HODGE-PODGE BOOKS, INC closed the doors of its shop on June 30, 2009. The shop had been in operation from October 28, 1982. During these 27 years many wonderful things happened.
Knowing that we were limited in size (240 square feet) we developed an outreach program. We boxed and bundled our books and went on the road appearing at conferences and workshops across the state and actually the greater Northeastern USA. For most of these trips I also was a presenter speaking to groups varying in sizes from 50 to over several hundred.
Between these trips we arranged local one day workshops and a series of 20 plus 2 day gatherings. Our single day sessions were arranged thematically; for example; BOO! USING SCARY STORIES TO MOTIVATE RELUCTANT READERS featuring such authors as Betty Ren Wright, Bruce Coville and William Sleator; and TICKLE YOUR FUNNY BONE: USING HUMOR TO MOTIVATE RELUCTANT READERS with Lois Lowry. Jamie Gilsin and Red Grammar. Several workshops devoted to Historical Fiction were also presented and received enthusiastically by teachers, librarians and other school personnel.
Non-thematic gatherings were arranged under two banners: LET THE READING BEGIN and GOT BOOKS? LET’S READ! Attendance at these two-day affairs came from across the country with even a participant from Hawaii. The speakers represented the best from the United State and abroad. Chief among the authors presenting were such notables as MEM FOX from Australia, MARGARET MAHY from New Zealand, and TUDOR HUMPHRIES and JUDY ALLEN from England. Newbery winners PHYLLIS REYNOLDS NAYLOR. JERRY SPINELLI, LINDA SUE PARK. KAREN HESSE. LOIS LOWRY. KATE DICAMILLO were among the presenters. Caldecott winner EMILY ARNOLD MCCULLY also spoke.
National speakers were from the ranks of America’s most prestigious authors including among many JOHN REYNOLDS GARDINER, ROBERT CORMIER, JOAN LOWERY NIXON, BRUCE COVILLE. PATRICIA REILLY GIFF, BEN MICHAELSEN, MATTHEW McELLIGOTT, DAVID LUBAR. JOHN BOYNE (Ireland) , PATRICIA POLACCO, KATE DUKE. SUZANNE BLOOM, JAN CHERIPKO, CLARA GILLOW CLARK, JACKIE FRENCH KOLLER , ANN RINALDI, TAMORA PIERCE , et al.
The store was involved with many special activities. Joan even completed a National Science Foundation bibliography under terms of a grant to the NY State Education Dept. Store was involved in numerous school projects and events. Currently I am involved with the Reading Lab library for Pulaski CSD Senior High.
HODGE-PODGE BOOKS Inc has ceased operations in all venues. Closing the physical store was traumatic so I opted to try on-line sales. This operational manner, successful to a point, has been a pleasant diversion.
But, the idea of retirement has entered into the equation finally. So, I am about to begin a new career path free of stress and worry. I am store free, but still available to talk about books on-line, by USPS (snail mail) or personally by phone (518-434-0238).
I began my children’s book career in a graduate course at Cornell University in the fall of 1962. So, I am not too ashamed to end it in the summer of 2010! That’s pretty close to 50 years.
And during these 50 years I have enjoyed meeting thousands of people in this country and abroad. I enjoy friendships with hundreds of people associated with the industry. Among that number are authors, illustrators, critics, editors, sales reps and educators.
Indeed my life has been blessed through my associations with literature for young readers.
However most of all I must thank the legions of teachers, parents and students who have made their way to my shop and to my many other activities arranged to promote a love for reading. It was a wonderful journey over the years and I promise I will never stop reading.
I am as close as a phone call or a postage stamp.