Monday, January 2, 2017

Remembering Tina Moore of Blue Marble Books

Tina Moore (left) founded Blue Marble Books, which in later years she co-owned with her husband, Peter. Provided.

Tina Moore founded Blue Marble Books, an independent bookstore located in Fort Thomas, in 1979. Since that time she has served as a children's literature expert, mentor, consultant and friend to many. She passed away last week.

Below we share remembrances and words gratitude from local authors, illustrators, teachers, librarians, former employees, current employees, book buyers and book lovers. Tina was well loved.

In recent years Tina co-owned Blue Marble Books with her husband, Peter. Perhaps more impressive than the 30,000 hand-picked titles in store is the number of famous authors and illustrators who have walked through its door, thanks to Tina.

Tina and Peter Moore celebrating Blue Marble Books' 35th anniversary. Provided.

In addition to having served on the Board of Directors of the Association of Children's Booksellers (ABC), Tina won the Silver Gertie Award in 1989 for her contributions to area literacy and was named Woman of the Year in Northern Kentucky in 1995.

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Dave Richardson, a Blue Marble Books employee since 2003, says Tina also spoke English and Spanish as first languages, and tutored many children throughout the years in Spanish at the store.

Retired Highlands High School Teacher Chuck Keller, who founded the National English Honor Society at Highlands, said he, along with Tina and Peter, annually recognized the contributions of a resident toward developing literacy in the community. "Tina knew where every book was in the shop and could tell you about the book and author," he says, adding that more importantly than that was her charm.

Tina and Peter Moore. Provided.

All are invited to honor Tina today, Monday, January 2, with a Mass of Christian Burial at 11 a.m. at the Cathedral Basilica of the Assumption located at 1101 Madison Ave., Covington. A reception will immediately follow the Mass and end around 2 p.m. at Covington Latin School, located at 21 E. 11th St., Covington.



The family has requested that in lieu of flowers, memorial donations be made to literacy organizations such as the OKI Children's Literature Conference or your local library.

And consider stopping by Blue Marble Books. Run your fingers across the bindings of the books, walk upstairs to The Great Green Room, wander around The Secret Garden out back. Take in the gem of a place Tina and Peter created, get lost in a story and buy a book—or three.

Nancy Baker and Tina Moore. Photo provided by Nancy Baker.

I started working for The Blue Marble [now Blue Marble Books] in the fall of 1987, just four hours a week for a little 'Mommy break' time. Like Alice in Wonderland falling into the rabbit hole, I walked through the doors into a literary land of magic and wonder. Tina hired me, and I stayed on as part-time staff for 18 years, enchanted by the opportunity to meet so many authors and illustrators, collecting hundreds of autographed books for our kids. My memories are numerous and treasured: beer and pizza with Jack Prelutsky; high tea with Princess Fergie; a shared taxi with Robert Sabuda; dinner side by side with Tomi DePaola ... this is only a handful of our many encounters with fame. But my favorite story is when we entered a national contest in 1996 to decorate a window in the theme of "Rainbow Fish" by Marcus Pfister. Co-worker Susan Thomas (now Oetjen) and I gathered items to create an undersea window box, and the publisher, North-South Books, granted the store first prize, winning a five-day trip for two to an international book conference in Bologna, Italy. Tina was so thrilled that she bought one extra airfare so that all three of us could attend, leaving her supportive, loving husband Peter behind to mind the store. From the moment we flew out of NYC to the day we returned, the adventure was full of hilarity, awe and true friendship. What a gift and incredible opportunity from our gracious boss.

In my 18 years working with Tina, I learned to literally never judge a book by its cover. I loved sitting in on her visits from publishers' reps, watching her pick and choose what might make the cut for the Blue Marble. I'll never forget one particular instance when she absolutely shredded a book based on the author's presumptuousness (name not to be shared). The rep was taken aback, to say the least, but a lesson was learned: Tread lightly when you take on a pro. What a ride we had, what a total joy to be a part of Tina's team. What a blessing to have known her. What a great loss to us all. What a legacy she left behind.
—Nancy Baker, former Blue Marble Books employee

Tina was one of the first independent booksellers I met after my first picture book was published. She left an unforgettable impression on me as a feisty, principled, lifelong lover of children's literature. She stood on her convictions and her well-educated opinions about the books she loved and put on the shelves of her store. On that first meeting in the Fall of 2003, she was ever so encouraging and kind to me and always has been. She was the type of professional that I wanted to be like. I was fortunate to meet her early in my book career.
Loren Long, The New York Times bestselling author and illustrator 


Trent Montessori students during a recent visit to Blue Marble Books. Photo provided by Jan Haas.

