Willow Books is a lovely independent bookstore not far from us; it’s in a small strip mall next to an insurance company, with plenty of parking. Because they have a good amount of real estate, they’re able to arrange the store fixtures to keep an open and airy feeling. When you walk in to Willow Books, the first thing you might notice are the low bookshelves; the clear sightlines across the store let you easily scan to find the section you’re looking for – from the cafe to cards and gifts to … BOOKS!
My 5-year-old son likes to go there on Tuesday mornings for theirchildren’s storytime. Rather than hold it in the back of the store in the children’s department, it’s right up front near the small cafe, where light streams in from the floor-to-ceiling windows. Kids and caregivers sit on a comfy rug and a storyteller – not a bookseller, but someone brought in for the event – holds their rapt attention. Her program runs around a theme – apples or insects or snow – whatever is timely. She has handpuppets, a few songs or fingerplays, and, of course, stories to read!
After storytime we wander the store; LM5 has more than once looked at the covers of the cookbooks in the overstock bins up front and suggested that we buy one so “you can cook something really good and different, Mom!”
We’ve had cocoa, coffee, and cookies at the cafe (how’s that for alliteration!??), which also serves breakfast treats, soups, salads, and small sandwiches. A bulletin board around the corner lists local news, services, and events.
Willow Books has a nice gift section, with cards, bookmarks, journals, and other trinkets for book lovers. They even carry the Book Buddy!
By far, the section we spend the most time in is the children’s department. Aside from our favorite books, and many new favorites to discover, we’re welcomed by a menagerie of literary stuffed animals, activity kits, and an awesome aquarium.
There are Favorites (staff picks) in both the adult and children stacks. I really like when a staff pick tells me WHY it’s a favorite, rather than a simple thumbs-up; Willow Books obliges with enthusiastic write-ups.
I haven’t yet attended an evening event at Willow Books, but they do have a nice schedule of both children and adult author visits. I enjoy reading about new releases in their weekly newsletter; you can subscribe here. The website has some nice interior shots, too (clearly I was torn between snapping pics of the books and my cute little wizard!)
Perhaps the Willow Books tagline can say it better than I can: Willow Books: Where Friendly Service Is Not A Lost Art.
Who’s coming to the Boston area to take a bookstore tour with me? Here’s another stop on our itinerary!