"That moment when you finish a book, look around, and realize that everyone is just carrying on with their lives...
as though you didn’t just experience emotional trauma at the hands of a paperback."
There is a school of thought that kids today have it too easy. We tell them that they are all special. We drive them about constantly to find their passion. We avoid criticism and failure. We are raising a bunch of softies. Some people suggest we were better off in the olden days. When everybody walked to school. When the teacher used to whack you with a ruler when you drifted. When moms said "Or else!" and you had to use your elbows to get the potatoes at the family table.
I'm not so sure. I still have some bruises from the school of hard knocks. Every year in February I start to wrestle an old insecurity. I begin to wonder if anybody truly loves me. I think maybe I'm not pretty. Or adorable.
This worm of doubt entered my bloodstream on Valentine's Day in Miss Van Vliet's first grade. Back in the tough old days we made our own valentines. Some red paper, a bit of glue and doily. Not being crafty, I managed to produce only one valentine in the half hour allotted. But one was enough and I proudly placed it in the "post office" —a red box in the front of the classroom—and sat down to await the next act. Some smart kid got to play "postmaster" and she went around handing out the little valentines to the beloved recipients. Well, it turns out that Dougy Billman and Helen Kraft kept getting valentines and I wasn't getting any. There was no p.c. valentine for every child routine in these old sink-or-swim days. They were separating out the desirable and undesirable and it was looking bad. Finally, a crooked little valentine, from my sweet next door neighbor Julie, landed on my desk and I, again, had reason to go on living. But the memory of those empty minutes and the eyes of all my classmates is something that still surfaces when pink cards start showing up in the store.
So as to preempt disaster, I have taken to going big on Valentines Day. You are all special (at least this day). I buy a pile of cards and give them to all the girls. You are all adorable. Everyone. I am not ashamed to work the odds. I carpet bomb my neighbors with love in the hopes at least one crooked valentine will appear at my door. It works for me. I suggest you do the same. We have stockpiles of cards and chocolate. Spread love.
Owner and Bookseller
P.S. For about 15 years, Island Books' valentines and all greeting cards have been chosen by our lady of taste, Kay Wilson. I think they are the best, and people come from far and wide to shop from her intelligent and witty selections.
Kids aren't ready for romance, but they have feelings just as strong as any adult's. Here are some books about friendship, affection, and first love that push all the right emotional buttons for readers from preschool to high school.
Island Books hosts an open book club that meets the last Thursday of each month at 7:30pm. All are welcome to attend, and if you purchase your book here in the store you'll always get a 10% discount.
We always offer a 20% discount on the top ten bestsellers in non-fiction and fiction for the week, as reported by independent booksellers across the country.
Island Books | 3014 78th Ave. SE | Mercer Island | WA | USA | 98040