Up until a few weeks ago, my nine-year-old had asked almost daily and with admirable tenacity, when the next Diary of a Wimpy Kid (DWK) book was going to be out. When the publishing date finally rolled around, I surprised him with an ‘errand run,’ my parenting code for ‘we’re-doing-something-fun-but-I-can’t-tell-you-what-it-is-so-you’ll-just-have-to-trust-me-and-get-in-the-car-and-stop-complaining.’ I think he may be on to me, because he hurriedly hopped in the car and as we pulled up to the front of The Novel Neighbor, a charming independent bookstore in Webster Groves, he screamed with delight at the Diary of a Wimpy Kid window display. It was pure joy to watch.
This was my first visit to the Novel Neighbor and the staff could not have been nicer, more personable, or knowledgeable. We quickly grabbed the DWK book, my nine-year-old settled in a cozy seating area, and I took advantage of admiring the creative book displays. The YA section caught my eye, where the books are cleverly categorized with funny and helpful tag lines on the shelves. Since my oldest still judges a book by it’s cover and the number of pages, it can be challenging to get him to read a new book. The staff recommended Peter Nimble and the Fantastic Eyes and The Night Gardener, a series by Jonathan Auxier, that my son has really taken to and enjoyed. That’s no small feat when you’re competing with YouTube videos.
The store has a wonderful selection of curated gift items by local artists, as well as coloring books, Mad Libs, puzzles, along with classes and events for all ages. If this weren’t enough, the bathroom was rated one of the top ten in the nation! The Novel Neighbor is more than just a bookstore, and a poster hung on the bathroom wall pretty much sums up the community feel: “We are neighbors no matter the distance.”
The Novel Neighbor can be found at 7905 Big Bend Blvd., in Webster Groves, 314-738-9384.