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Peggy's Pages Blog 

Shop at Your Local Indie Bookstores on Small Business Saturday!

This coming Saturday, November 29th, is Small Business Saturday. Small Business Saturday is a counterpart to Black Friday and Cyber Monday, encouraging people to shop at small businesses on the Saturday after Thanksgiving, one of the busiest shopping days of the year. It was first observed in 2010 when it was conceived by American Express. In 2013 it was also observed in the UK.

When my husband and I moved from Indiana to the St. Louis area 3½ years ago, one of my first contacts in the writing community was Vicki Erwin at Main Street Books. There is nothing that compares to the atmosphere of an indie (independent) bookstore! I have warm memories of this cozy bookstore with friendly faces who welcomed many local authors. I was lucky to be invited to sign copies of my books there as well. In February of this year Main Street Books switched hands to new owners, Emily, Ellen and Andy Hall, who keep that same friendly atmosphere, hosting book events and local authors. Click the link above to see who will be there this Saturday.

We’re fortunate to have several Independent Bookstores in the St. Louis area. For information on these indie bookstores and events, visit the St. Louis Independent Bookstore Alliance website.

Stop in and say hello, and shop your local indie bookstore this year on Small Business Saturday! (Tell them I sent you).  Read More 
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The Perks of Reading a Book!

Need some last minute gift ideas? Think books!

Yesterday I visited Vicki Erwin at her bookstore, Main Street Books, in downtown old St. Charles. I love this store. It has such a cozy, friendly atmosphere. People come in and out, calling out greetings by first name, like family.

When our children were small, one of their Christmas gifts was always a book. But books make wonderful gifts, for any age, at any time of year.

There are many perks to reading a book. Here are just a few.

1. Reading reduces stress and helps you relax. Psychologists believe that reading eases the tensions in muscles and the heart. A person only needs to read, silently, for six minutes to slow down the heart rate and ease tension in the muscles. So take some time to read when you come home from work. Or fall asleep at night reading a good book.

2. Reading makes you smarter. Reading is an active mental process. It stimulates your mind. Books make you use your brain. By reading, you think more, and become smarter.

3. Reading increases vocabulary. Your brain determines meaning through repetition and context. Language in children’s books is likely to be more sophisticated than your average conversation.

4. Reading improves concentration and focus. Reading books takes brain power. It requires you to focus on what you’re reading for long period. Since you must concentrate when you read, you will get better at it.

5. Reading improves memory. Reading requires remembering details, facts and figures, and helps you stretch your memory muscles.

6. Reading improves analytical thinking. Readers improve their general knowledge and are able to spot patterns quicker, which in turn gives your analytical skills a boost.

7. Reading builds self-esteem. By reading books, you become better informed which translates into higher self esteem.

8. Reading helps you socially.The more information you gather the better conversationalist you will become.

9. Reading helps writers. The more you read, the more ideas you have.

10. Reading is an enjoyable, inexpensive form of entertainment. A visit to the library or your local bookstore is sure to fill your need on any topic of interest.

Here are some reading recommendations for children from Vicki at Main Street Books.

Children’s Fiction
THIS IS NOT MY HAT, by Jon Klassen, Candlewick, HC, 15.99.
PETE THE CAT SAVES CHRISTMAS, by James Dean and Eric Litwin, Harper Collins, HC, 17.99. Pete has many other adventures in his other books also available.
SNOWMEN AT WORK, by Caralyn and Mark Buehner, Dial, HC, 16.00.
Children Non-Fiction
SAFARI, by Dan Kainen, Workman Publishing Company, HC, 24.95.

Youth Fiction
THE THIRD WHEEL, DIARY OF A WIMPY KID, by Jeff Kinney, Harry N. Abrams, HC, 13.95.
LIAR & SPY, by Rebecca Stead, Wendy Lamb Books, HC, 15.99.
EVERYDAY, by David Levithan, Knopf, HC, 17.99.
SON, by Lois Lowry, Houghton Mifflin, HC, 17.99.
THE FALSE PRINCE, by Jennifer A. Nielsen, Scholastic, HC, 17.99.
WHO COULD THAT BE AT THIS HOUR, by Lemony Snicket, Little, Brown Books, HC, 17.99.
ELEMENTAL, by Antony John, Dial, HC, 17.99.
VENOM, by Fiona Paul, Philomel, HC, 17.99.

