A store in Bootle has had customers calling it a “store of dreams,” but few people know it exists.
Kingsley & Co. is a bookstore that moved to Bootle Strand in 2019, but customers say it’s much more than that.
The bookstore was started by local charity Ykids after a successful pop-up event in 2013 that saw thousands of children get involved in books.
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In 2019, the opportunity arose for the association’s CEO, Claire Morgans, to rent a unit at Bootle Strand. So she and her team started working on the creation of Kingsley & Co.
Claire told ECHO: “Kingsley and Co are named after Mary Kingsley who was a Victorian explorer. She was never educated because she was ‘just a girl’.
âWhen her parents died, she entered into her inheritance and decided to explore the world. She had already learned to read and write, and she left for East Africa and wrote books on the people there.
âShe is our inspiration because we want kids to know that no matter what their circumstances are and what people say about them, they can do anything, or be anything, that they want to be.
“The bookstore aims to encourage children to be excited about stories and imagination. Literacy is very low in Bootle, and if kids can get excited about stories, they will buy a book and get excited. for them and write their own stories and that improve their literacy, and that in turn improves their chances in life. â
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The shop was created in the steampunk style, which Claire says is interesting for children and adults alike.
By describing what’s going on in the store, it’s easy to see why it gets rave reviews from those who know it’s there.
She said, âWe have magic doors, we have mobile libraries. We have a discovery room and a special classroom.
âIn January, we will have completed the work where the children will be able to access the classroom through a cupboard.
âThe Discovery Room is a hands-on, hands-on experience for children to try out different buttons and play different games.
“We also have a cafe, we call it the parents’ nursery, and a fancy dress corner.”
A 38-year-old woman who visited the store told ECHO: âI almost peed in my pants when they revealed the secret room behind the library. Believe me when I say this is the bookstore of dreams!
Another new fan who came across the store by accident wrote on Facebook: “[I’ve] discovered the most amazing bookstore. I could hear the sound of Mary Poppins pulling me in … what a find, seriously if you have kids this place is amazing and worth going for a cup of tea or a muffin and watching all the wonderful books written by local authors – or by purchasing donated books for one pound sterling donated to a local charity.
âThis place is amazing, I sat down with a cup of tea and loved watching a few moms with kids who like me were overwhelmed by such a fabulous place.
âIt’s worth calling even just to see the snot cakes ha ha – and a teapot is just a pound … result !!!â, adding: âI’ll make sure to come back without any doubt .”
In addition to an indoor cafe and candy store, the shop sells both quality used books and new children’s books.
Claire said: “We are also running workshops and activities. We will charge Â£ 10 for a family workshop, but this includes tea, coffee, cakes, crafts and storytelling for four.”
“In the long term, we plan to have our own building one day, but one step at a time.”
Ykids and Kingsley & Co. are currently hosting their third Bootle Literacy Festival which is expected to attract thousands of children over a two-week period, with the event starting November 6.
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