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Photograph: Courtesy Books Are Magic

The best storytime for kids locations in New York City

Storytime for kids will turn your tiny tot into a bibliophile, so explore our list of fun and (mostly) free read-alouds

By Allie Early and Danielle Valente

Storytime for kids will allow your child's love for literature blossom one picture book at a time. 

Make your way to the best bookstores, most engaging libraries for kids and charming toy stores in NYC for fun read-alouds and interactive activities. Children will meet new friends and explore a wide variety of tales, from the latest bestseller to classic stories. 

RECOMMENDED: Full guide to indoor activities for kids in NYC
But don't let the party stop after storytime for kids. Make sure to keep the pint-sized bibliophiles active with our go-to kids' books about NYC. Have older ones in your brood? Perfect! There are plenty of places across NYC that offer stellar book clubs for kids.     
Now's the time to snag a library card. Happy reading! 

Storytimes for kids in NYC

Photograph: Courtesy Books Are Magic

1. Books Are Magic

Shopping Bookstores Carroll Gardens

Kickstart the weekend with kids' storytime at this quaint and lovable Cobble Hill bookshop. The friendly staff invites families to join authors and illustrators every Saturday and Sunday at 11am as they delve into their fun and whimsical tales. But that's' not all—owner (and author) Emma Straub keeps literature accessible to youngsters courtesy of the store's kids' book clubs and subscription boxes.

2. Strand

5 out of 5 stars
Shopping Bookstores East Village

Books truly come to life thanks to Strand's character storytimes on Saturdays at 11am and 2pm. The iconic NYC literary hotspot offers a free read-along for children while their favorite characters make a visit to join the fun. There are tales old and new—plus fun crafts! You didn't think a location chock full of 18 miles of books would forget about the kids, did you?


3. Word Up Books

Shopping Bookstores Washington Heights

This Washington Heights indie bookstore humbly began as a pop-up shop and quickly evolved into a literary mainstay for the Uptown community. The bilingual outpost, which is operated entirely by volunteers, hosts 11am storytimes for children on Saturdays, and at times invites authors to the weekend occasion. View the shop's online calendar to explore other kid-friendly happenings such as workshops and events. 

astoria bookshop.jpg
Photograph: courtesy Astoria Bookshop

4. Astoria Bookshop

Shopping Toys and games

The cozy Queens bookshop offers a chance for little ones and their guardians to kick back and enjoy a free story. Venture to the store on Thursdays at 11am for the literary fun. Don't forget to browse other cool events taking place or enroll your teen bibliophile in the young adult book club


5. Bank Street Book Store

Shopping Bookstores Upper West Side

Bank Street is the place to be if you have a toddler. Stop by the book shop on Thursday, Fridays and Saturdays at 10:30am for free readings and interactive activities, tailored to little ones from 6 months old to 6 years old. A word of advice: Registration is recommended and stroller parking space is limited, so arrive early! 

6. Books of Wonder

Shopping Bookstores Flatiron

When a bookstore is devoted entirely to children's lit, you know it's a destination all budding bookworms need to experience. Between storytimes and launch parties, Books of Wonder is a kid-and-parent approved sensation that deserves a spot on your list of places to visit. Check out the cool events calendar to see what's cooking. Don't forget to explore Books of Wonder's newly opened Upper West Side location, too!


7. Greenlight Bookstore

4 out of 5 stars
Shopping Bookstores Fort Greene

This indie gem is a can't-miss venue for New Yorkers who love a good book. The store's Saturday storytimes (11:30am in Fort Greene, 1:30pm in Prospect Leffrets Gardens) are extra special because oftentimes the authors of the illustrated works are the ones conducting the read-alouds for those ages 3–8. If you have older kids, they're free to join the Young Readers Book Group, which meets on the fourth Tuesday of each month in Fort Greene at 5:30pm as well as the fourth Wednesday of each month in Prospect Leffrets Gardens at 5:30pm (ages 9–12).

8. Teich Toys & Books

Any day of the week is prime time for perusing shelves of toys and books. However, we're inclined to make our way to Teich Toys & Books on Tuesdays at 11:30am for storytime. The shop asks that parents are also in attendance during the event. 


10. Housing Works Bookstore Café

Shopping Toys and games Soho

There isn't a New Yorker who doesn't love making a pit stop to wander the stacks at Housing Works Bookstore. Try to beat the crowds for the 30-minute storytime on Wednesdays at 10:30am—they'll completely captivate little ones. Get ready for a good book, a little bit of dancing and a whole lot of fun. $5 per family. Ages 3 and under.


11. New York Public Library, Brooklyn Public Library and Queens Library

Attractions Libraries, archives and foundations Upper East Side

If you want to cultivate your child's love for literature, the library is the best place to start. Not only are the shelves stacked with great reads for kiddos of all ages, but each institution throughout the five boroughs offers fun and education activities—most of which are free—including story times. Explore the events calendar at the New York Public Library, Queens Library and Brooklyn Public Library to see what's happening in your neck of the woods!

12. The Reading Room at Bryant Park

4 out of 5 stars
Attractions Parks and gardens Midtown West

Bryant Park's Reading Room offers a variety of activities throughout each season: Saturday-morning storytimes with music, magic acts and even pop-in visits from literature's greatest characters. Read-to-Skate storytimes make the cold weather in the winter all the more bearable. Visit the Bryant Park website to learn more about its Reading Room offerings. 

Photograph: Courtesy WORD Bookstore

14. WORD

4 out of 5 stars
Shopping Bookstores Greenpoint

Adult bibliophiles might be interested to know that Henry Miller grew up not too far from this quaint literary emporium, but kiddos will fall in love with the storytime and birthday party options at WORD. Check out the Jersey City and Greenpoint calendars to see what kid-friendly happening is taking place near you. 

Photograph: Courtesy Yelp.com + Takako N.

15. Kew & Willow Books

Weekends are for reading, and Kew & Willow keeps kiddos occupied with Saturday storytimes at 2pm. Make sure to check the events calendar and sign up for the shop's newsletter, as they'll provide the most up-to-date information about forthcoming read-alouds. 


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