Children’s bookstores seem to be having a resurgence, at least in the Greater Boston area. Two weeks after Wit & Whimsy opened on December 4 in Marblehead, Mass., the Elephant’s Trunk Children’s Bookshop in Lexington, Mass., had a soft opening the week before Christmas to celebrate the arrival of the store’s bookshelves. Owner Danielle Kreger, age 28, is planning a grand opening in early February, when the 1,000-square-foot store is fully up and running, and the latest blizzard to hit New England is more of a memory.
Kreger began her bookselling career at Newtonville Books in Newtonville, Mass., while she was studying children’s literature in the graduate program at Simmons College. After receiving her master’s degree in 2008, she became children’s book buyer at the store. Later she took a job as a librarian at a charter school in Boston. But it didn’t work out as planned.
“I missed being in a bookstore, and I missed the families,” says Kreger, who got parental backing to start a store of her own. She targeted Lexington, known as the home of American Liberty, because of its schools. The name of the store comes from the many elephants in children’s literature. In fact, a poster of Babar greets customers when they walk in the door. “What could be cooler than an elephant with a trunk full of books?” asks Kreger, who chose an elephant holding a book with its trunk as the store logo.
Although Kreger originally planned to focus solely on children’s books, she has already had enough people stop in and ask about buying book club titles that she added a shelf of adult paperback fiction. She’s prepared to add more adult titles if she continues to get requests. In the first few weeks middle grade books have emerged as the store’s most popular titles. And she says she’s been “really surprised” by the number of picture books she has sold.