Recent economic woes have certainly affected bookstores along with most other businesses, but I recently came across a couple of positive signs that good literature for children and young adults is alive and doing well.
One of my favorite bookstores to browse and shop in is Powell’s in Portland, which says it’s the largest bookstore in the world. It’s a great place to wander around in for a while, as there are multiple stories and so many places to find so many good books. I usually drop my daughters off in the kid’s section and shop in nearby rooms for myself. I was really surprised when I went in a couple of weeks ago to find the kid’s section totally redone. It actually had more space and more books! Not only that, but there was a better differentiation between children’s, middle grade and young adult choices.
A clerk in the department said the expanded selection was a reflection of the increase in books being published targeting middle grade and young adult readers. It also says to me that people are buying these books, as the number of titles bought not the number of titles published keep a bookstore thriving. My daughters were thrilled to have so many great books to peruse and choose from.
I’ve also heard that Border’s is making changes in it’s kids’ section as well, and it now separates books for middle grade readers from books for younger children. I take these as great signs for mother-daughter book clubs and indeed for parents and kids everywhere. If the category of books for pre-teens through late teens is growing, undoubtedly there will continue to be quality titles for these readers to choose from. I’m certainly encouraged by what I’ve seen.