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Saturday, October 1, 2011

“Take Your Child to a Bookstore Day has Gone Global” says Jenny Milchman

Take Your Child to a Bookstore Day began after I had just left my kazillionth story hour, hosted by our local independent bookstore, with my two children in tow.

The story times we attended were usually full, brimming with children. However, did that mean that every—even most—children knew the pleasures of a bookstore?

It is a tough time for bookstores. Readers can purchase books online; some people are not buying books at all. I believe that for bookstores to survive, they must turn the reader’s attention to all the advantages that they offer.

There is the browsing experience, but there is also a lot more. Bookstores offer all the facets that make face-to-face encounters so special in our digital, online world.

Such things as interaction with knowledgeable sales staff, warm, bright, pleasing spaces to wile away time, snacks and drinks, authors brought in for events, and of course, story hour.

Take Your Child to a Bookstore Day celebrates all these things. I suggested the idea for the holiday—which takes place the first Saturday in December to coincide with holiday gift giving—in 2010, and book lovers instantly took it viral.

Bloggers wrote about it. John Mutter of Shelf Awareness profiled the Day, and I began getting emails from booksellers in Colorado, Tennessee and even Saskatchewan. The American Booksellers Association did a feature article.

By the time the first Take Your Child Day rolled around, just two weeks after the idea occurred, over eighty booksellers in thirty states, two Canadian provinces, and somewhere in England had decided to celebrate in their own unique way.

Balloons, puppet makers, a writer of YA mysteries, store discounts, and cookies were just some of the ways I heard about. On the other hand, if the booksellers preferred, he or she could simply download our poster at and hang it in the store.

This summer, we drove across country—the same kids in tow—and stopped at bookstores along the way. We brought bookmarks and asked if they had heard about the Day.

Then an author wrote who wanted to bring Take Your Child Day to Australia.

Take Your Child to a Bookstore Day has truly gone global in this, its second year. I hope that you will spread the word to a bookstore near you. If you are an author who would like to participate, please contact me to learn about a bookstore that is celebrating. If you are a bookseller, I would love to send bookmarks and point you to our site, where your store can be featured.

Moreover, if there is a child in your life, please take him or her to a bookstore this December 3rd. A special day, surrounded by stories and the people who love them, will be one that lives on for a long time to come.

—Jenny Milchman


Mary Bleckwehl said...

I'm a children's author in MN and would love a few posters to bring around to bookstores. How big is the download (printable poster)? 8 x 10 or bigger?

Linda McQuinn Carlblom said...

What a wonderful idea! I'm a children's author in AZ and am excited about the possibilities this new holiday holds! I'd love to have a few posters to take to local bookstores in my area. I'll blog about it on my own blog and talk it up on Facebook and Twitter. Blessings on this terrific effort to promote bookstores and reading, especially in young people!

Thoughtful Reflections said...

Jenny's website is in the interview. There are printable posters there.