The Newberry Library's exhibit Artifacts of Childhood: 700 Years of Children's Books was interesting but ultimately disappointing. The chronological organization was vague and often confusing, with a case featuring a 1970s-era book sitting willy-nilly by one featuring Renaissance-era books. And although the individual descriptions of the artifacts were well-done, I didn't think the exhibit conveyed the overall theme of the evolution of children's books from rather grim, moralistic teaching tools to the books we enjoy today. Still, worth a visit if you're in the area.
But I was to be richly rewarded! Outside of the bookstore (which is excellent and part of the Seminary Bookstore and 57th Street Bookstore co-op, so I got a discount) there was a small library cart of used books. I found this lovely little volume of poetry by Naomi Shihab Nye, 19 Varieties of Gazelle: Poems of the Middle East (2002 National Book Award Finalist):
I was thrilled with this find, because I'd been wanting to read her poetry, and at $2.50 you couldn't beat the price. And then I turned to the title page and read this inscription in Shihab Nye's neat hand: "For Senator Obama and his beautiful family. Naomi Shihab Nye, 2007."
I was thrilled, of course, but part of me is sad that Obama (or more likely, some staff member) didn't hang onto this book. I think that he, Michelle, and especially their sweet daughters would love these poems. So, First Family, if you want the book back, it's yours. For $2.50.