Cozy retreats for little readers

The best kid-friendly bookstores in the Hudson Valley

best kid friendly bookstores for kids

If you haven’t checked out a bookstore with your kids in a while, it’s time to add it to your must-do list.

Keb, 3, of New Paltz, plays in the charming children’s nook at Inquiring Minds in New Paltz.

After years of nightly story times, frequent library visits, and carefully chosen books to encourage interest, the effort has paid off. I am happy to say that I have two enthusiastic little book lovers in my home.

Seeing my daughters’ faces glow with excitement when walking into a bookshop makes my heart melt every time. In their eyes, all the books lining the shelves are countless adventures waiting to be discovered. During our visits together, we explore, we read and we get inspired.

If you haven’t checked out a bookstore with your kids in a while, it’s time to add it to your must-do list. There are a number of child-friendly bookstores in the Hudson Valley that provide great adult book selections in addition to their children’s offerings, so everyone in the family can enjoy their visit. Here’s a rundown of some of our local bookstores along with what they provide for their youngest patrons:

Oblong Books and Music
6422 Montgomery St., Rhinebeck
26 Main St., Millerton

Each of the two Oblong locations boasts a bright and cheery children’s section dubbed “Oblong, Junior.” In addition to a wide selection of children’s books, they also sell a variety of unique and educational toys and gifts that you won’t find in mainstream stores. Regarding the selection of kids’ products, owner Dick Hermans is proud of his motto: “If you saw it advertised on TV, you won’t find it here.”

Oblong also hosts a number of children’s events as well as the successful Hudson Valley YA Society, a monthly author event series for young adults.

The Golden Notebook
29 Tinker St., Woodstock

This charming bookshop offers a welcoming children’s nook and friendly, helpful staff who clearly have a soft spot in their heart for kids.

Their collection of toys and gifts for little ones is irresistible and includes shirts and onesies with famous story characters. This little shop has many book fair events that support local schools and non-profit groups in Ulster County and the surrounding Hudson Valley.

They always try to bring local children’s authors in to the school book fairs to share with students their latest stories and discuss with them the creative writing process.


Lucas, 5, loves to visit The Golden Notebook in Woodstock.

Merritt Books
57 Front St., Millbrook

In addition to offering a lovely children’s section complete with a game table, train set and toys, Merritt Books sponsors a number of children’s events throughout the year for their small patrons. Some of these events include book releases, children’s author visits and workshops, reading challenges, and the Millbrook Literary Festival.

Barner Books
3 Church St., New Paltz

Barner Books is a quaint, happy shop located in the heart of New Paltz. It offers plenty of great selections for children, and since they specialize in used books, it’s a great place to buy if you’re on a budget. There is a cozy corner for kids and animal statues throughout the store that are sure to intrigue any child that walks in. Barner also boasts one of the largest selections of handmade journals in the Hudson Valley.

Inquiring Minds
6 Church St., New Paltz
200 Main St., Saugerties

Each of the Inquiring Minds locations invites your family to stay a while by offering comfortable seating and a welcoming atmosphere. In New Paltz, your child can explore a fort-like alcove made just for them with toys to play with. The Saugerties location offers a train table and other toys to entertain the little ones, as well as a café and tables throughout the shop for reading, writing, chess and more. All of these perks are above and beyond their large book selection.

Eliana, 6, of Port Ewen, gets comfy while reading at Inquiring Minds in Saugerties.

READ MORE: 8 ways to get kids excited about reading

The Book Cove
22 Charles Colman Blvd., Pawling

The Book Cove is a sweet, sophisticated shop located in the heart of the village of Pawling. They offer a special reading nook devoted to children as well as children’s author signings and events. Besides books, they also sell toys and an assortment of gifts for children and adults.

Sarah Coppola lives in Port Ewen with her husband and two daughters.