Tina Moore was my friend, mentor and children's literature guide. When I started Trent Montessori 35 years ago I turned to Tina for some advice on children's books, to build our library, and she was happy to provide me with a list. Tina also helped start our Spanish classes in the late '90s and spent part of each class reading to the students in English and Spanish. The students loved her! 

There were many times when we took our students to Blue Marble [Books] where Tina would read "Good Night Moon" in the famous Great Green Room. Just this past year our kindergarten group enjoyed the same book in the same room. A few blue marbles (from Blue Marble) found a home in our fish tank to remind the children of their trip to Blue Marble.

Tina not only had a passion for children's books but a passion for children. She would greet our students with a huge smile and direct them to their area of interest. We encouraged our parents to shop at Blue Marble [Books] and they did and in turn Tina would donate a portion of the proceeds to our account where we could then purchase books to add to our library. Tina was always trying to help others through her love of books.

Not only did Tina help with the school, but taking my own children to Blue Marble was a treat. My daughter, Erin, and I were able to meet Captain Kangaroo in the Great Green Room—a thrill for me as he was my childhood hero. I'm sorry that my grandchildren will never meet Tina, but I know that her love of literature and children will continue, and be felt by all who walk through Blue Marble's door. I respected Tina as a friend, business owner and as a member of the Fort Thomas community. She will be greatly missed.
—Jan Haas, Trent Montessori administrator/owner 

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I have known Tina since the Blue Marble first opened and attended many book signings and events there. She knew I was struggling to get my own work published and told me continuously that I was good and would be published one day. She believed in me, even when I had a hard time believing in myself. She said she wanted me to have her first launch party at Blue Marble, and I promised I would. It took about 15 years before that promise could be kept, but she was confident it would happen. That kind of support and encouragement was part of what kept me going. I will always treasure her for that.
Kathy Cannon Wiechman, author of "Like a River" and "Empty Places"

Tina and Peter Moore, December 2016. Provided.

Tina Moore was a great resource for teachers, especially when I was teaching at Johnson Elementary School before I could easily find and purchase items online. I frequently called her and asked for help with books that I wanted to share with my students. She did everything she could to serve the schools of Fort Thomas, but she reached out and supported teachers and schools all over the country. She invited famous authors and illustrators to Blue Marble and then invited teachers, students and parents to stop by and meet them. I always loved meeting these people, buying their books, and sharing my excitement with my students. I encouraged my students and their parents to take advantage of the opportunities to interact with authors and illustrators. 

I fondly remember meeting Captain Kangaroo, at the Blue Marble, and being shocked to find out he was in his 60s, at that time, because I thought he was a "grandpa" back in the days when I watched him on TV as a child. Now I realize that he must have been in his 40s, but the intent was to make him seem to be older. I found that I could relive my childhood by taking advantage of Tina and all she had to offer.

I was always impressed by Tina's expertise with children's literature, and I know that she attended many literature conferences so she could share the riches of her store and could add to her vast knowledge of books, authors and illustrators. Her dedication to children's literature resulted in a beautifully decorated, child-friendly bookstore that was designed to inspire young readers to help them embrace reading real books, not e-books. She made sure that her staff was qualified and could carry on her vision of installing a love of literature with everyone. I'll always appreciate the way Tina helped me to immerse myself in literature in order to help my students.
—Dianne Yelton, retired teacher at Johnson Elementary School

I have known Tina Moore for at least 35 years, from nearly the beginning of the Blue Marble when it was still in her original location near the City Building. She was one of the most energetic and dynamic women I ever met. In the early days, she was pretty much a one-woman show, doing whatever was necessary to establish her vision of the ideal children's bookstore. I was privileged to work briefly for her one summer, when she took a stay-at-home mom under her wing, taught me what I needed to know about running the shop, and then went on vacation for two weeks, leaving me in charge!

