About 20 toddlers encircled Kitty Bassett Tuesday morning, eyes fixed on the shimmering scales of “The Rainbow Fish.”
“A long way out in the deep blue sea there lived a fish,” the children’s librarian began reading. “Not just an ordinary fish, but the most beautiful fish in the entire ocean.”
After the fish gave away all but one of its special scales, the story was over. A copy of the award-winning picture book by Marcus Pfister was soon in the hands of each child, and a chorus of thank-yous filled the room.
The Coeur d’Alene Library gave away 95 copies of “The Rainbow Fish,” each one decorated with satin lace and Valentine’s Day candy. The books were a special gift from the producers of the television show “Amazing Grace,” filmed in Coeur d’Alene.
“We felt we should give something back to the community,” said Charles Carroll, unit production manager for the show.
“We came to their town. They supported us,” he said. “Unfortunately, Hollywood often comes to town and leaves without saying goodbye or thank you.”“It was a lot of fun to work there,” Caroll said from his Los Angeles office. “We are looking forward to working there in the summer and the fall rather than the winter.”
When looking for a gift to the city, “Amazing Grace” producers heard about the library’s Books for Joy program. Since 1992, the program has raised money from local businesses to purchase 250 children’s books that have been given to families at Thanksgiving.
“Amazing Grace” donated $1,000 to the program, and the library chose to give away the books on Valentine’s Day, which also happens to be national “Read to Your Family Day.”
“We are committed to creating a tradition of reading in families,” said librarian Pat Laam. “In this day and age when families are so fragmented, it’s so important to have something that brings families together.”