Monday, June 16, 2014

Indie + Inspiration = Summer Adventure by Kathy Halsey


My favorite indie bookstore, Changing Hands, Tempe AZ, embarked on a new adventure last year that I have a small "hand" in. Changing Hands is so successful it decided to open a new store in downtown Phoenix after 40 years! Owner Gayle Shanks sent a blast to customers asking for suggestions for the downtown location. I took a chance and wrote back, suggesting a monthly event of book talks for parents/grandparents/other caregivers. To my surprise, she wrote back and connected me to her sister Vicki, another former educator. 
(Grandma Kathy & grandson Tobin)
Grandma's Club Perks
Together we created the Grandma's Club which had its inaugural debut last month with 20 adults and 5 little ones. Our goal - to share the newest/best in kid lit via themes. Vicki read stories with the children while I book talked with the adults. Finally, we joined groups for a craft tie-in. Families then explored the Grandma's Club book display and chatted with us. That day club members received 10% off anything in the store and throughout the month, all books on the Grandma's Club list are 10% off in store and online. 
My Perks as a Writer
Changing Hands is a phenomenal, vibrant literary community that hosts national and local writers, critique groups for writers, sign language classes, and more. By reaching out as a volunteer to share my kidlit/library/educator expertise, I found my way into the heart of an important Phoenix venue, and I'm adding value to my tribe. Changing Hands is generously "loaning" me the newest picture books through middle grade novels for my talks.  I am putting myself "out there" as a speaker and honing my ability to connect to audiences. AND, once I am published (positive thinking), I will be much better connected to those who promote writers where I live. I know it's a cliche, but this opportunity is a "win" for all.

Family-themed Book List
Since we began the club right before Father's Day, we decided to feature family-themed books, preK-middle grade. For July, animals rule the book list. I am also sharing online resources with the adults from ALA lists to the Grand Canyon Readers' awards. Vicki and I made sure the list was diverse and I promoted the We Need Diverse Books campaign. Some of the books from our list include:
1. How to Cheer Up Dad - Fred Koehler (featured read aloud and craft tie-in)
2. Isabella: Girl on the Go - Jennifer Fosberry
3. Sophie's Squash - Pat Zietlow Miller
4. Knock, Knock: My Dad's Dream for Me - Daniel Beaty
5. Better Nate Than Ever - Tim Federal
6. Kizzy Ann Stamps - Jeri Watts
7. Our entire list is here

I'M INTERESTED IN YOUR SUMMER ADVENTURES THAT INCLUDE WRITING.COMMENT & LET ME KNOW.   Get out there and go for the adventure this summer! You'll win big.





  

23 comments:

  1. Way to go, Kathy! I like how you were proactive and got involved. Good example for us.

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  2. Great post, Kathy :D Love the idea for the Grandma Club. It would be awesome if this endeavor spread throughout the world. Thanks for sharing.

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    1. Jackie, I appreciate you sharing this post on the FB writer groups!

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  3. what a neat idea! Thanks for sharing it....

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    1. Thanks for stopping by the GROG and commenting, Sue.

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  4. Fabulous initiative. Thanks for sharing with us.

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  5. That's a great idea! Many towns don't have indy bookstores, but this kind of program would work at public libraries or perhaps even Boys & Girls Clubs, etc.

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  6. Your bookstore sounds awesome, Kathy! Way to go with your programs. :)

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  7. That is fantastic! Might have to "borrow" your idea some day. :-)

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  8. What a wonderful resource for parents and kids! Writers too will be highlighted - a win win all around! Great idea!

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    1. Yes, I am making sure I have at least 1 AZ author in each themed month.

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  9. Awesome idea, Kathy! I live in Tucson and need to get myself up to Changing Hands. I've heard wonderful things!

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    1. Oh, Lori, you will truly love it and the new store.

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  10. Changing Hands sounds like a wonderful bookstore. What a great idea to start your Grandma's Club. You're spot on that it's a win all around -- for the store, for you as a writer and, even more, a win for the multi-generational readers. Way to go, Kathy!

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    1. Patricia, it is a great community to be a part of, for sure.

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  11. Kathy, love your Grandma's club and activities. Good for you, Granny!

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  12. Kathy: You continue to amaze me! What a wonderful way to share the love of reading with our precious grands. I know Tobin is learning and growing as you share the love of reading with your sweetie grandson.

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    1. Of course I am biased, but he's a cutie.

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  13. This is just another example of you being awesome! Thank you!

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