Longtime children’s bookseller Shirley Masengill, recipient of a Northern California Children’s Booksellers’ Association Otter Award for her unique role in bringing together children and books, died on February 12. She was 83. For nearly seven decades Masengill worked at Bay Area bookstores, including Books Inc., Sather Gate, Lane’s Bookstore, the Storyteller, Cody’s, Cover-to-Cover Booksellers, and Laurel Book Store. “Anyone who has met Shirley has been struck by her passion,” said Hicklebee’s co-owner Valerie Lewis. “We’ve lost a one-of-a-kind force in our book community, and we’ll miss her.”
Donations may be made to Starcross Monastic Community (34500 Annapolis Rd., Annapolis, Calif. 95412; www.starcross.org), an autonomous community of lay people. Since 1986, it has adopted and advocated for children with unique gifts and needs, most of whom were born HIV-positive. It also supports individual children in other places and established Houses of Hope for children impacted by the AIDS pandemic in Romania, Uganda, and South Africa.
Laurel Book Store in Oakland, where Masengill worked at the time of her death, will hold a celebration of her life on April 2. It will also mount a display of Masengill’s favorite children’s books to handsell.