She introduced me—and hundreds or young parents—to new authors and illustrators in the world of children's literature. I met authors and was even welcomed into her home for dinner with a couple of new authors. As my own children grew out of childhood, I managed to get to the store for gifts for nieces and nephews. Now that I am a grandmother, I get to explore new choices for my grandchild. 

Tina was much more than a bookseller. She was an educator, an innovator, a treasure whose vision enriched the lives of countless children and their parents and grandparents. Even though she was ill for several years, I never saw her without a smile on her face and a kind word on her lips. She is at peace now, but she will be sorely missed.
—Deanna Beineke, Fort Thomas resident 


Dave Richardson (middle) with authors Jennifer Maschari (left) and Lois Sepahban (right). One of Tina Moore's greatest gifts was getting authors and illustrators to Blue Marble Books for talks and signings throughout the years.

I met Tina for the first time in college when my Children's Lit class took a tour of the store when it was in the middle of town. Later, when I was teaching, she was one of my greatest resources on finding new books for my junior high kids to read. I think I had a standing order for books at the store for a long time.


She was a big proponent of reading real literature with kids, nurtured librarians and teachers who were just beginning their careers and pushed them to encourage their kids to read outside of their comfort level. I heard Tina tell many educators who expressed doubt on whether a student would read a particular book, "This is a good book. Don't worry about the topic or the cover. It's good. Your job is to make them want to read it." 

Even if the store was busy, she was never too busy to talk books with you when you stopped in.
—Dave Richardson, Blue Marble Books employee since 2003


Tina and Peter Moore. Provided.

Tina Moore took me under her wing 17 years ago when I became an elementary-school librarian. What a priceless give she and her mentoring have been in my life! I had no idea how my working knowledge of children's books and literature were going to change.

Tina and her devoted husband, Peter, invited me to numerous author events at the Blue Marble, where I got to visit with authors (usually in the Goodnight Moon Room) and listen as they shared their personal writing journeys. One of the highlights of my life came when I got to help the Moores sell books at the Patricia Polacco author event, organized by the school librarians in my home town. It was an incredible experience as well as a cultural opportunity for the children in the community, and I was experiencing it up close and personal. When dinner was served, I discovered that I was seated at the table with the guest of honor, Patrica Polacco, and Tina and Peter. It was truly a magical evening.

Tina's passing has made me so very sad. But, I also feel deeply grateful that I had the privilege of earning her friendship. You enriched my life, Mrs. Tina, and you will forever be in my heart.
—Belinda Taylor, librarian at Erpenbeck Elementary, Florence, KY

Blue Marble has always been a strong supporter of local artists and illustrators with an atmosphere of warmth and dedication. I always enjoy talking about the business and trends in children's books with the staff.

I never had the opportunity to discuss children's books with Tina since she had her stroke before I met her and could not speak. She definitely was the spirit of the store; always there to show support at all the talks and events. 

Sadly, I saw her less in recent visits. 

They treat their guests for book signing with such a feeling of family and go all out with food, drink and even homemade lunch for us.

The first book of mind we did an event for was "Henry the Impatient Hero." The discussion was unusually illustration heavy and technical because the crowd was mostly illustrators, librarians and picture book enthusiasts. We had a discussion of the difficulties with color correcting the blues for print.

At first I thought this may have been unusual, but then I remembered the first signing I went to there years ago featuring Will [Hillenbrand] and Loren [Long] and Will spoke extensively about his process working with Pantone papers (non-digital at the time). Such great nuts and bolts talk for enthusiasts!
Christina Wald, children's book illustrator 


Illustration of Tina Moore, created by author/illustrator Will Hillenbrand.

I knew Tina before I became a published author. First she was a children's bookseller to me, then a cheerleader and teacher when she understood that I wanted to become published. After I became published she was a fan, most important of all she was a dear, kind friend. How lucky I was to have such a friend.
Will Hillenbrand, Cincinnati-based author and illustrator of more than 50 children's books

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