It’s been a particularly enjoyable couple of weeks on the children’s reference desk. The ever-funny Screwy Decimal had a great post recently about what kids actually want to read. In the spirit of that post, I thought maybe I should share a couple of my favorite recent interactions with young patrons.
A seven or eight year old girl wanders up to the desk. We talk about Dewey the library fish for a minute or two before she leans in and whispers, rather theatrically, “Can I ask you something?”
Me: “Sure, go ahead.”
Her: (pause) “Do you believe in dragons?” Oh, this is a child after my own heart.
Me: “Well. I’ve never seen one, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t real.”
We spend a few minutes looking at pictures of dragons from her favorite cartoon (some kind of Arthurian thing?) online before she asks me for a book about dragons. We have a great book in our children’s reference collection (which mostly means it can’t be be checked out) called Dragonology. It’s styled to look hand-written and illustrated, is full of “facts” about different breeds of dragon, and is replete with little pieces (letters, badges, pull-outs, etc.)–which is why it doesn’t circulate. I gave that to her. She flipped through it for a little while, then brought it back to show me a letter she found in an envelope on the inside cover (you can see what I’m talking about on the book’s Amazon page). She was struggling with the handwriting font, so I read the letter to her. At the end, she sighed, “I think this is the perfect book for me.” Hooray!
Another little girl, maybe four or five, asked me for books about the Little Mermaid. I tried, unsucessfully, to steer her away from Disney and toward Hans Christian Anderson. (“No, I mean ARIEL.”) But eventually we found Ariel, and she happily flipped through it on the floor, asking Grandma to read a few choice passages aloud. When they were getting ready to go, we had this little interaction:
Her: I have to go now.
Me: Ok, well thanks for coming to the library! Come back soon.
Her, ducking her head a little: I love you.
Me: Thank you very much.
Her: What’s your name?
Such cuteness. I love making a good impression on the little ones, because I want them to want to come back. And hopefully these two will!