If you haven’t guessed it yet, we love local independent bookstores! I mean, we are crazy about them. We schedule trips around them. We dream about them. We talk and laugh and think about them. We take pictures of them (the girls and I took this photo above just a few weeks ago at a used bookstore, Michael’s, at Western and Ollie in Oklahoma City). We write about them. And…we love the kinds of people who work in bookstores.
We just returned from three days of spending time with several of them at a national children’s book conference in San Antonio, Texas. While we were there, we listened to a group of creative and accomplished authors that included Brad Meltzer (author of I Am Abraham Lincoln), Austin Kleon (author of Show Your Work), Chipp Kidd (author of Go: A Kidd’s Guide to Graphic Design), and Tim Federle (author of Better Nate Than Never), who truly inspired us to love books more than ever and bring children along in loving books more than ever.
We saw the sights and walked in the rain along the city’s landmark RiverWalk. We ate under the rock music videos of the Hard Rock Cafe and traded stories with taxicab drivers from places like Turkey and West Africa. We laughed and lived and walked and talked and dreamed and worried and wondered and slept…peacefully.
It’s a handful of fellow booksellers, however, that we met and traded stories with that we’ll remember the most. They were wonderful and kindhearted people like Angie at The Country Bookshop in Southern Pines, North Carolina, Emily at Inklings in Yakima, Washington, Tegan at Queen Anne Book Company in Seattle, Washington, and Kirsten at Let’s Play Books! in Emmaus, Pennsylvania. Each one reached out to us; and each one encouraged and inspired and applauded our shared dreams for the future.
During his talk with us about the importance of social media in a world of books in the 21st century, Austin Kleon said, “We tell stories and we sell stories.” It’s as simple and wonderful as that isn’t it – we tell stories and we sell stories. Has there ever been a phrase more aptly spoken: in a bookstore, among new friends, around our kitchen table at home?
Everyone – everyone – needs a story.