Business profile: Children and adults revel in special events at Morgan Hill’s BookSmart
Dozens enjoy Wimpy Wednesday, a book/film celebration at BookSmart
Published June 7 – June 20, 2017 issue of Morgan Hill Life
By Alana Watters
Ella Watters had a blast at Wimpy Wednesday, a family-friendly event held at BookSmart May 17.
“I had a Wimpy Scoop and it got all over my face,” said the six-year-old Nordstrom kindergartner. “It’s a small scoop of ice cream, and I had strawberries and cream. Mmm, mmm, mmmm.”
Her mother, Nikki Watters, thought that the two-hour event was a great way to introduce reading to younger kids with fun activities based on Jeff Kinney’s best-selling satirical children’s series, “Diary of a Wimpy Kid.”
About 20 kids of elementary school age along with their parents spent time together doing activities such as having their fortune told, creating comic strips, answering trivia question and other interactive games relating to characters in the stories.
The main character, Greg Heffley, is a middle school student who is always being bullied by older children and his brother, Roderick.
“There is a Wimpy Wednesday event happening here today because the release of the new book was on Tuesday and the movie comes out on Friday, so they thought it would be fun to have this event here today,” Nikki said. “They like to encourage young readers to enjoy the books and to instill a love of reading in them.”
Local Morgan Hill students Ben Pederson and Matthew Holly both love the “Wimpy Kid” series and also had fun doing the interactive games and crafts.
“I like how you can make your own comics,” Pederson said.
“I like Shy Manny,” Holly said. “It’s a character in Wimpy Kids.”
The two boys really like the books.
“They’re funny,” Pederson said.
“I like the character Roderick,” Holly said. “He’s funny and he sneaks up on Greg.”
The children attending the event had a fun time participating in Wimpy Wednesday activities.
The event is one of many family-friendly events put on by BookSmart throughout the year, said Coleen Colwell, a store employee who organizes the activities.
“We try to keep an eye on what’s happening in the literary world and in the real world,” she said. “We saw advertisement for the movie coming out and there’s a new book coming out and we want more people to celebrate and enjoy reading. A lot of kids really love ‘Wimpy Kid,’ so this was a way for people to come and celebrate their love for reading and ‘Wimpy Kid.’”
The store is devoted to the community and serving as a resource for people to come together, she explained.
“We did Star Wars Day and we did Harry Potter Night. We’re always doing something,” she said. “We have a lot of events for authors where the authors will come in and talk about their books and meet the readers and autograph copies of their books.”
At Christmas, youth performers from South Valley Dance Academy in Morgan Hill came in for the “Nutcracker” ballet recital to entertain children. June 10 between 2 p.m. and 4 p.m., performers from Gilroy Recreation Department’s production of the “Alice in Wonderland” theater show will hold a special community tea party open to all families.
“It’s to get people to see their show,” Colwell said. “They are going to come into our store and do a small snippet of the play. And they’re also going to sponsor a fun community event with the tea party where kids get to do crafts and games and enjoy food.”
July is going to be the month of art, she said. All through July, the store will host many different events celebrating art in many different ways.
“We’ll have crafts, and painting and all sorts of fun activities for kids to enjoy in the bookstore,” she said.
Encouraging story-telling out-loud is also a fun activity at BookSmart. Recently, Nordstrom Elementary School Principal Debbie Grove came in and read “The Book With No Pictures” to children at the store.
“We want people to learn to love books,” Colwell said. “If your teacher is here and reading a book, you might come in and hear her read and you might buy a book or try another book. It’s really a good way to introduce kids to literature.”
BookSmart co-owner Cinda Meister said Wimpy Wednesday brought in many fans of the series to celebrate together.
“The book and movie just came out and so we thought it would be a good way to tie in a party with the book and movie,” she said. “We like to do events about books coming in. We also like to support authors — there are a lot of local people who have written books, so we like to give them a place for people to come and meet them and have a party to celebrate.”
BookSmart tries to do at least three or four community events every month — and sometimes even more, she said.
For the Summer of Arts event, they’ll have special seminars on auditioning for the South Valley Civic Theatre where both children and adults can learn how to get a role in a theater play. There will also be classes on painting and making music.
What’s Meister’s favorite event?
“I think it’s probably the Harry Potter Night,” she said. “I love Harry Potter.”
Alana Watters is a second-grade student at Nordstrom Elementary School. She loves reading all the “Harry Potter” books by J.K. Rowling.