Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Christmas miracle

Today, I did my holiday duty and went Christmas shopping for my niece and nephew, age 4 and infant. For a brief moment, I thought of getting clothes or shoes (because kid's clothes are the cutest) but then gave myself a mental slap. I'm a children's book author, I've got to support the biz. If I don't buy children's books for children, how can I expect others? Yes, I'm all about setting an example.

I have to admit it's been a while since I've gone shopping in a real store. I tend to do internet shopping; but since I was getting all high and mighty, I realized I should support an independent bookstore as well. So I went into my favorite children's bookstore and...was completely overwhelmed.

There are just so many books out there, crowding and overcrowding the shelves. I went in determined to buy a gem from a no-name upcoming author, but the sheer chaos was disheartening. Suddenly, from the consumer angle, I realized how intimidating it can be to buy a book. The pressure of choosing something age appropriate, reading-level appropriate, taste appropriate for the child, taste appropriate for the parents...suddenly, those cute baby shoes were looking like a good gift choice.

But just as I began to take a step back, I was given an epiphany as a present. I make a living making these books. How is that possible? It was humbling, and the prior feeling of self-righteous pride became one of intense gratitude. Some lovely, kind, patient people must have taken the time to find my books in this mess of a publishing universe,and that's rather a miracle. And one that deserves to be paid forward as a holiday tradition.


JennyW said...

I am one of those parents! I found Fortune Cookie Fortunes calling to me on a shelf at one of my favorite locally owned bookstores, "Prarie Lights" located in Iowa City, IA. Some how the good ones draw you in.

Rita said...

I love this post. And I have definitely given some of your books as presents for the holidays! :)

Ann Downer said...


The Red Egg party sounds lovely! And I love the pictures of you playing Wii!

Do you want my Ruth Chew library? We're clearing out Ben's bookcase and I think you could have these on the condition we find time to have the hand off over tea somewhere.

Thinking of you a lot and sending many warm wishes your way.


gail said...

This is a lovely post. It's so nice to know you felt humbled by the experience. I know all of us who are "yet to be published" truly see it as a miracle that we hope to experience one day too.

Did you find a couple of good books? Now I'm curious. :)

Merry Christmas,

kirsty said...

Hi there,
My name is Kirsty Lewis and I was an old friend of Rob's from Stanstead. I know it's strange to contact you through a comment post but I don't know how else to. I was hanging out at home today wondering, "What ever happened to Rob?" The last time I saw him was in 1996 when he came out to Vancouver for a visit. So I googled him.... I am so sad to hear the news and wish that I'd had this thought a couple of years ago when I could have talked to him one last time. Rob was the nicest guy ever and like a brother to me. One example I can think of is when neither of us had prom dates, we took each other!
I'm so sorry that you'll never see his 'toothy' smile again.He was such a sweet you have an email contact for his mum so I could send her my condolences? My email is
Wishing you well,

anna said...

I am a book-loving mama too, and JennyW is right- the good books always call out to me! (and my kiddos!)

I love giving and receiving books, especially at special times like holidays.....

I *really* love it when people write in the books they give my children too, as a sweet reminder of the celebration. Don't forget to do that, it's always a joy to read a book and look at the inscription and take a moment to share the love with which that book was given.

Cloudscome said...

I am overwhelmed trying to chose books for kids too. I always have to remind myself that there will be plenty more opportunities to chose a different one if I get it wrong this time... and just plunge in.

On a happy note I have to say I gave your book "Lissy's Friends" to one of my oldest son Buster's cousins along with the plush doll. She loves it!

Erica said...

If you spend enough time at bookstores and libraries, the choice isn't overwhelming, but fun and exciting.

Like a few other parents here, I found 'Dim Sum for Everyone' while scanning the shelves. We are in Boston, MA for 2 years and was so excited to see that you were a local author. To top it off, my partner goes to school near Chinatown and my kids recognized the big archway in another of your books (because by then, we were hooked!!!). And, of course, now I've told everyone about your books. So, don't worry. Good books find people.