Best bookstores in NYC for kids

These bookstores in NYC encourage little bookworms to enjoy free local story time, cool kids' books and more around town

Claire Frossard reading Emma's Journey at Greenlight bookstore i
Photograph: Etienne Frossard Greenlight Bookstore

These great bookstores in NYC for kids ensure your little ones have access to the best of the best! Who needs to wait for a bedtime story to dive into a great book, anyway? There are so many stellar book stores to visit, and each has its own wonderful character. Many of the picks on our list even have kid-friendly corners so your little ones can do their thing while you browse the shelves for your own reads!

RECOMMENDED: Full guide to indoor activities for kids in NYC

It's also worth noting that many of our picks also offer free story times for kids on a regular basis, where tykes can meet famous illustrators and authors—even singer/songwriters! Who knows...your kid could even be inspired to write a book of their own one day!

In the meantime, check out our ranked list of the best kids' books and explore other great free things to do with kids in the city! 

Book stores in NYC for kids

Photograph: Courtesy Books Are Magic
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Books Are Magic

Carroll Gardens

The quaint and cozy Cobble Hill outpost—owned by author Emma Straub—boasts more than a place to pick up your next read. The shop fosters a literary community for bookworms of all ages thanks to events, story times, subscription boxes and a welcoming atmosphere. 

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Bank Street Bookstore

Upper West Side
The uptown shop features a broad selection of tomes for young readers, in addition to a vast assortment of games, toys and CDs. Its warm, knowledgeable staff is equally treasured, going the extra mile to russle up real gems instead of directing customers straight to the best-sellers. Kids can catch in-store puppet shows, musical story hours and more on select days.
Photograph: Tia Ryan
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Book Culture

Morningside Heights
This community bookstore goes above and beyond to make itself a destination for reading and playing alike. In addition to its inviting children's room, packed with puzzles, art supplies and toys, the UWS store attracts mini literati in droves with its weekend storytelling sessions, often featuring guest appearances by kid-lit authors. On Saturdays, this particular location hosts Persian (2:30pm) and English (3:30pm) storytimes for little ones to enjoy.
Photograph: Caroline Voagen Nelson
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Books of Wonder

One of the city's largest and most beloved independent children's bookstores, Books of Wonder features titles both new and old (rare and out-of-print editions), plus foreign-language and reference titles, and a special collection of Oz books. Used as inspiration for the children's bookstore in the film You've Got Mail, the quaint and cozy shop boasts a spacious retail floor, a gallery and café space. Youngster are treated to weekly storytimes on Saturdays (11am) and Sundays (11:30am)—including a bilingual edition each month—when top-notch authors and illustrators come by to share their tomes. Book launch events, picture book bonanzas and teen book clubs also frequent the space.
Photograph: Beth Levendis
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Greenlight Bookstore

Fort Greene
With numerous NYC stores shutting their doors, we couldn't be more thrilled to see this little indie-store-that-could still going strong. The locally owned haven for lit lovers boasts 300 square feet of picture books, chapter books, and YA selections for children and tweens, as well as an assortment of educational games and toys. Catch storytime with the latest and greatest children's authors every Saturday (11am), plus singalongs on the third Friday and first Sunday of each month (11am).
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McNally Jackson Books

McNally Jackson features a good variety of nonfiction, novels and magazines, as well as an expertly curated selection of children's classics and perennial favorites. Young readers can also swing by for weekly sing-a-long tales for babies on Fridays (4pm) or story and crafts sessions, which take on a different theme each Saturday at 11:30am.

powerHouse on 8th

Dumbo stalwart powerHouse Books has opened a second shop in Park Slope to sate the voracious needs of the family-oriented nabe. The sweet, exposed-brick spot has a special nook for kids stocked with children's books, stuffed animals and other covetable kid goods alongside fare for YA readers and adults. Author appearances, storytimes and other family events are de rigueur.
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The powerHouse Arena

PowerHouse publishes beautiful photo books, but the company's loft-like space and gallery in DUMBO hosts all kinds of events, including book launches from some of the hottest authors and illustrators in kid-lit.
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Posman Books

Not only does this mom-and-pop-ish bookshop contain an impressive collection of children's reads but it's also got a mean collection of NYC-centric books for kids, to get them in the New York state of mind early. A comfy event space hosts cool kid events, such as puppet shows and yoga.
Photograph: Heather Terry
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Adult bibliophiles might be interested to know that Henry Miller grew up not too far from this quaint literary emporium, and though this independent bookstore carries classics on par with Tropic of Cancer, the quaint shop also proffers more up-to-date titles. Weekly literary events are frequent, as are children's book readings.