Independent Bookstore Tour

So things have changed since I first started this article.  Right now we’re all on stay at home orders and going to visit these bookstores is out of the question.  However, I’m publishing this post now, because we all need books right now and all of these stores offer curbside pick-up and shipping.  Some have even done well at keeping up with online content!

This may not be the first kid trip that pops into your head, but a couple years ago, I discovered the joys of exploring St. Louis’s independent bookstores.  Each one has its own charm and mystique, as well as different nooks and crannies for kids to explore!  We find books by local authors, unique books we hadn’t heard of before, locally made items, unique games and enough to peruse that my little ones are busy for hours!   There are many independently owned bookshops in the area, but these are my top three favorites!

3.  Main Street Books (St. Charles)

This is probably the coziest bookstore I’ve been in with a loft children’s area with floor areas to read.  The picture books are cleverly displayed along with specialty books that fascinated us.  In this area there is also a collection of vintage style maps that I am still looking to decorate with!  Upstairs the coziness continues with a large fireplace and couch to look over your finds!  We got comfortable while looking over activist postcards and our middlegrade finds.  My kids were also fascinated by the typewriter displayed along with literary t-shirts.  A trip to this store and a stop at Grandma’s cookies is always a winner with my family!

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2.  Left Bank Books (Central West End)

Left Bank Books is minutes away from Forest Park and could be used as a calming spot or a duck out from the rain.  Not to mention it is right next to Jeni’s Ice Cream shop, my favorite ice cream in St. Louis.  Before you walk in, you will usually find sidewalk sales waiting outside and fliers for local events, giving you a sense of community.  Inside you find the latest recommendations displayed all around you, along with St. Louis’s history front and center.  Off to the left after a few steps down, the children’s area offers child size furniture, classic children’s books and the newest bestsellers.  Here I purchased the girls their first copy of Ferdinand, one of my favorites and for me I found a book on how to decorate with books!

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  1.  Novel Neighbor  (Webster Groves)

This little gem is out of the way, but worth a visit off the beaten path.  What makes this store so unique?  Besides the awesome name, the Novel Neighbor has a small meeting space attached to the store where the host educator nights, classes, author visits, and many other events.  This bookstore goes well beyond selling books.  As an educator I have attended many events and first learned of reading to shelter dogs that my youngest now enjoys.  I always find a new book and usually a game or two.  The girls particularly love the children’s nook as there is a window to peep out to the front entrance and toys galore.  The displays are clever and eye-catching making me disappear into this small wonderland for hours.  

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Honorable Mention:

There are other unique and intriguing independent bookstores in the area, some of which I look forward to visiting soon.  But for now these are my favorite and definitely worth a look!

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