In light of nationwide school closures, the book world has rallied to keep us comforted, engaged, and entertained with virtual storytimes, author events, and book deliveries for readers of all ages. Here are a few resources for book-loving families!
Books are Magic has been a staple small business in Brooklyn, NY since owners Emma Straub and Michael Fusco-Straub opened up shop in May 2017. Under normal circumstances, the bookstore is home to children’s books, reading nooks, new releases and classics alike, as well as live readings, author panels and weekly storytimes for young readers. Though the store is indefinitely closed to browsing business, you can still find owner Emma Straub holding Virtual Storytimes on Instagram, or sign up for the Monthly Magic Book Subscriptions and receive a brand new, hardcover book from the genre of your choice — including picture books, middle grade books, or young adult books — every month for 6 to 12 months.
Volumes Bookcafe, the brainchild of Chicago area sisters Rebecca and Kimberly, opened in the Wicker Park neighborhood of Chicago in 2016. It has since become a city-wide favorite, attracting readers young and old with its curated bookshelves, baked goods, and a warm, inviting community space. Since closing its doors to in-person business in March, Volumes has moved to keep its regulars comforted and entertained with Virtual Storytime hosted by Miss Kimberly on Facebook Live, a new website dedicated solely to puzzle sales, and a virtual Harry Potter trivia night to be held via Zoom. In addition to online programming, Volumes is offering free shipping on all orders through April, and home delivery for Wicker Park residents.
Stories Bookshop + Storytelling Lab opened its doors in 2016, with author Maggie Pouncey and tech entrepreneur Matt Miller at the helm. Since its opening, Stories has been home to a large collection of children’s literature for sale at the Bookshop, and programming for budding writers at the Storytelling Lab. Since closing its doors to in-person business, Stories has moved its weekly Storytime to a YouTube channel, and made drop-in donations available through its website. Additionally, staff will continue to ship new releases, donating a book per order to a child in need.
Ally Kirkpatrick, an NYU advisor and avid reader, opened Old Town Books in November of 2019 with a mission to personalize the book-shopping experience, showcase new writers, and provide programing, such as author readings and children’s storytimes, to the Alexandria community. Since closing its doors to browsers earlier this month, Old Town Books launched their Book Love initiative, whereby anyone with $25 can purchase a reading care package for a child in need. In addition to Book Love, Old Town Books is sponsoring virtual book clubs, online writing classes, and author events to engage readers of all ages from a social distance. Don’t miss a virtual Q+A and Book Discussion with Susan Choi, author of the 2019 National Book Award For Fiction winner Trust Exercise.
In 2007, literary entrepreneur Christin Evans andd husband Praveen Madan purchased The Booksmith in San Francisco’s historic Haight-Ashbury neighborhood. Since closing to in-person business, The Booksmith has continued to offer free shipping to San Francisco residents, even updating their website to provide a “virtual front of store” for book browsing, organized by section as it would be in-store. The Booksmith has also taken steps to moving regular programming — book launches, author Q&As, readings etc. — to virtual platforms. For those with dwindling to-be-read piles, Booksmith is also offering personalized grab bag of mystery titles through their Dealer’s Choice program, shipping free to San Francisco residents!