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Buying Kids' Books

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Questions about Kids' Books


Where to browse children's books?

July 2008

Where is a good place to browse children's books, to discover which ones are good ones? It seems that more and more of the smaller bookstores are closing and the selection at larger chains is limited. I can browse books for myself online, however for kids books I prefer to browse in person. We have a 2.5 year old and another one on the way. We live in North Berkeley. Thanks! Need more books


If you're willing to make the drive, The Storyteller in Lafayette is a great place to find children's book. It is located in Downtown off the Oak Hill Road/Central Lafayette exit of Highway 24 in the east bound direction. This summer we participated in our school's Summer Read-a-thon and I checked out as many of those books from our library. There is also Lucciola's book store on Piedmont Ave in Oakland. Martha
Lafayette has a wonderful children's bookstore called The Storyteller (30 Lafayette Circle, Lafayette, CA 94549; (925) 284-3480). The staff is very helpful and knowledgeable, and they have a great selection. Plus they have tables and chairs (kid-size) and even some toys out, so browsing is encouraged! It's definitely worth the drive from Berkeley. Anissa
Why don't you try the library? I'm in Oakland, so I don't know where the good children's rooms are in Berkeley, but we use the children's room at Oakland's main library and it's awesome! Usually, I just pick a section of shelves and grab whatever looks interesting while my daughter grabs a few things from familiar series (Dora, Clifford, Berenstain Bears etc). I get a dozen or more books, we work through them over the course of a couple weeks and then we go back and I hit a different section of shelves. This keeps me from having to read the same thing over and over (at least not longer than a couple weeks), which is great for me, and we get exposed to a lot of stuff that I never would have paid for.

I've browsed bookstores and am often frustrated at how they focus on new releases with a few old classics, but not much else. So when we find something at the library we want to give as a gift, we have to order from Amazon, because you can't find it at Barnes & Noble. Carrie


Okay, so it's great that you want to purchase books for a home library for your children. Surrounding children with books is terrific for so many reasons.

But... where to browse...? Unless this is a disguised set-up to plug a new children's book store, I would start with the public library. Alas, I am constantly surprised by the number of parents I come across who don't visit the library regularly, so...

The main branch of the Berkeley library has a FANTASTIC children's section. And they're even open on Sundays. You can also visit ANY branch of Berkeley, or even another city - Albany, Oakland, El Cerrito...

We have cards for Berkeley and Oakland. Best part, it's free... Mom of Two


I love going to The Book Tree in Montclair Village. It's very quiet and they have a LOT of children's books and the staff really know what they have, and are kind and helpful.Very nice people. Bonnie
Go to your local library!
Start at Mr. Mopps (MLK Jr. Way and Rose) They have a large room of kids books; very good on science, and books for ages from infants to about 13. A very nice selection, clearly someone has read most of the authors they stock.

Black Oak Books -- Shattuck between Vine and Rose. A smaller selection but they have used as well as new books.

Pegasus -- Shattuck at around Durant. Mostly remainders and used books with a selection of quality new children's books. There are other branches of this store on College near Rockridge BART, and on Solano between The Alameda and Colusa.

Diesel -- College Avenue between Hudson and Lawton. Our favorite because they have a ''teen'' section (nowadays from about 11-14) as well as books for younger children.

You said the word browse in your post -- I hope you mean browse and buy. If we want independent bookstores to continue, we need to support them with our purchases. Kepler's (excellent children's section) in Menlo Park, was always crowded but nearly folded (saved by Subscribers) because people were ''browsing,'' in the store then buying online. When you buy books at a bookstore, what you are purchasing are books AND a place to find books chosen by caring, intelligent readers. bookstore lover


Starting a book collection for baby

Oct 2007

My husband and I have started to read to our infant daughter every night and would like to start a book collection for her. I have a few of the basics, but need to buy a lot more. I was wondering about book clubs where you become a member and get books at a discount. Are these a good deal? Does anyone have one they can recommend? Leslie


The East Bay is blessed with many used book stores. They carry kid's books, too. In our neighborhood, I like Pagasus on Solano, and Black Oak Books on Shattuck near Vine. You can find some great gently used books at these stores, and , as you child gets older, shopping for a new classic book is a nice thing to do together. Garage sales and similar sales are also good places to look for gently used classics. Book mom, too
I use http://www.daedalusbooks.com/ to buy childrens books and have gotten absolutely beautiful books for practically nothing. They have a huge, ever changing selection. alexis
Don't buy too many books right away. Wait and see what your little one is going to like before shelling out all that money. My 2-year-old, a voracious ''reader,'' loves the library because it's an unlimited supply of books. When we see that he loves a particular title, we buy that title for him. It's worked great for us. Designated reader

Children's Mail-order Book Club

May 2006

Does anyone have a children's book club that they really love? My son is almost 3 and I think it would be a fun idea, but I don't want one that is going to end up sending me a bunch of bland bargain books that cost too much or that I end up having to return. Something with authors like Jane Yolen or Bill Peet?


Try Children's Book of the Month Club (www. cbomc.com). They send out fliers each month with their featured books and the month's main selection. You decide what you want to receive. You can also reply online. I've been a member for years because I'm a teacher, but now with my daughter I receive their flyers geared to her age. Myla

Where to get free books to read to kids

Jan 2006

I volunteer as a reading tutor with 2nd and 3rd graders in Berkeley. They need books I can read to them. Anyone know of sources of free books? Jerry


Try joining freecycle.org and making a request for children's books. It's a great resource! Jennifer
How about the library for a great selection of books to borrow for free? GN

Where to buy kids' books

March 1999

for books of any sort for babies through adults, i'd highly recommend the catalog :chinaberry(1800-776-2242). The owner describes the catalog as a cozy place for buying books and other treasures fo the entire family. each book is they carry has been carefully selected. their catalog is like a magazine (on newsprint). each book is described in detail. they specialize in children's books, which is how i think they started, but they have branched out a bit. we have greatly enjoyed everything recommended by chinaberry. Susan


I like Cody's both on Telegraph and 4th Street. (While the collection of children's books is definitely smaller at the 4th St store it's easy to shop with my 2-yr old there because she can spend an endless amount of time arranging and rearranging the Peewee Herman-like kids' furniture. If I have a particular book in mind (and even if not) I also like to shop at Amazon.com. I've been able to locate books that are out of general distribution.
Children's Books can be ordered from this online site: www.owlshouse.com. This site is new, the creation of Los Altos-based Renee Ting. You might find what you're looking for! Debbie
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