Schools back in session and it’s time to hit the books! Do it right at one of our favorite kid-friendly independent bookstores in NYC where the littles ones (and their parents!) can stock up, hang out, or spend a cozy rainy afternoon. Whether it’s for the awesome selection in the stacks or the popping children’s events, these NYC bookstores are the place to be for budding bibliophiles! Find the NYC kids bookstore for your family below!
Brooklyn Book Fest: Children's Day
It might not be a bookstore, but this Brooklyn event is a must-see for any little book lovers. Held at MetroTech Commons, the event features an afternoon of book-themed fun for kids, including photo ops, read-alongs, discussions, workshops, and much, much more.
Marvel at Mo Willems' performance of his books (along with a sneak preview of his next book!), craft your own comics with Ivan Brunetti, watch a book get illustrated in real time, jam along with a live performance of a small mouse with big dreams, and too many more events to list. Check out the event page linked below for more info and create your own schedule for the day!
Sat., Sept. 21
10 a.m.-4 p.m.
304 Bridge St.
Bank Street Bookstore
Are you looking for that one children's book from your own childhood that you sort of know the color of the cover for but not much else? This bookstore can help you find it. The staff here are touted by visitors as being extremely knowledgeable and helpful for finding any children's book you need.
Bank Street Bookstore is specifically intended for kids. On the shelves, you'll find many classics and popular books of today, but you may also snag a locally written or indie gem you might not find elsewhere. On most Saturdays, you can come in and listen to a children's author read their own books for storytime, and lead the young audience in a themed activity.
Books Are Magic
This quaint independent bookshop in Cobble Hill is a sanctuary for book lovers young and old. Along with a vast selection of children's books, the shop has a little nook for relaxing with a book as well as many chances to hear your favorite authors reading their books at storytime. Books are carefully selected and displayed in a way that encourages kids to pick up a tome they might not otherwise even see (like a cookbook). Its calm and quiet vibes make this a, well, magical place to stop by and find your new favorite book. Plus, the store is open every day!
225 Smith St.
Book Culture has four stores in New York City—three on the Upper West Side, and one in Long Island city, Queens. (The Queens location's entire bottom floor is dedicated to kids books, games and toys.) The bookstore offers a robust schedule of programming at its shops; examples include musical storytimes, Mozart for Munchkins, TocToc Spanish Class, music with Hopalong Andrew, and storytimes in English, German and Spanish. The store is also a great place to pick up fun and funky gift items. Book Culture is raising money to get them over a financial hump and keep its doors open, with the goal of profitability in 2020. They deserve your support!
26-09 Jackson Ave.
Long Island City
536 W. 112th St.
Upper West Side
Upper West Side
450 Columbus Ave.
Books of Wonder
Books of Wonder proudly declares itself to be NYC's largest independent bookstore and the city's "leading specialist in children's literature," and the stacks are, well, stacked with tons of children's literature. Besides having a large and well-kept children's books section, this bookstore is a hotspot for family-friendly events, author readings, launch parties, and more. Especially worth noting are the regularly held panels, for various ages and covering many different topics, which feature groups of authors talking about their work and taking questions from the audience — a potentially excellent inspiration for kids who are showing an interest in writing or illustrating their own works of art.
217 West 84th St.
Upper West Side
18 West 18th St.
La Librairie des Enfants
This little Upper East Side French bookstore for kids just oozes charm. (Customers report feeling transported to Paris when they step inside.) Head here for classics and new titles for kids in French, as well as games. The store hosts Petites Histoires, a thematic reading program in which kids learn French through stories, songs, crafts and play. Additionally French marionette shows will be coming to the store soon. (Adults can learn French here, too!) You can read our full feature from when they opened, here!
163 E. 92nd St.
Upper East Side
The Greenlight Bookstore has everything you'd expect from a great bookstore: Excellent selection (though listed at jacket prices — no savings to be found here), regularly scheduled staff and author storytimes, and friendly, knowledgeable staff. In addition to all that, though, Greenlight has a few special offerings to make it stand out among the rest.
Children ages 9-12 are welcome to join the Greenlight Young Readers Book Group with or without their parents, which meets once a month to discuss the book of the month (which is always on sale at 15% off), eat pizza, and make literary friends. Additionally, Greenlight is a partner of BAM, which means that in addition to 15% off for BAM members, you can also snag some BAM merch through Greenlight's kiosks on-site at the Academy. It also means that the bookstore often hosts events in collaboration with BAM, like author talks and music-infused book readings, on stage. Keep an eye on the events page for kid-friendly BAM performances!
686 Fulton St.
632 Flatbush Ave.
Prospect Lefferts Gardens
Stories Bookshop and Storytelling Lab
As the name implies, Stories is more than a bookshop: It's a place where you can buy stories or make your own. On the shelves, you'll find books for children through young adult (with some choices for parents, too), as well as writing tools like notebooks, pens, and art supplies.
But the real gem here is the Lab component. Children of all ages are invited to sign up for classes that celebrate that include writing, of course, but also stretch out to encompass chess, art, music, photography, the elements of storytelling, and more. These events aren't free but they're excellent options for both reluctant writers and kids who are showing an interest in certain forms of artwork and storytelling. Plus, you'll find staff-led storytimes here five days a week (for a fee).
458 Bergen St.
Powerhouse on 8th
From the same minds behind the home to book happenings in DUMBO, The Powerhouse Arena, Powerhouse on 8th is a cozy store that curates not only an excellent collection on titles for kids and young readers, but an event calendar as well. Storytimes and author appearances are common; you can check out what's coming up here.
1118 8th Ave.
You might already love this bookstore — now you can give your children a reason to love it, too. The large bookstore stocks an eclectic selection of books, many of which can be purchased at a discounted price. Visit the space for Family Hour, which includes storytime and readings for kids on Saturdays and some Sundays. You can also find plenty of old and new children's books here, as well as perfect gifts for book lovers like plushies and quirky toys themed around reading and learning.
828 Broadway at 12th St.
This charming bookstore in the heart of Astoria is a welcoming place for families to browse and relax together. It hosts Thursday storytimes (you can even volunteer to read for storytime, if you want!), as well as unique events like chess lessons for 3-year-olds and a young adult reading book club (which offers 10% off on the month's book).
Many of its other events not specifically created for children are still welcoming to the whole family. Get the whole family in on the 2019 reading BINGO challenge!
31-29 31st St.
Every Thing Goes Book Cafe and Neighborhood Stage
Used books, events, and whimsy abound in this Staten Island location. This bookstore also sells coffee, chocolate, as well as records and DVDs, and hosts art and performances in its indoor and outdoor patio space. The space is small and selection is limited but the whole family can enjoy a trip to sip a hot beverage and browse the used books as live music plays.
208 Bay St.