Take Your Child to a Bookstore Day has grown exponentially since 80 bookstores first promoted it in 2010. With the addition of more than one hundred Half Price Books locations, upwards of 620 bookstores are expected to take part this year on December 7, the Saturday after Small Business Saturday/Indies First Day.
“My hope,” said founder and Cover of Snow author Jenny Milchman, “is that by drawing awareness to the pleasures of time spent in a bookstore at a young age, kids who take part will grow up to value and support bookstores in the communities of the future.”
For many stores, participation in Take Your Child to a Bookstore Day means promoting the occasion in their stores and on their Web sites to encourage families to shop together during the holiday season. At Half Price, according to spokesperson Emily Bruce, a few stores are planning special events. The chain is also providing a Bookworm coloring sheet for kids who visit their stores on December 7.
This year Milchman established a board of directors, which in addition to herself includes Beth Miller, who is completing her debut novel, The Stop; Todd G. Monahan, assistant attorney general in the Civil Recoveries Bureau of the New York State Office of the Attorney General in Albany; and Paul Maguire, author of Professor Atlas and the Summoning Dagger. Her goal is to create a nonprofit organization that will use Take Your Child to a Bookstore Day as a starting point for bringing kids into bookstores.
“First, I would like to structure field trips to bookstores in at-risk areas of the country,” said Milchman. “Though many great authors are doing phenomenal work with childhood literacy, a lesser-known component is the particular joy of being in a bookstore. Such an experience not only bolsters literacy and a love of reading, it also allows the child to see how booksellers make books and reading their life’s work, and connects the child to community and the value of face time in a virtual world.”
If the December celebration continues to grow, Milchman said, she would like to add a second day at a less busy time of the year.