Sunday, December 24, 2023

Book Your Stocking 2023 with Bobbi Jean Bell

Book Your Stocking 2023 features readers sharing children's books from their past or present. Perhaps you'll stumble upon forgotten books or titles you somehow missed. Should a book find its way into a stocking near you, all the better.

Please tip your hat for today's reader, Bobbi Jean Bell, all the way from Albuquerque, New Mexico.


My Favorite Place to Go

by Bobbi Jean Bell 

My favorite place to go, from as far back as I can remember, was the local library. We were a library family. A weekly visit was prepared for with great delight and anticipation. While reading all the titles borrowed from the previous visit, I'd be making a list of books to bring home the next visit. As the youngest of us kids, I always enjoyed exploring the titles my older brother and sister chose. I was often told, “You’re not old enough yet for this book.” I couldn’t wait to be old enough

When I think back to the library days, I don’t have a strong memory of any one book. Books quickly came into and out of my life. Ravished and consumed. Read aloud. Read silently. Then, returned. That all changed in 1966 when my sister, Wendy, gave me my first book.

My book.

For me.

Oh! What an unexpected gift!

The Golden Treasury of Poetry: Selected and with a commentary by Louis Untermeyer, illustrated by Joan Walsh Anglund

After unwrapping this gorgeous book, I sat with Wendy to begin our exploration of poetry. A first for me. She found favorites in the collection and together we read them aloud. We exclaimed over the illustrations. We found time to peruse the chapters – reading one from “Creatures of Every Kind” and then, perhaps, another from “Unforgettable Stories” or “Laughter Holding Both His Sides.”

It is here that I met my first pirate, characters from the Canterbury Tales, Robin Hood, and Queen Mab. It is here that I read aloud, for the first time, Lewis Carroll’s “Jabberwocky,” and Edward Lear’s limericks. Robert Louis Stevenson, William Blake, Emily Dickinson, Wiliam Shakespeare, Robert Frost, Ogden Nash, T. S. Eliot… and more… and more… and more. Each poem became a friend. What a treasure! Each poem, an adventure. Words to relish, to savor, to ponder, to revisit. 

Wendy is eight years my senior. She took me to my first live theater performance, Tartuffe, at New Haven’s Long Wharf Theatre. Together, we explored Shakespeare and Mozart and Bach. We gathered in her room every Saturday afternoon to listen to the Metropolitan Opera on the radio. Her passion for the written word was contagious.

Even as our lives took us miles apart, books kept us together. Hours on the phone catching up with what we were reading. And many more hours of our lives sharing our passion for reading with others. For her, as a Children’s Librarian. For me, through interviewing writers on live radio.

I don’t know if The Golden Treasury of Poetry is still in print. I still have mine. It’s worn to the point of lacking resale value. You can see, though, in one of the pictures that the book is happiest being open—and that is priceless.


About Bobbi Jean Bell: Bobbi Jean Bell loves books, music, poetry, the radio, and all things Western. And if you can't find her at home, in the library, or working at her business OutWest Shop, then you'll find Bobbi on the air talking about books, music, poetry, and all things Western. 

On Thursday mornings, she co-hosts Campfire Cafe and Saddle Up America with Gary Holt on, live at noon-1:00 PM (CST) and on demand. 

On Thursday evenings 6 PM (PST), she hosts Rendezvous with a Writer Outwest, in which she interviews every stripe of writer with husband Jim Bell. For nearly a decade, she hosted the writer-interview show The Writer's Block with co-host Jim Christina (archived shows here).

Bobbi also hosts the OutWest Hour radio show featuring Western, Western Swing, and Cowboy Country music, as well as Cowboy Poetry, on KUPR  (Placitas, New Mexico Community Radio) Saturdays 5-6 PM (CST) or on demand.

For details about her upcoming shows, follow her Facebook page.

And if you've recently read a wonderful book, you should tell her. She wants to hear all about it..

Bobbi Jean Bell