Judy Nelson, founder and owner of Mrs. Nelson's Toy and Book Shop, blogs about her 25 years of children's bookselling:
When I started Mrs. Nelson’s Toy and Book Shop back in October, 1985, I knew I would love what I was doing…and I have. But I didn’t know to what extent it would enrich the lives of myself and my family.
My husband, Byron, and our 4 children have been immersed in the Mrs. Nelson’s life of wonderful books and all that comes with it. We’ve become friends with so many other book lovers…families, teachers and librarians, authors and illustrators and publishers. Over the past 25 years, we’ve employed 100’s of people…teenagers, moms and retired folks looking for a nice place to spend a few hours of their new-found free time. People who enjoy children’s books, whether it’s reading them or creating them or selling them, are really nice people. The lives of the Nelson family has been enriched in so many ways by all the nice people we’ve met along the way.
A few of the many memorable moments in my life as a bookseller:
- The first author/illustrator to autograph at my store was Bill Peet, the all-time favorite of our entire family. He was mobbed by customers, signing for 5 hours and enjoying every moment of talking with each of his fans.
- A few years after we opened our store in LaVerne, a young girl (about 5 years old) came in with her mother. She brought a lovely home-grown bouquet of flowers for Mrs. Nelson (whoever she was…there must really be one!) because she loved coming into the store so much.
- At school book fairs, it was not uncommon for a child to approach me because he/she just had to talk to me about a favorite book.
- David Shannon made his first appearance at our store with his visiting mother who witnessed for the first time her son’s popularity as a children’s book author and illustrator.
- Hilary Knight was so overwhelmed with the number of fans who came to see him that he pulled out his camera and took a picture of all of them.
Two of our 4 children, Laura and Patrick, are now working with us, managing our book fair and library services divisions. They and Andrea are continuing and expanding on the work that my husband and I started 25 years ago.
Yes, it’s been a satisfying business to be a part of. Thanks to all of you for supporting us and for being a part of our book-loving family.