With a limited supply of English language books at Shanghai’s public libraries, you’ll likely need to browse the city’s bookstores to keep up with your kids’ appetite for books. Here are our top picks for places to find children’s books.
Poplar Kids Republic Bookstore
Step into this store made just for little ones and you’ll feel the wonder around you. Colorful and bright with fun nooks for reading, it’s easy to lose yourself looking through the many beautifully illustrated books that line shelves both high and low. Offering a wide selection of the most popular books for children in Chinese, there are also books in English and Japanese. The store hosts storytelling and craft sessions (RMB120) in Chinese every Tuesday (age 2 and under), Thursday and Saturday (age 3 and under) and Sunday 11-11.40am (ages 4-8). English storytelling is also offered on occasion; call the store for more details.
// 10am-8pm daily. 262 Yuyuan Lu, byWulumuqi Bei Lu, 静安区愚园路262号, 乌鲁木齐北路(6248 9033, www.poplar.com.cn)
Shanghai Foreign Language Bookstore
Offering the widest selection of English language children’s books in Shanghai, this pleasant and colorful space has plenty of room to browse. Prices are reasonable, slightly more than costs from home. The children’s section is located on the fourth floor. A small area on the first floor has English language books about Chinese culture for kids.
// 9.30am-7pm. 390 Fuzhou Lu, by Fujian Zhong Lu, 黄浦区福州路390号, 近福建中路 (6322 3200)
The charming location in Former French Concession makes this bookstore café one of Shanghai’s coziest. The children’s section on the second floor has a variety of picture and chapter books, as well as a wide selection of classic Chinese stories translated into English. After browsing books, parents can relax in café with a coffee while kids enjoy gelato. In the past, the store has organized weekend story hours for children and may offer more in the future. Call the store for more details.
// 10am-10pm. 325 Changle Lu, by Shaanxi Nan Lu, 徐汇区长乐路325号, 近陕西南路(5404 8728, www.bookzines.com)
Chirps and Mews
Bring your little ones to this unique three-level lane house where you’ll find racks of fine, hand-painted children’s books, exquisite imported pop-up books (RMB200-300), as well as a lovely cafe beyond the book area. A wide range of food and coffee is available here and on the second floor there’s a kids’ play area where parties are often thrown, making this is a great, engaging place for the little ones and a prime spot where grownups can spend a nice, lazy afternoon. TFZ
// Chirps and Mews, 1513 Xinzha Lu, by Changde Lu 新闸路1513号, 近常德路 (6279 1793)
Traders Used Bookstore
Overflowing with books stacked from floor to ceiling, the inventory varies at this used bookstore. By the door, there are a few small stacks of short chapter and kids books. It takes some digging, but there are good deals with some books costing just RMB8. It’s a good stop if you’re already in the area; the Foreign Language Bookstore is just around the corner.
// 9am-5.30pm. 36 Shanxi Nan Lu, by Fuzhou Lu, 黄浦区山西南路36号, 近福州路(6360 7713)
On the second floor of the Kerry Parkside Mall, this small shop has a decent kids section in the back of store. A wide selection of chapter books for early readers, including entire shelves of the Geronimo Stilton and Magic Tree House series and some picture books for the younger set are available.
// 1378 Huamu Lu, by Fangdian Lu花木路1378号近芳甸路
It’s not as easy to browse online, but the hassle-free delivery of books straight to your door is worth it, particularly if you’re looking for a specific title.
There are many booksellers on Taobao and sometimes you’ll find prices even cheaper than you’d pay at home. Sometimes books listed are out of stock, so you may want to communicate with the seller before buying.
Selection is likely limited compared to your home country’s Amazon, but delivery is fast (if not shipping from overseas). Cost is usually list price or more.
An English book-supplier with a wide variety of children’s titles from around, this is the also the source for many Chinese book retailers and international school libraries. You might even find a great deal, with some books offered at 90 percent off. Payment is cash on delivery or via wire transfer.