New children’s bookstore in Fremantle

It’s been a good month for children’s literature with two new specialist bookstores opening on both sides of the country. Independent Melbourne bookstore Readings announced they would open a store dedicated to children’s and young adult books in Carlton and Jennifer Jackson launched Paper Bird Children’s Books & Arts in Fremantle. We had a quick chat to Jen about her new venture.

Why open a bookstore?

I’m a mum of three young children and having moved back to WA from living in Melbourne and London I recognised a need in Fremantle for a dedicated children’s bookshop and place for storytelling. Stories are particularly important in child development as they provide a way of creating meaning, connections and a narrative for children to build their sense of self and their place in the world. I worked in child mental health up until this point, mainly with children who had suffered trauma. Stories provide an effective antidote in bad times.

I have explored many children’s cultural centres around the world, including The Ark in Dublin, and ArtPlay in Melbourne. Dedicated children’s arts centres have a very different quality to them. Paper Bird is a big, old heritage building in the West End of Fremantle that has the space not only for a bookshop but also lots of beautiful areas for workshops, exhibitions and events.

Why did you decide to call the store Paper Bird?

Bird is my mother’s family name. She comes from an Irish family of storytellers. I like all the beautiful images paper birds bring up for people and the idea that stories on paper, when read, allow your mind to fly to other worlds.

Tell us about your plans for the store in its first year.

It’s going to be a big year. Book launches, workshops with illustrator in residence, Samantha Hughes in the Inkling Art Space upstairs, bean bag animation screenings in the courtyard, kids book clubs, including those for bilingual kids, workshops and events for kids with special needs, and a children’s story festival linked to the Fremantle Festival.

There will be workshops, meetings and events facilitated by educators, writers and illustrators. Sessions for school and community groups will be run in collaboration with the Fremantle City Library, local writers and illustrators and other Fremantle services.

Is there anything else you’d like to add?

Paper Bird is here to support our local children’s writers, illustrators and publishers. Fremantle Press has a strong presence, not only in the bookshop, but also being actively involved in the story house. Most importantly Paper Bird will provide a direct contact point for kids with literature and storytelling. Open every day for everyone to visit and be inspired.

 Jennifer Jackson, Paper Bird, Children’s Books & Arts,

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