Last fall, somebody in Kid-Lit-Land blogged about Books of Wonder, an independent children's bookstore in NYC. My dear brother helped me find this amazing little store when I was in New York last November for the NCTE conference. I roamed around the shelves for a while and watched a guy reading a picture book to a group of six-year-olds who were having a birthday party.
I thought the store was pretty cool, but after about ten minutes I was ready to leave. As I was looking around for my brother, I happened to overhear one of the booksellers talking to a thirteen-year-old girl. The bookseller went on and on, recommending book after book and responding expertly to the girl's interests and responses. I was very impressed by the conversation and when they finished I asked the bookseller if she had any recommendations for two "teacherly" requests: easy chapter books with great fantasy stories, and good books for kids who read at a YA level, but appropriate for me to shelve in my elementary school classroom. We talked and chatted about many different books. I was thrilled to hear that she (like me) didn't like Twilight or its sequels that much. I told her some titles I love and she filled my arms with a huge stack of books, talking, in detail, about each fantastic title.
Forty-five minutes later I ended up buying over a hundred dollars worth of books and having a sack full of books for my second carry-on for the plane ride home. I'll write about some of them over the next week or two. For now, cheers to Books of Wonder, and a knowledgeable booklover who gave me the gift of many excellent recommendations.
It's most often the people (not the programs or even cool settings) that make places amazing and wonderful.