Great fairy tales and spectacular stories find a new home with the opening of the children’s bookshop

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Telling Tales is a new children's bookstore that opened in the BNZ Center in Christchurch.

JOHN KIRK-ANDERSON / stuff

Telling Tales is a new children’s bookstore that opened in the BNZ Center in Christchurch.

After opening a bookstore specifically aimed at children in central Christchurch, young bookworms have a new place to immerse themselves in big stories and quirky adventures.

Thousands of books fill the bright, sunny room of Telling Tales with its bright green arched entrance overlooking the inner courtyard of the BNZ Center with an ice cream parlor outside.

Jo Hewitson and Dave Cameron, owners of Scorpio Books across the courtyard, said it was the “obvious thing to occupy the” brave new space “on Cashel Street when it is a difficult time for retail.”

Telling Tales, which caters to anyone under 14, had an informal opening on Saturday due to the Covid-19 level 2 alert, but Hewitson said they were hoping for a starting holiday on October 9.

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Scorpio Books children’s books were bursting at the seams before moving to Telling Tales, and Cameron said opening the second store helped better showcase the books.

Co-owner David Cameron has owned Scorpio Books for over 40 years, during which the store moved multiple times due to the 2011 earthquake.

Stan darling / stuff

Co-owner David Cameron has owned Scorpio Books for over 40 years, during which the store moved multiple times due to the 2011 earthquake.

Scorpio Books returned downtown in 2016 after being forced to move out of Hereford Street due to the 2011 earthquake, and spent four years in a shipping container on Riccarton Road.

The decision to open the children’s bookstore was a “spontaneous matter,” said Hewitson.

The opening was “somehow scary” with “excitement and horror at the same time”.

Co-owner Jo Hewitson, pictured in 2016, says the opening of Telling Tales was scary and exciting at the same time.

KIRK HARGREAVES / stuff

Co-owner Jo Hewitson, pictured in 2016, says the opening of Telling Tales was scary and exciting at the same time.

However, with new staff on board and “an abundance of passion and knowledge for children’s books on the Scorpio team,” it is an opportunity to promote children’s books across the community, she said.

After the closure of Original Children’s Books on Victoria Street in 2016, Hewitson said it had proven that there was a demand and space for a children’s bookstore.

Hewitson says they hope Telling Tales will be a communal space and a

JOHN KIRK-ANDERSON / stuff

Hewitson says they hope Telling Tales will be a communal space and a “safe space.”

They hoped to create a common space where readings could be held and local writers could be celebrated.

“There is nothing better than giving a prospective reader a good book, and we are fortunate that so many of our customers share this joy.”


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