Make 2015 the year you rediscover reading.
So say the owners of a thriving independent bookshop as major booksellers report record sales in physical books during the recent holiday period.Carolyn and Katie Clapham opened Storytellers, Inc. in the seaside town of St Annes in Lancashire in 2010. At the end of last year the mother-and-daughter team expanded their popular children's book shop into a 'book place for everyone,' stocking everything from YA through to adult fiction and non-fiction. They are now anticipating a busy year ahead.
The shop's original aim was to provide children with a welcoming environment in which to meet, read and play. Creative director Katie, formerly production editor of a medical journal, works with local schools on writing and reading projects. Managing director Carolyn took the plunge into business after more than twenty years experience at a senior level in the civil service and in the private sector.
The owners are very proud of their professional calendar of children's illustrators, which takes pride of place in the shop window. Now in its third year, the calendar features many pieces of original artwork from award-winning illustrators and new industry talent.
Free illustrations were donated by Emily Gravett, Steven Lenton, Tim Hopgood, Mini Grey, Chris Haughton, Lucy Cousins, Chris Judge, Mo Willems, Tom Percival, Rebecca Cobb and Lydia Monks to support The Illustrations Calendar 2015. Every month the shop sends books and worksheets inspired by the illustrator of the month to participating schools in the area. In addition several other bookshops stock the calendar to run their own Illustrated Year project with school customers.
Carolyn and Katie also run a popular Fiction Book Club for adults where local readers meet to discuss their 'book of the month.' This month's choice is Naomi Wood's best-selling novel Mrs. Hemmingway, which brings to life in extraordinary detail the four wives of Ernest Hemingway, one of the greatest writers of our time.
Naomi will be joining the book club's evening session to discuss her work. Members pay £7 (including the book rrp £7.99) and non members are also welcome for a £4 entrance fee. Storytellers, Inc. also run two junior book clubs, a teen club and a group for adult readers who enjoy books written for a slightly younger audience.
Meanwhile the shop is championing the new World Book Day award which celebrates reading for pleasure in schools. Five schools will get the opportunity to win up to £10,000 worth of books for their libraries, thanks to the generosity of James Patterson, author of the popular Middle School series.
Carolyn believes that children love to touch and feel books. 'If they are introduced to reading at an early age it can be an interest that lasts a lifetime,' she says. 'We hope as many families as possible will be visiting their local bookshops during 2015.'
I hope so too.