A trip to the bookstore can be a great outing for kids of all
ages, ranging from board book age to YA craze. While some of the
bigger chains are vanishing, there are plenty of independent stores
that continue to thrive because of one thing-the relationships
they've built within their communities. Though these establishments
are as unique as the neighborhoods in which they reside, they all
share a passion for creating life-long readers.
Here are some of the best indie bookstores for Chicagoland's
141 N. Oak Park Ave.
"I get a special satisfaction from selling the nuts and
bolts of joy and life. Reading opens up an entirely new
~Rose Joseph, co-owner
In the neighborhood: When asked to explain how
her children's specialty store has survived since 1984, co-owner
Rose Joseph says, "We were too stubborn to give up." The store
happily hosts numerous book fairs, library events and author visits
Uniquely yours: Magic Tree stocks books in
various languages (including Chinese) and offers titles geared
toward a wide range of cultures and religious backgrounds.
Not to be missed: Cupcake decorating/storytime
for the little ones. For the rest of the family: Archie Comics
Anniversary Bash from 1-4 p.m. Sept. 3. It's going to be some
What's the buzz: This isn't just a children's
department; the entire store is dedicated to kids-and it shows!
Kids love the fairytale-like decor, and parents appreciate the
helpful staff and large selection.
123 W. Jefferson
5112 Main St.
"When you see a child light up when they talk about a book
they just read-especially a child who wasn't a reader-that is the
~Co-owner Becky Anderson
In the neighborhood: Anderson's is a
family-owned business that has become a fixture in its Naperville
and Downers Grove communities. Each year the owners schedule
hundreds of author visits, as well as outreach programs like
Uniquely yours: Co-owner Becky Anderson insists
that "phenomenal children's booksellers" are what makes Anderson's
stand out. The store also draws big-name authors like Dan Gutman
and Gail Carson Levine.
Not to be missed: "Super Saturdays" include
themed storytimes with costumed characters, special activities, and
plain old silliness galore, for ages 5-7.
What's the buzz: Customers are greeted like
family when they walk in the door. Since the stores are located
near the Riverwalk in Naperville and shops and eateries in Downers
Grove, visits can be part of a (long) fun day.
5233 N. Clark St.
"We want children to associate bookstores with having a good
time...we get down on our hands and knees to talk with them, and
respect them as early readers." ~Linda Bubon, co-owner
In the neighborhood: As a member of the oldest
chamber of commerce in the city, W&CF is an active participant
in community events such as the Mid-Summer Festival and the Arts
Uniquely yours: Yes, it's known as one of the
largest feminist bookstores in the country, but as the name
implies, kids do come first. Want proof? "Miss Linda's" favorite
day of the week is Wednesday-the day of the packed storytime.
Not to be missed: "Book Swap Nights" for
children age 6-14. Kids can trade favorite reads with others, and
pizza and drinks are provided.
What's the buzz: The store's open setup allows
parents comfortably to browse while their kids are occupied with
the toy piano, playhouse and, of course, the books.
811 Elm St.
"I love when the kids walk into the children's department as
if they own it. It shows they're comfortable here, and that's a
-Roberta Rubin, Owner
In the neighborhood: The Book Stall owners love
planning in-store book fairs and fundraising events, as well as
sending top authors to local schools.
Uniquely yours: Home of the Children's Book
Club. Doting adults can sign up the child of their choice to
receive a specially selected book each month.
Not to be missed: TV Tune-out Week. A great mix
of special speakers, storytimes and other fun events to help teens
and children shun the screen during a specified week in March.
What's the buzz: Parents know these friendly
booksellers by name-they're a self-proclaimed team that takes pride
in making solid recommendations for their most discerning customers
(read: "teen boys").
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