanagan who made his way into my heart as the kid growing up on Alcatraz in its heyday who just wanted to play baseball, but was always stuck looking after his special needs sister in Al Capone Does my Shirts.
Remember Pudge and the Colonel, the sharp-tongued boarding school roommates whose connection to the intriguing and self-destructive Alaska Young marked a turning point in their lives? And I will never forget the moon-trotting, media-absorbed Titus whose futuristic world opened so many eyes to science fiction and dystopia. Oh, the friends and memories we make in a good book! There are those old favorites and so many new ones too! I have a whole host I’d love to share with you! Come on out and let’s have a chat. I’ll introduce you to some friends I know.