They don’t call New York book country for nothing; whether we’re reading the Post, Proust, or Paper magazine, we New Yorkers love our literature. That means lots of free story times for you and the kid at bookstores, cafés, toy stores and beyond. Check out our roster of no-charge reading events happening uptown, downtown, inside and out (one even involves yoga).

Claire Frossard reading Emma's Journey at Greenlight bookstore in Ft Greene

photo: Greenlight Bookstore

Brooklyn

Greenlight Bookstore
Located in the heart of Brooklyn’s Fort Greene, this eclectic bookstore hosts a weekly Saturday Story Time geared toward kids ages three to 8. Authors and illustrators of picture books often visit the shop on Saturdays to read from their new books, and neighborhood performers or the Greenlight employees sometimes read as well. These events often include activities and crafts as well.

When: In 2015, story time will be held on Saturdays at 11 a.m.

686 Fulton St.
Fort Greene
718-246-0200
Online: greenlightbookstore.com

2013 April 24 BPL Playdate 237

photo: Brooklyn Public Library

Brooklyn Public Library
Never forget the place many of us learned to love books: the library! The Brooklyn Public Library hosts an array of story times all over Brooklyn for kids including StoryCraft, Toddler Story Time, Pre-school Story Time, and more.

When:  Varies by location. Check out the Library’s events calendar for more info. To find a branch near you, visit its website at bklynlibrary.org

powerHouse on 8th
POWERHOUSE on 8th is a brand new bookstore, reading club, mini-gallery, and community space in Brooklyn’s South Slope neighborhood, and is a product of the curatorial minds hived at Dumbo’s famed POWERHOUSE Arena. For the latest news on who is appearing at the store, click here.

When: Story time with children’s book authors is held every Sunday at 11:30 a.m.

powerHouse on 8th
1111 8th Ave. (between 11th & 12th St.)
South Slope, Brooklyn
718-801-8375
Online: www.powerhousebooks.com

Queens

Queens Library
Most branches of the Queens Library offer Toddler Time, during which children ages 18 to 35 months hear stories, sing songs, do fingerplays and play movement games in a literacy-enriching program. Space is limited and in-person pre-registration is mandatory.

When: Varies by location

Head to the Queens Library website for branch locations and individual event times.

HansChrisStatue

photo: Anne-Mette Andersen

Manhattan

Central Park’s Hans Christian Andersen Statue
This isn’t your typical story time. For one, it’s outside. And two, it’s been around for over 50 years, making it a real NYC institution. Every Saturday in the summer, the Hans Christian Andersen Storytelling Center hosts free story times for kids ages six and up at the statue of Andersen in Central Park. If you’re looking for something a little different and pretty special, this is the story time for you. Note: the stories are read rain or shine.

When: Saturdays, 11 a.m., June through September

The Ugly Duckling Statue of Hans Christian Andersen
Central Park, near 72nd St.
Online: hcastorycenter.org

Financier Patisserie
This cafe—which specializes in French pastries and has 10 locations throughout Manhattan—has launched a story time this season, and plans to continue to host events an ongoing series for children throughout 2015. Check the company’s website for the latest event and location.

Financier Patisserie
Locations throughout NYC
Online: financierpastries.com

Poets House
It’s never too early to expose kids to the power of poetry. The Constance Laibe Hays Children’s Room at Poets House is a creative space filled with the best of children’s poetry books, old-fashioned typewriters and a card catalog with poetic objects to trigger inspiration. Children and their adults are invited to visit during Children’s Room hours.

When: Tiny Poets Time, a weekly poetry reading for toddlers, is Thursdays at 10 a.m. Children’s Room hours are Thursday to Saturday, 11 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Poets House
10 River Terrace
Battery Park City
212-431-7920
Online: poetshouse.org

Books of Wonder
A cozy and cute children’s book Mecca, this shop hosts story time twice a week, with the day’s book selection determined by the age of kids in attendance (usually ages three to seven).

When: Saturdays at 11a.m.; Sundays at 11:30 a.m.

Books of Wonder
18 West 18th St.
Flatiron District
212-989-3270
Online: booksofwonder.com

IMG_0175

photo: Karma Kids Yoga

Karma Kids Yoga
A yoga studio dedicated to children only, Karma Kids’ story time gets physical with Yoga poses, puppets, and songs.

When: Wednesdays at 11:30 a.m.

Karma Kids Yoga
25 West 25th St., 3rd fl.
Chelsea
646-638-1444
Online:karmakidsyoga.com

The JCC Manhattan
Monthly story times celebrate Jewish holidays and traditions and feature the PJ Library’s rich selection of books, stories, and songs for children. It’s best to sign up online, in advance.

When: Story time is held monthly on a Friday at noon. Check events and times here.

334 Amsterdam Avenue (at 76th Street)
Upper West Side
646-505-4444
Online: jccmanhattan.org

McNally Jackson Books
This SoHo book store offers three weekly story times. Choose from baby story time, during which little ones from newborn to three years old can listen to songs as well as stories, or Saturday story time for kids ages three to 10, when an art project is also part of the fun. Saturday story time also frequently features guest author or illustrator presentations and book signings. The author schedule can be found on the McNally Jackson events calendar.

When: Baby story time: Friday, 4 p.m.; Saturday story time: Saturday, 11:30 a.m.

McNally Jackson
52 Prince Street between Lafayette & Mulberry St.
SoHo
212-274-1160
Online: mcnallyjackson.com

bookculture
Language lovers, unite! This Upper West Side bookstore offers story time for the young ones in English or Persian. The kids will pick up a new language (or at least a word or two), and maybe you will too.

When:  Persian readings Saturdays,  2:30p.m.; English readings Saturdays, 3:30 p.m.

bookculture
2915 Broadway at 114th St.
Morningside Heights
646-403-3000
Online: bookculture.com

Bank Street Book Store
This shop means business when it comes to story times. Head to the second floor for readings, and keep an eye out for big name kids’ book authors!

When: Daily, 10:30 a.m.

Bank Street Book Store
2879 Broadway at 112th St.
Morningside Heights
212-678-1654
Online: bankstreetbooks.com

 

BarefootBooks

photo: FAO Schwarz

FAO Schwarz
At Manhattan’s most famous toy store, story times are free and held in the FAO Schwarz Party Room on the Concourse Level of the flagship store. Be forewarned: it may be difficult to make it out of the store without picking up at least one thing for your kid. Enter at your own risk!

When: For 2015: Mondays-Thursdays, 11:00 a.m.

FAO Schwarz
767 Fifth Ave., Second Fl.
212-644-9400 Ext. 3125
Online: fao.com

Do you have a favorite story time we missed? Let us know about it in the comments below!

—Rachel Sokol