The Children's Bookshop has been sold, just over 29 years since the late John McIntyre realised his dream to start a bookshop dedicated to providing the widest possible range of literature for children and young adults.
From Wednesday, December 1st, 2021, the new owner will be Susan Hooper (pictured below with Ruth), a Wellington teacher for 30 years and an enthusiastic advocate for books and reading. Susan is relishing the challenge of a new lifestyle and the opportunity to make her own mark on the future of this award-winning community bookshop and introduce other exciting and innovative ideas.
I will be around for most of the time until Christmas to help with the busy shopping period and to act in an advisory role during the transition of ownership, so there will be plenty of opportunity to catch up with many of you. And as Wellington is really a village, I know I will meet up with many of you in the future around town and at the library, supermarket or movies.
And to set your minds at rest, if any of you have our gift vouchers still tucked away in drawers or bags, as long as they are dated from December 1st, 2019 (two years ago!), they will still be honoured.
If you have any vouchers that are older, be quick and bring them in before November 30th and they can be spent on the wonderful new books, crafts and toys that are arriving every few days.
It has been a tough decision to let go and it will feel strange not to be at the bookshop most days after so many years, but it's time for me to move on and enjoy a more leisurely pace of life and spend time with family and friends. Strangely enough I'm looking forward to reading more books and, in particular, some adult books.
It was John’s dream to do something exciting and positive with the new lease of life he received from a kidney transplant in 1992 and when we opened the doors on August 31st that year, we had no idea the bookshop would consume our lives for almost three decades.
It has been an incredible 29 years. We have met scores of talented writers and illustrators from around New Zealand and overseas, hosted hundreds of book launches for aspiring and established authors and found ourselves in most unexpected places, such as the Prime Minister’s Awards and helping out on the NZ stand at the Frankfurt Book Fair. John was a regular children’s book reviewer on Radio New Zealand’s Nine-to-Noon show for 15 years until just before his death in June 2017 and he also loved speaking to new parents’ education classes about the importance and joy of creating a reading environment with your children.
We worked as a team. John was the front man, the “face” of The Children’s Bookshop, the bookseller who had plenty of opinions about what publishers should be publishing and what children, especially boys, should be reading. He often said it was his ambition to encourage everyone to read the book that hooked him into reading as a young teenager – The Silver Sword by Ian Serraillier. I was his “right hand”, responsible for newsletters and promotions, buying the new titles each month, but not without my own opinions.
We were both judges and convenors of the NZ Children’s Book Awards and in 2011 we were presented with the Betty Gilderdale Award for services to children’s literature. In 2017 John (posthumously) and I were presented with the NZ book industry’s Lifetime Achievement Award from our peers.
Since June 2017 when John died, I have been running the bookshop with excellent backup from our loyal and dedicated staff, particularly Lucy Bailey, Sasha Martin and Jem Hewett, and I know how much you all appreciate their knowledge and advice on children's books and will be pleased to know that they are all staying on.
Many of you have become good friends during the last 29 years and we have enjoyed chats about every subject from new books – and old favourites – to the state of the world. We were delighted by your support during the challenging times, such as the Harry Potter price wars, the digital revolution and, more recently, the Covid-19 pandemic. We have been blessed to have such a large number of loyal customers who love to support their local bookstore and want to see it survive. So my greatest wish now is that you will all support Susan so that it does continue for another 29 years - and beyond.
Thank you for helping to make those years such a memorable part of our lives.
Coronavirus / Covid-19 Update from all of us at The Children's Bookshop on Tuesday, September 7th, 2021.
Tēnā koutou katoa,
From Wednesday, September 8th, 2021 New Zealand, except for Auckland, will move to Delta level 2 and we will be able to welcome customers back into the store again.
However, there are some additional rules to this new level 2. This is how it will look in the bookshop -
* Face masks must be worn inside the shop by everyone aged 12 and over.
* It is mandatory to record your visit by scanning the Covid QR code displayed at the door and on the counter. If you cannot do so then please leave your name and phone number at the counter. These details will be kept only for use in contact tracing if needed.
* Maintain a safe distance of 2 metres from others outside your family bubble.
* Children must be under adult supervision so that other customers feel comfortable.
* We may limit the number of people inside the shop at one time in order to comply with distance regulations.
* Hand sanitiser is available at the door and counter for your use as well.
* If you are unwell, please stay at home.
If you prefer not to visit in person, we are open for contactless online, email and telephone orders. We are also perfectly set up for pick-ups, with easy drive-in access to the plaza (Google 10 Rongotai Rd) and plenty of carparks outside the shop. Just order online or by phone, pay and we will have your parcel at the counter ready for you to collect.
Note that there is a new parking system in Kilbirnie Plaza. You may still enjoy 90 minutes of free parking but you need to register your vehicle numberplate in the machine directly opposite the entrance to the bookshop, whether you are parking for 5 minutes or 90 minutes. The carpark is being monitored daily by a warden.
Our online shop is open 24/7 and orders may be placed for despatch. Please allow time for us to process the orders that have already arrived and we will send you an email advising courier tracking details when your parcel is ready to leave us.