Adult Fiction
ART FORGER, by B.A. Shapiro, Algonquin, HC, 23.95.
SUTTON, by J.R. Moehringer, Hyperion, 27.99.
THE BOOKSELLER, by Mark Pryor, Seventh Street, PB, 15.95.
PIGEON PIE MYSTERY, by Julia Stuart, Doubleday, 24.95.
PARIS WIFE, by Paula Mclain, Ballantine, PB, 15.00.
SECRET KEEPER, by Kate Morton, Atria, 26.99.
MRS. QUEEN TAKES THE TRAIN, by William Kuhn, HC, Harper, 25.99.

Adult Non Fiction
BITTER BREW, by William Knoedelseder, Harper Business, HC, 27.99.
ONE LAST STRIKE, by Tony LaRussa, William Morrow, HC, 27.99.
THOMAS JEFFERSON, THE ART OF POWER, by Jon Meacham, Random House, HC, 35.00.

Main Street Books
307 South Main Street
St. Charles, MO 63301


Facebook: www.facebook.com/mainstreetbooks

Merry Christmas to all!
And to all, a good book!  Read More 
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Warming up to children's books in MO

Greetings from O’Fallon! It’s been a summer of emptying boxes, finding things and re-discovering other things, and everything else that it takes to move from one state to another. We’re finally settling in, and I’m beginning to make a few connections to the world of children’s books here in Missouri.

My first stop, shortly after moving in, was to the Middendorf-Kredell Library in O’Fallon, where I visited the children’s department and met the librarian and staff there. I’m lucky to be just ten minutes away from this beautiful new branch of the St. Charles Library District.

The O’Fallon children’s librarian gave me the name of the owner of Main Street Books, an independent bookstore in near-by St. Charles. I made a visit to Main Street Books a couple of weeks later, and met Vicki Erwin, bookstore owner and fellow SCBWI member. The warm, cozy atmosphere, like most independent bookstores, feels like family, and I have it on my list to return soon and browse through the stacks. (www.mainstreetbooks.net)

Wherever there’s an SCBWI member, there’s a smiling, friendly person ready to share children’s book-related information. Vicki gave me the link to the St. Louis Independent Bookstore Alliance. I was amazed at the number of independent bookstore in the St. Louis area. Checking their schedule of events, I found that several children‘s authors were on the books doing author appearances at various stores, including Jarrett Krosoczka (the LUNCH LADY graphic novel series), author/illustrator Peter Brown (CHILDREN MAKE TERRIBLE PETS and YOU WILL BE MY FRIEND!), and Jack Gantos (JOEY PIGZA and ROTTEN RALPH). My calendar is filling up quickly! (www.stlindiebook.com)

I enjoy doing author visits to schools and libraries, as well as visits to bookstores. I stopped at the Mid Rivers Barnes & Noble bookstore in St. Peters, where my son’s family lives, and met Shelly, who schedules the activities there. I just added an author story time and a book signing to my calendar during Educators Week on October 22nd. My daughter’s family recently moved from north of St. Louis to Fenton. I contacted the South Roxana Library where they visited before they moved, and offered to sign copies of my books. I'm looking forward to doing an author visit there sometime in the next several months.

Of course, the one place that I KNOW will connect me to other children’s writers no matter what state I’m in is SCBWI (http://www.scbwi.org ). I’ve registered for the Missouri SCBWI fall conference (http://moscbwi.org/Home_Page.html) on November 5th in St. Charles, which is just a hop over from O’Fallon. I’m looking forward to meeting an editor, an agent, and of course other children’s authors and illustrators.

I’m beginning to warm up to this new home state of Missouri. No pun intended (or maybe so), since except for the past few days, the temps have been in the 90’s and 100’s ever since we moved here!
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