My Very, Very, Very Favorite Bookshelf

This blog post started out as an email to a friend: the wonderful Terri Schmitz, owner of The Children’s Book Shop in Brookline, MA, which was the first children’s bookstore I encountered, and it put me on a whole new career path. She and I were talking books last week (of course!) and I told her that I had a whole bookshelf in my room called “My Very, Very, Very Favorite Bookshelf.”

The “Very Very” thing started, when my brother-in-law Bob helped Laurina and I move one time. When packing, I had obsessively labeled all my book boxes with subjects, and there were 3 labeled Very Very Very Favorites, and a few more labeled Very Very Favorites–you get the idea. When his kids, my niece and nephew, would ask for a book of mine, he would say “Is it one of the VERY favorites or the VERY VERY favorites?”

So I took pictures of the top two shelves of VERY VERY VERY Favorites (because of course the bookshelf is catalogued in descending order) and sent them to Terri, and they are below in this blog post too.

Some of these are favorites not only because they are wonderful, but because they have personal meaning:

  • My old used-library copy of Gone Away Lake that Beth and Joe Krush signed and drew a pocketknife in (!)
  • My signed copies of Robert McCloskey’s Homer Price and Centerburg Tales that I purchased from Sheila Wilensky’s Oz bookshop in Maine
  • TWO copies of Missing May! One purchased by Lisa Dugan and myself at Terri’s bookshop,the year it won the Newbery Award, before we drove to Western Massachusetts, reading it aloud and crying the whole way. (The second copy was Laurina’s and it is SIGNED TO HER. How did she manage that?)
  • My childhood copy of Snow Treasure from the Scholastic Book Club (60 cents, paperback)
  • Eleanor Cameron’s A Spell Is Cast, which I’d never heard of before Terri told me about it, so I bought an out-of-print copy and loved it. Then when Laurina and I were falling in love, I found out that it was her childhood favorite—and gave it back to her.

I know Marie Kondo says we should only own 30 books, but she’s wrong. These will be with me until I depart the planet. Here are the photos, I turned them sideways so they were easier to read:

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