Frances McClellan’s latest contribution is about a delightful store geared toward the younger set. Thank you Frances for continuing to share your bookstore adventures!
One wanders into Hicklebee’s from the crowded sidewalk in downtown Willow Glen, California (a neighborhood of San Jose) to find a lively place decorated with posters and bookshelves full of interesting things. The high ceilings, displaying colorful mobiles and hangings full of literary characters, are a small distraction from the squeals of joy coming from the toddlers as they play with the toys, strewn about in the toddler corner. This busy store is clearly for the young at heart.
As I meander through the store, I quickly discover a special spot. The magical corner up a step from the main floor, as if a stage, which holds the jewels of this children and young adult bookstore. It’s in this corner that I find the perfect gift, an autographed copy of that special book for the child in my life. The store owner, sure to cover all of her bases, has also included a few choice shelves of interesting and unique books for adults so the kids can play and read as the adults take a look at inspiring titles instead of growing anxious waiting for the children.
Included in this special shop is a museum of sorts, where a visitor can find such important items as The Acorn, which fell on Chicken Little’s head, The Pink Refrigerator provided by Tim Egan, Charlotte’s Web and a doodle by J.K. Rowling. These treasures abound as the “Hall of Fame” within the store has crept out from its original corner to cover most of the store.
Hincklebee’s has been inviting authors and illustrators on a regular basis for readings and book signings for decades, making this place a must on a special afternoon, or evening out with the children. Some recent visitors have included award winning authors Chris Crutcher, Marc Brown and Lois Lowery, as well as newcomers Johanna Philbin and Brandon Mull to name but a few.
For the young and young at heart, Hicklebee’s is a delightful place where fantasy, non-fiction, science, mathematics and fiction come alive. Yes, I did say math and science, which Valerie Lewis owner of the store makes sure to include in the collection for readers. Her philosophy is to help young children and teens learn through reading and reading includes all subjects, not just fiction.
The staff of Hincklebee’s has been diligently supplying young readers in Silicon Valley and nationwide with varied and fabulous reading options. Their web site allows far off shoppers to benefit from the staff’s solid expertise as they readily answer questions on a call or in email. I have found the staff at Hincklebee’s to be exceptionally well versed and knowledgeable as they instinctively keep up with the “hip” younger crowd providing excellent recommendations to those of us in serious need of a perfect gift.
1378 Lincoln Ave.
San Jose, CA 95125
Tel: 408.292.8880 or 888.898.0093