'The best books, reviewed with insight and charm, but without compromise.'
- author Jackie French

Friday 6 March 2015

KBR Short Story: Bookshop of Hope

by Rachel Bradbury

In the centre of town stood an old abandoned bookshop.  

The roof leaked, the windowpanes were smashed and the once glossy paint was faded and peeling.  But still, the bookshop beckoned the town’s people to come inside.

“Sorry,” they said, lowering their gaze and crossing the street, “we’re too busy. We don’t need you anymore.”

The bookshop hung its head and cried.

Then one day, in the middle of spring, a little girl stood in front of the bookshop with a pencil and sketchbook. The minutes whiled away as she plotted and planned, scribbling left and right, up and down, until she had completed her drawing in all its wondrous glory. The girl was only knee-high to a grasshopper, but her heart was big and her head full of hopes and dreams.

“You’re perfect,” she said, and the bookshop glanced up.  

Creaaaaak! The little girl entered. Her smile turned upside down. The dank dark room oozed so much sadness and loneliness that she shivered and ran straight back out. The little girl feared she may never return.

But the very next day, on her way home from school, the little girl passed by the bookshop.  It had slumped even further into the ground. So she crossed the road and entered once more.

“You’re so cold,” whispered the little girl, placing her hand on the wall. The bookshop trembled.  Then a small glow illuminated from her handprint and slowly spread across the wall.

“I’ll help you find your smile,” she said.

Swishing sticky cobwebs from her face the little girl opened the curtains; welcoming the warm rays of sunshine. She ran her fingers along the dusty bookshelves and through the thick layers of dirt and grime.

“It’s going to take a lot more than soap and water to fix you up,” she said.

And with love, determination and tenderness, the little girl set to work; sweeping, scrubbing, dusting and polishing.

Soon, the diggers came...

Then the builders and painters arrived...

Curious, the town’s people peered out their windows. Many crept closer and closer... and some offered to help.

The young woman and her helpers worked hard for many months. A splash of paint... a sprinkle of lights... polka dot curtains .... vases of tulips... paintings ... and rugs and cushions.

Music, dancing, laughter and cheer filled the once deflated bookshop. With every ounce of kindness, the bookshop grew happier and stronger, until, eventually, it stood tall and proud.  Its dazzling smile radiated across town like a giant sunbeam.

Young and old from far and wide ventured into town, drawn to the enchanted bookshop like fairies to honeydew syrup cupcakes. They sat mesmerised as words flowed and pages turned, the magic of reading bringing people and storybook characters to life.

The elderly woman, no longer knee-high to a grasshopper, sat back in her rocking chair and absorbed the joy, content that all her dreams had come true.

Rachel is a mum and teacher who enjoys writing picture books and chapter books for children. Visit her blog, Rachel's Book Nook, for all things reading and writing!

KBR Short Stories are a way to get your work ‘out there’—and to delight our KBR readers. Stories are set to a monthly theme and entries are due in the 25th of each month. Find out more here.