When we first got there, I heard commotion coming from the back of the store, where the children's section is located. Lo and behold, we walked straight into storytime (Encino, CA Barnes & Noble; 10:00 = Storytime). Twelve other moms and their kids and me, the lone dad of the group. Lucky me. My daughter sat and listened for a few minutes and then wondered around like the other antsy kids. The lady reading was practically yelling (she ended up losing her voice). But I give her an A for effort for trying to keep the kids' attention.
I filled out a card with my name, address, and daughter's name. The card went into a drawing, and what do you know... WE WON... a fifteen dollar gift card. So I let my daughter choose a book (bargain book, of course; education salaries I'm working with here, gotta stretch those freebies) and then I looked for Sid Fleischman's new book Trouble Begins At 8. I couldn't find it anywhere, so I asked a bookseller for help. She looked up the title on the computer and said, "It's not in stock, but we can order it for you with free shipping directly to your home," all in a high-pitched voice while flashing a smile, like she was some kind of robot.
Not in stock? This book is receiving high acclaim and is probably on the Newbery committee's radar for this year.
I walked around some more while carrying my daughter. She was getting hungry and tired and was starting to fade. I looked for Gary Schmidt's most recent novel Trouble. Couldn't find it. I tracked down the same bookseller. She looked up the title and said, "It's not in stock. You must have eclectic taste."
Immediate double take.
If you're not familiar with books for young readers, I get that. But I was asking for two books, one by a Newbery Award winning author (The Whipping Boy, by Sid Fleischman), the other by an author who has won the Newbery Honor Award twice in the last four years (Lizzie Bright and the Buckminster Boy and The Wednesday Wars, by Gary Schmidt).
I should've said something but my daughter was getting heavy and I couldn't feel my arms. It wasn't worth it. Besides, she would've probably said, "They must not be very popular books," in that annoying high-pitched voice.
But seriously, why were these two books not on Barnes & Noble's shelves? I don't get it. How are boys supposed to read more when the books targeted at them are not actually in the bookstore?
If you are looking for boy books or recommendations, here's the best website out there.
Good luck finding the books you want to read. Stay home and order online. That way you don't have to deal with booksellers judging your literary preference.
Back to writing...