Kids don’t know how good they have it these days. Especially when it comes to local bookstores. In “olden times,” the children’s section of a bookstore might have a beanbag and stuffed animal tossed in the corner–if you were lucky. These props indicated where you’d find a shelf or two of books for young’uns. And we liked it! (What did we know?)
Oh, how times have changed. Today, Cincinnati families have a dazzling array of places to discover, read and celebrate children’s literature. Here are my favorites.
Blue Manatee Bookstore & Decafé
Located on “Kid Row” in Oakley, the Blue Manatee is perfectly designed to engage children in all things reading. Of course, Blue Manatee has scads of books for children from babies to teens.
But there are so many other reasons to love this store, such as cute toys, gifts, puzzles, games, puppets and more. Your child can attend book signings of their favorite authors or interactive story times, often including a free craft or activity. And parents and kids alike can get some tasty grub at the adjoining decafé.
If you’re serious about seeking great literature for kids to read, roll on into the Blue Marble. Staffed with experienced librarians and educators, this Fort Thomas bookstore can be your go-to source for personalized reading recommendations by age and interest. The Blue Marble has been serving the Northern Kentucky and Greater Cincinnati areas since June 1979.
Every nook and cranny of the old house it’s located in is jam-packed with 30,000 titles–all carefully selected by the staff. You’ll also find educational games, toys and puzzles, activity kits, parenting and teacher reference books, autographed books and out-of-print books. Many renowned children’s authors and illustrators have stopped by the Blue Marble for appearances and signings over the years. Keep an eye out for some of their original work and signed posters throughout the store.
And when you visit, don’t miss the Great Green Room upstairs (modeled after the children’s classic Goodnight Moon) and the Secret Garden area.
Tucked in the heart of Olde West Chester, there’s a lovely stone building filled with cool books, warm smiles and hot cups of coffee. Book Bums, the sign reads out front. What is that? I used to wonder as I drove by. A bookstore? A coffee shop? A tutoring place? Book Bums doesn’t fit neatly into any category, as it turns out.
Christy and Mike Williams created Book Bums to be “a place where reading is fun, and where parents could learn how to most effectively support their children as reads and truly enjoy doing so.” In reality, it’s a combination coffee shop, lending library, book club meeting spot, and friendly community hang out.
When she’s not blogging at Family Friendly Cincinnati, you can find Susan writing at her blog Working Moms Against Guilt.
This article originally appeared in the January 2013 edition of Domestica, a lifestyle publication promoting local eateries, farms, boutiques and non-profits in the Cincinnati region.