by Jessie Ammons
There’s a new kid on the block downtown: Read With Me, a children’s bookstore and art shop, is set to open early next month. The store is the brainchild of owner Christine Brenner, who says her “aha” moment came from a charming local bookstore experience a few years ago on a family vacation. “I remember sitting on the floor with my son and reading through the picture books. We bought our books and went outside to read them. I knew right then that I was going to open a children’s bookstore.” Brenner picked Hargett Street for its proximity to Marbles Kids Museum, her family’s favorite part of downtown.
“Our mission is to bring children’s books to life through interactive experiences with the creative process of storytelling,” Brenner says. Along with bookclubs and reading nooks, Read With Me plans to showcase rotating exhibits of featured illustrators and offer illustration classes. Bolstered by crowdfunding support from an Indiegogo campaign, the store will open for April’s First Friday. “I hope that our shop will become a place of friendship and collaboration for those who love kid-lit. Or a place to unwind after playing at Marbles or enjoying a brilliant downtown festival. Downtown Raleigh is a vibrant place to visit and do business and we’re very excited to be able to add something meaningful for families.”