Tuesday, December 18, 2012

It's okay to buy used books

My mom is taking my family to the Utah Shakespearean Festival this summer (yeah!!!). We will be seeing The Tempest, and she emailed me asking if I knew of any great retellings of The Tempest that were in print.

I did know of two different retellings of The Tempest, both of which I consider truly awesome. Here they are:

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A retelling by Bruce Coville

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A retelling by Marianna Mayer (an illustrator I adore).
I would love to own either of them.

"But they're not in print," my mom said. [I'm paraphrasing here...]

"That's okay," I said. "A good book is a good book. You don't buy a book because it's in print. You buy a book because you want what's inside."

"Mmmm," my mom said, because she has a disease many people who buy books have contracted. A disease I like to call, "I Will Only Buy New Books Disease" or NewBiblioencephalitis for short.

Why is it okay—perhaps even important—to buy used books?

First, it is okay because it shows your kids you buy a book not based on popularity, but because it is a GREAT book.

Second, it's okay to buy used books because they are very often cheaper than new books! If you buy your child three books for twelve dollars instead of one, you tell them, more books is better than less books. A statement that is always, always true. I promise.

Third, it's okay to buy used books because sometimes books are reissued when publishers determine that a book is still popular, and sometimes these books are reissued with a new illustrator and they are fabulous like Jane Yolen's The Seeing Stick, which used to be this:
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Fine, but not my favorite.

Now it is this:

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I like to think I was a part of that decision to reissue this beautiful, beautiful story, because I bought it when it was out-of-print.

Fourth, recycling maybe?

Fifth, you can show your kids books you LOVED when you were younger.

For example, this was my favorite book was I was young.
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This is the newer edition that is now out-of-print

But I have my old, old copy (very much out-of-print) that looks like this:
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I loved this book when I was little, and even though it is really pretty silly, I love it now. And so do my kids, because it was mine.

Now, just in case you still need to buy your kids books for Christmas, or in case you just decided to buy some more (!!!), here are two lists of picture books to consider, one for younger kids (2-6) and one for older (7 and up, up, up):

James Marshall's Mother Goose
Apple, Pear, Orange, Bear by Emily Gravett (or anything by her—love her!!!)
I Want My Hat Back by Jon Klassen
Stuck by Oliver Jeffers
Z is for Moose by Kelly Bingham
The Spider and the Fly by Mary Howitt
Ox-Cart Man by Donald Hall
The Monsters' Monster by Patrick McDonnell
Ten Birds by Cybele Young
Don't Squish the Sasquatch by Kent Redeker

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Now for older kids:

The Three Ninja Pigs by Corey Schwartz
Lemonade in Winter by Emily Jenkins
Have Fun, Molly Lou Melon by Patty Lovell
Fifty Cents a Dream: Young Booker T. Washington by Jabari Asim
Unspoken: A story from the underground railroad by Henry Cole
King Midas and the Golden Touch by Charlotte Craft
Any of Marcia Williams series: see the pictures below to choose what FABULOUS comic-book style retellings you want to give...

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