The Best Indie Bookstores for Gifts for Your Mini Bibliophile

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In an age of streaming and screens, it is not lost on most in the book world, that theirs may prove a medium headed toward extinction. If you are looking for a way to reintroduce your little learner to the concept of a book and the amazing power of the printed word–on paper that is–stop in at one of these indie bookstores, and instead of clicking on the latest digital media link, pull some of the latest picks off the shelf.

5776733390_2c1cfb1c63_zPhoto: Meal Makeover Moms via Flickr

Hooray for Books!
This store in Old Town Alexandria celebrates kids and adults dropping the earbuds and jumping across literary genres, featuring meet the author events and book clubs on every topic, even including an Adults Read YA (Young Adult) club. See their online events calendar for special readings, and put their weekly storytimes on your schedule, for ages zero to six on Monday and Wednesday evenings, or Saturday mornings for kids under 2.

Get-’em-here gift ideas:
The Dark by Lemony Snicket and Illustrated by Jon Klassen (Ages 3 – 6)
The Great Unexpected by Sharon Kreech (Ages 8 – 10)

1555 King St., Ste 101 (Alexandria, Va)

1875489166_aee1152780_zPhoto: Elvert Barnes via Flickr

Kramerbooks and Afterwords Cafe
Kramerbooks in D.C.’s Dupont Circle, local literati’s hip place to be seen for the last thirty plus years, is under new ownership. Nosing its way into some valuable Connecticut Avenue real estate next door, Kramers will soon offer kids and families a children’s annex housing an ever-expanding little people’s inventory, including Spanish language books. Check out their website and click on the Blog tab for Staff Picks. In the meanwhile, take a lunch break at the Afterwords Cafe serving up mac and cheese, dessert, and plenty of urban ambience.

Get-’em-here gift ideas:
A Child of Books
 by Oliver Jeffers and Sam Winston (Ages 2-7)
The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of her Own Making by Catherynne Valente (Ages 8-12)

1517 Connecticut Ave., N.W. (Dupont Circle)

screenshot-2016-12-08-at-2-44-57-amPhoto: Upshur Street Books

Upshur Street Books
Family fun on and off the page is a priority at this store located on the street of the same name in the Petworth neighborhood. With scheduled sing-alongs on alternating Thursday and Sunday mornings each week, the store welcomes families and makes clear part of its mission is to provide exactly what the community wants. The store’s web site lists everything from “baby proof board books” to artsy zines, making an afternoon in the stacks a good nose in a book kind of day.

827 Upshur St., N.W. (Petworth)

screenshot-2016-12-08-at-3-13-43-amPhoto: Edgewater Books

Edgewater Books
A children’s only bookstore located in Edgewater, Md. near Annapolis, this spot features themed sections from math and science to fairies and princesses, as well as local authors. Offering two storytimes per week, plus weekend author events and children’s crafts, the busy website and Book Blog makes it seem well-worth the 45 minute trip from central D.C. The website also has recommendation tabs for Kindergarten through third grade readers, plus Middle and High Schoolers. An only-in-Maryland tab lists books about lacrosse, the State’s official team sport.

Get-’em-here gift ideas:
The Night Gardener by Terry and Eric Fan (Ages 3 to 6)
Booked by Kwame Alexander (Ages 8 to 12)

131 Mitchells Chance Road, Edgewater, Md.


8403878432_4df1e9c9ac_zPhoto: Barney Moss via Flickr

Politics & Prose
One of those “only in D.C.” kind of places where policy wonks expand their horizons alongside lovers of great literature, Politics and Prose hosts a calendar full of author readings, book clubs, and workshops for all. Young literary enthusiasts willing to put down the electronic devices may be rewarded with membership in a monthly picture books club, or Teen Book Group. See the Children and Teens section on the website for more information also about new pubs and the latest recommendations, including an annual Department Favorites guide. 

Get-’em-here gift ideas:
Imagine a City by Elise Hurst (Ages 4 to 6)
Juana and Lucas by Juana Medina (Ages 6 – 9)

5015 Connecticut Ave., NW (Cleveland Park)

What is your kid reading these days? Tell us in the comments section below. 

—Carolyn Ross

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