This fall, the writer Ann Patchett did something radical. She opened a bookstore. This goes against the trend. The indie bookstores are practically extinct. I miss Flagstaff’s old landmarks, McGaugh’s Newsstand on Aspen, Aradia Books just across the tracks. I’m glad we’ve still got Starlight Books on Leroux.
I was thinking, if you want to buy your child a book for Christmas, what are the options? The big chain bookstores? I guess. The internet? Sure. Download Where the Wild Things Are and hand your kid a Kindle.
Call me retro, but I say there’s nothing like a glorious, glossy, picture book to inspire the joy of reading. So I decided to take a walk in downtown Flagstaff and see what’s available. I found some treasures.
At Starlight I found Phoebe and Chubb by local author Matt Hall, the story of a friendship between a frog and a fish and their raucous adventure in the Grand Canyon.
Then, just around the corner The Golden Aspen toy store displayed Shade, The Story of a Very Smart Raven by Sedona author Diane Phelps Budden. An inspiring book about a real raven trained in search and rescue.
Winter, you know, is the season for coyote tales. There’s a terrific new coyote book At Winter Sun on San Francisco: Coyote and the Sky: How the Sun, Moon, and Stars Began by Emmett Garcia and illustrated by Victoria Pringle: playful, magical illustrations of the Animal People as they traveled to our world, Coyote making trouble on the way.
I found another classic at West of the Moon on Aspen: Alice Yazzie’s Year, fantastically illustrated by Flagstaff’s own Shonto Begay.
On Route 66, The Painted Desert Trading Company has an incredible selection. There, I found Rascal, The Tassel-Eared Squirrel, by NAU biology professor Sylvester Allred, and Little Woman Warrior by Evangeline Parsons Yazzie. This is a wonderful bilingual history book, perfect for kids aged 6 – 10, about a little warrior returning from Fort Sumner after the Navajos’ Long Walk south.
And there are more. Many more. Got a kid on your list this holiday season? Take a walk downtown. We may have fewer bookstores, but our local shops still sell books. Happy reading to one and all.