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57th Street Books
1301 W. 57th St., Chicago, 773-684-1300
*Story time
 

This Hyde Park bookstore has an excellent children’s section (with expert recommendations available by age group), and story time for kids every Wednesday. Join the Seminary Co-Op by purchasing three $10 shares of stock to receive a ten percent discount on purchases and a share in the store earnings.


A

After-Words
23 E. Illinois St., Chicago, 312-464-1110
 

The children’s section carries a mix of new and used titles starting from board books and paper doll kits up to young adult fiction. Bring in books to sell and get cash or store credit in return.

 
Anderson’s Bookshop
5112 Main St., Downers Grove, 630-963-2665
123 W. Jefferson St., Naperville, 630-355-2665
*Story time
 

An independent, family-owned bookstore with retailing roots in Naperville back to the 19th century. The shop has an excellent children’s section (the company has a particular expertise in this area, as one of the sister companies is a children’s book fair company), and hosts frequent story times, readings from children’s book authors, and game demonstrations.


B

Barbara’s Bookstore
1218 S. Halsted St., Chicago, 312-413-2665
810 Village Center Dr., Burr Ridge, 630-920-1500
*Story time
 

Locally-owned Barbara’s Bookstore is a Chicago institution and has successfully gone head to head with chain bookstores for years. The author line-up is impressive, particularly at the Halsted Street store. Both locations have large children’s sections and story times; the Burr Ridge location has an excellent bargain section.

 
Barnes and Noble
Visit barnesandnoble.com for locations
*Story time
 

This mega-chain has an extensive, if mainstream, selection of children’s books, with expert recommendations for floundering gift givers. (Many kid books now are available for the Nook.) Story times and author readings vary by store. Check out the online tool where kids can make their own book: they write a story, upload their own art, and have it published in hardcover or soft cover.

 
The Book Bin
1151 Church St., Northbrook, 847-498-4999
 

A local independent bookstore with a devotion to children and young adult books and an excellent selection in both categories. The shop still offers a rental library—check out books for a nominal, by-the-day charge.

 
The Book Cellar
4736-38 N. Lincoln Ave., Chicago, 773-293-2665
*Story time
 

An organized neighborhood bookshop that proclaims to join books and wine in a “beautiful marriage.” The children’s section is crowd-pleasing, and the Book Cellar hosts a weekly story time. Stop in for a book for junior and maybe a glass of wine for mom and dad.

 
The Book Table
1045 Lake St., Oak Park, 708-386-9800
 

An independent bookstore stocked with used and discounted new books. The children’s section, which has a table and chairs where little ones can kick back and read, is a mix of new books and used classics, and any book can be special ordered at a 20 percent discount.

 
Booklegger’s Used Books
2907 N. Broadway St., Chicago, 773-404-8780
 

This Lakeview spot specializes in science fiction, mysteries, and other rare books, but also carries collectible children’s books, like author signed books and first editions.

 
The Book Market
2651 Navy Blvd., Glenview, 847-904-7304
*Story time
 

The very friendly staff here doesn’t mind parents and kids who linger and are happy to make recommendations. The children’s section is well-stocked, and the bargain book area is large and full of deep discounts. Games, puzzles, and toys from Melissa and Doug mingle with the book assortment.

 
The Book Stall
811 Elm St., Winnetka, 847-446-8880
*Free gift wrap
*Story time
 

This independent bookstore is a Winnetka institution and boasts an expert staff that attracts as many top-name authors as the major chains. The children’s section is unparalleled, a mix of beautiful editions of classics such as The Wizard of Oz with old favorites and recent releases. The Children’s Book Club is an outstanding gift—choose to send books either six or 12 times a year to a child in your life, and books are hand-selected by staff members according to the child’s age and particular interests.

 
The Bookstore
475 Main St., Glen Ellyn, 630-469-2891
 

This independent bookstore has been in the same Glen Ellyn spot for more than 50 years. The children’s section is in the rear of the store, with everything from board books to tween reads, as well as some puzzles and Melissa and Doug toys.

 
The Bookie’s Paperbacks
2419 W. 103rd St., Chicago, 773-239-1110
 

This Beverly bookshop is located next to a 7-11, but the exterior belies the quality of books within. (Not to mention provides an excuse to stock up on both books and Big Gulps.) The store carries a combination of new and discounted books, including new titles and old favorites of board books, toddler and kid reads, and young adult novels. Donate books to receive store credit toward future purchases.


