Dec 13, 2007

Bookstore Visits

The Children’s Hour
Salt Lake City, UT
Waaaay back in October, an uncertain weather forecast “grounded” us in Salt Lake City for an expected day-and-a-half. So of course we headed for The Children’s Hour, a terrific store owned by Bobbie’s friend Diane Etherington. Bobbie and Diane first met
through the Association of Booksellers for Children some 20 years ago, and this was Bobbie’s third visit to the store – Laurina’s first.

We didn’t expect to see Diane working on a Saturday, but were happy to find her there. Introductions were made and we had a short conversation before she was called
away to help a customer, so we began browsing the shop.

What began as “just” a great children’s bookstore years ago has evolved into an eclectic mix of books, gifts and women’s/children’s clothes and shoes. There’s definitely a “boutique” feel to it, with books and other items intermingled throughout the smallish space.

We were struck by the depth of inventory…selected titles, both new and backlist, were represented by multiple copies and Diane confirmed that they do lots of handselling. On this Saturday morning the store was full of customers, both adults and chidren.

Both the title mix and the focus on handselling make it clear that books are central here. We were happy to see that such an unusual mix is so successful!

The NeverEnding Story
Las Vegas, NV
We couldn’t imagine there really was a children’s bookstore in Las Vegas (are there any children living in Vegas??!!) but Bobbie thought she remembered meeting the owners a few years back at BEA. Sure enough, we found the address for The NeverEnding Story and couldn’t wait to drop in. Our luck held and both owners were there – Kimberly Diehm and Jennifer Graves, who opened this lovely store in 2006. The “special events” board out front gave us a preview of some of the special events the two put together: story hours, birthday parties, book clubs…

Clean design, wood floors, just the right sidelines and a small play area made the store seem so welcoming! And Kimberly and Jennifer were just so friendly and interesting – they met while both were librarians for the Las Vegas – Clark County Library District.

Probably our favorite thing in the whole store were the children’s book quotes painted on the walls, from favorites like Goodnight Moon and Where the Wild Things Are.

Changing Hands Bookstore
Tempe, AZ
We loved this store before we even went in, because it is connected to a great restaurant called the Wildflower Bread Company – we had been to one in Sedona, AZ and just loved it! So, after you finish your fabulous breakfast or lunch, you can stroll right through the connecting arch and spend the next three hours exploring the bookstore, like we did.

Changing Hands was the Publisher Weekly Bookseller of the Year 2007, and they deserve it. Truly one of the fabulous independent stores that we bookpeople can’t resist, with lots of Booksense signage and handouts. They had a “help wanted” sign up and we briefly considering it, just for the chance to hang around in this amazing atmosphere.

We have NEVER been in a bookstore with this many amazing sidelines and yes, we did make a few purchases.

The kid’s section was just as fabulous as the rest, with deep, deep backlist, many face-out titles and these 2 wonderful signs: “New Essentials” and “Forever Favorites.” You’ve got to love a store that sells the Hornbook in the magazine section, too.

Saw a new Tolkien book, which with the news that Peter Jackson is going to make The Hobbit, has me fired up to read them all again, and watch them all again. I still remember the THRILL of reading The Hobbit for the first time, in 7th grade.

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