When I was a kid, I would spend hours reading in my bedroom. As an only child, I was legally obligated to divide my time between silently losing myself in other worlds and doing things like dressing my dog up in my Cabbage Patch Kids clothes. There really is no in-between. My favorites were the Sweet Valley Twins and Sweet Valley High books, all of Christopher Pike, anything by Anne Rice, and of course the master of horror himself: Stephen King. My tastes were as varied as my weird only-child games.
My love of reading was encouraged by my family who were also voracious readers. My love for Stephen King came from my mother who could always be found reading one of his enormous novels before bed. What she didn't do, and what I will chastise her for when I'm done, is take me to a bookstore for a free-for-all like one woman on TikTok did. She told her son he could get as many books as he could carry. This kid must have been working out because he can carry a lot of books and boy is she on the hook for them.
That's a lot of books!
Jaci, who goes by @jaciandmoore on TikTok, took her 12-year-old son to what I assume is one of the last Barnes & Noble bookstores to get him some books for his birthday. Because she clearly cares and is super fun, Jaci turned this adventure into a game of sorts.
"So we agreed that we're only doing two minutes," says Jaci in a video featuring her clearly excited son holding a tote bag. The deal was, Jaci's son would have exactly two minutes to put as many books as he can carry into the aforementioned tote bag. She starts the clock as they both giggle.
Text over the video provides insight into what Jaci was thinking as her son quickly shoves book after book into his bag. "Immediately I realized I effed up," it read. I would say the opposite is true but I know what she means! This was shaping up to be an expensive endeavor.
At one point her son jams an entire stack of books in at once as Jaci pleads with him to "be nice to the books." Unrelated but important, Alanis Morissette's Head Over Feet is heard playing in the background as Jaci realizes she might be in over her head.
The rack her son has chosen appears to be from one publisher. The books are thin and comparable in size with similar illustrations on their front. This is why he is able to fit so many of them in his bag.
A person in the comments who works at Barnes & Noble recognized the books as being part of the Who What Where series. According to the store's website, these are educational books that primarily teach kids about important historical figures like Martin Luther King, Jr. or Maya Angelou. The drawings on their covers are caricatures of their subjects, which makes the books look all the more entertaining.
When he's finally done, Jaci sits down with her son and goes through the haul in a follow-up video. She wants to make sure he doesn't already have these at home but there are so many, who could possibly keep track? Hilariously, I noticed a Who Is Zendaya book in the first video and I hope he grabbed that one. Every kid needs a Euphoria primer.
In a final video, Jaci's son sits triumphantly next to a huge pile of books. "Are you happy," she asks. "Yes," says her son, laughing. True to her word, Jaci made her son carry the books to the cash register. They close out the day at a restaurant where Jaci's son has already started reading. She pans over to one of the pages and we get a glimpse of a drawing of an alien. Perhaps that book will tell us where the aliens are?
This kind of heartwarming interaction between a mom and her child is what society is severely lacking. I'm not suggesting we turn away from the hard and painful things, but boy oh boy does it feel like there's more bad than good. Somewhere in the world, a kid is chipping away at what appears to be hundreds of books and it certainly gives one hope.