At Town House Books & Café, breakfast could become the most important meal of the day. After maxing out its twice-yearly teacher open houses, the 28-year-old store, which is located in a seven-room historic mansion in St. Charles, Ill., 30 miles west of Chicago, is expanding its teacher outreach by serving up breakfast in style. The store regularly offers dinner, by reservation only, for adult authors after their readings, but last month it shared its first morning meal, which sold out.

"The breakfast was held at the Dunham Hunt Riding Club, and it was fabulous," said children's book buyer and events coordinator Shelley Campbell. "We plan to make it an annual event. Anything we can do to connect teachers with authors keeps them coming back to the store." Fifty teachers broke bread with Eric Rohmann (winner of the 2003 Caldecott Award), Tom Lichtenheld and Candace Fleming, among others, at the $20-a-seat breakfast. To keep it intimate, an author or illustrator sat at each table. After breakfast, each of the authors and illustrators spoke to the group as a whole about their work and signed books.