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By Fiona Dunbar
Author of The Pink Chameleon

Readers of my blog will not be surprised to learn that my Bookshop Love choice is the wonderful Big Green Bookshop in Wood Green.

It’s still only a baby – not even two yet – but is blessed with the knowledge and startling charisma of one far older.

This is because it is run by two guys – Tim West and Simon Key – who have 35 years of book selling experience between them.

They set up shop after the last chain bookshop in Wood Green – where they worked – closed down. A brave thing to do, but the passion and dedication they bring to what they do is second to none. They wanted to offer:

The kind of bookshop that we’d like to visit ourselves…with a thoughtful range of titles, friendly knowledgeable staff and some cracking gems that surprise and excite us.

Exactly what I look for in a bookshop!

They also have a very amusing blog, Open a Bookshop What Could Possibly Go Wrong – with the tagline: “Two Blokes, One Bookshop, No Idea”.

It is a general bookshop, not a specialist children’s one, yet their calendar of events (of all kinds as well as children’s) and their involvement with local schools is truly impressive.
That's Simon in the picture with Horrid Henry

Horrid Henry comes to the Big Green Bookshop.
That’s Simon on the right.

Here are Simon’s own very personal current favourite children’s books (at this particular moment in time):

The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle – “A simple gorgeously illustrated picture book that I loved as a child and that is a clear favourite with my own daughter. She loves pointing at all the bad things the caterpillar eats before he gets a stomach ache.”

Olga Da Polga by Michael Bond – “This in my opinion is a much better series of books than Michael’s more famous Paddington Bear and follows the exploits of a rather extraordinary Guinea Pig. The stories in it are gentle and heartwarming, and it’s a great bedtime read.”

You’re a Bad Man Mr Gum! by Andy Stanton – “This is a work of absolute genius. Andy Stanton has managed to write a series of books that adults and kids find equally hilarious. Very much in the vain of Roald Dahl, but with a modern twist.”

Danny Champion of the World – “a book I read at least once a year. A magical story asbout the relationship between a boy and his father, who leads a secret life…As a story for boys, I’d say this pretty much tops anything.”

The Riddle of the Poisoned Monk by Sarah Matthias. “Time travel, murder, mystery, fantastic characters and a hugely entertaining page turner for children aged 8-14. Written by Sarah for her own children, I devoured it in one sitting, and was left wondering whodunnit right until the end.”

“Our customers are a real mix, which reflects Wood Green’s demographic,” says Simon. “Most people that come through the door are extremely well read and keep up with the latest reviews. We have particulary strong children’s and literary fiction sections and also do extremely well with books on local history, which suggests there is an enormous pride in living in Haringey [the local borough].”

Hurrah for booksellers who really love books, and know what they’re talking about!

 

The Big Green Bookshop
Unit 1, Brampton Park Road
Wood Green
London
N22 6BG
Tel 020 8881 6767
enquiries@biggreenbookshop.com

 


 

A Bit About Fiona Dunbar

 

Fiona Dunbar has written and illustrated several picture books but is best known as the author of Toonhead, The Silk Sisters Trilogy and the Lulu Baker stories on which is based the BBC television series Jinx .

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By Odette Elliott
Author of My Big Brother JJ

The Willesden Bookshop

The Willesden Bookshop sells many multicultural children’s books, including many unusual and imported titles.

They are specialist suppliers to schools, nurseries, libraries and professional development agencies, an independent company with many years’ experience in the provision of a wide range of children’s books and a particular commitment to quality books that also reflect positive images of our multi-ethnic society.

 

The Willesden BookshopThe shop is located in North West London – one of the most ethnically diverse areas of the city – and aims to celebrate the rich cultures and languages of this community in their choice of children’s books from all over the world.

The books are excellently displayed and children can see them easily.

 

The Willesden Bookshop
95 High Road
Willesden
London NW10 2SF
Tel 020-8451 7000
books@willesdenbookshop.co.uk

 


 

About Odette Elliott

Odette ElliottOdette has written four picture books about “Sammy”, the youngest in a family of four children. This was followed by a collection of school stories entitled Nightingale News, published by Scholastic. Her latest picture book My Big Brother JJ, illustrated by Patrice Aggs, was published by Tamarind Books in September 2009. It was described by the Irish Examiner as “a charming, beautifully illustrated one-parent family book for ages five to eight”.

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