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A Charmer Named Elliot

A Charmer Named Elliot

I did a booksigning this past Saturday, reading two picturebooks at an area bookstore. I alerted everyone on my local mailing list as well as posting notices on both Facebook and CraigsList, and the bookstore had told me they would do promo as well.

Well, a fair number of my people showed up. Being predominantly in my age range, none of them had small children, and most didn’t even have grandchildren young enough to buy the books for, but just about everyone bought books anyhow, either for assorted other kids in their spheres or, at least in a couple of cases, for themselves.

The bookstore’s efforts, however, bore little fruit. There was only one child who showed up, accompanied by two women who, judging by their apparent ages, might have been his two grandmas. They weren’t anyone I knew, but I didn’t ask them how they knew about the booksigning, so I don’t know if they came in response to the bookstore’s efforts or if my CraigsList or Facebook postings drew them in.

The little boy, whose name was Elliot, was age four and already a reader. He plopped himself down in a beanbag chair, and my friend Shirl, who was holding copies of the two books I was to read, settled into a seat beside him. At first she held the books where he could see them, turning the pages at the appropriate time, but soon Elliot claimed possession of the books.

Elliot seemed a serious sort. While not gregarious, he was perfectly at ease with the gaggle of unfamiliar adults around him. When asked a question, he answered without a trace of reticence or shyness. He sat still through the reading of both books. I have read to audiences of older kids who couldn’t sit still through one picturebook. Elliot had composure and poise. He was a delight to read to.

It felt a bit odd to be reading picturebooks to an audience of adults, many of them seniors, so—without ignoring my invitees—I focused predominantly on Elliot. He alternated his eye-contact between me and whichever of the two books that lay in his lap I was reading at the time.

I’m sorry I didn’t get to say, “Goodbye,” to him after the reading was over, but there was a mad scramble for the restroom, and I needed to get there first.

This Saturday I am doing another reading—this one at a library. It’s just a couple of blocks from the bookstore where I read last Saturday. I wonder if Elliot will be there. I hope so!

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