Take Your Child to a… Bookstore?
December 2, 2010 1 Comment
When I was a kid, my mom and I would regularly visit our local bookstore. She would let me loose inside the cozy Victorian known as “The Red Balloon” in Saint Paul, Minnesota, where I spent countless hours getting lost in the bookshelves, checking out vivid covers, finding my favorite authors, reading bits and pieces of new books that caught my eye and taking home one or two of these prized possessions. It was truly a favorite activity… These fond memories were sparked when I recently heard that Saturday, December 4th, is the first annual, “Take Your Child to a Bookstore Day.”
For some reason, though, I felt slightly conflicted learning about this day…
Really? Do we need a dedicated day, one day a year, to remind us to take our children to a bookstore? Is bringing your child to a bookstore just a novelty, something you only take part in annually, like “Take Your Daughter to Work Day,” or “Ride Your Bike to Work Day?”
In my naive or ideal world, parents across the country are already bringing their children to bookstores, participating in story-time with milk and cookies, attending book signings and letting them pull dozens of picture books off the shelves to find the one that they want to own, forever. But in all seriousness, this simple act is most likely not happening all across the country. Lives are getting busier, book shopping is done online and in haste, and sadly many children have never had the joy of interacting with booksellers and perusing the shelves of this important local institution.
I started to realize that “Take Your Child to a Bookstore Day, “ the creation of New Jersey author, and mother, Jenny Milchman, could mean many great things for the future of our local bookstores, our communities, and for our children. Jenny hopes to gain support from more and more bookstores each year, as well as foundations that work with childhood literacy. And over time, hopefully this annual day will stress to parents the importance of not only giving their children the gift of reading, but also giving them the gift of the ‘bookstore experience.’ A brick and mortar, living, breathing bookstore, where you can see, feel and smell the books you pick out.
This experience, I think, is truly priceless…