On Monday, I wrote about our travels through Central Massachusetts, but after leaving that bookstore-filled world, we headed to the biggest city in the Midwest – Chicago. As regular readers know, I am a transplanted Ohioan and very loyal to the flat middle of the country. Strangely, though, this was my first visit to Chicago. It did not disappoint. If anything, it overwhelmed. Big like New York, but friendly like the Midwest. Frank Lloyd Wright, American Gothic, Yummy food, and a Starbucks across the street from our hotel. Life was good.
We found several bookstores, but Anderson’s Bookshop in Naperville stood out for its excellent selection of children’s books. I was not surprised to see a banner on the wall announcing that Anderson’s was Publishers Weekly‘s 2011 Bookstore of the Year. Their wall of glory brought to mind a basketball arena hanging their championship banners from the ceiling.
I spent most of my time in the children’s book section making a list of books to purchase for the Inly Library, and since it was a Saturday morning, the store was full of families. One of the big draws for young children is a train set at the front of the store which clearly is a gathering spot for toddlers and their parents who can sit for a minute, catch up with friends, and of course look at books. By the time my husband and son made it clear it was time to go, I had two books in my hand. It’s an independent bookstore – I would not leave empty handed!
Our other cool book-related stop was during a visit to the Art Institute of Chicago. There happened to be an exhibit called Play, Pretend and Dream: Caldecott Medal and Honor Books, 2010-2013. Such timing! The exhibit celebrates the 75th anniversary of the award and is on view until December 1 of this year. It’s a small exhibit, but I had the room to myself for a few minutes so I was alone with these lovely works of art:
From A Sick Day for Amos McGee, illustrated by Erin Stead (2011 Caldecott Medal Winner)
From Sleep Like a Tiger, illustrated by Pamela Zagarenski (2013 Caldecott Honor)
Excerpt from the accompanying panel: “As I work, I feel as if I am an actor in a one person play and I become the imagery: I become the night, the moon, the stars, the tiger, the girl, the toys, etc….”
From Red Sings from the Treetops: A Year in Colors, illustrated by Pamela Zagarenski
One last thing that has nothing to do with books, but I keep thinking about them. We went to Millenium Park to see Cloud Gate (aka The Bean), and as cool as the Bean is, I loved these sculptures that are nearby. After we were back at home, I regretted not getting the name of the artist, but after 30 minutes of a fruitless on-line search, I gave up. There are about 20 of these lining the walkway to the art museum, but here are a few pictures – with no attribution: