Local bookstore hosts free family events

Published 3:45 am Tuesday, March 8, 2022

Local families can look forward to more than just great reads at local independent bookstore Plaid Elephant Books. With COVID numbers dropping, store owner Kate Snyder says she finally feels ready to start hosting community events at her store on 3rd Street. “Ever since we opened in August of 2021, I’ve had my eye on being able to host events, but it just didn’t feel wise until now.”

Snyder says that her vision when planning her business was that the bookstore could be a community destination, not just a retail space. She says, “Children thrive on connection. Not just with their family, friends, and classmates – but with places, too. We carry memories of treasured places with us into adulthood and those connections shape us in powerful ways.” She also notes that families are eager to find opportunities for social engagement, following two years of relative isolation due to the pandemic. “The delight on children’s faces when they see a friend at the bookstore is absolutely heartwarming,” says Snyder. “It’s such a little thing – a chance encounter with a friend – but it’s something that was missing, and is now slowly returning.”

Snyder prioritizes partnerships when scheduling events. “I think one of Danville’s strengths, as a community, is how much people and groups are willing to work together,” she says. Next week, Plaid Elephant Books will host a cat-themed storytime with special guest reader Kari Kuh, executive director of the Danville Boyle County Humane Society. Children will receive a free copy of the book “Six-Dinner Sid” which is about a cat who convinces multiple families to feed him dinner each day. Kuh says the book provides a great entry point for talking with kids about the Humane Society’s Community Cat Program. “Community engagement is an important piece of our mission,” explains Kuh, “and we love this opportunity to talk with families about how the Humane Society is working to keep cats healthy and safe.” The storytime is free, but families need to preregister by contacting the store.

The following week, Plaid Elephant Books is hosting a launch party on March 23 for the new young adult novel by Danville author Heather Henson. “It’s exciting that Danville can ‘claim’ an award-winning author as one of our own,” says Snyder. “Heather’s books have long been some of my children’s favorites, so I am looking forward to this new release for both personal and professional reasons!”

Another regular partner at the store is the Boyle County Cooperative Extension. Alethea Bruzek, Family and Consumer Sciences agent for the Extension, hosted a hot chocolate “charcuterie board” event in February and is returning to the store for a program on “Healthy Snacks Made Beautiful” later this month, in honor of Nutrition Month. The event is sold-out, but Bruzek and Snyder say they plan to work together on other events in the future.

Starting in April, young families can enjoy a monthly Musical Storytime at the bookstore, with retired music educator Joan Stansbury. Each program will feature a different book, along with musical and/or creative movement activities to accompany the story. The first Musical Storytime event will be on Wednesday, April 20 at 11 a.m. and the featured book is Elmer the Patchwork Elephant. There is no cost to attend, but families are asked to register by contacting the store.

Plaid Elephant Books is an independent children’s bookstore, carrying books, toys, puzzles, and games for babies through teenagers. The shop is located at 116 N. 3rd Street. Details about upcoming events can be found online at www.plaidelephantbooks.com.