Children's Bookseller of the Year

Winner - Moon Lane

Moon Lane

When Moon Lane last won this award, in 2017, it was as a single shop in Herne Hill in south London. Three years on it has opened two more stores, established a major events programme and grown sales substantially. It has also developed a powerful social mission to support children’s literacy and diversity in the communities it serves.

From its second shop in Lewisham—where three-quarters of school pupils are from BAME backgrounds, and 50% have never been in a bookshop—it has built Moon Lane Ink, a Community Interest Company that works ceaselessly to get books into the hands of kids who wouldn’t otherwise encounter them. Activity in 2019, supported by a round of fundraising, included two free Festivals of Fun, reaching 2,600 children; well over 100 in-school author events; the launch of book awards judged by local primary schools; and phenomenal work around World Book Day that saw it redeem nearly 5,000 tokens.

Moon Lane also ran internships to get more people from under-represented groups into bookselling—paying the London Living Wage—and helped another diversity-focused bookshop, Round Table Books in Brixton, to get up and running. This is a retailer that does much more than sell: it dismantles barriers to reading. And with a new store opened late last year in Ramsgate in Kent, it is clear that its work isn’t done yet.

“Moon Lane is an exceptional business that is firing on all cylinders: well established and totally confident about what it is doing,” said the judges. “It’s public spirited, generous and keen to help the community and the cause of children’s reading in whatever way it can… Moon Lane is setting incredible standards for the rest of the industry to aspire to.”

Our Shortlist

  • Blackwell's
    Blackwell’s has made a concerted push into children’s books in recent years, and there were notable jumps in sales in the pre-school and graphic novel sectors in 2019.
  • Griffin Books
    Griffin Books in Penarth, near Cardiff, packs a lot of children’s books and activities into its modest 45 sq m space. There are weekly storytimes for pre-school children, author events with schools, and its own book festival.
  • Moon Lane
    Moon Lane won this award in 2017, and has since grown into a network of three bookshops, an education business and a not-for-profit initiative. There was a double-digit jump in turnover, but it was in the community.
  • Sevenoaks Bookshop
    Sevenoaks Bookshop in Kent is the longest-standing of the six indies on this list. Powered by a dedicated children’s book buyer and two booksellers, it puts young readers at the heart of everything.
  • The Blessington Bookstore
    The Blessington Book Store in County Wicklow, Ireland, is another indie to have made itself a hub for local families. Children’s books account for a third of sales, and schools trade is a strength. It does great work reaching reluctant or light readers.
  • The Edinburgh Bookshop
    The Edinburgh Bookshop won this award back in 2014 and has been shortlisted in every year since. It has grown sales each year too—all of them at full price—and has built a reputation for encouraging hesitant readers.
  • The Little Ripon Bookshop
    The Little Ripon Bookshop in Yorkshire grew its children’s book sales by a third, after an expansion gave it a bright, airy new kids’ space. The shop is renowned for its window displays, and activities in 2019 included The Great Big Book Hullabaloo.
  • Waterstones
    Waterstones won this award last year, and had further growth in children’s in 2019. Beyond the sales numbers, it clocked up more than 4,000 kids’ events, and introduced the Waterstones Children’s Laureate: Cressida Cowell.