Here in Cincinnati, we’re lucky to have a just-for-kids, brick-and-mortar bookstore: blue manatee children’s bookstore. Like The Shop Around the Corner from You’ve Got Mail, this beloved bookstore is a delightful space where kids can cozy up to a good book. This Cincy kid favorite is also a frequent stop for children’s authors, venue for daily story times and place for kids to get creative (and make a mess!).
Blue manatee’s new location is the perfect space for author visits and special events. It’s open and smartly organized, and the store’s iconic purple couches and fireplace make for a cozy place for kids to gather ’round. We met Sherri Duskey Rinker when my now-seven-year-old was just 3 (she signed our copy of Good Night Good Night Construction Site, and it’s one of his most prized possessions); Jason Tharp (the Super Monsta Friends activity books are awesome, and we LOVE his new series Peachy and Keen!); and Troy Cummings (got an early reader? The Notebooks of Doom are the best!).
If you haven’t been to one of blue manatee’s author visits, be sure to bookmark their website — you’re likely to find one of your kids’ favorite authors (or perhaps their next favorite author) stopping by!
In addition to author visits, blue manatee is also a community space where parents can gather for weekly story times and kids’ activities. They offer classes for kids of all ages — blue manatee is well-known for its infant and toddler story times. I’ve taken all of my kids to their baby story times — and most recently, my 7-year-old “baby” took an art class aimed for older kids.
Julian loves to draw, so we signed up for the Paint a Picture Book Star: The Pigeon! during one afternoon over spring break. The class was designed for kids 5-10, and he was so excited to get to try out acrylic paints (“It’s permanent paint, mommy!”). The Pigeon is a favorite in our house – and given the class turnout, it seems lots of Cincy kids love that sassy bird!
The manatee also holds parties for all the fun holidays (an holidays you didn’t know existed, like The Very Hungry Caterpillar’s birthday), and “make-a-mess” sessions crafty kids will love. Given the cozy setup of the store, sign-up for these classes and events is required – and blue manatee makes that easy with online registration.
Blue manatee isn’t just a local treasure and community asset — it’s truly a place for kids. This bookstore’s mission is to be a space for kids to be inspired and explore, and that’s exactly what it is. Make this Cincy kid favorite part of your regular rotation, so we can support a new generation of readers and creators!