|photo: Sydney Huggins
Kimberly L. Jones is manager at the Pannell Award-winning children's bookstore Little Shop of Stories in Decatur, Ga. Due to her reputation for designing exciting summer camp curricula, she was appointed to serve on an advisory board for a master's degree program at Georgia State University in Creative and Innovative Education. For many years, she taught infant and toddler developmental music at Learning Groove, where she was trained by Eric Litwin, co-creator of the Learning Groove and author of the first four Pete the Cat picture books.
One of the highlights of Winter Institute 10 was Jones's serenade to author John Green, along with fellow booksellers David Shallenberger, Diane Capriola and Sunny Bowles, to the tune of "Wild Thing":
John Green, you make my heart sing...
You make cash registers ring,
Oh, John Green...
On your nightstand now:
I'm about to start Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates. It's one I needed to prepare myself to read, even though I have a deep desire to leap into it. I just finished an ARC of Violent Ends, published by Simon Pulse. Each viewpoint of the group of students affected by a school shooting is told by a different YA author via short stories. I can't wait for the rest of the world to read this collection of perfection.
Favorite book when you were a child:
It was for sure Miss Suzy by Miriam Young. Miss Suzy is a little gray squirrel, who lives happily in her oak-tree home until she is chased away by some mean red squirrels. For a moment, it's really sad. But soon she finds a beautiful dollhouse and meets a band of brave toy soldiers who help her get her home back. I wrote in it, carried it and loved it. It was a hand-me-down from my favorite older cousin. That gift probably helped him become my favorite cousin.
Your top five authors:
Libba Bray is my numero uno, because when I read her books I feel like I'm brainstorming all the awesome things that could happen in the book, and she's writing it all down. Sabaa Tahir is my favorite new voice. She's such a great storyteller in her book and in person. Mac Barnett and Judy Schachner make me laugh and love picture books again, and again, and again. Karen Abbott and her historical sizzlers have become my signature handsell as a bookseller.
Book you've faked reading:
I don't fake that I've read it, but Holes by Louis Sachar is one I handsell a lot, although I've only seen the movie. I hear from those with great taste that it's amazing.
|Performing for John Green at WI10: David Shallenberger, Kimberly Jones, Sunny Bowles and Diane Capriola.
Book you're an evangelist for:
Criminal by Terra Elan McVoy is one I want teen girls to read no matter what their taste. If there was ever a book that screamed, "Make good choices!" loud and clear, this is it.
Book you've bought for the cover:
I bought Night Film by Marisha Pessl without reading the back, the first page or any reviews. I saw it, I wanted it, I bought it.
Book you hid from your parents:
Not one. My parents let me know I could read whatever I wanted and come to them with any questions.
Book that changed your life:
Manchild in the Promised Land by Claude Brown was mind blowing for me in high school. I went to an arts school, and for a long time I would only perform monologues from that book. This slightly fictionalized account of Claude Brown's childhood as a streetwise kid trying to survive on the streets of Harlem ripped the face off of my middle-class upbringing.
Favorite line from a book:
"All children, except one, grow up." --Peter Pan by J.M. Barrie
Five books you'll never part with:
These are books I won't even loan to people; I want the one I first held. Manchild in the Promised Land by Claude Brown; Liar, Temptress, Soldier, Spy by Karen Abbott; The Mostly True Adventures of Homer P. Figg by Rodman Philbrick; Dead Beautiful by Yvonne Woon; and Interrupting Chicken by David Ezra Stein. Even pulling these books off my shelves turns me into Bookzilla.
Book you most want to read again for the first time:
The Day the Crayons Quit by Drew Daywalt. As each crayon unravels their truth as to why they are quitting, the laughs never end. I wish I could relive the surprise of why over again.
Your favorite thing about being a children's bookseller:
When a child skips into our store, with a great brightness in their eyes, and tells me that a book I suggested to them is their favorite book and they shared it with a friend.