West End’s go-to bookstore Avid Reader has had its next door neighbour Where the Wild Things Are for almost an entire year now, and store owner Fiona Stager has loved every minute of it.
In March of 2015, Fiona decided to pack up her children and young adult books and move them to a new home. Fiona explained that the original store simply wasn’t big enough to sustain the growth within the children’s book industry. “The space in Avid Reader was just getting really small and cramped, and there just wasn’t enough room to do justice to the wonderful kid’s books,” she said.
Her decision to divide up her books by creating another store was met with outstanding support from everyone. “Everyone who was involved in the renovation or design was very enthusiastic and supportive, which made the process run smoothly.”
The extra space hasn’t been the only benefit either, and Where the Wild Things Are is now a lot more than a simple bookstore. “It’s really allowed us to expand, not just in stock but also in the events and other things we can offer. We have two book clubs: The Wonder Club, which is for younger readers, and the First Review Club for teens, which has expanded out a lot further than the 4101 postcode. The store also has its own events program, and also has a program that facilitates free author visits to schools,” Fiona said.
One of Fiona’s favourite things about the store is to see the enthusiasm children have towards reading and their favourite books and authors. “The interaction with the kids has been wonderful; seeing their desire to read and excitement over books and authors is infectious.”
As soon as you walk into the bookstore, it is easy to see what makes them excited. The room is surrounded by wall-to-wall bookshelves, each one packed with a mixture of new releases and popular reads. There is even a giant tree-shaped bookshelf with a hollow space for children to curl up with their new book. Everything about the store is bright and colourful and enticing, and it is the kind of store that you leave already anticipating your next visit.
I asked Fiona what was next for her in the book world, and her elusive answer should make all book lovers excited. “Oh I always have ideas, always have plans,” she said with a smile, and under my questioning gaze she added “but nothing that I can reveal.”
Words by Emma Johnson
Images by Where the Wild Things Are Facebook