Dear Bookstore Friends,

Gayle Shanks Gratitude and appreciating the light are what the holidays remind me to practice, and it's easy this time of year. Family, neighbors, friends, and customers drop into my days and make me happy. Organizations doing great work and seeking end of the year funds to enable them to continue give me opportunities to be a small part of what they are doing. You, our generous customers, turned out for Small Business Saturday and Shop & Share and the three organizations, Be a Leader, Teach for America and HandsOn Greater Phoenix, all reaped the rewards of our collective support.

Fall Flowers
Thanksgiving brought my adorable grandnephews to stay with us from the Bay area. They are lively, smart, enjoy books, and their parents love reading to them. And my local grandniece and nephew love nothing more than visiting their Aunt Gayle at her bookstore. They are all growing up on stories that form their fantasies and inform their young lives. Our staff and I get to share our favorite books every day with children like Brody, Zoey, JB and Lev. The light of the holidays shines in their eyes as they explore new worlds and discover new authors and illustrators.

Speaking of gratitude, one morning we woke up and found a leaky pipe—not a bad leak but enough to soak the floor. Lucky for us, our plumber lives across the street and came right over. It was nice to catch up a bit with him while he worked, to hear about his family, their plans for the holiday, the success of their enormous yard sale. As we walk through our neighborhood we see others we know: Paul and Becky share lemons from their prolific tree and show off their new raised-bed gardens, Marge informs us of a package meant for us and delivered to her. We pick it up and thank her for keeping her free Little Library so well stocked. We were surprised to see the former home of dear friends transformed and newly landscaped by two creative young men who are turning it into their own first home. The holiday lights are shining bright on so many houses, illuminating the possibilities in what might otherwise feel like a rather bleak time for our country.
little libaries
Little Libraries from around the country
We spent a wonderful Saturday morning buying a bike for our grandson at our local bike shop, Landis Cyclery. Both my husband and I got our first bikes as children from Landis at their original Phoenix location. The family is in at least its fourth generation of supplying bikes for riders, and Mel, the young woman who helped us, was great with Hayden—she taught him how to jump on and off, turn a sharp corner, shift gears, and then talked to him about bike safety and the importance of wearing his helmet.Little Libraries It felt so great to spend our money at this local treasure of a store. Felt the same about 'treasures' in our community when I went with friends to the 30th anniversary celebration of House of Tricks restaurant. It was a homecoming of sorts for many of us, revisiting their old wait staff who have moved on but came back for the party, seeing so many friends who have loved and supported this wonderful business for so long, and being with Robin and Bob Trick who, in addition to providing the best food and most beautiful setting for a restaurant (those magnificent pots of flowers so lovingly maintained by Bob's mother, Mary!), have supported arts and social service organizations in our community for years. It was a beautiful sun-filled day when we gathered, and as the evening came on I think the expansive light emanating from that little spot on Seventh Street could be felt for miles.

It's the time of year when all of you visit our store—some have been coming for close to 44 years, bringing your families and friends. Your families have become part of our own extended family. Your children and grandchildren play on the train table, your mothers use the seats of their walkers to pile up stacks of books, you walk the aisles telling a friend about the books you read and loved this year, you talk to our passionate staff about what they've read, you drink coffee and wine at First Draft, you have your weddings at The Newton. You support us. You come to our events. You give us faith in the future of independent bookstores. You are the light of reason and intelligence, and through books and the ideas in them, you bring that light to the world. As the red-nosed reindeer and many-branched candleholders begin to glow, those bulbs and candles send out peace and possibility. We take it all in, beginning the holiday season with the light of kindness and gratitude. Winter solstice may be the shortest day, but it can fill us with renewal and with hope that as the sun-lit hours increase we will find strength to change our world for the better. We will not give up. We will resist, we will read, we will write, we will fight for justice, we will take care of one another.

Happy Holidays
The entire Changing Hands staff joins me in wishing you the happiest of holidays. We thank you from the bottom of our hearts for being part of the Changing Hands family. Without you we would not exist. With you, we bring books and beautiful gifts to our community, and we join you in shining light and compassion on neighbors, friends, family, and our world.


Questions or comments? Email Gayle at