So, yesterday was one of those great days at the store where everything went right. Teachers came in to buy mass quantities of paperbacks to keep their students reading during the summer, Love, Aubrey (a fantastic middle reader I reviewed in may) came out in hardback, new kids I'd never met came in and bought books I'm passionate about and to top it all off with a big fat scoop of awesomeness, I picked up 5 (5!!) new kid reviewers.
The Kid Reviewer program at my store is simply this: kids who really love books come in and talk to me about the books they like. I make them write a little staff pick card (with the word "staff" covered up with a handwritten "kid") and then I give them a free Advanced Reader Copy for their effort. Best case scenario, they come back in and and write a review for the ARC, but it doesn't always happen that way.
The best thing about the Kid Reviewers is that the only kids who even WANT to do it (it is offered way more than it is done) are kids who are passionate about books, kids who really, really love to read and who are, always, way more intelligent than kids their age have any right to be (which really just means smarter than me). Which are, of course, the kids that are the most fun to talk to.
I finally made a little notebook, in which I can compile things like contact information, birthdays and books reviewed to really keep track, since it's a rapidly expanding program. So hopefully, in the fall we can start doing events.
I left the store yesterday unable to stop smiling. There's a reason working in a bookstore is awesome, and for me, it's kids like the kids I got to talk to yesterday. One of my coworkers suggested a career in teaching. I told her that was a terrible idea. In teaching, you're put in the position of assigning reading, forcing it upon kids, making it a task. At the store, I don't have to do that. The ones who actually WANT to read, and are really passionate about doing so find me. Of course, I love to work with reluctant readers too. If you can hook a kid on reading, it feels fantastic. But there's something so warm, so validating, so heartening about the kids who love it all on their own. Whether or not they're reading books I like (which much of the time they are not) they're reading, and in the age of youtube and twitter, it's particularly meaningful. To me. Career nerd.