Our daughter, Olive, has been to about a kajillion bookstores in the four years she’s been on the planet. So imagine our excitement when we learned about Take Your Child To A Bookstore Day! Launched by Jenny Milchman, this wonderful event has taken off. We’re fortunate to have a guest blog from Jenny herself to tell us what it’s all about.
There are lots of great people and organizations devoted to childhood literacy. But one thing that can be overlooked in the get-kids-reading effort is the way in which we come by what we read. Sure, we can click a few keys and have books sent to our door. These days we can click a few keys and be reading something that’s something like a book.
Or we can go to a bookstore.
Take Your Child to a Bookstore Day came about after I had attended my thousandth story hour at my neighborhood bookstore. The number may be a slight exaggeration—but only slight. My kids took some of their first steps in bookstores. They celebrated birthdays there. Actually, my husband and I went to a bookstore immediately upon learning we were expecting our first so we could tell the grandparents-to-be with a book. Big moments of our life have taken place in bookstores.
How many kids, I wondered, know the pleasures of a bookstore?
As soon as I floated the idea on a mystery listerv called DorothyL, the people there took it viral. Soon bloggers were blogging and the Google hits were being amassed. I was definitely not the only parent out there who thought we needed to celebrate bookstores.
The bookstores started celebrating, too. Greg and Mary Bruss of Mysteries & More in Nashville, TN were one of the first bookstores to put together a special event in honor of the Day, with a detective author in to tell the kids all the secrets in his book. Other bookstores started appearing, in Colorado, California, and before too long, Canada.
This year the Day spread to the Gold Coast of Australia.
I don’t know if Take Your Child to a Bookstore Day will ever be a national holiday where everyone gets a day off work to go to a bookstore. It’s celebrated on the first Saturday of December, so probably not. But—I’d like it to be.
I’d like people everywhere to experience the joy of entering a bookstore and coming out just a little bit different. A little richer.
That’s something pretty special to pass on to our kids.