Best Of Chicago

Best Book Stores For Kids In Chicago

February 16, 2011 7:00 AM

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Magic Tree
The independent book store is practically an endangered species these days. It’s a shame too. Many independent book stores devote a large section to children and can be a wonderful resource for families. The staff is usually up-to-date on the latest in kiddie lit, from board books to early readers to YA sagas, as well as being able to find a lost classic that parents remember from their own childhoods. Many independent book stores offer story times, book release parties or other special events designed to encourage a love of reading. So the next time your child needs something to read, consider visiting one of these outstanding book stores for children.

Women and Children First

5233 N. Clark St.
Chicago, IL 60640

Since 1979, the independent feminist bookstore Women and Children First has been devoted to promoting books by and about women. A community meeting place for its Andersonville neighborhood, Women and Children First has a warm and welcoming children’s area with a wide variety of books for all ages. The staff is very knowledgeable and happy to offer recommendations. A parent-child book group meets regularly and Women and Children First hosts readings and other special events many night of the week, with a special emphasis on local authors.

Chicago Kids Book Store

3453 N. Southport Ave.
Chicago, IL 60657

Located in the busy Southport corridor, the Chicago Kids Book Store is known for its outstanding customer service and for a welcoming attitude toward its young customers. The store features a carefully curated selection of books and toys as well as many Chicago-themed items, which make great gifts. While you browse, your kids can play with the stuffed animals and toys that are always around, or grab a book and snuggle into one of the comfy chairs. Chicago Kids Book Store also offers several weekly story times.

The Magic Tree Bookstore

141 N. Oak Park Ave.
Oak Park, IL 60301

A beloved Oak Park landmark, The Magic Tree Bookstore is a cozy spot filled with books, games, and stuffed versions of favorite children’s literature characters, from Olivia to the Wild Things to Curious George. The staff is always happy to help you find the perfect gift for a young reader. There are weekly story times for families and special events, including author visits, at least once a month. The Magic Tree Bookstore also carries foreign language books, manga and a wide selection of YA novels for teens.

Anderson’s Bookshops

123 West Jefferson
Naperville, IL 60540

5112 Main St
Downers Grove, IL 60515

Anderson’s Bookshops is a family-owned business that has been a fixture in Naperville since that city was a small farming village. With a wide selection of children’s books and toys, monthly parent-child book clubs and frequent events and readings, it is no wonder that Anderson’s Bookshops has won national recognition in the industry. Anderson’s Bookshops is committed to instilling a love of reading in its young customers and so has numerous events tailored specifically to teachers, including its annual Children’s Literature Breakfast.

The Book Stall at Chestnut Court

811 Elm St.
Winnetka, IL 60093

A community gathering place in downtown Winnetka, The Book Stall has a knowledgeable and opinionated staff that is always happy to help with a recommendation. Family members looking to encourage a love of reading in a special young person may want to consider the store’s Children’s Book Club, through which they can arrange to have a carefully selected, age-appropriate book sent directly to the child every month or every other month. The Book Stall offers speakers and author events several times a week, including lots of events featuring children’s authors.

Happy reading, everyone!

Emily Paster is a mother of two living in the near west suburbs. She teaches writing at Loyola University School of Law. Read more of her thoughts on balancing work and family and raising kids in the Chicago area on her blog West of the Loop.

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  • M. Karydes

    What I love about this round-up of bookstores is that they are kid-friendly but not all are “just for kids”. This means I can bring my kids along and they can peruse the kid-friendly books while I can check out books or magazines for me.

    Nice job – I’ll be printing this out so I can hunt down the other ones next time we’re ready for a bookstore visit!

  • Tanya Livingston

    Border’s in Bolingbrook. Nice, friendly staff. Spent 15 minutes with my daughter and I searching for a children’s book on snakes. It’s too bad that corporate bean counters and Wall Street demanded “GROWTH” and meeting the “Street’s Exectations>” It’s the little people and employees of a great store that suffer in the end.

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