As a Christmas gift, my husband and I recently started attending a local wine tasting course. Eight weeks of sampling (read drinking) and learning about wines from around the world. Bliss. Until about five weeks in, when like just about everything else, the weekly gathering was rightly postponed.
Don’t get me wrong, we are far from being experts, but even in those few weeks we learned a lot about what we do like, what we don’t like, what to look out for and just as importantly what to avoid.
Before going on the course, my usual shopping routine involved rapidly browsing the wine aisle – red, white or both – and basically choosing the ones with the labels I liked the most or possibly the name of a grape I recognized. Sometimes my choices seemed inspired. More often than not that was certainly not the case.
Reflecting on this experience I have been struck by the similarities between my wine buying and tasting experiences and, as an educator and academic researcher, the conversations I have had over decades with parents about how to choose the right books for their children.
Modern bookstores are doing a superb job of presenting parents with an amazing array of books for their children, even in the face of fierce on-line competition. Yet time and again I am asked “How do I choose?”, “How do I know which book is right for my child?” and so on. Just like my experience with the wine aisle, for parents it often comes down to the front cover and maybe an author they know. The situation is compounded during lock down where online is the only outlet and every book has hundreds of reviews. It’s literally a book lottery.
Under the guidance of a good sommelier navigating the wine maze becomes much easier. A wine shop or supermarket aisle is transformed. The same can be true for children’s books. That is why I created Once Upon a Book Box. As Chief Book Officer, or CBO, I use my decades of experience and love of reading to take away the confusion about how to choose books that are right for your young reader. This means you and your child get to have fun while reading books they will love for life while getting the educational value you care about – all in a highly affordable way.
Our aim is not to sell kid’s books. You can get books online from the big retailers, from the popular franchise owners and when the stores reopen. Our aim is to foster a love a reading that will last a lifetime by delivering book boxes to your door that contain the right books at the right developmental stage and at the right price.
In the current circumstances, where the potential zoo of the online marketplace is the only real option and with the household budget being tightened, it’s even more important that money invested in the books for your children is well spent.
As a local business, we have accelerated our online launch, initially planned for the start of the summer, to help parents through these challenging times and I hope you will explore our simple website – or as we like to call it, our “love to read” shop.