The Best Children’s Bookstores in Toronto

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Photo credit: Librarie Mosaïque Bookstore

Raising kids who love to read is made that much easier when you can make a trip to a magical local bookstore with shelves full of intriguing stories to discover at kids’-eye level. And lucky for us, Toronto has no shortage of these.

From specialty bookstores just for children’s books to toy stores and bookstores with excellent children’s-book sections, these shops are inspiring kids to read, through storytime sessions, writing workshops, one-on-one customer service, and best of all: amazing books.

Specialty Children’s Bookstores

These bookstores are dedicated entirely to kids’ books. Look for bookish events for kids here, too, like storytimes and meet-and-greets with authors and illustrators.

Mabel’s Fables

A Toronto institution for more than 25 years, Mabel’s Fables is exactly what a children’s bookstore should be: a whimsical, cozy space with comfy reading spots, friendly and knowledgeable staff and a resident cat…named Mabel. The two-story shop hosts book parties, storytimes, and workshops for kids.

662 Mt. Pleasant Rd., Toronto
416-322-0438

Ella Minnow Children’s Bookstore

The sweet Ella Minnow children’s bookshop has been a part of Toronto’s Beach community since 2006. It has shelves upon shelves of titles for kids, toddlers, babies, and teens, in many different genres. You’ll also find toys, art supplies, puzzles, and music. Kids might be just as interested in the resident dog and bunny.

1915 Queen St. E., Toronto
416-698-2665

Librairie Mosaïque Bookstore

The only francophone bookstore in the GTA, Librairie Mosaïque carries French-language books, comics, magazines, cards, gifts, and games. There is also a multilingual section with books in Arabic, Portuguese, Italian, Spanish, and other languages. The shop hosts occasional children’s activities and other events.

24 Spadina Rd., Toronto
647-975-8800

Moonbeam Books

Opened in 2018, this sweet little shop in Bloor West Village carries books for babies through teens, including board books, picture books, graphic novels, and YA series. It’s a fun place for little ones to chill and explore, with starry night decor and comfy kid-size armchairs. Look for special events like “crafternoons”, Fancy Nancy tea party, or moms’ tea and book talk.

335 Jane St., Toronto
416-901-0832

Children’s Book Bank

Technically, this isn’t a shop, since the books are free! An amazing resources for kids and parents, the Children’s Book Bank promotes a love of reading by building kids’ home libraries, for free. It was founded as Canada’s first book bank. Volunteer staff (some are former librarians and teachers) run story time and give parents and kids expert advice on choosing books. It’s a great place to donate your gently used books, too.

350 Berkeley St., Toronto
416-922-7323

Independent Bookstores with Children’s Book Sections

These shops carry books for adults, too, but they have a great selection for kids.

Another Story

This Roncesvalles shop isn’t just for kids, but it has an impressive children’s section at the back, filled with unusual titles and educational books that focus on social justice, equity, and diversity. This is the place for alterna-parents looking to raise open-minded kids and teach difficult subjects about blended families, race, and feminism, though there are some classic picture books and more mainstream options too.

315 Roncesvalles Ave., Toronto
416-462-1104

The Beguiling Books & Art

One of the best shops for comic books and graphic novels in Canada, The Beguiling carries a small but well chosen selection of comic books for kids. It’s the sister shop of the former Little Island Comics shop, closed in 2016.

319 College St., Toronto
416-533-7313

Type Books

One of Toronto’s most beloved indie bookstores, Type Books has a big children’s section in back at the Queen Street location, with mushroom “tuffets” for kids to sit on. The book selection at both stores ranges from board books to young adult. Keep an eye out for small-press books that you might not find elsewhere. Also in the shop: kids’ magazines, puzzles, toys, games, and some French-language titles. A third location in The Junction is set to open in summer 2018.

Type Queen West
883 Queen St. W., Toronto
416-366-8973
Type Forest Hill
427 Spadina Rd., Toronto
416-487-8973

Swipe Design

You might not think of buying kids books at a shop that specializes in design, advertising, typography, and architecture, but the interesting children’s section, while small, has unusual and gorgeous titles for budding art-lovers and creative kids. It’s worth a stop for something out of the ordinary.

401 Richmond St. W., Unit 121
416-363-1332

Queen Books

This inviting, light-filled Leslieville shop opened in 2017 is a discerning bookworm’s dream. Everything is carefully thought out, from the neatly organized walls of books down to the Persian rugs and plants. At the back, the lovely, wallpapered children’s section with hundreds of titles has child-size table and chairs and is watched over by taller-than-your-toddler stuffed animals.

914 Queen St. E., Toronto
416-778-5053

Bookstores Chains

Indigo

You’ll always find a wide range of books for every age group at Indigo, Canada’s largest book retailer. The six Toronto locations have large selections of books for kids, including classics, new releases, board books, soft books, sticker and activity books, young-adult novels, and more.

Indigo Bay & Bloor
55 Bloor St. W., Toronto
416-925-3536
Indigo Eaton Centre
220 Yonge St., Toronto
416-591-3622
Indigo Yonge & Eglinton
2300 Yonge St., Toronto
416-544-0049
Indigo Yorkdale Shopping Centre
3401 Dufferin St., Unit 29, Toronto
416-781-6660
Indigo CF Sherway Gardens
25 The West Mall, Unit 3038, Etobicoke
416-622-3769

Toy Stores with Books

KolKid

A petite boutique with kids’ toys, clothing, shoes, and more, KolKid a small but nicely edited book section in the back, with some great titles for ages newborn to adolescent.

674 Queen St. W., Toronto
416-681-0368

Mastermind Toys

You could easily build your kids’ entire library at Mastermind, a Canadian chain that specializes in high-quality and educational toys, games, and books for ages newborn to young adult. There are five Toronto locations, in the Beaches, Bayview Village, North Toronto, Mount Pleasant, and Etobicoke.

Mastermind Toys Bayview Village
Bayview Village Shopping Centre, 2901 Bayview Ave., Toronto
416-227-0917
Mastermind Toys The Beach
2134 Queen St. E., Toronto
416-699-3797
Mastermind Toys Etobicoke
4242 Dundas St. W., Etobicoke
416-239-1600
Mastermind Toys Mt. Pleasant
639 Mt. Pleasant Rd., Toronto
416-440-0111
Mastermind Toys North Toronto
3350 Yonge St., Toronto
416-487-7177
Mastermind Toys Rosedale
1133 Yonge St., Toronto
416-922-2872

Photo credit: Librarie Mosaïque Bookstore

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