Buying Kids' Books
Berkeley Parents Network >
What/Where to Buy >
Buying Kids' Books
Questions about Kids' Books
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.
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.
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.
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
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
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.
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
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.
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?
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.
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.
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
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
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?
Try joining freecycle.org and making a request for children's books. It's a great resource!
How about the library for a great selection of books to borrow for free?
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
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
I've been able to locate books that are out of general
Children's Books can be ordered from this online site:
This site is new, the creation of Los Altos-based Renee Ting. You might
find what you're looking for!
this page was last updated: May 27, 2012
BPN is now a 501(c)(3) non-profit and we are transitioning to a new website during
The opinions and statements expressed on this website
are those of parents who subscribe to the
Berkeley Parents Network.
Disclaimer & Usage for
information about using content on this website.
Copyright © 1996-2015 Berkeley Parents Network