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Thursday, February 3, 2011

Good Books for Sale

I need to start a campaign. No political parties are involved in this one. Lobbyists would help. I am just not certain who would help bring about change. The issue is books that are out of print and how they can be made available to readers again.

Reading aloud out-of-print books to children results in a conundrum. Though I explain that a book like Too Many Mittens by the Slobodkins is no longer available and thus is difficult to replace, children want so badly to take it home with them. If we allow out-of-print books to be checked out, there is always a chance the book will be damaged (we had the eighth chewed-by-a-dog incident this week with an American Girl book) or simply lost. Our solution has been to create a section of historical books that can be used only at school.

But I still wish we could reinstate many out-of-print books into the world of available literature again. What would it take to bring Just Like Abraham Lincoln by Bernard Waber to the presses again? It is a wonderful story about Mr. Potts, an amazing look-alike to our 16th president and a neighbor to the book's narrator. The ending is the best! I would love to have students take home The Chalk Box Story by Don Freeman, a small book about a box of chalk pieces that work together to create a desert island scene and rescue. So many readers ask for Tiny Treasures from American Girl, and I can see why. Our only copy is coveted by readers who want to make all the miniature things in the spiral-bound book. For many years I have wanted my own copy of The Story of May by Mordicai Gerstein. It is a wonderful book about a personification of each month of the year. Today our building secretary shared her four book recommendations, and one was Jellybeans for Breakfast by Miriam Young, a story she remembers loving as a young girl. The price tag on a worn paperback copy was $117! During the holiday season, I always wish I could buy another copy of David LaRochelle's A Christmas Guest for readers who do not have their own. So many good books like these are for sale on used book high prices!

If the students I see each week are any indication, there is a market for these books. Let me know to whom I should speak first to start my campaign.


  1. When you find out the person to talk to, let me be the first to know.

  2. I hear, understand, and agree with you, but there is something thrilling about the idea of certain books residing in an exalted place in your library where they can be cherished but must never leave the premises because they cannot be replaced .

  3. One idea is to choose one student each week (per class) to select a book from the historical book section and allow her/him to look during library time.