Big news at Watchung Booksellers, Montclair, N.J.: the store is celebrating the grand opening of its new children's store, the Kids' Room, with a week of activities and events. Owner Margot Sage-EL also announced that her daughter Maddie Ciliotta-Young is now a co-owner and eventually will take on full ownership of both stores.
Speaking of the store's succession plans, Sage-EL said, "You need new blood, new vision to move forward with a business that's been through so many changes throughout the last three decades. With Maddie's drive and deep connections to this community, we've already seen exciting new changes and opportunities for growth."
The Kids' Room, located at 44 Fairfield St., has some 1,300 square feet of space, about the same size of the longstanding store, at 54 Fairfield St. The new location houses all of bookstores' titles for children through tweens. (YA and graphic novels will be in Watchung Booksellers.) Because of its square shape, as opposed to the other store's longer, narrower shape, the Kids' Room will host most events. The former children's space in the back of Watchung Booksellers has been renovated into a reading room, with more nonfiction titles. The Kids' Room also has a backyard garden, which will host author receptions and storytimes, weather permitting. The reading room will host some signings, book clubs, and literary salons.
|Margot Sage-EL and Maddie Ciliotta-Young
Ciliotta-Young said, "We are thrilled to expand our children's programming with the opening of the Kids' Room. While we had wonderful adult events at Watchung Booksellers, we were limited with what we could do for kids in the confines of that shared space. Now, we are already scheduling children's book authors, multiple storytimes, and exciting new book clubs for middle-grade and YA readers. As a former educator, I'm also very excited to expand our offerings to area schools by way of school orders, book fairs, and author visits."
Watchung Booksellers was founded in 1991 by Kathy Linsk. In 1992, Sage-EL created a mail-order catalog, Great Owl Books: Celebrating Our Many Voices, promoting multi-cultural children's books, and in 1996, she and Trina Rogers bought the bookstore. Great Owl Books was incorporated into Watchung Booksellers and continued for several years. (The logo of the Kids' Room includes a large and small owl, reflecting Great Owl Books.) Sage-EL became sole owner in 2000. Watchung Booksellers moved to its current, main home in August 2001.