There’s nothing quite like the feeling of walking into a bookstore. Considered to be true gems of the community, bookstores help foster a love for literacy at an early age. Shop owners and staff are always eager to help budding bookworms find their next great read with book selections for young readers.
Many independent bookstores didn’t survive the pandemic, so it’s more important than ever to show local bookstores some love. Whether it is offering kid-friendly storytimes or cozy nooks for families to read together, here are some bookstores to visit in the Chicago area.
The oldest single family run book cellar in the country made a name for themselves as the first bookstore to host J.K. Rowling for a Harry Potter reading event. Known to host other big names authors, Anderson’s has pivoted to virtual events for kids of all ages. Their Naperville and Downers Grove locations stock thousands of children’s books and offer ample seating areas for families to read together.
- Various locations in Chicagoland
With locations in the city and suburbs, Barbara’s Bookstore has the high-quality inventory of a major retailer, but retains the charm of an independently owned community bookstore. Their staff is knowledgeable about the latest and greatest reads. Although in-person events have been postponed due to the pandemic, Barbara’s frequently hosts virtual storytimes with local authors.
- Address: 506 Main Street, Evanston
From the moment kids enter Booked through their own miniature door, they get excited about the charming, unique and well-designed bookstore. At Booked, literature is grouped by age-appropriate material, which makes it easy to pick out the right items for your little one. Each month, the bookstore selects a community organization, local non-profit, or educational institution to give back to.
- Address: 1714 W. Division St., Chicago
This Wicker Park shop is Chicago’s only Black woman-owned bookstore, priding itself on its diverse collection: more than 90 percent of books in stock are from authors of color. The store’s 800 titles are grouped by association rather than genre, and parents will love the section that educates children about anti-racism and race.
- Address: 811 Elm Street, Winnetka
The Book Stall has been a go-to destination for book lovers for nearly 75 years. The quaint shop features an extensive selection of children’s titles and dedicates a large amount of our space to kids’ literature. Staffers, many of whom are retired teachers and librarians, truly know their stuff and can make solid book recommendations for any young reader.
- Address: 475 North Main Street, Glen Ellyn
A fixture in the Glen Ellyn community for more than 60 years, generations of readers bring their own children and grandchildren back to The Bookstore of Glen Ellyn to enjoy the down-to-earth comfort of a real old-fashioned bookstore. Kids and parents love the store’s cozy corners where they can sit and read together, choosing from a very well-curated selection with books for kids of all ages.
- Address: 3251 North Broadway, Chicago
Located in Lakeview East, a neighborhood full of enthusiastic readers of all ages, Unabridged Bookstore has created a space that is welcoming for kids and their caregivers. Their collection is wide-ranging, diverse, and carefully curated, containing an approachable mix of beloved classics and newer titles that you might not find at a larger store.
- Address: 900 N. Michigan Ave., Chicago
Tucked away from the hustle and bustle on Michigan Avenue, Volumes Bookstore is a quaint independent bookstore run by a family of book lovers. Every Saturday at 11 a.m., kids and their families can enjoy in person storytime followed by a sing-along and literary-minded coloring or crafting! Located on the 5th Floor at 900 North Michigan Shops.
- Address: 5233 N. Clark St., Chicago
One of the last feminist bookstores in North America, this Andersonville shop caters to young readers who want to use their money to support the causes they care about. Some of the store’s fastest growing sections are devoted to genres like Young Adult Queer Literature and Disability Justice. Women & Children First also hosts a monthly virtual Kids Book Group for readers who are 8-to-12 years old, featuring book discussions and crafts and activities that are accessible at home.
- Address: 1301 E. 57th St., Chicago
Get ready to get lost in the stacks and stacks of this Hyde Park bookstore. Families can spend lots of time browsing through the large children’s book section. Before the pandemic, the bookstore hosted three storytimes during the week for kids, but they’re starting to bring back their in-person events.
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