Those inside and outside the book publishing industry have long predicted an end to the traditional bookstore. However, it now seems that bookstores, particularly independent bookstores, are thriving, offering readers a unique experience—tactile, tangible, sensory—that isn’t possible when shopping online. Though the continued success of traditional bookstores may still be considered precarious, there’s at least one way to ensure their continued existence: inspiring children to make bookstores a longstanding part of their lives.
December 5th marks the sixth annual Take Your Child to a Bookstore Day, an event and organization founded by author Jenny Milchman in 2010. Since then, the event has grown exponentially each year, now including bookstores from each U.S. state, seven Canadian provinces, England, Australia, and Germany. Participating bookstores offer readings, giveaways, and events geared at giving children a unique and joyful experience. According to Milchman, “My hope is that by drawing awareness to the pleasures of time spent in a bookstore at a young age, kids who take part will grow up to value and support bookstores in the communities of the future.”
Of course, the benefits go both ways. Not only does the event benefit the everlasting sustainability of bookstores, but also may significantly contribute to increasing children literacy rates. As the event grows, the founders hope to include grants for children from low-income families, who may not otherwise be able to buy books, inspiring a diverse population of kids to use bookstores as valuable sources for discovering and enjoying literature.
The value of books in a child’s life, and of children in a bookstore’s life, cannot be overstated. And with that, the same can be said of Take Your Child to a Bookstore Day. For more information and a list of participating bookstores check out their website.
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