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Tuesday, January 17, 2012

A YIKES SLICE OF LIFE


Sunday afternoon. Tired of being in the company of people who have an opinion about everything and feel the need to share it (aka teenagers!), I escape to the Tattered Cover to work on my CCIRA presentation about using picture books with older students. Before I enter, I tell myself I can only buy one book. Just one. I have just paid off Christmas, Son #1 has a birthday this week, and now, on top of everything else, I have to buy a new car. "Only one book," I say to myself firmly, as I push open the door of the bookstore, notebook in hand.

My intentions really are good. I am only going to buy one book. I think it will be Kadir Nelson's HEART AND SOUL, but on the way down the stairs to the children's department, I spy Shane Evans' MARCH ON and scoop that up. I loved THE UNDERGROUND and have heard good things about this one. I plant myself in a chair next to a rotating display of New York Times book winners. There I find HEART AND SOUL, but also A NATION'S HOPE: THE STORY OF JOE LOUIS, written by Matt DeLa Pena and illustrated by Kadir Nelson. Now I have a stack of three. "Only one book," I tell myself. "I am only buying one book." Sadly, I return MARCH ON and NATION'S HOPE to the display.

As I put them back, I notice OLIVIA'S BIRDS: SAVING THE GULF. We are working on an ecosystems unit now in science, and this book looks perfect. As I leaf through it, I discover it has been written by an eleven-year-old girl. My students are in the middle of illustrating their own picture books, and this book would be perfect. "Only one book," I tell myself, but my resolve is weakening, and somehow, OLIVIA'S BIRDS makes its way into my stack. I look at a few more books, but manage to refrain from adding GRANDPA GREEN, MIGRANT, PASSING THE MUSIC DOWN, WHERE'S WALRUS, and A BALL FOR DAISY to my stack.

I make my way into the room where children's books are housed. On the way in, I peruse the books chosen by Tattered Cover employees. I leaf through STAR OF FEAR, STAR OF HOPE, a gorgeous Holocaust picture book. "Only two books," I tell myself. "You are only buying two books. If you want this one, you have to put OLIVIA or Kadir back." I move on to nonfiction.

There I discover two amazing new books about the Titanic. Stories of a cruise liner sinking off the coast of Italy have filled the news all weekend, and I know my kids would love TITANIC SINKS by Brian Denenberg and EXPLORE TITANIC by Peter Chrisp and Somchith Vongprachanh. I imagine handing these to Cameron and Taylor. Oh my gosh. They would love them. "Only two books," I remind myself. "You are only buying two books." I remember that I have an Amazon card at home and move on.

I stop for a second to look at novels and spy Christopher Paul Curtis' THE MIGHTY MISS MALONE. Twitter has been abuzz about this book all weekend. Everyone is talking about how great it is. I have just finished GABBY and need something new to read tonight. My resolve wavers again. "Maybe I can do three," I think. "Three is not that many." I add it to my pile.

From there I move to the picture book section. I am sitting on the couch looking at books that I am absolutely not buying, I am just reading the titles, when I overhear a woman talking to the clerk. Her daughter is having a baby. She is leaving for Ohio and wants some paperbacks to take to the older siblings of the new baby. I know just the book-- BOSS BABY by Marla Frazee. Then I remember that Raul's mom is having her baby this weekend. We need a book to celebrate. Even though I have loved BOSS BABY for over a year, I do not own it. I add it to my stack. It will be a perfect read aloud on Tuesday morning.

"I gotta get out of here," I think to myself. "This is getting way too expensive." On the way out of the children's department, I see the newest edition of poetry by DPS children. I have the other three. I really need this one too. My stack of five books is teetering a little as I walk up the stairs to the cashier.

A Sunday afternoon at Tattered Cover. I really was just going to buy one book…

11 comments:

Pettit said...

I too try to tell myself that each week when I open up my amazon account & look through my wish list! Children's books are just so powerful & addicting! I can so relate to what you were writing. I just could not wait till you got to the end. I really wanted to see if you were stronger than I was& stuck to the just "one" rule! Glad to see I am not the only one!
Enjoy the new purchases...

Deb Day said...

Love this. I was the same way on Saturday. Stopped in a bookstore just to look....it's one of the hazards of being a teacher who reads!

LiteracyTeacher said...

The Tattered Cover reminds me of a bookstore in Manchester, VT I visited with my husband on our anniversary a few years ago. It's called the Northshire Bookstore. Boy, it was hard to resist the temptation of all of the books in that place too.

I'd love to see your presentation, but unfortunately I won't be at CCIRA. Will you be sharing it online after you present?

Mrs. L said...

This is exactly why I was put on a book budget! The upside is I no longer feel guilty. I just have to plan. Enjoy all your new books.

elsie said...

Your thinking matches mine. I loved the only one (then two, then three, and so on). This was my visit to Barnes and Noble to get a gift card for a friend, but came home with three titles for me (I did put 2 back, but I may go back, after all there's an extra discount this week). Happy Reading!

Linda at teacherdance said...

Wish I had known. My husband & I dropped by on our way home from the city! I love your post, Carol, & absolutely avoid going if I just can't buy what I want. You have mastered the authentic voice in this, hence ""Maybe I can do three," I think. "Three is not that many." I add it to my pile." (Heart & Soul is wonderful!)

Tam said...

Just think if you didn't remind yourself of how many books you could get!! Consider this as a trip "getting the best 5 books I could ever get!" It was fun being with you on your book journey.

Christy Rush-Levine said...

Ahh, this is my addiction as well. I am terrible with Amazon at my fingertips and all these blogs to read with recommendations! It sounds like a wonderful way to spend an afternoon, though.

Linda at teacherdance said...

Carol I forgot to tell you that I'm going to the CCIRA conference. Perhaps we can meet for coffee? I understand if you're too busy. I wish I'd known about your class. I am signed up for the cultural books class a couple of classes below yours!

Elizabeth G. said...

I am right there with you. A true sign of a book lover is there lack of purchase control. It's too hard to walk away from amazing stories. It sounds like you walked away with some winners.

laurasalas said...

Bookstores are so dangerous! Enjoy your wonderful books!