Milkweed and Gryphon

by Louise Erdrich

The other night I read The Blue Sky by the Mongolian Tuvan novelist Galsan Tschinag. Even his author bio is great reading. I love the last line. ""He lives alternately in the Altai, Unlaanbaatar, and Europe."" This novel is simply lovely, an extraordinary coming of age tale, a story about the love between generations, a glimpse of the fascinating existence of Tschinag's people. Published by Milkweed Press.

Milkweed of course reminds me of Emily Buchwald, who stopped in the store a month or so ago. The Gryphon Press, her new project, publishes books for children that explain the joys and also the harsh truths of animal lives. The Gryphon Press terms itself ""a voice for the voiceless"", and the titles It's Raining Cats and Cats, At the Dog Park, and Max Talks to Me, are about relationships between humans and animals. The books are beautifully made, and great for teaching children just why, for instance, one can't allow cats to reproduce and reproduce, and why, for instance, it is important that dogs have exercise and as much interaction as possible with their humans.

So far, though, the press hasn't addressed the problem of the dogs of Birchbark bookstore -- the reading dogs and their slightly less literate owners. What do you do when your dog looks at every book on the shelf and says ""read that"", or ""ate that"". The Birchbark staff has convened and vowed to ramp up their reading just to keep up with the canine members of the bookstore team.