All Ages

New England Book Road Trip

August 1, 2020 | Navigating Feelings

EAST COAST Independent Bookstore Spotlight

Thanks to a helpful couple we talked to, while waiting for the ferry to get back to the mainland, Connie and I decided to change-up our original independent bookstore plans.

We decided to visit Mystic, Connecticut and swing by a few bookstores on the way. Who hasn’t seen the awesome 80’s flick with Julia Roberts? How can we skip that destination?!?

On our way, we spotted an adorable bookstore, Ink Fish Books, in Warren, Rhode Island, and had to stop!

The owner, Lisa Valentino, was very helpful and Connie and I each left with some books and gifts for friends.

I stumbled upon the book, Finding Orion by John David Anderson. It is a book about being different and the beauty of family. Rion Kwirk and his other family members may be considered a bit odd, but also endearing. What a great read for middle school kids!

We are so glad we decided to add this bookstore to our list last minute.

Once we arrived in Mystic, we stopped by Bank Square Books, which is on the main strip.

It is steps away from Mystic Pizza and other independent businesses. The store consists of two rooms and oodles of books and endless gift ideas. I ended up treating myself to a plethora of young adult books and could have treated myself to more.

A Heart in a Body in the World by Deb Caletti, was one of the gems I purchased. The main character, Annabelle, experiences a traumatic event; and decides to run across the country, in order for a sense of control. Not only does the book have despair and anger, but hope too. I completely understand why the book was named a 2019 Printz Honor Book. The only reason I stopped myself was because I knew there were more independent bookstore adventures waiting for us in our near future!

How often do you have the opportunity to visit Martha’s Vineyard?

After spending time with family near Boston, Massachuesetts, we thought the perfect way to kick-off our road trip was to spend some time enjoying Martha’s Vineyard.

We decided to take a break from some island fun and visited Bunch of Grapes Bookstore in Vineyard Haven.

The bookstore was quaint and had an adorable reading area for younger kids.

There were so many children immersed in books.

What a wonderful sight to see!

I found myself getting lost in the endless book options and could have spent several hours there.

One of the books I settled on was Patron Saints of Nothing by Randy Ribay. The book is about grief, loss, justice, and finding oneself. I have never read a book like this and was intrigued by the inner dialogue. This is a riveting book and a must read for any high schooler. I can see why Randy Ribay’s book was on so many “best of” lists!

Savoy Bookshop & Cafe, Westerly RI was next. We almost missed this one, which turned out to be my favorite bookstore of the whole trip. As Pearl and I were boarding the ferry to leave Martha’s Vineyard, we were chatting with a sweet mom and dad in line, who were busy trying to tether their two busy toddlers to their sides. We mentioned our plans to drive through Connecticut to visit some bookstores on our list.

The mom heard our destination and said, “Wait, you AREN’T going to Mystic? You should totally take that route instead. It’s much prettier and there is a great kids’ bookshop near there called Savoy in Westerly, RI. Really, it’s amazing!”

And just like that, our plans changed. Plus, the mention of the coast and lunch at Mystic Pizza had us sold.

This bookshop is charming, warm, and cozy. Think “old world library” mixed with yummy coffee and specialty pastries.

And the children’s section is tucked in the back corner, with some really high quality selections.  I wandered the dark wood corners, turned pages, breathed in the coffee smells, and found these two gems in the children’s section. I would go back to this one in a heartbeat and recommend that you visit as well!

Sergio Sees the Good: The Story of a Not-So-Bad Day by Linda Ryden Fabulous picture book to start a conversation about navigating big negative feelings when you are a little person. A great read-aloud to pair with the classic, Alexander and the Terrible, No Good, Very Bad Day by Judith Viorst.
Pedro: First Class Friend by Fran Manushkin – Friendships in grades 1 and 2 are BIG deals. This early chapter book is part of the Pedro series and explores Pedro’s adventures with his friends in many contexts: theme parks, bike races, and vanquishing scary monsters. This is a accessible early chapter book for kids to read themselves in late first grade and throughout second grade.

While visiting Lititz, Pennsylvania, a charming (voted the “Coolest Small Town in America” for 2013) town, we decided to go to Wilbur Chocolate prior to stopping in Aaron’s Books.

You cannot have a road trip without snacks!

After stocking up on chocolate, we made our way to Aaron’s Books and continued our independent bookstore adventure.

There were a plethora of books to choose from, including local authors.

Also, there was a gaming section in the bookstore. What a great way to get together with family and friends!

One of the books I settled on was The Voice in My Head by Dana L. Davis. I instantly fell in love with the identical twins, Indigo and Violet, and their relationship. I found myself laughing and crying throughout the book, as I was following along with their difficult road trip and journey. This coming-of-age YA novel is a must read.

– Connie O & Mandy G, New Book Joy Founders

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