Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Charlie and the Book Factory

Once again, a child leads the way.  One little boy in Dalton, Georgia, decided that it would be nice to have a bookstore in his hometown - and he decided to do something about it.

According to
Charlie got the idea to write a letter to Books-A-Million, the nation’s third-largest book chain, after his parents told him one night they didn’t have time to drive to the store’s nearest location 30 miles away. His mom, Jody, told his third-grade teacher Debbie Reynolds about his plan. Reynolds moved up her persuasive writing lesson and encouraged her students to write letters to the CEO of Books-A-Million. By Thanksgiving, about 500 letters written by students in the Dalton Public School system landed on Anderson’s desk, begging him to open a Books-A-Million store at the local Walnut Square Mall.

On December 3rd, Anderson made a surprise appearance in Reynold’s classroom and announced that a Books-A-Million store would be opening, hopefully in time for the holidays. Anderson sealed his promise by giving each child a $25 gift card to the new store.
Charlie officially becomes the store's first customer
But that was just the beginning.  Charlie and some of his classmates were part of the store's official grand opening on December 18 when they probably took advantage of all those $25 gift cards.  Books-A-Million must have worked at record speed to get this location opened before Christmas, so here's hats off to them for what they did for Charlie, his school, and the citizens of Dalton.  After all, how can anyone live 30 miles from the nearest bookstore?  That's too horrible to contemplate. 

Thanks to Books-A-Million and to Charlie and his teacher for this just-in-time-for-Christmas feel-good story.


  1. That's awesome! It's nice to see that some of these big shots do have some heart after all!

    We had a similar thing happen here. There is a mentally disabled man in our town who is one of those that is a common sight sitting on a bench in the town square talking to anyone who passes by. He is a huge fan of Wendy's and every chance he got he would hitch a ride to the nearest one, which was also about 30 miles, so he could eat at his favorite place! Anyway, he began writing a letter every day to Wendy's corporate office, begging them to build one on our town. He did that for over a year before they finally did. When it opened there were some big shots there that said they were influenced at least in part by his letters. They promised him a job for life and he loves it! He does the little stuff like wiping tables and sweeping floors but you can tell he is in heaven. He'll stop and talk to anyone who might be there and always has a great big smile on his face. It's been over 15 years since they opened and he's still there!

  2. I live over 30 minutes away from my nearest bookstore. Thats why I love my e-reader so much. I can buy right from home sitting on my couch.

  3. That's an awesome story, Andy. I love stories like that one, especially in the cynical world we live in these days.

  4. Kayo, I guess I'm spoiled. I've been within 10 minutes of a bookstore or library most of my life and I can't imagine living any other way. I just can't get that excited about buying e-books but buying real books via the net is still fun for me, especially for the really hard to find stuff.

  5. What a wonderful story! Not only that the bookstore came but also that Charlie wanted it.

  6. That's what impressed me, Nan...the story was exceptional from both points-of-view.