Parents are on a mission. They want to raise smart, happy children, and childhood experts have plenty of advice on how to accomplish that goal. “Get them out of the house to explore their universe! Let them engage in free play! Fill their hours with engaging activities!”
But sometimes the idea well runs dry, or it rains for days on end, and time is always in short supply. Moms and dads need a lifeline, and with their books and boundless creativity, independent bookstores make an ideal little helper.
A regularly scheduled story time is a bookshop classic for a reason: everyone loves being read to, it’s a reason to visit the shop, and it leads to greater book sales. But as these bookstores’ events illustrate, story time is only the tip of the iceberg.
Author events, writer’s workshops, puppet shows, craft time, book clubs, music classes, camps, scavenger hunts, and character visits are a few more ways that independent bookshops invite children and their parents to visit the shop and interact based on a shared love of books. Bank Street Bookstore’s “Fractured Fables” puppet shows add another dimension to this interaction with the day’s story being chosen by attendees drawing from a hat.
Parents could take their kids to buy a book just about anywhere, but at an independent bookstore, book buying is an adventure. It’s all in the details. At Green Apple Books, handwritten signs for the sections that read “absolutely effing hilarious” or “aaah! little books! aaah!” add a personal touch. At The Last Bookstore, shelves are dotted with whimsical sculptures and art installations. Kids Ink features a train table display and signatures of favorite children’s book authors cover the bathroom walls.
Let’s not forget the number one item that independent bookstores offer to kids and their parents: exploration through books. Take a look at this list of the best children’s bookstores, as recommended by teachers (who know a thing or two about educating young minds).
There’s the learning power of story time, of course, but these shops also offer educational resources, well-informed staff members and environments that bring books to life. Especially creative is an initiative of Blue Willow Bookshop (#6 on the list) that works with a local theater group to help students better understand a story from all angles.
After all the hours of activity in a day and the endless schedule of events, children need a little down time. Time to reflect and a cozy little nook to read in. Parents benefit from this respite, too! Take Blue Marble Books, for example, which has designed quiet reading rooms for all ages, including a Great Green Room modeled after Goodnight Moon, a Great Teen Room, and a Secret Garden area.
Other bookstores offer parents relaxation of a different sort with one-stop shopping for toys and games in addition to books, gift wrap, and birthday party hosting services.
The parent- and kid-friendly activities and services are up to you. Ingram can help with the rest, with one of the world’s largest selections of books, games, gifts, efficient book ordering tools, title management, and global distribution. Find out how to capture every opportunity that comes your way here!