Stepping into Mabel’s Fables Bookstore is like entering a cozy cottage belonging to some friendly book-loving elves. Two stories of walls and walls of books, with couches and benches sprinkled throughout, make you want to settle in with a good book. It’s a place to find great reads, enjoy some storytelling and experience a spirit of sharing and generosity that will keep you warm all through the long winter season.
An Inviting Neighbourhood Bookstore
The main floor houses books for the youngest readers – baby books, board books, picture books – arranged by age level. On the second floor are books for middle readers and young adults, both fiction and non-fiction, as well as a well-stocked French section. And in between, tucked away in a corner of the staircase, is a selection of great books for adults.
The friendly, knowledgeable staff know their inventory well and enjoy chatting up their young patrons about the books they love to read. I recently popped in looking for a gift for my nephew. I let the bookseller know his age and the types of books he’s enjoyed in the past, and she directed me to a number of options that were among her personal favourites.
Programs for Readers of All Ages
Mabel’s hosts a variety of book-related programs and events for every age group. Lullabies and LapRhymes (birth to 9 months), Mr. Bear Says Hello! (2 to 4 years) and Storytime (toddlers 2 to 4 years) bring together songs, rhymes and storytelling that nourish children’s language development and their love of stories and books.
In cooperation with Small Print Toronto, Mabel’s plays host to two programs for older readers that bring them face-to-face with some of Canada’s best writers. The Volume One Project is a series of writing workshops for ages 8 to 12, while the I Haven’t Read the Book Club is for young women 13 to 17.
And for adults, the Writing for Children classes are run through George Brown College.
Check the Mabel’s Fables website for details on all their programs.
Nurturing the Spirit of Giving
During the holiday season, Mabel’s Fables runs their highly popular Book Angels program. Customers can choose to buy the gift of a book for a child named on one of the paper angels hanging from the ceiling of the shop. That child will get to open the book on Christmas day, along with a toy and food basket provided by York Community Services.
And Mabel’s encourages giving and sharing books all year round. It is a drop-off location for the Children’s Book Bank, a charity providing free books to low-income neighbourhoods. You can drop off your new or gently-used children’s books at their drop box located outside the shop any day of the week. Or make a donation of a new book to Sick Children’s Hospital, and Mabel’s Fables will deliver it for you, any time of the year.
Get a book, give a book, share a story…it sounds like the perfect way to spend a winter afternoon.
Mabel’s Fables Bookstore
662 Mount Pleasant Road, Toronto, 416-322-0438