‘Kids go wow!’ Inside York’s new independent children’s bookshop

All for young readers… the Blue House Bookshop. Photographs: Kate Staniforth

Young readers have a new haven in York.

The Blue House Bookshop has been trading for a few weeks from its historic home at 10 Bootham. It is filled with thousands of books for children – from babies to young adults.

Karen Walker is the very proud owner of the shop who has “always had a desire to own a book store, simply because she loves books,” explained Richard Staples who works there.

The shop motto


It’s inside an historic Grade II listed building

York has a great selection of book stores. But this is the first one aimed purely at children.

Over its two floors you’ll find very early age books, educational books and a vast range of fictional stories – including the classics you might have read when you were younger.

Karen said: “We are here to support local authors and choose books that are a little unusual but appeal to our readers – both children and grown-ups.”

Never too old

Here’s the welcoming shop front
The setting is like something from a story. Blue House is found inside a Grade II listed building where the back wall forms part of St Mary’s Abbey. It was previously the Lotte Inch Gallery, which has moved a few doors down.

The space is essentially a Tudor-inspired black and white canvas. They wanted to keep the décor very simplistic as the “books give the colour” and this focus on the books themselves really makes them come to life.

“Kids go ‘wow’ when they walk in,” says Karen.

Already pupils from Nun Monkton Primary School have visited. Karen hopes in the future to expand the store’s relationships with city primary schools and hopefully start supplying them with her favourite books.

Fun for all ages!
Some of the timeless classics in the Blue House

“A lot of people want to support independent book stores,” Richard said. So they are finding support even though they “can’t always beat the prices of Amazon”.

“We hope people come in and are pleasantly surprised at the choice and the help we can give them. You’re never too old to read a good children’s book!” says Karen.

With Karen’s passion to get children to love books as much as she does (if that’s possible) and the beautiful atmosphere they have created inside, it is sure to be a hit with families.

Blue House gallery

A colourful shop window
The books bring the colour
The back wall is part of St Mary’s Abbey

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