As I love libraries, so too I love secondhand bookshops. Some have a children’s section and are worth a good rummage. Many charity shops also have at least a few children’s books. When we lived in London, I used to get quite a few from the British Heart Foundation bookshop on Streatham High Street. Friends with older children may be delighted to offload some of their (less chewed) books.
Local independent bookshops with a good children’s section are a delight. And you may find the people there a wonderful source of information and references. Most people work in bookshops because they adore books and love nothing better than sharing that with all comers. Some of the chain stores also have excellent selections. If you know a bookshop with a great children’s section and knowledgeable, enthusiastic staff, let me know so I can spread the word!
If you’re buying new and want to buy online, I urge you to try Bookshop in the USA or Bookshop UK which supports local, independent book sellers, and you can specify your local shop to receive the profit if you want to.
As well as book shops themselves, be on the lookout for great books in other places too – my favourites are museum shops which often have wonderful collections of books on just the topic your child has got excited about. (Museum shops with children are tricky. I like to be clear before we get there whether we are even entering the shop or not. And we have ground rules: if we are buying it has to be related to something we looked at on that visit, and nothing ‘silly’ – Mummy defines ‘silly’.)
Books make great presents too. And please pass it on – donate your used (un-chewed) books, give them to friends (who want them), let the books circulate their magic.