Please note the number of items we have on the website when placing your orders. If the number is 0, we do not currently have that item in stock, but you are welcome to still place an order. If the item proves to no longer be available, or will take a significant amount of time to arrive, we will contact you.
We will keep you updated as further announcements are made by the Government.
Meanwhile, keep well. Thank you for your patience and support.
All the best
Ruth, Lucy, Sasha, Jem, Ruby and Rhia
Visit us at our Kilbirnie shop or place your order on-line using the search function above.
The Children's Bookshop is a privately owned independent specialist bookstore dedicated to providing the widest range of children's and young adult literature from New Zealand and around the world. Established in 1992 by John and Ruth McIntyre, we have celebrated 28 years in business.
The staff are passionate about reading and are always willing to share their knowledge with their customers.
We are experts at matching children with books, and get the greatest pleasure at finding reading for children who aren't traditionally readers.
In 2013 The Children's Bookshop won the North Island Regional Bookshop of the Year award. In 2003 we were named New Zealand's Independent Bookshop of the year, the first time it had been awarded to a specialist bookstore, and were runner-up to Unity Books of Wellington for the same award in 2008.
In 2011, John and Ruth were presented with the Storylines Betty Gilderdale Award for services to children's literature. The award was established in 1990 to commemorate the work of author Betty Gilderdale and to honour distinguished service to the development of children's literature and literacy. It is administered by the Storylines Children's Literature Charitable Trust.
Sadly, John died on June 10, 2017 after a brave fight with chonic illness. He was at work most days right up until the end and has left us a wonderful legacy which we are carrying on in his memory.
In 2017, John (posthumously) and Ruth were presented with the New Zealand Book Industry's Lifetime Achievement Award.
Keep up with all our exciting news and events by following us on Facebook!
Monday to Friday: 9am to 5.30pm
Saturday: 9am to 4pm
Sunday: 10am to 4pm
Our online shop is open 24/7
We are closed on Public Holidays (January 1 and 2; Wellington Anniversary Day; Waitangi Day [Feb 6]; Good Friday; Easter Monday; Anzac Day; Queen's Birthday; Labour Day (October 26th); Christmas Day [December 25] and Boxing Day [December 26].
Our Friday morning Storytimes have been postponed until we return to Level 1
Storytime runs from 10.30am to 11am and pre-schoolers and their caregivers are all welcome. There is a draw to win one of the books Helen reads and a coupon for a discounted coffee or tea kindly provided by our good friends at Plaza Pizzeria opposite our bookshop.
Try Our Gift Selection Services!
For those with out-of-town or international friends and family (or live just around the corner), try our gift selection services for that upcoming special occasion.
Choose from one of two options:
1. Talk to one of our friendly, experienced staff members about our selection of books that would suit that special someone. We can give your gift a dash of colour with some complimentary gift wrapping and, if it is to be posted, we can offer the most economic postal quote.
2. Purchase a Children's Bookshop gift voucher for our store in Kilbirnie or a national Booksellers token (redeemable at more than 350 bookstores round the country). For those who have so many books it's hard to keep track, include a card for the occasion and it can be sorted as easily as dialing our contact number.
Enter a message for the recipient for that extra personal touch. We will then courier or post your parcel to the required address.
"Thanks for the super FAST service" - Daniela, Queenstown
"It’s such a pleasure dealing with everyone in your bookshop. It reminds of past times..." - Voula, Wellington
"Just want to say how impressed I am at the online service you guys provide. Outstanding!" - Gina, Paraparaumu
"Wonderful service, beautiful book and the packaging was excellent." - Jane, Gisborne
As well as carrying a huge range of contemporary literature we also stock childhood favourites from the past, and excel at sourcing hard-to-find books from around the world. Even if you have been told a title is out of print, please let us try to find it for you.
Please Note: Books found on our website do not necessarily reflect our current stock in the store. However, we are happy to order any book for you as long as it is in print.
When ordering through our website, we have the PayPal option or you can do a direct deposit into our bank account. Alternatively, you can contact us by phone with your Visa or Mastercard details. The Account payment option is only for schools and businesses that have set up an invoicing account.
Every effort is made to ensure the price is correct on out-of-stock items, but we reserve the right to make alterations in the event of publishers' price fluctuations.
We started a new e-newsletter in February 2017 to keep you up to date with news of book events and reviews of the latest titles available. This replaced the print newsletter that we had been producing for more than 20 years. If you would like to receive our e-newsletter by email please fill in your details in the boxes below and send them to us.
We have a considerable number of schools and public libraries who are regular customers, for whom we produce a collection of newsletters once a term. In them we review new books that we believe are must-haves - fiction and non-fiction - and we are happy to add you to our mailing list.
The Children's Bookshop Addicts' Club
Join our Addicts' Club - our special way of saying thank you to all our customer "addicts" who have been wonderfully loyal in the 28 years since we started the store.
Our loyalty scheme has undergone a few changes. Now, your purchases will be recorded in our computer system under your name. You may spend your loyalty points throughout the year once you have reached $200, but the points will expire after one year.
Loyalty can be earned on most books and toys (except Booksellers' New Zealand book tokens) in the store.
Once you are signed up, all you need to do is give us your name each time you are making a purchase and the value will be recorded.
Ask to join next time you visit.