Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Local Bookstore Highlight: Maxwell's House of Books

 Now that the madness of Black Friday has passed, let's not forget our wonderful, local small businesses! Highly recommended for your next visit to a local bookstore is Maxwell's House of Books in downtown La Mesa. This bookstore advertises as a specialty in academic and scholarly titles. Conveniently located a short drive from SDSU, this store has prime potential for stocking up on reasonably-priced critical books. They're also in a walkable neighborhood with nearby cafes and coffee houses, making a visit to the store a particularly pleasurable excursion.

While the children's literature section was small, I found myself wishing I could buy half of it. They had a very interesting collection, including rare and antique children's lit. I found and bought a book titled "Little Hopi" commissioned by the Bureau of Indian Affairs for use in schools for American Indians in the 60's. In showing this book to a friend, we noted that the book tended to reflect the love/hate relationship between the BIA and Native communities. For example, the book featured a Hopi artist, Charles Loloma, thereby appearing to highlight, value, and commend Indigenous art. On the other hand, the book states that it is "prepared primarily for use in Federal Indian Schools," and that it is also "suitable for use in any school." The sentiments in these statements reflect a desire to allow Indian children to see themselves reflected in the literature that they read, yet does not seem to encourage non-native children to explore a Hopi narrative (even while stating the opposite). In any case, Maxwell's House of Books takes care to stock interesting and valuable children's literature- and in this case, a book that bears further study.

Keep Maxwell's and other local bookstores in mind if you're holiday shopping. The right used book can be an incredibly thoughtful gift!

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