Holiday Shoppers get ready to Hit the Books

There are two kinds of holiday shoppers. The first is your Get- It- Done, no
nonsense type. You know who you are. You make sure that everyone gets their
very specific wish list to you before Thanksgiving so you can sit down once at the
computer and get the shopping done and forget it. This person needs no help
from me and can stop reading now. Everyone else fits on a more romantic
spectrum, the kinds of shoppers who internalize the spirit of the season by getting
in touch with their inner hunter- gatherer. Even with a list, this shopper still
enjoys foraging for something special, that just- right present for each member of
the family. You know you fit into this category if, after you shop, you carefully gift
wrap and then enjoy the happy anticipation of a gleeful surprised reaction from
the recipient.

I’m writing for this type of shopper today.
Las Crucens can enjoy a great variety of shopping choices when it comes to books.
By choosing even one of our local bookstores, you can find something special for
every person on your list.

Bowlin’s Mesilla Book Center is an old-fashioned full service family owned store
stuffed to the rafters with a lovingly curated, wide ranging selection of books.
Housed in Mesilla’s historic (circa 1856) mercantile building right on the plaza,
this cozy shop specializes in Southwest Americana, New Mexico gifts, and
features a glorious roomful of beautiful children’s titles from all over the world. If
you are there when it’s not too busy, you might just get a peek at the horse buggy
out in back.

COAS Books is so well stocked it has become a nationally renowned purveyor of
used books filling two locations. The sprawling flagship store is located downtown
on Main Street. Their second location is 1101 S. Solano. No matter the size of your
budget, both sites offer bargains spanning every topic you are likely to think of. In
addition, COAS features new books by local authors. For a bibliophile, this place is
like finding Ali Baba’s cave. Wear comfortable clothes because you just might find
yourself sitting on the floor for a while.

Casa Camino Real Bookstore and Art gallery, owned by local author Denise
Chavez, is located in historic Mesquite District at 314 S. Tornillo Street. There you
will find Southwestern, regional, borderland, Native-American, Chicano &
Chicana, Latino & Latina, and multi-cultural world literature with books in many
languages as well as first edition and out of print books for adults and children,
vintage vinyl records and Mexican folk art.

Cinco Puntos Press in downtown El Paso provides a unique opportunity to shop at
an actual publishing company. Lee and John Byrd specialize in producing books by
up and coming bi-lingual authors. Their colorfully decorated building is located at
701 Texas Avenue. Books for children, teens, mystery lovers and a history of El
Paso/Juarez titled Ringside Seat to the Revolution are available in English and

Even if you are super busy and need to get the shopping done quickly you can still
enjoy actually touching the gifts you give. When on a tight schedule, two Barnes
and Noble Booksellers are conveniently located for lunch hour shopping. Both
offer the latest books, games, magazines and gifts. A large eclectic selection can
be found in Mesilla Valley Mall on Telshor Boulevard. The NMSU location, at the
corner of University Avenue and Jordan, adds Aggie themed items to their

So far this column has been about the book shopping experience itself. But I know
very well that not all of us enjoy the hub bub of the holidays. For some, shopping
season is just another stressful part of a stressful year.
Turning to books in troubling times can be helpful. If you and your family are
finding the holidays a wee bit stressful this year perhaps a specially chosen
children’s book can offer a positive perspective.
Because Amelia Smiled, by David Ezra Stein (Candlewick): One smile has
international consequences in a book that celebrates the power of love and hope.

The Lion and the Mouse, by Jerry Pinkney (Little, Brown): Setting Aesop’s beloved
fable in the African Serengeti, Pinkney’s illustrations and nearly wordless text give
this classic a powerful new twist. This book won the 2010 Caldecott Medal.

The Storyteller’s Candle, by Lucia Gonzalez, illustrated by Lulu Delacre (Lee &
Low): A Puerto Rican family newly arrived in the United States finds refuge at
their nearby public library, where the children’s room was presided over by Pura
Belpré, the first Puerto Rican librarian in New York’s public library system.

If You Plant a Seed, by Kadir Nelson (Balzer+Bray): A food fight breaks out when a
rabbit and a mouse refuse to share the bounty of their vegetable harvest with a
flock of birds. Things look grave until the mouse realizes that sharing just might be
a better solution.

The Peace Book, by Todd Parr (Little, Brown): In his cheerful style, Parr defines
the meaning of peace for very young children, from “offering a hug to a friend” to
“keeping the streets clean” to the concluding message that “peace is being who
you are.”