Bookshops for Kids in Brisbane
We are incredibly fortunate in Brisbane to have access to some fabulous independent bookstores. In an age where our young people spend more and more time connected online and glued to screens, there is something a bit special and fabulous about a trip to your local bookstore to discover some reading gems and engage with literary activities. Whilst I am not immune to the lure of technology and indeed own a well-used ereader, I adore print books and firmly believe that print and paper and young people have a long and happy future together.
Of course, this librarian just could not continue this post without a little word of caution: books are precious treasures and children in bookstores should treat them as such. My four year old PudStar now attempts to explain to 18 month old ChickPea that ‘in bookstores we look with our eyes, not our hands’ whilst waving her hands frantically in ChickPea’s face. Doesn’t work; I carry ChickPea.
I regularly visit all these stores, depending on what I need in the book, caffeine and food departments! I’ve listed them here in alphabetical order…make your way through the whole list.
Avid Reader – West End
Avid Reader has a strong commitment to fostering young readers and has recently employed a staff member, Hannah, who is a children’s book expert. Once a week at 10:00am on a Tuesday they have free story telling for the under 5s. A dress up box and toys also makes Avid very popular with the younger set.
They stock the best books possible, sourced in Australia and overseas, with an emphasis on diversity and inclusion. I recently attended Avid’s fabulous launch of children’s book ‘Bea’ which is a lovely story of diversity, and they may still have some signed copies.
I can highly recommend the cupcakes and espressos/baby cinnos, and the deck out the back is p.p.p.perfect for children.
Like them on Facebook to have access to information about their fabulous range of literary events and launches for adults and children alike.
The Book Garden – Toowong
The Book Garden has carried an impressive range of books for children and the people that care for them for over 30 years in the Brisbane CBD, however have now moved to 7/39 Campbell Street, Toowong. Whilst they specialize in providing for schools and childcare centres, they also have a great selection of books for practically every need such as toddler books, picture books, junior fiction, children’s reference and teaching resources for educators.
In addition to manager Deb’s 30+ years of experience in-store they also have two specialist sales representatives with a remarkable knowledge of and passion for children’s books who are more than happy to visit school’s or childcare centre’s to help select the latest and greatest titles.
[email protected] – Stones Corner
[email protected] is an independent bookstore specialising in Australian Authors and stories, both fiction and non-fiction to delight people young and old. They also have a great selection of greeting cards designed by local artists. Their childrens book section also has a strong focus on Australian authors. Give them a a call to inquire about Book Clubs and their children’s story reading sessions.
They have recently run some fabulous sessions for young children – making fairy houses and other crafts sessions, and they’ve had some great author storytimes. Their Facebook page is the place to sign up to all these events.
Black Cat Books – Paddington
Black Cat has a great range of children’s books; owner Steph is a teacher and is passionate about children’s books. Along with Steph, there are several staff who are enthusiastic readers of YA fiction, and who can always help with recommendations.
I have attended several book launches at Black Cat with my own small ferals; favourites being ‘Brave Squish Rabbit’ by Katherine Battersby, and ‘Dinosaur Rocks’ by Lachlan Creagh, which would have to be the best themed children’s book launch I have ever attended, and all three small ferals I took had to be bribed to leave. The caffeine hit is always good, and their multi-leveled outdoor area downstairs is child friendly.
Black Cat has recently launched monthly writing clubs for children, one for 9 to 12-year-olds and one for 13 to 17-year-olds, which will be run by local author and teacher Charmaine Clancy. Regular story-telling sessions and kids’ book clubs are also in the planning stages; again, like them on Facebook for up to date information and events.
Mary Ryan Books – Milton
We drove past Mary Ryan the other day on our way somewhere and PudStar screamed; “STOP! They have great nut bread in there!”. We couldn’t stop but we do visit regularly for the aforementioned walnut bread and coffee and a browse and buy. As an ABC outlet there is a large range of ABC books and products.
The children’s section is thoughtfully placed away from the main action of the shop so meltdowns can go relatively unnoticed depending on their severity! Again, they have thoughtfully provided ‘reading copies’ of children’s books…a large collection of books which have seen better days but allow young owns to ‘read’ whilst you search out the titles you are after from their well-stocked children’s shelves.
Mary Ryan Milton hosts a Storytelling Hour each Saturday morning in which a local thirteen-year-old passionate reader reads to children in the specially designed Children’s Corner.
I’ll say it again…like them on Facebook for all their up to date information on events and new titles in store.
Riverbend Books – Bulimba
Owner Suzie Wilson has long had a passion for connecting young people with the right book and has employed staff who are all proficient in this. Over the years, I have attended some fantastic children’s events at Riverbend from book launches, to book chats and craft classes.
Their gorgeous deck is super popular and through the week it is a wonderful space to take children for a cinno and cake or plate of sushi, before finding a literary treasure inside to take home. Actually I usually do that the other way round…go inside, purchase, cake and cinnos and reads. PudStar would highly recommend the caramel melting moment she had recently.
Their Facebook page is updated daily with events for children and adults.
TLC – Manly
When I asked owner Tanya to sum up her children’s section she put it beautifully: a little bit quirky, a little bit unique and certainly warm and welcoming! How perfect does that sound?
They have a well-stocked selection from babies through to young adults and love to engage with their readers, be they four, fourteen or fifty! They host some fantastic children’s events, the most popular being their evening Pyjama Parties. Authors come along to share their books, and the children come in their PJs. A story is read, questions and activities, milk and cookies to get everyone sleepy and ready to go to bed the moment they get home!
Next event is their Easter Storytime Pyjama Party – Wednesday 27 March at 6pm.Lots of Easter fun and a fantastic story! They will be reading from ‘If you can … we can!’ by Beth Shoshan. Bring your best Easter hat to show off and the Easter bunny may have popped in to hide some eggs. There will be lots of fun games to play, colouring in as well as milk and cookies! Tickets are $5, redeemable on the night for credit towards the story book at the event. The tickets are available in store. Again their Facebook page is a source of all event knowledge.
Megan Daley is a teacher librarian at a great Brisbane school, is completing her Masters in Literacy, runs around after her small and slightly feral but book loving children and blogs about all things related to reading with young people at www.childrensbooksdaily.com. Join her Facebook community for reviews, tips on raising readers, book give aways and information about literary events in Brisbane.