Beth Ferry Talks About Spring Weeding

It’s Spring.
Time for flowers and bunnies.
Time for gardening.
Time for my library’s book sale.
I wait in line, ready to dive into the piles, hoping to find some treasure.
I head directly to the picture book section.
Jackpot!
I am bouncing with glee at my good fortune!
My pile is sincerely impressive.          DSC_0254

The titles are awesome.
Authors I know and love.
Artists I admire.
Books I’ve coveted, in pristine condition, published just last year.
Wait.
What??
I look at the publication dates again.
2014. 2014. 2014.
My joy turns to concern.
How is this possible?
These are not books donated by patrons from their home libraries.
These are beautifully bound library books.
Why is the library selling books that were published a little over a year ago?

I am no longer quite as jubilant.
As an author, alarm bells are ringing in my head.
How can the shelf life of a book be shorter than its journey to publication?
This is not a bookstore.
That I could understand.
The turnover at a bookstore is mind-boggling.
Every week new books appear face-out on the shelves and last week’s titles are squeezed, spine-out, among the hundreds of other new, but not quite-as-new, titles.
But a library is different, right?
A library is the place where books go to LIVE!
Where they can safely wait for just the right hands and eyes and hearts to find them.
How can a child discover these books if they are no longer on the shelf?

In dismay, I check online to see the availability of many of these books.
Ok, phew.
These titles are still available and plentiful. 12 copies of some, 11 of others.
Just not in my branch.
Why?
I email my librarian.
My awesome children’s librarian who gets back to me right away.
It seems that a weeding list is generated for the librarian of each branch based on calculated circulation statistics and last recorded date of checkout. Depending on the constraints of each particular library, books that haven’t circulated in two or four or five years may be weeded out. Sometimes they are purged simply because they are doubles.
It all makes sense.
Limited shelf space.
Oodles of new titles.
Availability in other branches.

I look around my library. It is beautiful, but not enormous.
With each new crop of books being published, weeding must be done.
It is just part of the process.
It is essential to a healthy, growing garden.
Even if that garden is my own local library.
So although the joy at my new pile of books is diminished a little, I am resolved to treat these books well, like the bounty that they are. I will respect them, love them and share them with my Kindergarten and first grade reading buddies. Although they are no longer blossoming in my library’s garden, they are definitely beautiful, bright, wonderful additions to mine.     Beth_Ferry_photo

Beth Ferry is the author of the New York Times Bestselling picture book Stick and Stone, published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.. She is also the author of Land Shark  (Chronicle Books)

Pirate’s Perfect Pet will set sail in the Fall of 2016.

PPP_HJ_US

Swashby and the Sea, will be released in 2017. Beth writes and lives by the beach in New Jersey with her family and two lazy land sharks. You can learn more at www.bethferry.com.

Five Great Picture Books.

On my early summer trip to the American Library Association (ALA) Convention in San Fransisco, I was thrilled to meet some of my favorite authors and to get signed copies of some great books.  Here are five picture books I highly recommend from some of my favorite authors.

  1. WHERE ARE MY BOOKS? by Debbie Redpath Ohi (Simon and Schuster): Spencer loves his books.  Spencer ADORES his books.  Spencer can’t find his books!  They are disappearing from his shelves and soon they’ll all be gone.  What’s going on?  Young readers will be delighted to help Spencer solve the mystery of his disappearing books in this engaging PB.   2014-08-25 02.19.08

2. SEAVER THE WEAVER by Paul Czajak is the latest book from the author of the popular MONSTER NEEDS Series published by Mighty Media Kids.  Seaver is a spider.  But not an ordinary spider. His webs are extraordinary, marvelous and wonders to behold. This is a delightful tale of how being different is something to be celebrated.

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3. GOODNIGHT, MANGER (Zonderkidz) is the second book from author Laura Sassi, following on the popular GOODNIGHT, ARK published in 2014.  Like ARK, MANGER is a beautifully written and tender story that is perfect for bedtime reading.  As baby Jesus tries to sleep in a manger full of livestock and visitors who come to see him, what will his parents do to quiet the excited crowd?  How will they get their baby to sleep?     2014-08-25 02.19.44

4.  LAND SHARK by Beth Ferry (Chronicle Books) is the second book for the author of the New York Times Bestseller STICK AND STONE (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt).   Bobby has only one wish for his birthday: To get a pet shark.  He leaves hints all over his house so his parents will know.  Bobby is sure he has a fool proof plan.  Until his birthday arrives and he gets a…puppy?  Can this shark-loving boy learn to love a land critter?  This is a perfect book for kids to sink their teeth into!    2014-08-25 02.18.59

 

5. THIS ORQ (Boyds Mills Press)  by David Elliott is a hilarious “prehistoric” tale of a cave boy and his woolly mammoth friend who have to deal with a couple of bullies.  The whimsical and humorous illustrations by Lori Nichols add to the fun. From the book jacket: “Orq and Woma best friends. Dorq and Caba mean. Story BIG.”  A guaranteed delight!       2014-08-26 01.38.17

Next time you’re at the library or bookstore, why not check out some of these great books?!