Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Librería Martínez

Rueben Martinez

On Sunday, after our Mother's Day Graduation breakfast, we went to Librería Martínez. Our original plan was to go to the bookstore to see María Elena Salinas at a book signing. However, that plan fell through as the book signing was held the day before! We still had a great time at the bookstore though.

Before we went to the store, my mom and aunt were talking about going to the store. My aunt suggested that we also stop by another bookstore she had read about. As it turns out, the bookstore she was telling us about was the same one we wanted to go to! This bookstore, Librería Martínez, started out as a barber shop and over time was converted into a bookstore by the barber/owner, Rueben Martínez. Read more about that story here. At breakfast, we mentioned that we were going to the bookstore and then Karina mentioned that her sister met the owner of the bookstore at a conference in Chicago and that he was going to speak at her school sometime in the future. Small world!

Once I stepped inside the bookstore, I knew that I was in trouble . I could tell by looking around that I was going to spend too much money there! It was an amazing bookstore. The store has an incredible selection of Spanish books as well as English books. On top of that, the books are displayed so vividly and temptingly! To make it an even better, there was a separate bookstore, next door just for children's books. WOW!

I was helping Sabina to look through a small selection of books in the main store when I noticed her doing the "potty dance." I told her that we would find a bathroom. At that moment, the owner, Rueben Martínez walked by and he said that he would escort us next door to the bathroom in the children's store. As Sabina was taking care of business, I had the best talk with him. I mentioned to him that my brother's friend's sister had heard him in Chicago at a conference and that I heard that he was going to speak at her school. He knew right away who I was talking about! He then asked me a few questions about myself and found out that I was a teacher. At that point, I received nothing but praise about my job as a teacher. He even thanked me for working hard at what I do to improve our world by educating children. Let me tell you, I don't hear that from people too often, it felt great! He then went on to tell me about the talks that he does around the nation to help promote education, reading and parent involvement.

We then walked back to the main store and I introduced him to the rest of the family. He then took us to his "office." It was too cool. The office walls were covered with pictures and newspaper clippings about Rueben Martínez and the Librería Martínez. Smack dab in the middle of the office was a barber chair.

The Bookstore Barber and Sabina

Mr. Martínez told me that in every store he opens he will have a barber shop chair to remind him of where he started, as a barber. Very cool!

Rueben Martínez is a true supporter of education through literacy. It was such an honor and a pleasure to have made his acquaintance that day. I can't wait to go back to his store someday soon. I am also trying to figure out how I can raise some money so that I can bring him to speak at my school.


jennifer said...

what a great story!

oso said...

Agreed. I love seeing Flickr pictures first and then understanding their context from a post later. I'm a huge fan of both barber shops (thought I haven't found a good once since I moved) and bookstores, so I think I'd really love this place. There's something about the unhurried conversation and sense of community that pervades bookstores and barber shops that always keeps me coming back to them.

MsAbcMom said...

I loved hearing his story too. I am still reading all of the countless articles I have googled on him. What a person!

I enjoy the FLICKR blog previews too. Well, except for HP's non-personal pics. Whenever I see one of his politician shots or statistically manipulated graphs, I just KNOW that I won't like the blog to come!!!

You should definitely go to the bookstore when you get the chance. You will love it!

GuusjeM said...

What an amazing place - I love independent bookstores and they are leaving us all to quickly!

GuusjeM said...

What an amazing place - I love independent bookstores and they are leaving us all to quickly!

paz said...

What a wonderful experience. I'm sure you'll be able to come up with an idea to have him come and speak at your school. That would be great!


cindylu said...

You were hanging out with a genius. I love the fact that Librería Martinez comes to the LA Times Festival of Books at UCLA. I spend too much there too... oh well.