Monday, 15 February 2021

Bookshop Blurb by Allen Tsui

The first Bookshop Blurb of 2021 has been put together by Allen Tsui, primary and secondary computing teacher and children's book fanatic. Allen is usually to be found on Twitter (@TsuiAllen) sharing his enthusiasm and knowledge in one of the regular chats about children's books. Thank you for taking the time to write this Allen, it's hugely appreciated. If anyone else would like to write a Bookshop Blurb and help support your local independent children's bookshop, please let me know.

The Children's Bookshop

There are just some shops that don’t really grab one’s attention until becoming a teacher or parent but when they do, they make a life-long imprint. The Children’s Bookshop on Muswell Hill is just one of those stores. Filled wall to wall and floor to ceiling with a wonderful selection of the greatest children’s reads and a real treasure trove of titles for teachers of all ages.

It was on my very first in-store visit back in 2011 when I discovered my daughter was a complete Bookie Monster as the two-year-old made herself comfortable in the corner of the store, browsing the shelves of titles she was able to reach for what seemed like an eternity and carefully choosing a basket load of her favourites. The helpful and knowledgeable staff seem not only to be the most brilliant bibliophiles ever known to humankind but have the capability to obtain any title with moments of making requests. Their expertise is second to none too as I’ve experienced first-hand. Asking about an anthology of ghost stories suitable for sharing with 10 and 11-year-olds, I almost instantaneously received an e-mail reply with a range of recommendations.

Another memorable moment for me has been recommending and supplying the titles that have enabled me to make that cultural connection for my children given my own Chinese heritage. The Children’s Bookshop hasn’t sold out either, as some of their principal High Street Clone Town rivals have, filling their stores with cuddly toys to attract customers – not that there is anything wrong with having a plush mouse or Gruffalo. But for the Children’s Bookshop, it's all about the books. I'm fortunate to be within walking distance of what I think is one of Britain’s best Children’s Bookshops.

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