It is with profound sadness and the heartbreak of our store to announce the passing of our beloved friend and Children's Book World bookseller Bob Garza.
For a bookstore that is filled from floor to ceiling with millions of words it is difficult for us to express how much he truly meant to all of us and to each of us. Every one of those words housed in beautiful books for kids of all ages first went through Bob's hands before they were discovered by others on our shelves. For three decades with Children's Book World, Bob was the often unseen, but always beating, heart and soul of our beloved community bookstore.
He was our faithful friend who always listened to us with open ears and heart. He was the head of our table who none of us ever wanted to disappoint. He was a fountain of knowledge who could talk with you about any subject. He loved knowledge and the creation of ideas. Books, movies, and music were his passion. He loved Frank Sinatra and the Los Angeles Dodgers. He had a true Angeleno spirit and could tell you stories about L.A. history from riots & earthquakes to Bunker Hill and Chavez Ravine.
Children's Book World founder Sharon Hearn spoke about her friend and longest working employee, "In 1992 Bob Garza joined CBW as our receiving/computer guru and quickly became indispensable. For the past 28 years Bob was always there – excelling at his job, taking on any task that needed doing, and being a very kind and supportive friend to us all. He was an integral part of the collective body that makes Children's Book World the resource it is today. Bob Garza will be greatly missed by all those whose lives he touched."
Each and every bookseller who has been a part of the Children's Book World family can speak to Bob's kindness of heart, generosity of spirit, and patience of Job. Bookseller Kevin B. said, "Bob was one of the most decent and hard-working people I know. He was also one of the smartest, and there was not a subject under the sun he didn't have something thoughtful or funny to say about. He will be missed, and anyone with the chance to work with him or be his friend was lucky." He was also the life of our party with a constant smile on his face and sometimes the sole laugher at one of our bad jokes.
Award-winning author Kwame Alexander recently said this about booksellers: "Bookstores are sacred places, that can really help mold and shape us into beautiful human beings,” Alexander said. “Teachers and educators have that power; booksellers have that power too. You open us up to these worlds that we had no idea existed.” Bob Garza had a way of making us all better booksellers and human beings. He was a source of our collective power and the heart and soul of our store.
Bob was known for his philanthropy and commitment to literacy for children particularly in long underserved communities. One holiday Bob was rewarded with a large James Patterson Bookseller Grant which was given with no strings attached and could be used by the recipient freely. Bob chose to gift his substantial award to getting free books for kids who needed them and to the ACLU. Two causes he believed in greatly.