Sunday, November 30, 2014

Holiday Books for Kids

There's snow on the ground here in Minnesota.  The temperature tomorrow morning is going to be 1 degree below zero.  Brrr.  That's cold.

It's time to think about Winter Kids Books!

There are some great kids books out that are about Christmas, Hanukkah and Winter.  Here are a few of my favorites.

Animals Santa by Jan Brett is a beautifully illustrated book about Santa bringing gifts for everyone, including the animals.

Skippyjon Jones Snow What by Judy Schachner features everyone's favorite Siamese cat who thinks he's a Chihuahua in this fairy tale about winter.

Pete the Cat Saves Christmas by James Dean and Eric Litwin is a fun re-telling of The Night Before Christmas featuring Pete the Cat.

Hanukkah Bear by Eric Kimmel, illustrated by Mike Wohnoutka (local author/illustrator) is now a classic tale of Hanukkah and mistaken identity.

Winter is the Warmest Season by Lauren Stringer (local author/illustrator) is a beautiful book about why winter is actually the warmest, coziest season of all.

Santa Clauses by Bob Raczka, illustrated by Chuck Groenink is a collection of short poems from the North Pole.

That's it for now, but there are many more great winter books.  If you live near by Micawber's, come on in and check out our selection of holiday/winter books for kids!

Monday, November 24, 2014

Getting Ready for the Holidays

Here at Micawber's we are getting ready for the holidays.

We are building up stock of new and favorite titles.

New Adult Books

From serious to funny, we have a lot of books in the store.  And more on the way!

Kid's Books

Some of my favorite clever/humorous books are:

Texts from Jane Eyre, by Mallory Ortberg

The texts from Hamlet are my daughter's particular favorite.

What If?, by Randall Munroe

Very clever and funny!  Real answers to absurd questions.

101 Two-Letter Words, by Stephin Merritt

Words like "Yo," "Aa" and "Xu."  Each word is accompanied by a four-line, rhyming poem.  This is perfect for Scrabble players in your life.  Plus, the illustrations are great!

This is just a sampling of the humorous books out this year.  If you have a person in your life who enjoys clever humor, maybe one of these books will fit the bill for a gift this holiday season.  Enjoy!

Friday, November 21, 2014

I'm Back at the Bookstore!

After a two-year absence, I am back at Micawber's Books and my Bookshop Gal blog!

I started again at the store in June and am happy to be back.  I missed the smell of the place - a combination of old wood and books.  I missed the camaraderie of working with Tom, the owner.  And I missed helping customers find the perfect book.

So, I back and ready to blog.

Here's a little of what's been going on at the store.

•  We had a tough summer.  Business was slow.  But things are looking up this fall.  We are feeling positive about the direction the store is headed.

• A month ago, there was an article in the Star Tribune about Micawber's and the tough times we've been through lately.  It focused on how the neighborhood and customers have rallied around the store, which is amazing!

• A result of the amazing ideas from neighbors and friends is a new event that takes place every Monday evening.  We call it Mondays @ Micawber's.  Every Monday from now through Christmas from 5:00 - 6:30 pm there is a Social Hour with wine and cheese and conversation with friends old and new.

Here's a picture from last Monday's get-together.

It was cozy and friendly inside the store on a cold night outside.

Here's a picture from the kid's section which has some great new books in for the season.

In particular, I am excited about Moo! by David LaRochelle, illustrated by Mike Wohnoutka, which won the Minnesota Book Award this year and Rhoda's Rock Hunt, by Molly Beth Griffin, illustrated by Jennifer A. Bell.  These authors and illustrators are all from Minnesota, so it's especially fun to see their books on the tables at the store.

Now that I'm back, I'll post about new and forthcoming books that Tom and I are especially excited about.  I'll also post more pictures and answer your burning questions about life at an independent bookstore.

Thanks for joining in the fun!

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

I've Moved Blogs

Hello readers!

As you can see, I'm no longer updating my Bookshop Gal blog.

I'm now blogging at:

Please stop by and check out my new Planet Parenting blog!

Dara Dokas

Monday, January 30, 2012

Minnesota Book Award Finalists

The Finalists for the Minnesota Book Awards have been announced!

Here are the Finalists in the categories of Children's Literature and Young People's Literature:

Children's Literature

- BookSpeak! Poems About Books by Laura Purie Salas and illustrated by Josee Bisaillon.
- Friends: True Stories of Extraordinary Animal Friendships by Catherine Thimmesh.
- The Last Day of Kindergarten by Nancy Loewen and illustrated by Sachiko Yoshikawa.
- Swirl by Swirl: Spirals in Nature by Joyce Sidman and illustrated by Beth Krommes.

Young People's Literature

- The Big Crunch by Pete Hautman
- The Books of Elsewhere: Spellbound by Jacqueline West
- The Tanglewood Terror by Kurtis Scaletta
- With or Without You by Brain Farrey

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

One Man (Woman) Down

Four main people work at Micawber's. The two owners - Tom and Hans. Karen, who has been there since the beginning, and me. Plus, Tom's son Max helps out occasionally.

This makeup of people works pretty well. We have enough people to cover every shirt, plus times to work together.

Except every other January.

Karen spends the month of January in England every other year. Her husband is a professor of technical theater and brings a group of students to London for a month of study and fun. Karen goes along to participate and help chaperone. It's very cool.

But, this means we're down to three people (plus Max) at the store. This makes scheduling tricky. And it's rare that we get to work with anyone else.

This is a real challenge to small businesses everywhere.

Tom once said, "The biggest challenge to a small business is illness." (And vacation, I would add.) When someone calls in sick, it's not always easy to cover that shift.

This January, if one of us needs a day off, the other two have to work.

What this all comes down to is being flexible and willing to compromise.

Working with a slim staff has it's challenges, of course. But it also has it's benefits. We know each other very well. We can help each other out in a pinch. And we trust that everyone is committed to the store and doing a good job. Everyone has a little ownership in the endeavor.

And that is the biggest benefit to a small business.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Inventory Day

Today was Inventory Day at the bookstore. This is the day - once a year - when we count every book in the store.

Since we're very "old school," we have paper tally sheets and clipboards. We write down the price and how many books there are at that price. It's labor intensive to say the least. Luckily, we have about 15 volunteers helping us each year.

Today, it took about 5 hours to inventory the entire store. That is, it took 5 hours to write down the number of books and their prices. Now it will take WEEKS to add up all the tally sheets and reach the total.

I'm glad Inventory Day only happens once a year!