While online book buying is an easy go-to, there’s nothing better than scanning the aisles of a local bookstore with your kids. Not only is it a chance to share your childhood favorites, but it’s a way to help them select a book or two they love. Local bookstore shopping offers lots of perks, too—highly curated selections (often recommended by the staff), special events, and plenty of lounging spaces that encourage your kids to crack open those newly purchased books. Scroll down for five bookstores in NJ catering to kids, and if you’re looking to keep it all local, check out these excellent books by NJ authors too. (feature photo credit: Istock/globalmoments)
5 Kid-Friendly Bookstores in NJ
The first US location of the wildly popular Canadian chain, this book and gift spot has one of the most significant children’s sections around. Step into the colorful and bright space that’s like a store within a store, and find organized aisles by age and reading skill—starting with nursery favorites to chapter book series to a huge selection of young adult and non-fiction for curious kids. You can plan to stop by during author visits, special craft-making events, and storytimes.
The Mall at Short Hills, 1200 Morris Turnpike, Short Hills, NJ 07078
In the centrally located children’s section, kids can independently peruse the extensive shelves filled with local authors and hard-to-find titles while you hang back in the adult areas. Besides its colorful kids’ space, Words stands out for its mission to promote learning opportunities for kids of all abilities by offering inclusive events, a comprehensive selection of books for and about special needs, and expert speakers.
179 Maplewood Avenue, Maplewood, NJ 07040
A lively schedule of children’s author visits, storytimes for the 2-and-under crew, young readers’ book club, and other fun events like a Where’s Waldo scavenger hunt make this bookstore a popular family favorite. The designated great blue room with the starry sky in the back is a place kids can keep coming back to as they grow up—from the toddler listening to a book on a parent’s lap to the high schooler searching for the latest young adult titles in the teen corner. The staff loves recommending books to both eager and reluctant readers, finding picks that fit their interests and style.
54 Fairfield Street, Watchung Plaza, Montclair, NJ 07042
River Road Books
This charming storefront with a young readers area is a popular pit stop after a day at the beach or on a rainy day. Early readers, middles, and tweens will find known authors and illustrated classics along with hand-picked new titles (the staff reads them all before selecting), and plenty of clerks are on hand to recommend books based on interests and reading level. Got a kid who likes to make her choices known? Sign them up to be an RRB book reviewer, which will encourage reading and writing and provide a solid foundation for future school papers.
759 River Road, Fair Haven, NJ, 07704
Opened by a former attorney who wanted to save the town’s only bookstore, Inkwood’s inviting style has offerings for all ages. Kids can easily shop for the latest titles (they highlight bestsellers from independent booksellers across the country), and there’s a wide selection of picture books, school-age chapter books, and young adult novels. Inkwood also works with local schools to promote reading and hosts frequent children’s and YA authors’ visits in-store.
106 King’s Highway East, Haddonfield, NJ 08033
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