The Story Shop
124 N. Broad St.
Monroe, GA 30655
My mother-in-law told me last year about a new store she had discovered and said she wanted to take our family there during our next visit. During our trip over Christmas and New Year’s we finally managed to visit, and I was excited to basically step into my childhood dream library. I’ve always loved reading, ever since I was a little girl; curling up and diving into a story was my favorite activity. I loved imagining the stories in my head, acting out the drama in my imagination. I always loved guessing how the story would end, solving the mysteries, guessing motivations of characters, and entering new worlds.
Stepping through the door of The Story Shop in Monroe, Georgia gives story lovers a chance to enter the fantastical worlds of famous children’s stories. When you walk through the door to the store, the first thing you see is a gigantic wooden wardrobe. When I got the chance, I asked one of the employees if that was “The Wardrobe” from C.S Lewis’ The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, and she smiled, nodded, and told me to open the doors. I opened them, stepped in, and past the fur coats there was a large room where they hold their regular story hours. On the back wall was a beautiful mural surrounded by stage curtains with a large armchair. My sons, as well as my niece and nephew, practically barreled through the wardrobe to explore the new room.
The entire store is set up with small nooks to explore, browse, or curl up and read. There was a Hobbit Hole, or as my son called it the “Little House Cubby,” and through the round, green door was a small room, complete with small furniture, a set table, and beautifully painted walls; it felt like you had crawled into Bilbo Baggins’ home. Everywhere you looked there were homages to books and charming little details, such as the flying bicycle from the Wizard of Oz hanging from the ceiling, shelves of healing potions from Harry Potter, or a tiny mouse coming out of a small hole in the wall. My niece and oldest son were running around pointing out so many details as they examined the store.
Not only is The Story Shop a bookstore for children, it’s also a party venue. It’s party room is inspired by the Mad Hatter’s tea party in Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland. Unfortunately for me, there was an event going on and I couldn’t go inside and take some pictures. However, the entrance to the room features a beautiful Alice in Wonderland mural, as well as an art display of White Roses in the process of being painted red.
The book displays themselves were beautiful and inspiring. Instead of just shelves of books, most of the picture books were put on display, where you could reach up and pluck a book out of a castle, a rocket ship, or display racks following the Yellow Brick Road down to Sherlock Holmes’ front door at 221B Baker Street. By displaying the books in this way, it practically begs you to stop and look at them, which is a great design choice, they would fade into the background of all the creative design otherwise. Everything was easy to navigate for little hands and eyes, and books for the older children and parents were housed in a small library room, complete with cozy chairs.
The book collection had a good variety of classic stories for children as well as many I had never heard of. I was really excited to flip through new and different picture books, and check out the fantasy section for the older readers. One of my favorites was the BabyLit series of board books inspired by classic literature. We came home with three of those, as well as a couple of picture books and a new tote for me. And the best part of visiting a bookstore? Getting to read your purchases when you get home!
What were some of your favorite stories as a child? If you have kids, what do you like to read with them?