Paging the Past in Cleveland, Ohio
A Cleveland bookstore owner helps connect children's lit pros with fans chasing childhood memories.
When I was a kid, many nights out ended at the bookstore. While Mom and Dad browsed, my brother and I settled into the children's section. And that's still where you'll find me-especially at a shop like Cleveland's Loganberry Books. Oriental rugs set the mood, and much of the inventory's 100,000 titles are new, used and rare kids' books.
Mostly I crave the nostalgic escape, revisiting the characters and places of my own once upon a time. But sometimes old favorites stir me in new ways. As a writer, I savor the lyrical barnyard poetry of Charlotte's Web. As a parent, I'm brought close to tears by a mother cow who loves her gentle son Ferdinand just as he is.
The books we read as children shape who we become. Some we never forget, but others burrow deep, resurfacing decades later in fragments: a bear with a frying-pan hat, a purple crayon, a turtle (or was it a toad?) who ate too many cookies. The details glimmer and slip, like minnows through fingers.
That's why Loganberry's owner, Harriett Logan, launched Stump the Bookseller. Post any clues you recall to the blog, and a network of children's lit pros and fans chimes in. Scrolling through the archives is a treat: "Is it ridiculous to feel such elation?" asks a customer named Ursula, reconnected with Paintbox Summer after 50 years. "It's as though I've found a long- lost friend." The technology is rudimentary yet profound. In this quiet corner of the noisy Internet, everyone is a kid again, lost in the stacks, chasing memories together.