Children's Department

Just as the Cheshire Cat grins in the tree of the mural outside the children’s department, the spirit and people of the Cheshire Cat bookstore continue here at Politics and Prose.  Jewell Stoddard, one of Cheshire Cat’s owners, now works part-time as children’s book buyer with Mary Alice Garber.  Dara La Porte began in children’s books at Cheshire Cat and now manages the department.  And we continue the decades-old tradition that started at Cheshire Cat when, each  summer, we raise monarch butterflies in the store.

“ ‘So it’s your fault!’ This is the common, joking reaction my students have had on the two occasions that Carla has been gracious enough to visit my classroom. It’s true: P&P is to blame for providing such a wonderful educational space to which I often send my students—with or without me—to listen to/participate in the wonderful book talks at the store. P&P is the main engine of my extra credit machine. A+ for the whole P&P staff!”
-Cosby Hunt, Bell Multicultural High School
When we arrived at Politics and Prose, we moved the cash register and counter from the center of the small department and removed the ceiling tiles. Ten years and at least three renovations later, our latest expansion is the PG15 section for high school students.  Located in its own nook across from the Rabbit Hole, this section is a great place to hang out and check out what’s new for older teens, from novels to non-fiction to graphic novels.

We have had many marvelous author talks and signings. In 1999 J.K. Rowling signed 1,200 books in two hours.  It was great fun, and we learned that the younger Politics and Prose customers are well-mannered fans.  Since then we’ve had four Harry Potter midnight parties and big events for Tomie DePaola, Terry Prachett, Tamora Pierce, Christopher Paolini, and many others.  We have about fifty children’s events per year to which we bring children from area schools.

Storytime has always had a loyal following.  Every Monday at 10:30 a.m. about sixty children and their parents or caregivers come to sing, listen to stories and, for the adults, to learn about interacting with the children in their care.

Our collective staff reading experience is reflected in the extensive selection on our shelves and our ability to answer a customer’s query for a book from long ago. Our collective experience as teachers and organizers has allowed us to develop book fairs, partnership Fridays, and other special events where Politics and Prose gives back to the community while supporting children’s literacy.  Bringing experts, under the direction of Jewell Stoddard, from Cheshire Cat to Politics and Prose has given us the opportunity to create the best place to find a children’s book.