Independent book stores are NYC treasures. I'm thrilled to feature Book Culture on Broadway this week and to celebrate the written word. Think the little guys are disappearing? Think again--this independent bookstore just opened in November 2009 (the sister store on 112th Street has been providing books to the community since 1997).
Chris Doeblin--the dad behind the books--lives in Morningside Heights with his family and his four-year-old twin girls. Annie Shapiro his business partner chatted with me about her love of literature and "helping little people find the books that will change their lives."
Tell me a little bit about the offerings for families at your stores?The Children's Room at Book Culture on Broadway is devoted to kids and their parents. You'll find a cozy, whimsical space with comfy places to read and play together. We have a large selection of books for all ages, each thoughtfully selected by expert booksellers (and former kids!). We feature well-designed toys from companies such as Plan Toys and Kido, as well as art supplies, plush toys, puzzles and games. Try out the popular wooden tea set and don't forget to boil water on the little red stove. Or play pretend with the Green Dollhouse, complete with solar panels!
On Saturday afternoons we have free storytime and on Wednesdays the beloved children's performer, Danna Banana sings and plays the guitar.
We also have Spanish and French language storytimes with native speakers and a selection of children's books in those languages. For more information on our children's programs click here.
Best spot for a Morningside playdate: When it's not playground weather, The Children's Room at Book Culture on Broadway is really the place to be. Moms (and Dads) regularly meet up here on weekday mornings with their small children for some low key, old fashioned fun.
Book that changed your life? From my very earliest childhood I Am a Bunny, a classic board book illustrated by Richard Scarry and Each Peach Pear Plum by Janet and Allen Ahlberg. I think I still have both of those memorized! Later on the Frances books by Russell Hoban became very important, as did McCloskey's books (especially Blueberries for Sal). When I was five my mom started reading me Little House in the Big Woods, by Laura Ingalls Wilder, and the whole new world of chapter books opened up. The Little House books and the Betsy-Tacy books by Maud Hart Lovelace were intimate friends growing up.
Favorite local children's author?Carin Berger lives around the corner and creates wonderful picture books using collage. Her new book Forever Friends is just hitting the shelves this week.
What are you reading right now? The Brothers Karamazov
Are there any kids books about your neighborhood?Right now we're pretty excited about local author Rebecca Stead winning the Newberry for When You Reach Me, which takes place in the neighborhood. A few of my favorite recent picture books about daily life in the big city: At Night, by Jonathan Bean, What Happens on Wednesdays by Emily Jenkins, Every Friday, by Dan Yaccarino
Subway, by Karen Katz
Best spot for a family meal:Symposium is a great family-run Greek restaurant on 113th Street between Broadway and Amsterdam. The front room gets busy but ask to sit in the back garden (enclosed in winter) where you can eat very comfortably with the family. There's lot's of room to run around back there and often you'll be the only diners.
Book Culture on Broadway
2915 Broadway at 114th Street
The Children's Room is open every day 10:00 AM - 8:00 PM.