At the Children’s Literacy Foundation (CLiF), we are huge fans of the many independent bookstores we partner with across Vermont and New Hampshire. Their support, and that of their patrons, is invaluable in helping us get beautiful, high-quality books into the hands of the children we serve.
We want to offer special recognition to our bookstore friends holding book drives for CLiF this holiday season. Each of these stores is a community mainstay, and we are very grateful for our shared commitment to inspiring young readers throughout the Twin States. Just one more reason to shop small, local and literary this season–and every season! (Reminder: many participating bookstores offer generous discounts on books purchased for the drive; please be sure to ask at the register.)
Bear Pond Books, Montpelier, VT
A mainstay of downtown Montpelier’s shopping district since 1973, Bear Pond Books is a destination for readers of all ages. After sustaining substantial damage in the July 2023 flood, the store was painstakingly rebuilt, and reopened on Sept. 1, 2023, much to the relief of many loyal patrons. Bear Pond offers a wide selection of both new and used books, expertly curated by the dedicated staff. An inviting children’s room on the second floor houses both an impressive assortment of books for young readers, and a resident Russian tortoise named Veruca. (You can follow Veruca on Instagram.)
The Bookstore, Brandon, VT
When Brandon’s last remaining bookstore was slated to close in 2019, a group of like-minded individuals with a shared passion for books and community came together to make a plan. The result was The Bookstore, a community-supported, independent bookseller that offers “as diverse and whimsical a selection of titles and miscellany” as can fit in the 1000-square-foot space it occupies in the historic Briggs Carriage House.
Bridgeside Books, Waterbury, VT
Serving as Waterbury’s independent bookstore since 2009, Bridgeside is in the business of keeping brains engaged. With over 3,000 books in stock, as well as art supplies, puzzles, games and other unique treasures, there’s no excuse for boredom within these store walls!
The Eloquent Page, Saint Albans, VT
This traditional brick-and-mortar bookstore in downtown Saint Albans houses 35,000 books, both new and used. From Vermont history tomes and rare first editions, to recent teen fiction and board books for the youngest readers, there is something for everyone to explore. The store also hosts regular events featuring local authors.
Galaxy Bookshop, Hardwick, VT
The Galaxy Bookshop is a vibrant independent bookstore dedicated to welcoming and supporting all readers. With an emphasis on customer service, the store carries a thoughtfully curated selection of books of local interest and by local authors. Also in stock: high-quality children’s toys, beautiful cards and stationary, and gifts for book lovers.
Gibson’s Bookstore, Concord, NH
Founded in 1898(!), Gibson’s is the oldest continuously operating retailer in the Concord area, and the largest independent bookstore in northern New England. On a mission to “reflect and enhance its community with the best in intelligent entertainment,” Gibson’s stocks a generous inventory of books across all genres, as well as a thoughtfully curated collection of used books. For shoppers looking for items in the non-book category, the store sells an assortment of toys, socks, art supplies and tote bags. Hungry browsers can visit the in-store cafe to satisfy their cravings.
MainStreet BookEnds, Warner, NH
This family-owned independent bookstore takes pride in “providing a warm and friendly small town environment” within a space designed to meet the reading needs of its community, and “all who enjoy the wonder and excitement of reading the printed word.” An attached barn known as The Gallery features the work of local artists, and is also home to yoga classes, book group meetings, community gatherings and lectures, concerts, and author events.
Morgan Hill Bookstore, New London, NH
Morgan Hill Bookstore boasts almost 2,000 square feet of book-selling space for readers to explore, plus a fine selection of chocolate, gourmet nuts, stationary and other sundries. A cozy “Children’s Barn” within the store offers books for all ages, as well as puzzles and activities. Up until his death in 2020, the prolific children’s author Tomie dePaola (Strega Nona) was a good friend and frequent visitor to the bookstore, and still has his own page on the Morgan Hill website.
Next Chapter Bookstore, Barre, VT
In addition to an extensive book collection with something for every reader, Next Chapter Bookstore boasts an interior tree house, and an adorable shop dog named Gracie. Just a few months after a ribbon-cutting ceremony celebrating its move to a new location, the floodwaters of July 2023 left the store mired in sludge. Happily for its patrons, Next Chapter was able to re-open within weeks, following exhaustive cleanup efforts.
Norwich Bookstore, Norwich, VT
Serving readers in the Upper Valley of Vermont and New Hampshire since 1994, the Norwich Bookstore strives to “embody the spirit of cooperation and diversity found in the Vermont State Motto: Freedom and Unity!” Fans of all genres can expect personalized recommendations from an invested staff. The children’s section is bright and well-stocked; perfectly designed to capture the interest of young readers. Norwich Bookstore maintains an active calendar of events, including community programming and author talks.
Phoenix Books, Burlington, Essex and Rutland, VT
Community-minded and passionate about the power of shopping local, the Phoenix stores offer books for all interests and budgets, and take pride in serving as gathering spaces for their customers. Phoenix also operates its own publishing imprint, Onion River Press, with the intent of giving local authors a self-publishing alternative to Amazon.
Still North Books and Bar, Hanover, NH
Still North opened its doors in downtown Hanover at the end of 2019 as a combo bookstore-bar-cafe. In addition to a curated book collection, craft beers, wine, light bites and brag-worthy coffee are on offer. The store–which takes its name from a line in the Dartmouth College school song, “Alma Mater”–carries a generous selection of everything from kids’ books and new releases to books by Dartmouth faculty and local authors.
Toadstool Bookshop, Keene and Peterborough, NH
Toadstool Bookshop’s original location, in Peterborough, opened in 1972, followed by the Keene location in 1983. After 50 years of operation by the Williams family, The Toadstool changed hands in early 2023, and is now owned by Emerson Sistare, a former history teacher with fond memories of browsing the Peterborough location as a child. As “a bookstore for bookstore lovers,” per Sistare, each location carries 70,000 titles, and prides itself on being reflective of the community it serves.
The Yankee Bookshop, Woodstock, VT
Vermont’s oldest continuously operating bookstore has been serving the literary needs of Woodstock and the surrounding towns since 1935. Visitors who pass beneath the bright yellow awning and into the store will find a wide selection of general interest books, as well a unique assortment of vinyl, stationery, bookish gifts, puzzles and more!