Over the past year or so we have expanded our children’s book section both physically and in the kinds of books that we have been selling. This came about partly because of our grandchildren. I would see books in catalogues that I thought they would like, and, after a number of them were bought by customers who saw them as we were first receiving them, I then started to order more than one copy of the books I was ordering for my own. In the fall of 2015 our Harper Collins rep, Terry Toews, told us about a book that Harper Collins were publishing which had local interest, which he thought it might be worth us ordering a few copies. The book was Finding Winnie, we ordered an initial five copies but of course that was just the beginning, it has been a consistent seller. The book went on to win the prestigious Caldecott Award. If you have children or grandchildren and have not seen this book, you really should check it out (in stock $19.99); our grandsons Henry and Bram (from Washington, D.C.) marked it as one of their favourites when they visited at Thanksgiving. More picture books began to arrive when one of Michael’s fellow Mount Allison alumni, Kate Beaton, released The Princess and the Pony, and then King Baby (both at $22.99), but gradually, we have also added books that are grandkids are telling us about.
Like their grandfather, Henry and Bram are great baseball fans so they have really enjoyed David A. Kelly’s Ballpark Mysteries, one of which even has a Christmas theme, Christmas In Cooperstown (in stock $ 7.99). Their mother has been a big proponent of Kate Milford, who has most recently released the second book in her ‘Greenglass House’ series Ghosts of Greenglass House, although she feels that they are for slightly older readers. Nor are our family the only sources of new information. One young reader from the neighbourhood visited us to order Jonathan Stroud’s ‘Lockwood and Co.’ series, which proved a great fit for our section, as did the Arthur Conan Doyle adaptations that the author wrote for younger readers.
When I was growing up Enid Blyton was probably the bestselling children’s author in the U.K. Many of her books have been recently repackaged. The characters from the Secret Seven and the Famous Five series are now available in books designed for starting readers with lots of integrated illustrations, as well as in more regular formats. We have had good reports of these books from our Vancouver grandchildren (Lily, Joenna and Oliver). Other extremely long running series Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys are also now available in a number of different formats. We also have quite a collection of these two series in used, so if you had a favourite Nancy Drew or Hardy Boys title we might have a copy you could use to introduce your children or grandchildren to the series.
At the moment, probably because of the arrival of Penelope Eleanor, we have a number of Christmas themed board books, including Eric Carle’s Merry Christmas From the Very Hungary Caterpillar and Beatrix Potter’s A Christmas Wish, featuring Peter Rabbit. Talking about board books I must include Olivier Tallec’s Who Done It? and Who? What? Where? Who Done It? has been one of our family’s favourite gifts for baby gifts, early birthdays and holidays for some time.
You may have noticed that in the last couple of issues that at the end of each month’s book lists there has been a Juvenile and Young Adult section. I hope that this will be increasingly useful for readers to track series, and authors in this section as it is in the other sections. Colin Melloy’s Wildwood Chronicles, for example, was a very popular young adult series, and so you will see his new book Whiz Mob and the Grenadine Kid, listed there, as well as the mass market edition of Nicholas Gannon’s Doldrums, as well as its hardcover sequel Doldrums and the Helmsley Curse.