BookLore and Readers’ Choice offer reasons kids love to read

December 22, 2017   ·   0 Comments

By Constance Scrafield

With a common purpose and quite different approaches, BookLore and Readers’ Choice Book Store offer the same encouragement to children, young people and, actually, everybody to spend some of this holiday time reading.  Their shelves are loaded with great literary treats, odd-ball and funny, instructive and fascinating. In particular, we wanted to talk to both the owner and buyer for these shops to see what was in for the kids this Christmas.

A cornerstone of the arts community, Nancy Frater’s BookLore on First Street, next door to a coffee shop, and this month marking its 28th Anniversary, is a well-known and loved source of literary excellence. This extends into what is offered to its youngest readers.

Brenda Juno is the BookLore expert on children’s literature and fun stuff. She had collected a few of her favourite things for our conversation and outlined some of the reasons why.

A book about a puzzle piece, Where Quinn Fits, looking to fit in, is instructive in a fun way, about the difficulties of one puzzle piece who can not find his spot in the big picture. After trying lots of different ways to match up to the others, Quinn (the piece) decides to just be himself. A worthy tale in this day age of pigeon holes.

A 100-piece hockey puzzle designates fruit names to its teams, including Oranges. That team is from “Orangeville.” It is a coincidence and, as Ms. Juno was happy to remark: “We just happened upon it.”

Dog Man, the crime solver, has an addition to the series of the name. This is a strange tale of a man getting a dog’s head, as a result of surgery following an accident involving the policeman and his dog. By Captain Underpants author, Dav Pilker, this series is hilarious and very popular with youngsters.

Over to Readers’ Choice at 151 Broadway, owner Veronica Cvet made the point, “Parents should buy what the kids want to read. They have to go beyond to science, graphic novels – regardless of whether they are fiction or not. I think kids want to read.”

Somewhat surprisingly, she told us, “Anne of Green Gables is huge with kids. Anne has such an imagination. It inspires those who have a healthy appetite. [In books] they learn about good and evil; there’s lots that reflects what they know and experience in real life.”

Ms. Cvet’s ownership of  Readers’ Choice celebrates 20 years this year on Broadway. The shop specializes as a supplier of recently published books at discounted prices and actual used books – rows and rows of them, where, naturally, many treasures for one and all are to be found. Lots of wonderful books, long since out of print.

“Kids love to read what is so cool, “ she commented, showing the special section of the shop dedicated to pleasing the younger readers with new books, some toys and puppets.

She too listed a few of the books she knows young readers love.

A Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket, 13 books in the collection, is thrilling new readers, with its Gothic tone and sincerely wicked villains.

Harry Potter continues to appeal to the next generation, we are delighted to report.

For the teenagers is A Fault in Our Stars, about a couple of teens dealing with cancer who meet in a support group and fall in love. By John Green, this is his sixth novel, and strikes an emotional chord with his readers.

Likewise appealing to the intense and weird that stimulates the imagination of young readers, BookLore has in stock Black Thorn Key, circa 1665CE in its story placing. Author Kevin Sands has made a careful research of how things were blown up all those centuries ago and offers the thrill of chemical concoctions realistic to the time. Fun.

How ever diverse the two fine books stores are, their owners and staff are telling the same stories about the importance of children reading and how they begin.

In discussions with each of these ladies, there was much they both mentioned about the early literary years of any child. It matters that parents read to their children – that delightful bedtime read, though anytime is good.

Said Ms. Juno, “Most parents have fond memories of being read to by a parent or grandparent. It becomes a tradition to read.” She added, “There are so many fabulous books that are funny with brightly coloured illustrations.”

For those new to buying books for young readers, she advised, “A good balance of illustrations and text. Picture books with not a whole of text for the very young. The illustrations should be fun, colourful and with good messages but not preachy – things out of the ordinary.”

When it comes to youngsters buying books for themselves, she admitted, “[Adults] buy less edgy books but the kids will buy the edgy ones.” And, “even with kids stuff, social media has an impact.” Regarding that, she commented, “I think there’s less opportunity for imagination than there was when I was young. Books provide that chance to go into the story which exercises the imagination.”

Said Ms. Cvet, “Reading is good for their language skills and vocabulary. And the art matters too – some kids are more visual.” She obviously loves her Readers’ Choice shop: “Twenty years have been good – I think, what’s the next thing you can bring to the business? I’ll be here until I’m 80. Story-telling is natural to us – your own family’s stories or other people’s stories. Parents should be buying books and reading to their kids.”

She smiled at her own memories: “I used to read to my kids, all snuggled together. What’s better than that?”


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