Bookstore Spotlight: THE STORYBOOK SHOPPE, Bluffton, SC
For a generation of readers in Beaufort County, South Carolina, Sally Sue Lavigne was known as Mrs. L., the substitute school librarian. Now, she’s known for something else—being the owner of The Storybook Shoppe, the last remaining children’s bookstore in South Carolina.
It’s a title Lavigne holds proudly. Each of the shop’s 18,000 children's books is handpicked, either by Lavigne or by one of her staff, all former teachers. Potted flowers and colorful chairs greet customers as they enter the bright and cheery cottage, which is lined with picture and board books on the ground floor, and middle grade and young adult titles in an elevated loft. For those who can’t visit the Lowcountry bookstore in person, its monthly Dragon Drop Book Subscription Service ships titles tailored to each child’s interests and age nationwide.
First and foremost, however, The Storybook Shoppe is a local bookstore, and one that fosters a wonderful sense of community. Recent author signings have included Lowcountry luminaries Antwan Eady, Angela May, Mary Alice Monroe, and Helen Wilbur. In the lead-up to Christmas each year, The Storybook Shoppe hosts its annual Pajama Drive to benefit the Angel Wish Tree program sponsored by CAPA (Child Abuse Prevention Association) of Beaufort. “Each pair of pajamas that is donated is matched with a storybook,” Lavigne says.
During Children’s Book Week in May, the shop’s Local Heroes Storytime in the Park initiative brings together local firefighters and police officers to read stories, demonstrate equipment, and of course, show off their vehicles. “The goal of the storytime is to honor our local heroes as well as introduce the youngest members of our community to firefighters and police officers in a safe and fun way so that if the need should arise they know that these people are helpers,” Lavigne says.
Bookstore pick by Antwan Eady:
THE STORYBOOK SHOPPE
41 Calhoun St., Bluffton, SC 29910 | 843.757.2600
Purchase directly from The Storybook Shoppe on Bookshop. Picks by Sally Sue Lavigne, owner, The Storybook Shoppe:
THE FAMILY BUSINESS
Written by Lenore Appelhans and illustrated by Ken Lamug
Publisher: HarperCollins (July 19, 2022)
"Lucky wants nothing more than to be big enough to join the family business. While his family forages for tasty treats Lucky practices his dance moves. When the day finally arrives for him to join the family business Lucky finds he doesn't really fit in. Will he find a way to fit in or will his talents lead him to help in a different way?"
THE MORE YOU GIVE
Written by Marcy Campbell and illustrated by Francesca Sanna
Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers (August 2, 2022)
"'Once there was a wide open field, and a boy who loved his grandmother, who loved him back. And they were happy.' So begins this beautiful touching story of love, loss and discovering ways to spread more love. The family in this book demonstrates the power of love, kindness and learning to grow. We see not only plants being nurtured but also personal connections. We see how love shown and celebrated generation to generation can grow exponentially."
THE PERFECT ROCK
By Sarah Noble
Publisher: Flying Eye Books (August 2, 2022)
"Three otter pups are looking for the perfect rock to open their shellfish feast. Then they find the perfect one that is tough, smooth, and something to hold dear. The only problem is there are three pups and only one rock. As they encounter a storm, the pups may find that they are each other's rock."
Written by Kevin Henkes and illustrated by Laura Dronzek
Publisher: Greenwillow Books (May 24, 2022)
"A visit to grandma and grandpa's little house by the ocean is an opportunity to learn about the world. Shells are homes to small creatures so you must only take the empty ones. The ocean is filled with many mysterious creatures and lost treasures. A walk on the beach gives the opportunity to learn, wonder and make new memories to carry home."
LIZZY AND THE CLOUD
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers (May 3, 2022)
"Clouds might be a little old fashioned but Lizzy loves hers. Lizzy discovers that being a good cloud keeper comes with lots of steps. They need water, they need open spaces, and they can be unpredictable. As Milo grows, and grows and grows, what will Lizzy do if he outgrows her room?"
By Jules Feiffer
Publisher: Michael di Capua Books (June 3, 1999)
"When George's mother asks him to bark he meows, quacks, oinks and moos. To get to the cause of this George's mother takes him to the vet. The vet finds the cause with hilarious results. This laugh out loud book will quickly become a family favorite. Bark, George is the one book I think every 4 year old should have on their bookshelf."