Books Set in Bookstores

 For many of us, wan­der­ing around inside a book­store is our Hap­py Place. It can also be a place of mys­tery, sur­prise, romance, adven­ture, how-tos, and an oppor­tu­ni­ty to tap into the knowl­edge of the uni­verse. Here then are fif­teen books for chil­dren that are set in bookstores.

Archie Greene and the Magician's Secret  

Archie Greene and the Magi­cian’s Secret
writ­ten by D.D. Everest
Harper­Collins, 2015

On his twelfth birth­day, Archie Greene receives a mys­te­ri­ous pack­age con­tain­ing an ancient book in a lan­guage he does­n’t rec­og­nize. The gift leads him to a fam­i­ly he did­n’t know he had and a world he nev­er knew exist­ed. With the help of his cousins, Bram­ble and This­tle, Archie tries to unrav­el the mys­tery behind his book, but he begins to real­ize that his gift is some­thing more pow­er­ful than he could have imag­ined. And the only thing more per­ilous than its con­tents is being its own­er. The book wait­ed four hun­dred years for Archie Greene. Now Archie must dis­cov­er why. The first book in a trilogy.

Book Itch: Freedom, Truth & Harlem's Greatest Bookstore


Book Itch
writ­ten by Vaun­da Micheaux Nelson
illus­trat­ed by R. Gre­go­ry Christie
Car­ol­rho­da, 2015

The sto­ry of the Harlem book­store opened by Lewis Michaux, Sr., this sto­ry is told from the view­point of his son, Lewis Michaux, Jr. The Nation­al Memo­r­i­al African Book­store was vis­it­ed by peo­ple from all over the world. It was a place where his­to­ry, phi­los­o­phy, and pol­i­tics rubbed shoul­ders. Muhammed Ali, Mal­colm X, and Langston Hugh­es all came to this store and young Lewis lis­tens to their plans to change the world.

Read our Bookol­o­gy rec­om­men­da­tion in Read­ing Ahead.

Bookshop Girl  

Book­shop Girl
writ­ten by Sylvia Bishop
illus­trat­ed by Poly Bernatene
Peachtree Pub­lish­ing, 2018

Prop­er­ty Jones and her feline side­kick are thrilled when the Jones fam­i­ly wins the Great Mont­gomery Book Empo­ri­um in a con­test. Won­der­ful rooms hold many adven­tures and fab­u­lous books. But there’s a nasty vil­lain in this sto­ry and Prop­er­ty must dis­cov­er the secret that will save the book­shop … and her fam­i­ly! A mid­dle-grade nov­el just made for sum­mer reading.

Bookstore Burglar  

Book­store Burglar
writ­ten by Bar­bara Maitland
illus­trat­ed by Nadine Bernard Westcott
Pen­guin Young Read­ers, 2001

Some­one stole the key to the Black Cat Book­store! Lucky for the store’s own­er, Mr. Brown, his clever cat, Cob­web, is on the case. Cob­web has a plan to scare the bur­glar away, and the ghost who lives in the book­store is hap­py to help. There’s only one prob­lem-the bur­glar does­n’t believe in ghosts. But maybe he’ll change his mind once he meets the spe­cial ghost who lives in the Black Cat Bookstore.

Bookstore Ghost  

Book­store Ghost
writ­ten by Bar­bara Maitland
illus­trat­ed by Nadine Bernard Westcott
Pen­guin Young Read­ers, 1998

The first book in the Book­store tril­o­gy, you’ll dis­cov­er that Mr. Brown sells ghost books in his book­store. But mice are scar­ing away the cus­tomers! Mr. Brown tells his cat to catch the mice, but his cat has oth­er ideas. After all, a ghost book­store should be scary. Of course, it will be even more scary when they dis­cov­er it has its own ghost

Bookstore Valentine  

Book­store Valentine
writ­ten by Bar­bara Maitland
illus­trat­ed by David LaRochelle
Pen­guin Young Read­ers, 2002

In this third book in the Book­store tril­o­gy, we learn that Valen­tine’s Day is com­ing, and Mr. Brown’s book­store is so busy that he decides to hire some­one to help out. Miss But­ton is per­fect for the job. She loves books, she loves cats, and she even under­stands the spe­cial ghost in Mr. Brown’s book­store. There’s only one prob­lem. Mr. Brown and Miss But­ton like one anoth­er, but they’re both too shy to say so! For­tu­nate­ly, Cob­web the cat is there to help make sure that every­one has a hap­py Valen­tine’s Day

Busy Bookshop  

Busy Book­shop
writ­ten and illus­trat­ed by Mar­i­on Billet
Macmil­lan, 2001

A push, pull, and spin board book, there’s a lot to see and do in the Busy Book­shop! Chil­dren can join in by push­ing, pulling and turn­ing the tabs to bring the shop to life. Spin the wheel to change the pic­tures in a book, pull the tab to make a dinosaur pop up and help the author turn the pages as he reads.

Curious George Goes to a Bookstore  

Curi­ous George Goes to a Bookstore
writ­ten and illus­trat­ed in the style of H.A. Rey and Mar­gret Rey
HMH Books for Chil­dren, 2014

George’s favorite author is sign­ing at the new book­store in town. Wait­ing in line is hard when you’re as curi­ous as our lit­tle mon­key, espe­cial­ly when sur­round­ed by so many great books! George has fun brows­ing but then takes orga­niz­ing some open box­es of books into his own hands, with sur­pris­ing results. At the end of the day, lucky George final­ly gets some time with his favorite author.

