Vote for your favorite “Ellen.” And it’s okay if it’s *not* the pirate.

Ellen, with my book! (a.k.a. best picture ever)

So, I have this other book called The Booktender’s Garden. I’ve mentioned it once or twice before. 🙂 But, to refresh your memory, here’s a synopsis:

The Booktender’s Garden is the story of Miss Ellen, a children’s bookstore owner who seems almost magical in her ability to connect to her young readers. An additional element, however, is Miss Ellen’s ability to connect to adult readers by reminding them of their childhood. This book is a celebration of both nostalgia and imagination; it also serves as a commemoration for all those small, privately owned bookstores that have had to close their doors. All profit will be donated to Ellen Mager’s bookstore in Doylestown, PA.”

The book was surprisingly easy to write, because it’s basically a memory: everything in the story happened last summer when I visited Miss Ellen’s store: The Booktenders’ Secret Garden.

—My son, Jack, found a pirate eyepatch on the floor.

—His friend Dylan is obsessed with Legos and was chatting with Ellen, who knows everything, about lego-books and lego-building.

—Dylan’s sister, Eliza, picked a not-so-age-appropriate book, which Ellen deftly swapped with a *perfect* one.

—I found a signed copy of The Diary of a Wimpy Kid and tried (but failed) to give Ellen more $ for it than list price. I mean: they’ve made a movie out of it at this point, for pete’s sake.

—My friend, Kara? She spied.with.her.little.eye J.K. Rowling’s sorting hat on Ellen’s whiteboard (that JK drew herself). For real.

The harder part was imagining the illustrations, but that was relatively easy, too, once I remembered Ellen’s big personality (i.e., when she talks about a book, it’s like she becomes a character in the book). Transformative enthusiasm! Or would it be enthusiastic transformation?

Whatever the case, the cool thing about a children’s book is this: you can make the magic (that happens in the real world but is really hard to see) really easy to see when you put it on a page.

So, just for fun: we all know that the-photo-above is our favorite Ellen, but please cast a vote for your favorite Ellen-on-the-page too — b/c inquiring minds (ahem … mine … but, more importantly, Ellen’s) would like to know.

Thanks to Melissa (of The Stay-At-Home Life) for a touching review! And, YO HO, M2!


My favorite lines: “That night at bedtime, she curled up in my lap and to my amazement, listened to every word. She even pointed out different animals, characters and items in the book — without me prompting her. When we finished, she immediately wanted to read it again. I couldn’t believe it. Not only was she sitting nicely in my lap looking at the book I was reading, she was interacting with it, repeating some of the words AND asked for the story again.” Read the full review HERE.