Once a year there’s a huge used book sale at the Minnesota state fairgrounds, which is conveniently located 5 minutes from my house. It’s something I look forward to every year, but at the same time I have to admit that sifting through thousands of books like that is quite the experience. The children’s books are spread out on tabletops and in boxes and are only organized into two large sections: picture books and chapter books. By the end of my shopping time I can barely see straight as a result of squinting at book spines for hours on end. In other words, it’s a little nutty. But so very worth it!
Here’s a shot of my favorite chapter books I brought home this weekend:
Not bad for a few bucks! One of the benefits of familiarizing yourself with great booklists is that when you find yourself searching through fifty tables of children’s books you know what titles and authors to scoop up without a second thought. Linnets and Valerians by Elizabeth Goudge? Why yes, thank you very much. The Shoes series by Noel Streatfeild? Definitely. It also comes in handy when appointing oneself as personal assistant to the shoppers next to you. I especially think it’s fun to suggest books to kids who have a stack of not-so-great ones in their arms. Perhaps that’s a bit nosy on my part, but it’s awfully hard to let a 9-year-old pass by From the Mixed Up of Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler having no idea what a treasure it is.
I also scored a bunch of picture books, more so than other years actually, but most of them have already been scattered around the house so I don’t have a picture of those for you. There were quite a few promising theological kidlit books this year, so those may appear here in future posts. (My one regret from the sale this year was not buying the picture book on creation that told of Adam naming all of the animals God had created… including unicorns. Seriously.)
One of the picture books I snatched up right away at the sale was Miss Suzy’s Easter Surprise. I was especially delighted with that one because just a couple of weeks ago we spotted the first Miss Suzy book at one of our neighborhood’s Little Free Libraries. Joy!
Buying new books is incredibly important because it supports authors and sends a message to publishers about the kinds of books consumers value. But buying used books allows us to buy so many more books than we could otherwise afford, so we do both. How about you? If you have any great tips on where to consistently find amazing used books I’d love to hear them!