And speaking of change-- yesterday I finally visited the Red Balloon Bookshop in St. Paul and it has changed! Bookshelves have been rearranged, a couch has been added, chairs here and there to sit upon. The books for teens are downstairs to create a place for young adults to ponder and read books without babies and parents hovering about. There was even a party room added for book parties! I know where my next birthday is going to be celebrated! Everywhere I turned there were new colors, new sections and yet at the same time, it was all familiar. I find that when a room is rearranged, I see the familiar parts, but the new placement engages me to enter with an openness of mind and an eagerness for discovery. And there is much to discover in the changes at Red Balloon!
Not only did I spend the day looking at books in the newly created nooks and crannies of the Red Balloon, but I painted the 10 foot window at the front of the store with images from Yellow Time. It has been a tradition for nearly all of my picture books, beginning with Fold Me A Poem, to paint the window like stained glass in celebration of the book's birthday. I begin early in the morning before the store opens, setting up a ladder and tempura paints. Beginning at the top of the ladder and the top of the window is a must-- as I grow tired and by the end of the day it is nice to have my feet firmly on the floor. When the store opens at noon on Sundays, mothers with children, fathers with children, grandmothers and grandfathers with children, teens, teachers, and more come through the magical red door and the music plays over the loud speakers to welcome them. Sometimes they stop and talk with me about the window and sometimes they just stand and watch. I love to listen to the conversations of book-love as I paint: "I love On the Day You Were Born, I give it to every baby I know, but I cannot read it without crying." "Look! The Little Blue Truck's Halloween! You love Little Blue Truck!" "Llama, llama Red Pajamas-- I love that book!" Book-love is alive and well at the Red Balloon.
Now that the window is painted, I look forward to presenting at the Red Balloon Bookshop on October 1st, at 10:30am. There will be cake and activities and a yellow light shining through the painted leaves on the window. I hope you can come and see the changes around the store, if you haven't already, and celebrate Yellow Time, with me.