Books of Wonder, New York City’s oldest and largest children’s bookstore opened a second location at 217 West 84th street in early September. The new 2,600-square-foot store features the same mix of new, classic, antique, and collectible children’s books that have made the original store so popular with locals and visitors from around the world.
“The Upper West Side is an ideal neighborhood for Books of Wonder,” says founder and owner Peter Glassman. “I’ve wanted to open a shop there for many years. Given its vibrant community of families with young children and its legendary reputation as a home for authors and others involved in the arts, it’s hard to imagine a better location for our second store.”
For over 35 years, Books of Wonder has been committed to providing New Yorkers with the very best in children’s books as well as great events at which young people (and even those not so young) can meet the authors and artists who create the books they love.
From the beginning, Books of Wonder has been an innovator in finding new ways to forge bonds between young readers, families and the authors they love. In the 1980s, Books of Wonder became the first store to feature new as well as antique and collectible children’s books. In the 1990s, the store introduced the first series of multi-author children’s book panel events organized by genre and reading level, creating events that showcased the depth and breadth of children’s literature at all ages, while creating forums that invited readers of diverse interests to discover new books and new authors.
And, of course, Books of Wonder has been proud to host events with such beloved authors as Maurice Sendak, Eric Carle, J.K. Rowling, Suzanne Collins, Norton Juster, Mo Willems, Rick Riordon, Julie Andrews, Hilary Knight, Lois Lowry, John Lithgow, and many others.
The new Upper West Side store, at roughly the same size as the current Chelsea location, has already started to host a busy schedule of events with celebrated authors and artists to delight and inspire young readers. In addition to a wide selection of children’s books, the new store also showcases a gallery of original children’s book art, prints, and signed posters – giving children (and adults) the chance to see the original paintings and drawings that illustrate the books they love.
About Books of Wonder
Books of Wonder first opened its doors on September 2, 1980 in a classic NYC “hole-in-the-wall” location. Two years later, having outgrown the tiny space, it moved up the block to a corner store more than double the size. Since then, Books of Wonder has relocated three more times, to progressively larger stores. For nearly 37 years, the store has been a landmark, impacting tens of thousands of children with its carefully curated selection of children’s books and well-read, expertly trained booksellers. Hosting over 500 children’s book authors and illustrators each year for events, panels, and readings, Books of Wonder is dedicated to encouraging literacy by forging bonds between authors and artists and the children for whom they write, as well as between parents and their children.
In 1997, when You’ve Got Mail was being directed by longtime customer and friend, director and writer Nora Ephron, she and her sister, co-writer Delia Ephron (another longtime friend and customer), had Books of Wonder in mind as the model for the children’s bookstore in the movie. For the next two months, the store was regularly visited by folks working on the film. Meg Ryan even spent a day working at the shop to prepare for her role. And when it came time to arrange the books on the set, staff members from the store were asked to visit the sound stage and assist with the arrangement of the books so the film’s store would look authentic. To this day, people still ask, “Was this where they filmed You’ve Got Mail?”
Having survived the tumultuous changes in the book and retail industries over the past few decades, Books of Wonder is excited to be part of the nationwide growth and resurgence of independent bookstore of the past few years. The opening of this second store is the beginning of an exciting new chapter for Books of Wonder.