It’s no secret. Books are expensive. How do I choose books? I choose books that I think are worth the money. As a bookseller, I’m obviously looking for a good story but also fabulous illustrations, quality paper and construction, design and placement of text (does it cover illustrations and is difficult to read?). Bonus points for beautiful end papers (inside the covers at the front and back of the book). And don’t forget the font. Is it easy to read for learning readers, tired parents at the end of a busy day or grandparents who don’t see as well as they use to (myself included)? But most important, will it become a favourite book that is pulled off the shelf on a regular basis? Will your children discover something new every time you read it?

For many years, I found that the majority of my customers were parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles; and when they came into the children’s department they had very little idea of what to get for their children. After a few questions, I was thrilled to be able to show them a book I thought would work. Having these customers come back looking for more ideas, when previous books were well received, was a real honour. Christmas time was especially gratifying when grandparents would come in with their list of grandchildren and one by one we would pick out the perfect gift.

So this is where the idea for Marmalade Books was born. By putting together boxes of beautiful books for different age groups and special interests, we hope to make the gift of reading EASY for you.

Two to three times a year I meet with the publishers’ representatives. We go through dozens of catalogues, I see hundreds of samples and I read dozens of advanced novels and chapter books. From there I pick the books that I think are the best of the coming season. It can be difficult to narrow it down to just a few and so some books definitely deserve a review. I will be blogging about them because I don’t want you to miss them!