C

City Lit
2523 N. Kedzie Ave., Chicago, 773-235-2523
 

A large children’s section runs the gamut from board books to young adult readers at this Logan Square indie book shop, which also has chairs flanking a fireplace where mom and dad can kick back while junior browses or enjoys story time.


H

Half Price Books
5605 W. Touhy Ave., Niles, 847-588-2286
1319 N. Rand Rd., Palatine, 847-359-8250
151 Skokie Valley Rd., Highland Park, 847-831-2820
366 W. Army Trail Rd., Bloomingdale, 630-893-8907
14 Countryside Plaza, Countryside, 708-579-1770
31 Orland Square Mall Dr., Orland Park, 708-403-4589
 

As the name suggests, this new and used bookstore offers a daily changing stock of books and movies at half the publisher’s price.


L

Lake Forest Bookstore
680 N. Western Ave., Lake Forest, 847-234-4420
 

This independent book store in Market Square has been a town staple since 1949. The quaint shop has a children’s section in the back, ranging from picture books to beginning chapter books and young adult novels.


M

Magic Tree Bookstore
141 N. Oak Park Ave., Oak Park, 708-848-0770
*Story time
 

This beautiful children’s bookstore has been keeping Oak Park kids in books since 1984, with a selection ranging from infant board books to teen  lit. Weekly story times are Wednesday at 11 a.m., and Magic Tree hosts many other special events, including visiting children’s authors and readings.

 
Market Fresh Books
700 Church St., Evanston
 

Printed materials at deli-style pricing— books are sold for $3.99 a pound. Stop in to browse current titles and an excellent variety of children’s books (Dr. Seuss to Harry Potter.) Market Fresh also rents books: Just pay the cover price as a deposit, then return it to receive the deposit minus the 75 cent daily rental fee.

 
Myopic Books
1564 N. Milwaukee Ave., Chicago, 773-862-4882
 

Three floors of bibliophile goodness, this used bookstore is a wonderful place to while away the afternoon. Browse the gently used children’s tomes for everything from classics to more offbeat selections.


O

Open Books
213 W. Institute Pl., Chicago, 312-473-1355
*Story time
 

A loft-like used bookstore with more than 50,000 donated books, including a delightful children’s section that hosts a weekly story time and other events like puppet shows. All proceeds from the book sales benefit Open Books’ literacy programs.


P

Powell’s Bookstore
2850 N. Lincoln Ave., Chicago, 773-248-1444
1501 E. 57th St., Chicago, 773-955-7780
 

Powell’s is the antidote to big box bookstores, perfect for kids and parents who want to browse a selection of books that may include a Beatrix Potter classic or a rare title. Each location stocks more than 250,000 used, rare, and remainder books.


S

Sandmeyer’s Bookstore
714 S. Dearborn St., Chicago, 312-922-2104
 

This independent, family-owned bookstore has been in the Printer’s Row district since 1982 and is beloved by locals who appreciate the personalized service. The children’s section is large and covers the bases from Goodnight, Moon to Twilight.


T

Town House Books
105 N. Second Ave., St. Charles, 630-584-8600
*Free gift wrap
 

The children’s section at St. Charles’ independent bookstore is stocked with excellent picks from the expert staff. Stop by the adjacent café to relax while the kiddos browse their new reads.


U

Unabridged Bookstore
3251 N. Broadway, Chicago, 773-883-9119
 

This Lakeview bookstore is a neighborhood favorite. The children’s section ranges from classic to quirky, from Harold and The Purple Crayon to Mo Willem’s Pigeon books. This shop is more for parents or gifters to shop than to bring the kids and stay a while, so while there, grown-ups should be sure to browse the exceptional travel section.


W

Women and Children First
5233 N. Clark St., Chicago, 773-769-9299
*Story time
*Birthday parties
 

This feminist bookstore has been in Andersonville since 1979, and the knowledgeable staff can offer advice on good reads. Children’s titles are stocked along the back wall and weekly story times throw in a little singing and dancing for good measure. Women and Children First also hosts children’s birthday parties in the space; inquire for details.