Purpose of this Blog...

You may have noticed that not all books are equal in capturing children's imaginations and in cultivating those innocent, tender souls. My goal is to help you find the ones that do!
(Painting by Mary Cassatt: "Mrs Cassatt Reading to her Grandchildren" -1888)

Friday, January 22, 2021

Good-by Amazon, hello bookshop!

I don't know about you, but I'm doing all I can for local businesses.  Yesterday I visited a new independently-owned little bookstore in quaint Old Town Tustin, here in Orange County, CA. It's the Arvida Book Co. 

I've often dreamed of opening a little bookshop like this on Main Street, USA, complete with used and new books, a great children's area, cozy reading spaces, bookish merchandise, local art, and good coffee

Our local newspaper had carried a story about the bookshop, and I finally made it for a visit. The owner, Sam Roberston (who chose the name "Arvida" in homage to her South American grandfather) has really gotten this book space right - with tons of help from her friends and family. 

She and her husband Mike opened the shop in October of 2020 - right in the middle of a pandemic situation that has had everyone shopping online!  

Brave Mama (she has two young children) - good for her!

In a second interview (here), Sam said, "The pandemic has given Amazon this crazy leverage over everything. We're not going down without a fight. We're not going to play their game." 

Don't you love her?

Shopping here is waaaay more fun than Amazon anyway! And everything at Arvida is very Covid-conscious, in a non in-your-face way.  They've got cute little book pages and pillows on all the chairs and couches, as a gentle reminder not too stay and read (until this is all past us).  Masks required, of course.

Did I mention there's coffee? From White Sparrow Coffee. (The Robertsons' landlord introduced them to the local vendor.) I didn't get a cup, since it was too late in the day for me, but I can hardly wait to go back for a morning visit! 

With hanging plants and succulents, the whole space is light, bright, and open, but still cozy.

There's a hip, creative funkiness...

...but all the books and antiques make it timeless as well.

And, saving the best for last, there is an awesome children's corner!  Take a closer look...

Sweetly curated, but not too precious. Lots of rustic cubbies for used and new books, 

...and billowing cloth for a tent-like ceiling that hangs over a little table and tree stump stools. What child wouldn't want to plop down here with a book?

There's a campy feeling of the outdoors, with lots of greenery around (even lining the backs of the bookshelves!) It reminded me a little of Neverland.

This place is so fun and inviting. Truly a little "Shop Around the Corner".  Lots of other unique shops and restaurants surround it, all ready and waiting for customers. 

Here was my take-away: a gorgeous new Chiltern's Classic edition of Jane Austen's Sense and Sensibility and a $2 used hardcover 1952 copy of Charlotte's Web. A good day. Even with a mask.

You might also like my past post, "Word Lovers UNITE! (With E.B. White and Others...), here.


  1. I read your post and enjoyed it! Absolutely agree about bookstores being important to support!!! Thanks so much for your kind comment on my blog. 🥰

  2. What a gem! I found a new shop near me last week and bought toothpaste tabs, an ounce of chamomile blossoms and organic rose buds for blending with my black tea.