Wednesday, January 4, 2012

What I Learned By Visiting Bookstores in Colorado Over Christmas

Happy New Year, Everyone.  I hope your holiday break was filled with peace, happiness, and lots of fun.

And of course a lot of wonderful books and reading too.

When I went to Colorado over Christmas, I looked for places with books.  Libraries, bookstores, even in the lodge that we stayed at.  I looked for fun, cozy, little places to read of my favorite things to do on vacations is to read and bring books back from these special visits.  

I found the cutest bookstore in Steamboat called Off the Beaten Path.  They had a sweet little comfy spot for children.  I just loved sitting back in that area reading and looking at all of their books.  
Hagan, Brianna, and I bought several books at this bookstore during the week because of the great book talking that happened while we were there.  
Not only were there people talking about the books that they read, they also had a big section that featured "Staff Picks" (as you can see in the photo above).  
At the end of the week, we went back to Fort Collins and spent the day walking around town.

The first place we went was to The Bean Cycle Coffee House.  The coffee house was super cool but tucked into the back of the store was something very special.

It was the Matter Bookstore, which is part of Wolverine Farm Publishing.  On their website it states, "A non-profit run solely by volunteers, Matter Bookstore's mission is to provide the community with a valuable resource through our carefully selected books and publications, weekly events, and the support of various causes.  All the money generated from book sales goes directly to funding publications such as the Matter Journal  and toward various literacy outreach programs."

Their children's area was amazing.  It was one of the most inspiring, creative spaces that I have ever seen.  From the original art work on the walls to the tree branch greeting you at the entrance .....everything was so special.

I could just imagine how a child would feel being able to read and dream within this space.

And once again there were people talking about books...sharing favorites and picking up new ones to read.   One thing I really loved about the Matter Bookstore was how they sold old books too.  I saw a lot of my childhood favorites on the shelves for sale (notice how they are organized by the color of their spine too.....cute!) and had so much fun sharing them with my own kids.  
Being in these spaces made me think about our elementary library.  

I love the space that we have.  It is welcoming, warm, and a place our students enjoy reading, creating, thinking, and learning.  It is a space where they have fun.  We have a new loft that they love to read in....they also love reading underneath the loft too.  

As we start a new semester this week, I thought of a few new ideas to bring to our library and students. 
I went out to the garage and found a box of books from my childhood.  I found my Judy Blume books like Blubber, Are You There God It's Me Margaret, and Freckle Juice.  I also found books that I read for my classes at school like The Pigman and A Christmas Carol.  

It was so much fun seeing which book I would pull out of the box next.  I was so excited to show my students.

I decided to create a special "Book Talk Box" for the books I would be book talking for the week.
Not only would the "Book Talk Box" hold the books I read when I was young, but also books from our books, classics, nonfiction favorites, poetry, books about people I wanted them to learn about too.  

Another special place in our library.....just like the places we found on our trip.  

The "Book Talk Box" can even travel around the school, maybe even with other people besides me.  There will be lots of possibilities for our box.  

So remember to always keep you eyes and mind open to new ideas.  

They will fill your libraries and schools with happiness.

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