Just Opened: Two New Literary Spots for Kids

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Just in time for fall and all things bookish, two new spots for little literary fans have opened in NYC. One is a fresh indie book store in Queens, the other, a place for reading enrichment in Tribeca. Read on to be in the know!

photo: Kew & Willow

From big box to little & literary
Queens residents Vina Castillo, Natalie Noboa and Holly Nikodem didn’t just lose their jobs when Barnes & Noble shuttered its last Queens location in Forest Hills in 2015 — they lost their local bookstore. Realizing how valuable a general bookstore was to the neighborhood and the surrounding area, the trio launched The Queens Bookshop Initiative, and made it their mission to open another bookstore in Queens.

They weren’t looking to duplicate the Forest Hills Barnes & Noble (nor could they); instead, they wanted to create a personal and cozy shop with a “community” feel, and cater to both kids and adults. The support they received from locals was overwhelming, and the women raised more than $72,000 via Kickstarter.

photo: Rachel Sokol

Introducing Kew & Willow
The result, is the new bookstore Kew & Willow. (“Kew” is a nod to the neighborhood Kew Gardens, and “Willow” is a Harry Potter reference that the women say die-hard fans of the series will get.) Note: as the new store shifts to the official Kew & Willow name, some social media accounts and signage still reference “The Queens Bookshop.”

Owned and operated by Castillo, Noboa, and Nikodem, the 700-square-foot store will sell kids, teen and adult books, notebooks, small toys, tote bags, and more.

After a soft opening this summer, the bookstore is now open weekends, Saturday from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., and Sunday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. The store will eventually be open during the week, days and time are to be determined.

photo: Kew & Willow

Storytime, and other fun
Kew & Willow will hold storytimes both in the store and off-site, and the shop itself includes a designated kids area. The store will also host author events for both adult and kid titles, poetry readings, crafting events, and more.

The bookstore is easily accessible via the Long Island Railroad (Kew Gardens stop) and after you spend some time shopping for new (or old!) reads, take the kids across the street for lunch at the Village Diner and then grab some sweets at nearby Pink Lily Bakeshop.

Kew & Willow
8163 Lefferts Blvd.
Kew Gardens
Online: thequeensbookshop.com

photo: via Book Nook Enrichment Facebook page

The Book Nook Expands to Tribeca
Manhattan entrepreneur, educator and mom Rina Collins wants locals of all ages to know that despite its name, Book Nook Enrichment is not a traditional bookstore — it’s a literacy learning studio for children ages 6 months to 7 years old.

Collins and her husband opened the original Book Nook on the Upper West Side back in 2012, and September brought the debut of an additional location in Tribeca. The new, downtown Book Nook is an inviting, 1,800-square-foot space bursting with books for all ages, with a large, leafy tree as its centerpiece.

Collins is an early childhood educator and reading specialist, and designed the classes offered at the Book Nook. (She also teaches some of them.)

photo: via Book Nook Enrichment Facebook page

Membership and drop-in
Book Nook’s classes are geared toward developing skill sets necessary for educational growth and success. Classes are age specific, and feature a curated book list and curriculum created to meet kids’ current needs and learning styles

Classes for kids include Baby Hoots (six to 17 months), Lil’ Hoots (18- 30 months), Early Hoots (30- 40 months), Pre Hoots (40-48 months), Kinder Hoots (48-60 months), & Wise Owls (six to seven years). Each age level has a defined curriculum

photo: via Book Nook Enrichment Facebook page

Extra in Tribeca
Unlike the Upper West Side location, the Tribeca Book Nook Enrichment offers a daily “Learning Lounge,” where kids can parents can learn and explore together. The facility includes the library, a writing lab, puzzle station, drawing lab, block lab, and fine-motor station. All learning stations are designed by certified early childhood education teachers.

Families can use the facility with their children, even if they aren’t currently enrolled in a Book Nook Enrichment class. (Check the online calendar to for dates and times; calling in advance to make sure there’s space is recommended.)

The Tribeca location will also host storytime and crafts events for all kids of ages, and birthday parties are available at the space, too.

Book Nook Tribeca
23 Warren St.
Online: booknooknyc.com

Upper West Side
167 West 81st Street
New York, NY 10024
Online: booknooknyc.com

What’s your favorite book spot for kids in the city? Tell us in the comments below!

—Rachel Sokol

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