Quality First Edition Books for Children and Young Adults

Dear reader,
What makes The Charmed Bookshop charmed? What's a "quality" children's book? I know one when I see it, an utterly subjective, sometimes quirky, standard. Consider a picture book. Easy as it may seem to create a picture book, it isn't. The simplest, sweetest little book needs to tell a good story. 

To begin with, I need to love the artwork. Pictures that tell the story on their own, such as in wordless books like The Conductor, The Heartaches of a French Cat, and The Missing Piece by Shel Silverstein. Artwork that's imbued with that ineffable *thing*. I think of Ed Young, Chris Van Allsburg, Lisbeth Zwerger, Virginia Hamilton, the Petershams, Anthony Browne, so many great artists. And Miss Potter, of course.

Where pictures and words come together, the words should matter. Come Meet Muffin, a sweet story of a clever cat, could have been written a dozen ways, but Joyce Carol Oates wrote it, making it difficult to imagine it written any other way.

Quality is based on condition. As a rule, I hold out for first edition books in very good to fine condition, with original dust jackets. Exceptions are the quirky books I just had to rescue. 

The books I sell on Etsy must be twenty or more years old. Here at TheCharmedBookshop.com, an Etsy-powered Website, I sell newer books as well. 

I believe in the freedom of children to read; to explore their imaginations and daydream, to reason through their lives through literary adventures, dilemmas, and dangers, and to think. I'm inspired by legendary book editor Ursula Nordstrom who specialized in “good books for bad children”. During her years at Harper, from the 1930s to 1980, Nordstrom looked for imaginative, talented authors and artists whose work connected with children and reflected their times. As the New York Times wrote, “Bad children were those normal youngsters who, like Max in Maurice Sendak's 'Where the Wild Things Are,' were occasionally put to bed without their supper.”

Thanks to Nancy Drew and my Dad's fondness for mysteries and spy novels, I love a good mystery, too. If you have a favorite mystery, for children or adults, please drop me a note. 

With many thanks for visiting The Charmed Bookshop -
Stephanie, Owner