Book Sale

Each fall, the Friends of The Houston Public Library have a children’s book sale. The majority of the books are sold for $1-$2, and the revenues are used to support the Houston Public Library. This was the first year I went. Actually, this was the first time I had even heard of it – another one of those niblets of information I wasn’t fed until I had passed into the underworld of parenting.

I was there when it opened on the first day and only wish I had had my camera to capture the beauty of tables upon tables of books, organized by Board Books, Early Readers, Fiction, Non-Fiction, Bilingual, Advanced Reader, families entering with WAGONS (I’ve noted that for next time), children sitting engrossed in a book while parents picked up more, educators thumbing through selections to add for their classrooms, rookies like me just standing there, overwhelmed with where to start.

I hovered around the Board Books, mostly. Though I picked up plenty of Early Readers for special reading time (lest those fragile pages get ripped out on first look), while eavesdropping on more experienced parents and educators calling out their favorite authors and illustrators, and the children repeating the name of their favorites like “Look! Here’s a Maisy one!” And I’m all scrambling to see what the kid is looking at, trying not to yank it from his hand too hard, and I’m all a mouse? But what do I know about wildly popular children’s books. Incidentally, what are your favorite early childhood authors and illustrators?

Harper continues her obsession with Elmo, so I reluctantly picked up one of those. Want me to recite it? Because after six days and about fifty readings, I practically can. The kids have matching Dora and Diego toothbrushes that they are fascinated with (the sucking the toothpaste, not so much the brushing), so I picked up a Dora and Diego book, despite the fact that I still don’t know who those characters are. Besides, those, however, I steered away from television character books and instead picked up books exhibiting ethnic and cultural diversity, manners, and, noticeably, sleep story books. I guess I’m tired.

I love that they’re developing a love for books. Reading is part of our weekend family time as well as our evening routine. Even after baths, play, milk, brushing teeth, and books, on their own, they’ve developed an additional bedtime cue: grabbing a book and heading to their respective rooms as a way of telling us they are really ready for bed. And there, we have special one-on-one reading time, Jennifer and I alternating kids each night.

Lately, they both say “book” and “read” during our wakeup routine and so we often get a book in even before breakfast. Letting them hold and “read” a book has also made diaper changes a little less…acrobatic.

Best part of all? I walked out with 42 books for $45.47!