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Posts Tagged ‘Hans Christian Andersen’

The Little Golden Book called The Poky Little Puppy, by Janette Sebring Lowrey and Gustaf Tenggren.

Golden Books were a big part of my childhood. What about yours?

My mother especially liked to read us The Poky Little Puppy, I guess because we were all inquisitive — and took too long with everything.

Recently, NPR offered a trip down that memory lane.

From Lynn Neary: “In the 1950s and ’60s, if there were any children’s books in a house, at least one of them was likely to be a Little Golden Book. … Those beloved books celebrate their 75th birthday this year.

“First introduced shortly after the start of World War II, many of them — such as The Tawny Scrawny Lion, The Saggy Baggy Elephant and The Poky Little Puppy — have become classics. …

” ‘Up until then, children’s books were found mostly in libraries or high-end book stores and were meant to be handled with care. They tended to be very expensive. So even if you could find one of these books in a store, only a certain percent of the population could afford to bring them home,’ explains author Leonard Marcus.

“Marcus wrote The Golden Legacy: The Story of the Golden Books. He says the printers, publishers, writers and artists who brought Golden Books to the market had a lofty goal — they wanted to “democratize children’s books,” making them both affordable and accessible. To that end, they were sold in department stores, train stations, drugstores and supermarkets. …

“Golden Books became a kind of totem of the times for baby boomers who grew up in the 1950s and ’60s. George Saunders, author of the bestselling Lincoln in the Bardo, says Golden Books were a highlight of his visits to his grandmother. …

“He says he remembers the pictures best: ‘In those editions there’s some magic between the words and the images. … I could feel in my mental and physical reaction to those books that something really incredible was going on.’ …

“The books are now published by Penguin Random House.” More.

I loved Golden Books. My father preferred to read us books he considered classics. He was certainly amusing when reading Rudyard Kipling’s Just So Stories. But my brother and I found Hans Christian Andersen stories creepy (the children of Dickens found Andersen himself creepy when he visited). The one upbeat tale in our Andersen collection — “The Tinder Box” — we insisted our father read over and over no matter how often he urged us to pick a different one.

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Well, this is a new one on me: a bookstore that sells only one title at a time.

Amy X. Wang reports at a website called Quartz that in September 2014, “Yoshiyuki Morioka, a bookseller who had been running a store in Tokyo, Japan, for 10 years, had a curious thought. Lots of customers, it seemed, dropped in during book launches and other events to buy the same title; others often appeared overwhelmed by all the extra variety. So why not start a bookstore that only sold one book at a time?

“Now, Morioka Shoten — Morioka’s new venture that threw open its doors in Tokyo’s trendy Ginza shopping district in May 2015 — operates around that very principle. The store stocks multiple copies of only one carefully selected tome each week …

“Takram, the design engineering firm that helped Morioka put together the look of his new store, says the experience highlights ‘the importance of a physical venue in the era of digital reading.’

“Books that have been displayed so far include Swedish-Finnish author Tove Jansson’s The True Deceiver, Hans Christian Andersen’s Fairy Tales, and works from well-known Japanese writers like Mimei Ogawa and Akito Akagi. Each title is displayed for six days in a row—Tuesday to Sunday—and then swapped out for a new book.

“And things are going quite well at the quiet little store. According to Morioka, Morioka Shoten has sold more than 2,000 works since it opened. Proof, then, that readers seeking deep, personal relationships with physical books are still around across the world.” More here.

You know, that last sentence strikes a chord. I was just explaining to a friend today how this blog resulted from my daughter asking if I would apply my love of blogging to support the vibe of the jewelry company she founded, which emphasizes deep, personal relationships.

If you’ve never clicked on the Luna & Stella site (or even if you have), please do now. Suzanne and Erik have posted a steady stream of new birthstone-jewelry designs and charms over the five years I’ve been blogging. Each one is full of meaning.

Photo: Takram/Miyuki Kaneko
The one-room bookstore Morioka Shoten in Tokyo

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