Meet Kidsbooks: Our Festival Bookseller

The Vancouver Writers Fest has had the pleasure of working closely with local independent bookstore, Kidsbooks, for over two decades. This year, the Festival bookstore has moved to a fabulous new location at 1359 Cartwright Street.

As we gear up for the Festival this October 21-27, we chatted with Phyllis Simon, co-owner of Kidsbooks, to let us know a little more about this Vancouver literary gem.

Tell us a little bit about Kidsbooks.

Kidsbooks started in 1983 and has been connecting people with books ever since! Our goal has always been to foster and promote reading for pleasure and for education to all ages.

What do you love most about the bookselling business?

One of the most satisfying aspects of bookselling is to see the impact daily that reading and meeting authors has had on children and adults alike. We especially love it when adults wander in and tell us how much they loved coming to Kidsbooks when they were children.

How many years have you been the Festival’s bookseller?

We have been involved since the late 1990s – exact year eludes me!

What do you enjoy most about the Festival week?

The excitement amongst the attendees, the authors and the organizers is electrifying! Everyone seems to be having a fantastic time – all the hard work finally pays off. And it is always fantastic to hear people exclaiming that the best is when they discover an author whose books they had never read before.

What is your strongest memory of the Festival?

I think one of the great pleasures was getting to know Chris Humphries way back in the 1990s when he’d come by the bookstore and charm everyone there! And discovering he was also a fine actor.

Are there any authors who you’d like to see at the Festival in the future?

Hilary McKay – a wonderful English children’s writer who never disappoints – her latest is The Skylarks’ War

And Katherine Rundell – her books are always quirky, entertaining and very emotive – her latest is The Good Thieves.

Would love to see them at the Festival!

What are you reading right now? Any recommendations?

I love all of Julie Flett’s books – her newest one is Birdsong, which is being launched with the new publishing line Greystone Kids this fall. There is so much dynamism and diversity in Canadian publishing!

As for adult books (because you need both children’s and adult literature in your life!), I have just finished Ann Patchett’s The Dutch House – a quirky, absorbing and emotional family story – kept me going for the whole long flight to and from NYC!

Kidsbooks will be at 1359 Cartwright Street on Granville Island for the duration of the Festival, October 22-27. Pay them a visit in between Festival events and pick up your new favourite read.


Lauren Dembicky