Family & Leisure

Best Children's Books
Books of Wonder
16 West 18th Street

Books of Wonder started out as an out-of-print childrens and sci-fi bookshop with one small shelf of new children's titles. Within 2 years, the sci-fi was gone and new children's books had taken over more than half the store. They've since moved three times to keep expanding their selection of new children's books, which today is over 80% of the store. Owner Peter Glassman and his late partner, James Carey, who fell in love as students, grew the business through weekly storytelling programs and book signings by visiting authors and illustrators. Check out the L. Frank Baum Oz collection, the store's own imprint through HarperCollins. First editions are also available (Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, with a personal inscription from J. K. Rowling, is $5,000).

Bank Street Bookstore
610 West 112th Street

The main draw at the Bank Street Bookstore is the service: a mostly full-time, completely knowledgeable staff who are out to find the ideal title for you. We requested a birds-and-bees primer for a doctor-playing first-grader and got an armload of choices. Shelves are arranged by theme and grade level, with an upstairs dedicated to teachers.