Book Shopping

booksgirlLiving in a non-english speaking country presents numerous problems…one of which is being able to see and touch new books before buying them. I really miss visiting bookstores to spend hours browsing in the children’s book section.

I relish the time I have when I’m back home to visit book stores and choose loads of new books to ship back to the library here in Japan. There’s nothing quite like discovering a wonderful new picture book as you while away the hours in sensual delight in a bookstore! Who doesn’t love the smell and feel of a new book?

So how does an expat international school librarian source and buy new books in a country where so few good english and world language books are available?

Stores in Tokyo with English Books

The best places to find a reasonable selection of English kids books are Crayon House in Omote Sando, and Kinokuniya at Takashimaya Times Square in Shinjuku.  Tower Records in Shibuya also has a reasonable selection.

I’ve also discovered this comprehensive list of bookstores in Tokyo.

Book Review Journals

I eagerly await the arrival of these journals each month/quarter:

Magpies (Australian and New Zealand)

Books for Keeps (UK)

Library Media Connection (US)

Voya (US)

I also visit the websites and blogs for each of these journals and I periodically take a peek at  Horn Book (I skim the current issue online) and Kirkus Reviews (I subscribe to their email update)

For books in languages other than English, this is a good place to start your search.


The old favourites…,,,,  and… just because it’s easy and the reviews are always helpful.

For Australian and New Zealand books, these sites are helpful ….Readings, Pearson, Children’s Bookshop

Follett’s Titlewave

Baker & Taylor

For lots of other links, check my delicious bookmarks for book suppliers


Blogs are a fabulous way to find out about what’s new and what’s happening in the world of kids literature.

There are so many wonderful children’s and young adult literature blogs. A great place to start is KidLitosphereCentral

“The “KidLitosphere” is a community of reviewers, librarians, teachers, authors, illustrators, publishers, parents, and other book enthusiasts who blog about children’s and young adult literature.”

Just view the members page and you’ll find links to hundreds of blogs!

I regularly trawl book review blogs and websites from around the world on my netvibes.

A couple of favourites:


Reading Rants

Chicken Spaghetti


If you are looking for manga or graphic novels visit Sealight Books and check out the School Library Journal’s new monthly ‘Good Manga for Kids‘.


You can hear about all kinds of great stuff on twitter. Follow publishers, authors, librarians…all kinds of interesting people and keep up on all the latest on books and more.

Follow me here:


From Canada, for podcasts about children’s books, Just One More Book is a fabulous resource.

There are just so many great resources out there…..and so little time to really enjoy and use them! I need more hours in the day….

Do you have some great resources that you rely on. Please share in the comments!


5 thoughts on “Book Shopping

  1. Rose Hoger says:

    HI Leanne! My name is Rose… I used to be the TL at St. Mary’s. Well, I am back at St. Mary’s, but this time, I’m in the classroom. Congrats on this blog… lots of useful tips here.

  2. Sue says:

    I’m a writer living in Tokushima. My bilingual picture book, Playing for Papa, about a bicultural family in Japan was published recently by Topka Books in Spain and is available from the publisher’s website along with other books about diverse families.

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