Franklin's Flying Bookstore  

Franklin’s Fly­ing Bookshop
writ­ten by Jen Campbell
illus­trat­ed by Katie Harnett
Thames & Hud­son, 2017

Franklin the drag­on loves sto­ries and loves read­ing sto­ries to peo­ple too, but every­one is too scared to even talk to him. One day, he meets a girl named Luna who, rather than being afraid, is fas­ci­nat­ed to meet Franklin, hav­ing recent­ly read all about drag­ons in one of her books. They instant­ly become friends and talk non­stop about what they’ve read: books about roller-skat­ing, King Arthur, spi­ders, and how to do kung fu. Togeth­er they hatch a plan to share their love of books with oth­ers by open­ing a bookshop―a fly­ing book­shop, that is―right on Franklin’s back!

Magic Misfits  

Mag­ic Mis­fits (a four-book series)
writ­ten by Neil Patrick Harris
illus­trat­ed by Lis­sy Mar­lin and Kyle Hinton
Lit­tle, Brown, 2017

Know this: there are secrets, codes, mag­ic tricks, and ciphers in this book. When street magi­cian Carter runs away, the future is bleak. He does­n’t expect to find a sec­ond fam­i­ly in a New Eng­land book­store. Nor does he expect to match wits with the greedy B.B. Bosso and his crew of crooked carnies when they try to steal the town blind. This is the first of four books (at this writing).

Here’s Bookol­o­gy’s rec­om­men­da­tion for this book.

Maisy Goes to the Local Bookstore  

Maisy Goes to the Local Bookstore
writ­ten and illus­trat­ed by Lucy Cousins
Can­dlewick Press, 2017

A read-aloud for very young chil­dren: Maisy goes to the book­store to buy a new book, but there are so many to choose from! There’s a big brown book about bears, a long blue book about fish, a noisy book about trucks, and a book about things to draw and paint. With so many to choose from, which book will Maisy pick?

Mystery Bookstore  

Mys­tery Book­store (Box­car Chil­dren #48)
writ­ten in the style of Gertrude Chan­dler Warner
illus­trat­ed by Charles Tang
Albert Whit­man, 1995

The Box­car Chil­dren and their grand­fa­ther are going to New Orleans. The Aldens like explor­ing the city. Most of all, they like help­ing Grand­fa­ther’s friend Olivia clean up her old, dusty book­store. They dis­cov­er lots of inter­est­ing things in the store, espe­cial­ly a beau­ti­ful set of fairy tales. But then mys­te­ri­ous things start to hap­pen. One of the books in the set is miss­ing! Some­one is after some­thing the Box­car Chil­dren have. Will they be able to solve this mystery?

No Crystal Stair  

No Crys­tal Stair: A Doc­u­men­tary Nov­el of the Life and Work of Lewis Michaux, Harlem Bookseller
writ­ten by Vaun­da Micheaux Nelson
illus­trat­ed by R. Gre­go­ry Christie
Car­ol­rho­da Lab, 2012

Lewis Michaux was born to do things his own way. When a white banker told him to sell fried chick­en, not books, because “Negroes don’t read,” Lewis took five books and one hun­dred dol­lars and built a book­store. It soon became the intel­lec­tu­al cen­ter of Harlem, a refuge for every­one from Muham­mad Ali to Mal­colm X. In No Crys­tal Stair, Coret­ta Scott King Award – win­ning author Vaun­da Micheaux Nel­son com­bines metic­u­lous research with a sto­ry­teller’s flair to doc­u­ment the life and times of her great-uncle Lewis Michaux, an extra­or­di­nary lit­er­a­cy pio­neer of the Civ­il Rights era.

Here’s an essay in Read­ing Ahead which takes a look at this book.


Pages & Co.: The Bookwanderers
writ­ten by Anna James
illus­trat­ed by Pao­la Escobar
Philomel, 2019

Since her moth­er’s dis­ap­pear­ance, eleven-year-old Tilly Pages has found com­fort in the sto­ries at Pages & Co., her grand­par­ents’ book­shop. But when her favorite char­ac­ters, Anne of Green Gables and Alice from Won­der­land, start show­ing up at the shop, Tilly’s adven­tures become very real. Not only can she fol­low Anne and Alice into their books, she dis­cov­ers she can book­wan­der into any sto­ry she choos­es. Tilly’s new abil­i­ty leads her to fun and excit­ing adven­tures, but dan­ger may be lurk­ing on the very next page…

Sylvia's Bookshop  

Sylvi­a’s Bookshop: 
The Sto­ry of Paris’ Beloved Book­shop and Its Founder

writ­ten by Robert Burleigh
illus­trat­ed by Katy Wu
Paula Wise­man / Simon & Schus­ter, 2018

Told by the book­store itself, Sylvia’s Book­shop tells the sto­ry of the leg­endary Shake­speare and Com­pa­ny in Paris, France, its own­er Sylvia Beach, and the many great writ­ers who gath­ered there to meet, read, and remind us that books are more than the words on the page.

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Heidi Hammond
3 years ago

Nice list! Thank you.