Monday, August 24, 2009

Finding lost books

If you spend a lot of time with children's books, you tend to get the question fairly often: Can you help me remember this book I loved? As I wrote about in Why I write for children, it's wonderful to be able to help someone find a lost friend.

Recently I stumbled on the Stump the Booksellers service from Harriett at Loganberry Books in Shaker Heights, Ohio. People post their queries and then she tries to figure out which books they're looking for and if possible find them a copy (booksellers do this in person a lot). Customers also help identify the books.

The site is full of things like this:
Hi, I'm looking for a child's book that I read when I was about 10 years old, which would have been around 1964. Unfortunately I don't remember the author or title. It was the first book I ever read that featured a computer. (Which turned out to be Danny Dunn and the Homework Machine by Jay Williams and Raymond Abrashkin.)

And this..

For years I have been searching for a Christmas book that was gifted to me when I was very young (in the early -'50s). I love this book but it was given away by mistake.... Over the years friends and family have sent me numerous books, hoping it would be the one I was missing. I was only about 6 when the book was given to me but I can remember the cover had Santa with a huge bag on his back and the toys were falling out of it. Anyway, I miss it terribly and have long lamented that it got away from me. (The Santa Claus Book: A Big Golden Book by Kathryn Jackson)
There's also a section called Named for the book where people tell why they named their children after a literary character. We didn't name Abbie after a literary character, though we considered Anna because Anna Karenina played a role in bringing us together. But I was 10 when my sister was born and I loved that her name was two of my favorites from Little Women: Laurie Beth. (Little Women being another of the books with tragic deaths and unlikely romances I read when I was about that age.)

If I ever get to Shaker Heights, I'm going to check out Loganberry.