You know what you like when it comes to what you’re buying and where you’re buying it. And why not? Quality, great selection and customer service count — and that’s what ParentMap readers value the most.
Kid-Friendly Book Store
Winner: Mockingbird Books
Mockingbird Books, an independent children's bookstore, is a real oasis in a world of screens and gadgets. As active supporters of the Seattle-based Page Ahead organization, the folks at Mockingbird Books are dedicated champions of children’s literacy. Located in the historic Great Hall at Green Lake, the store is a “fun spot for kids,” with a “train table, puzzles, tons of books.” They also offer story time daily at 11 a.m. (except Sunday), youth and adult book groups, author and illustrator events, frequent buyer rewards, specialty book-ordering, and reading programs. Let the staff customize a reading plan for your child this summer with their recommendation service or simply browse the excellent selection. Although the focus is on the kids, Mockingbird carries a selection of thoughtfully selected titles for adult visitors.
Third Place Books, in Lake Forest Park and Ravenna, features programs for kids, story times and author events. “This is where we first introduced our kids to books,” says a Lake Forest Park customer. “They could curl up on the floor and just browse. We’ve been buying their books here for 12 years!”
Barnes & Noble, with locations throughout the state, boasts kid-friendly environments in its children’s sections that make you want to plop down with a book and, well, read. Or read it to your child — which is what we see lots of folks do in these supersize stores. You’ll find “great kids’ selection and knowledgeable, helpful employees,” “comfortable places to sit with the kids,” and, according to an Olympia reader, “a little kid cave that kids love exploring.”
At the Secret Garden Books in Ballard, local authors get treated royally, and so do families, who visit often for wonderful story times and readings. This popular spot is considered a local treasure; it’s been around for 30 years. “Secret Garden’s the best,” says a fan. “No contest!” says another.
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Illustrations by Alli Arnold