I love a good bookstore. If I am visiting a town and I’ve heard about a cozy, quirky or otherwise interesting locally owned bookstore, you better believe I’m going to make some time to check it out. Luckily for me, I live in an area of Vermont that offers a plethora of bookstores to cater to my inner bibliophile.

One near the CLiF office that certainly fits the “cozy” description is Bridgeside Books in Waterbury. If you haven’t had the pleasure of visiting Bridgeside Books yet, you should definitely take a detour to Waterbury in the near future (while you’re there, it’s also the artisan beer capital of New England). You’ll find Bridgeside tucked under Railroad Street bridge just before you hit the heart of downton. There is a good chance when you walk in that you will be greeted with a big smile by Hiata, Bridgeside’s cheery owner. This holiday season, Bridgeside was among a handful of local booksellers that were kind enough to put on a book drive for CLiF.

hiata with books
Hiata of Bridgeside Books collected 315 books for CLiF this past holiday!


Bridgeside collected 315 books between Thanksgiving and Christmas! That is a pretty incredible number for a small shop in a small village. We owe a big thanks to the many generous Bridgeside customers that purchased books for CLiF during the drive.

I had the happy duty of retrieving the books from the store and examining all the wonderful new titles. We received a nice variety of different titles and types of books. Everything from CLiF favorite Little Blue Truck to Fancy Nancy easy readers to volumes from the acclaimed Percy Jackson series were represented in the haul.  I noticed some new titles that I wasn’t familiar with. After taking some time to read them myself, I thought I’d share some new favorites from the book drive with you.

1.  This Moose Belongs to Me by Oliver Jeffers, Age 4 & up


  This book charmed me immediately thanks to the light-hearted illustrations and mountain scenery that harkened back to the years I lived in Jackson, Wyoming.  The story revolved around young Wilfred, who is under the impression he owns a wild moose.  Humor ensues when Wilfred discovers that someone else has laid claim to his beloved Moose, Marcel.

2.  Book of Animal Poetry by National Geographic, edited by Patrick Lewis, Age 5 & up


One unequivocal truth that I have learned attending CLiF events is that kids love to read about animals. With poems by Robert Frost, Carl Sandburg and Rudyard Kipling, this marvelous anthology offers kids over 200 animal-themed poems with gorgeous pictures to match. You’ll find this friendly introduction to poetry will have your kids squeaking, roaring and inspired to write their own haikus in no time!

3.  Nathaniel Fludd, Beastologist series by R.L. Lafevers, Age 8 & up


Lafevers combines humor and adventure in this series that follows Nathaniel Fludd, a ten-year old orphan-turned-reluctant adventurer. In the first book of the series, Flight of the Phoenix, Nathaniel follows his aunt to Arabia to witness a phoenix laying an egg. He must navigate the desert, protect the phoenix and find his missing aunt all well keeping his new pet gremlin in check!

4.  The Emerald Atlas, Book One by John Stephens, Age 8 & up


The Emerald Atlas is a fast-paced adventure story following three siblings (yes, orphans again) who find themselves transported to another world. Stephens’ imagined world contains magical creatures both familiar (dwarves, wizards) and new (dangerous, claw-footed “salmac tars”), which makes this a great choice for kids who enjoyed the Narnia series.

5.  Shooting Kabul by N.H. Senzai, Age 9 & up


The protagonist in Shooting Kabul is Fadi, an eleven-year old Afgani boy whose family has resettled in San Francisco after a daring illegal exit from Afganistan in 2001. Tragically, during the escape, Fadi’s six-year old sister is left behind, her fate unknown. Fadi is determined to get back to Afganistan to reunite his family and finally finds a way when a photography contest is announced. This sounds like an amazing read for families who are looking to educate their children about the immigrant experience or the war in Afganistan.

These books, plus the rest that Bridgeside collected, will be distributed to children across Vermont and New Hampshire at CLiF programs this spring. If you are interested in hosting a book drive (you don’t have to be a bookstore!), visit our website or contact Matt at matt at clifonline.org



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