As the saying goes, “So many books, so little time,” but one store owner isn’t phased by big shelves and lengthy to-be-read lists.
Peter Glassman, the owner of Books of Wonder, decided to take his business uptown with a new location on W 84th Street (his second), which opened in September 2017. Since then, he’s been busy turning his second space into a literary hub for young ones in the community, much like the original store in Chelsea.
“I think it’s more important than ever in our electronic world where we don’t really touch, meet or interact with people’s lives, and this gives people that wonderful opportunity to do that,” Glassman tells Time Out New York Kids of his second store. “It’s a place for people to meet, discuss and share their love of literature—discover new books, new voices and new ideas.”
Seeing as he personally considers the UWS as the most “family-friendly” neighborhood in the city, a literary presence was a necessity. The store itself offers books “from birth to 18,” and is no stranger to classics like Goosebumps, new releases in middle-school mythology hits and visits from old friends like Tamora Pierce. Picture books, chapter books, LGBTQ, sci-fi and poetry—it’s all at Books of Wonder.
But an array of genres isn’t the only inviting aspect of the bookstore. It’s wheelchair-accessible, offers a space for children and parents to sit and browse new titles and acts as a home for can’t-miss events, such as the launch of Dhonielle Clayton’s solo debut The Belles (Feb 10 at 4pm) and Sayantani DasGupta’s The Serpent’s Secret (Feb 28 at 8pm). Glassman is particularly excited for both of these titles.
These events are just the beginning of what Glassman hopes to achieve. Like he has done with his flagship store, the reader and book industry expert is hoping to work alongside schools in the spring and fall to create literary festivals where he closes down the shop for students and their families, brings in authors, and works alongside schools to bulk up their bookshelves. He is also collaborating with local organizations for exciting events but cannot reveal the details just yet.
Above all, the store is simply a celebration of literature and creativity for NYC’s littlest residents and visitors. "Children’s books are so varied and there are so many titles that just a regular bookstore can carry such a tiny percentage of the titles and the staff has to know everything; They can’t just be devoted to children’s books,” Glassman said. “I think it’s important for kids to have a place to go to and say, ‘This is for me.’”
Books of Wonder UWS is located at 217 W 84th St (212-989-1804, booksofwonder.com).