This Saturday marks the third annual Take Your Child to a Bookstore Day. Begun by author Jenny Milchman, whose debut novel, Cover of Snow (Ballantine), comes out in January, the day was her way of trying to encourage other parents to share the joy of being in a bookstore with their children.

“Bookstores hold a place in the hearts and times of our community. They are places to discover an author, a story, a life. Nothing affords the conversation and interaction among books and book lovers that a bookstore does. In the future, whether you download your story or pluck a volume off a shelf, a bookstore will be able to accommodate. But in order for bookstores to flourish and thrive, we must expose future generations to the unique pleasures they offer,” writes Milchman on the TYCBD Web site.

Each year TYCBD continues to grow. More than 400 bookstores participated last year; this year the Christian Science Monitor reports that the number will nearly triple to 1,100 stores in the U.K., Canada, and Australia. Many shops are doing special story times: R.J. Julia in Madison, Conn., for example, is holding three and offering all-day coloring. Families that spend more than $15 at R.J. Julia will be entered to win a gift bag courtesy of Milchman. Watchung Booksellers in Watchung, N.J., is planning a presentation by Patty Lovell for her first picture book, Have Fun, Molly Lou Melon (Putnam), illustrated by David Catrow.