The best bookshops: Alberta

Cafe Books This gem (which looks more like a cozy retreat than a store) houses a large children’s section, complete with table and chairs and books that kids can read in-store. In the “How do I explain that to someone small?” area, parents and caregivers will find appropriate titles dealing with difficult topics like death, fears and adoption. It’s a great stop for presents, too — you’ll find unique collections by Canadian artisans, including felt puppets and masks, a puppet theatre, pottery, artwork and jewellery.100-826 Main St., Canmore

Photo: Maica/iStockphoto

Cafe Books 
This gem (which looks more like a cozy retreat than a store) houses a large children’s section, complete with table and chairs and books that kids can read in-store. In the “How do I explain that to someone small?” area, parents and caregivers will find appropriate titles dealing with difficult topics like death, fears and adoption. It’s a great stop for presents, too — you’ll find unique collections by Canadian artisans, including felt puppets and masks, a puppet theatre, pottery, artwork and jewellery.
100-826 Main St., Canmore
403-678-0908
CafeBooks.ca

Greenwoods’ Bookshoppe
Small World, Greenwoods’ children’s section, is a mini shop within a shop. Shorter shelving and colourful seating make the experience homey and accessible for its littlest customers. Look for the staff’s monthly picks of books, and teachers and librarians won’t want to miss their very own area with plenty of resources . Authors often frequent the store, so check in to find out who might be dropping by next.
10309-82 Ave. (Whyte Ave.), Edmonton
780-439-2005
Greenwoods.com

MonkeyShines Children’s Books
The cheery, inviting storefront with a black-and-white checkered floor and cherry-red counter is an instant sign that this children’s bookstore is all about having fun. Renowned authors like Dennis Lee (Alligator Pie) and Marie-Louise Gay (Stella and Sam) have even dropped by to greet customers. In addition to the grand book assortment, customers keep coming back for its popular weekly drop-in storytime ( Thursdays at 10:30 a.m.), and the adult and child book clubs, where bookworms meet over coffee, juice and jellybeans.
113, 2215-33rd Ave. SW, Calgary
403-240-1723
MonkeyShinesBooks.com

Owlets/Owl’s Nest
After decades of experience running Owl’s Nest (an all-ages bookstore), the owners opened the adjoining children’s store — Owlets — about 10 years ago. Kids will appreciate story-and-song nights, storytime with professional storyteller Cynthia (for ages two to five), and even their own book club meetings. When you can’t get to the store to pick up your stash of books, a free delivery service is available within eight kilometres of their location.
815A 49th Ave. SW, Calgary
403-287-9557
OwlsNestBooks.com

Pages on Kensington
Housed in a former public library, books have been at the heart of this spot since its foundation. Two staff members, with more than 40 years of experience, select kids’ titles that many customers say they don’t find anywhere else. The refurbished shop now has a more open children’s area on the ground floor for parents with strollers where moms, dads and their tots can catch weekly baby and toddler storytimes from fall to spring.
1135 Kensington Rd. NW, Calgary
403-283-6655
Pages.ab.ca