Tag Archives: children’s books

The Things You Learn Tidying the Children’s Room

messSo I spent last weekend tidying our children’s book room – something every bookstore owner lives for the opportunity to do. It’s so much fun to rediscover old classics, things you loved as a child. That’s why it takes so long to do a kids room reset; you have to allow twenty minutes of every hour for reading favorite bits.

It was pretty bad. Every Halloween we give out books at the annual afternoon merchant’s trick or treat, and you can imagine what 300 kids traipsing through the place in the space of 3 hours does. And no, it hadn’t been tidied since then. Don’t judge. We’re busy.

There was nothing for it but to start to the left of the door and work my way ’round. (That or a flamethrower, Jack said.) So I separated the Math from the English homeschooling books, Animals Fiction from Animals Non-fiction, and America from All the Other Countries, back into their appropriate shelf bins.

This is where the problems began. One doesn’t want to be part of the problems America is experiencing right now, and I found myself suddenly stymied, standing stock still (heh, get it, stock? Never mind) in the middle of the children’s room, holding a book of Native American folktales in my hand, looking to the right at the All About America shelf, to the left at the Read To Me section……

It was the beginning of the slippery slope. Did The Story of Martin Luther King go in Biography or America? Did Intelligent Design go in Science or Christian Homeschool? Suddenly, I was making political decisions left and right. All I wanted to do was tidy up……

The dangers grew worse. The Natural World was a big book lying in a dusty corner; when I picked it up, one spider sitting astride it was just finishing off another. I guess she’d had enough of his empty promises about watching the egg sac. (I took them outside so she could finish her meal in peace, and then set up housekeeping elsewhere. It’s good to move in the Spring.)

Dead ladybugs from the November invasion (they come every year), a plant that had grown through one of the windows where it hadn’t sealed properly, books wedged behind shelves where they’d fallen–on and on I went, shelf by shelf until by the afternoon Day 2 I had reached Adventure Fiction.

Smack in the middle of the adventure books were two self-published erotic fantasy novels.

Good thing not many kids read adventure these days. I sent the strays back to their home turf with a stern warning not to return, and congratulated myself on avoiding a lawsuit. It’s not like they were illustrated or anything, but can you imagine some kid coming out of the room saying, “Mommy, what does e-j-a-c…” It wasn’t going to end well.

By the end of day two, the books stood upright in their correct locations; I had abandoned the idea that a child’s world could be split into a Christian versus general worldview and had put the All Other Countries Besides America books in Social Studies. This means a board book of Minnie Mouse in Spanish is next to Learning about Others Grade 4, but hey, they look happy together.

The final piece was labeling everything. After some consideration, we created a tag called Parental Guilt for all the “You’re doing it wrong” titles about how to make your kid smarter, stronger, faster, safer than s/he is now. Someday I’m going to snap and divide Parental Guilt into “Need to Know” (Ridlin and ADHD, Autism assistance, etc.) and “Don’t Be Ridiculous” (teach your pre-schooler to get straight A’s etc.)

And so it goes. The room will stay clean for a few weeks, and I have blocked all the places where ladybugs, spiders, and Triffids – ehm, plants – can get in. It smells good, looks good, and is well-organized according to my brain.

Heh heh heh. Yeah. C’mon down. We got the Erotica out.

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Filed under Big Stone Gap, bookstore management, home improvements, humor, Life reflections, Little Bookstore of Big Stone Gap, Uncategorized

The New Bookshelf

DSCN0255I came home from a trip to Richmond with a new bookshelf. It’s one of the hazards of having a happy, quiet(ish) life. When I head back from a Power Trip, I usually cut over on the Blue Ridge Parkway, one of those glorious yet underused scenic highways that dots America. It diagonals the two worst sections of the Interstate-cum-parking lots I would otherwise have to take, and it’s just good for the soul to slow down and watch layer on layer of blue mountains unfold in front of you. Restores balance and perspective, y’know? Plus, when you get back off the Parkway at Buena Vista, there’s a really cool Habitat for Humanity Resale Store right there by the gas station.

Hey, peace comes in many forms. Don’t judge me.

At the store they had a few bookshelves. There are never very many, and most are flat pack pressed sawdust made into wood, but they had kind of a cool one, cheap stuff, yet made in squares rather than shelves, three cubbies high and four cubbies long.

My mind flew to our under-organized children’s area, and how adorable this 3×4 stack of connected boxes would look filled with board books and Little Golden Books….

Spatial orientation has never been my strong point. I liberated the shelf, then discovered it would have to be taken back to its flat pack state to travel on with me. No problem; those nice guys doing community service took it apart, but broke it in the process.

Instant discount, and I have wood glue: no problem.

Unloading it on the bookstore front porch in 12 pieces: no problem.

Explaining to husband that it was too good a deal to pass up and the fact that we truly no longer have a place in the bookstore to put it was negated by how cheap it was: slight problem. He kinda seemed stuck on that spacing issue. Guys.

All morning from the mystery room I’ve heard hammering and things falling and an electric drill whirring, plus the occasional curse word. Once our staff cats Nike and Hadley raced from that door with looks of pure terror on their faces. The children’s room is off the mystery room, plus there’s a closet in there where I store yarn sometimes. I look forward to seeing where my genius husband puts my brilliant bargain purchase, but I’m not going in there until he comes out without the drill.

Ain’t life grand? :]

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Filed under Big Stone Gap, bookstore management, crafting, home improvements, humor, Life reflections, Little Bookstore of Big Stone Gap, reading, small town USA, Uncategorized, VA, Wendy Welch