There’s something special about walking into your local book shop hand in hand with your little one. From the friendly employees behind the counter to the unforgettable smell emanating from titles lining the shelves, it’s an enchanted world all its own. So share your love of reading with your children at any one of these eight local bookstores to explore around South Barrington, Illinois.

Jen Fisher Books

If you’re on the lookout for an ever-dwindling brick-and-mortar bookstore, there’s a terrific one in Roselle. Located on Howard Avenue, Jen Fisher Books is the real deal with used books that people of all ages can collect, read, and enjoy.

You’ll also find notecards, bookmarks, photography, and art at Jen Fisher’s. Shop for unique gift items, too, like a customized bookmark. Its staff will even create it for you right on-site. This store is also the only place to get your copy of your annual “Life is a Magnificent Ride” calendar. It’s filled with the owner’s whimsical drawings and each month offers a hand-selected inspirational quote.

Abalabix Books

You’ll find Abalabix Books on North Williams Street in downtown Crystal Lake. This destination offers popular titles for new readers in kindergarten, cookbooks for mom, and career transformation books for dad — or vice versa! 

One of the best things about Abalabix is its outstanding public events. They host virtual live meet-and-greets with New York Times-bestselling authors, like Amor Towles and community fundraisers, like Sip & Shop. This special promotion supports Second Bridge. This local nonprofit helps support area foster families, so the children in their care have access to everything they need to grow and thrive.

Frugal Muse Books, Music, and Video

The Frugal Muse is an independently owned and operated bookstore on Lemont Road in Chicago’s western suburb of Darien. It sells both used and new media for budget prices. It’s the ideal place to trade in the books you’ve already read for a few fresh titles. This shop also has a calendar of delightful events for toddlers and up. These free experiences are fun ways for the whole family to celebrate literacy with:

  • Readings.
  • Prize drawings.
  • Scavenger hunts.
  • Book signings.
  • Refreshments.

Centuries and Sleuths

Books rest on a shelf at a bookstore in South Barrington, Illinois

Book shop” licensed under CC0 1.0 via Flickr by alexliivet

Centuries and Sleuths in Forest Park is a warm and comfortable independent bookstore staffed by approachable people who genuinely love reading. It specializes in history, mystery, biography, and related subjects for adults and children, plus it offers perks like free gift wrapping. 

As you wander its oak and cherry bookshelves, you’ll notice that each section is clearly labeled so you can easily find what you’re looking for. Its convenient location on West Madison Street offers street parking, three bus lines, and access from two commuter trains. This destination also hosts:

  • History, mystery, and G.K. Chesterton discussion groups. 
  • Sisters in Crime gatherings.
  • Mystery Writers of America meetings.
  • Author events.

Barbara’s Bookstore

Barbara’s Bookstore is a Chicago icon. The owners of this independent shop opened its doors in Chicago in 1963, and today its Burr Ridge location is one of five area Barbara’s. It’s not your typical shop because it prides itself on stocking various reading materials and other items.

Place an order on Barbara’s website and get free domestic shipping on orders over $25. It’s a terrific — and simple — way to share your love of books with friends and family who live out of state. In addition, you’ll save big with this store’s fantastic web specials.

A Book Above

A Book Above on West Vallette in Elmhurst opened in 2013. This family business caters to everyone, especially children and their parents. Its warm, welcoming feel offers an inviting place to wander on a rainy day in search of that special cover. Don’t forget to check out its website’s “coming soon” section, so you don’t miss out on any new releases.

This shop partners with Readers Ignite, a local children’s literacy charity, to host various Saturday events for young readers. The organization’s mission is to connect at-risk children with local reading resources. These get-togethers feature sports, trains, or animal themes, and guest speakers lecture throughout the day. A Book Above also offers:

  • Field trips.
  • Baby library registry.
  • Book-of-the-month club.
  • Book fairs.
  • Local authors showcases.

AfriWare Books, Co.

The founders of this minority-owned retail shop and resource center dedicated their space to preserving Africa’s rich heritage through books, calendars, and handmade clothing items that showcase creative black Americans. These friendly community activists infuse our neighborhood with cultural pride with author signings, live music, and public art installations by creatives like Shanel Romain and Sebron Grant.

AfriWare Books is an invaluable resource center that has served the South Barrington and area communities for over 15 years. It offers discounts to Trinity United Church of Christ members, too. Visit its location on South First Avenue in Chicago’s Maywood neighborhood.


Bookie’s has been selling books on the South Side since 1989. It’s a treasure trove with everything you can imagine, from out-of-print titles to the newest bestsellers. With two locations, one on South Western Avenue in Chicago and the other on Ridge Road in Homewood, it can better serve our community of avid readers.

Head to Bookie’s for fun happenings like panel discussions with Chicago Blackhawk players Evan Moore and Tab Bamford — or just to buy a book. It always has plenty of copies of this week’s best-selling fiction, non-fiction, and best choices for kids by age. If you’re not sure what you want, ask. The expert behind Bookie’s counter knows how to lead you down the right rabbit hole.

So, there you have it. The educators at Crème de la Crème of South Barrington put together this list of the eight best local bookstores in the area just for your and your little readers. Did you like the shops we picked? Did we miss a favorite bookstore of yours? If you think other Illinois locals would love it, let us know. Drop us a line! We’ll be sure to add it to our growing guide.