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Book Fest: Take it to the [57th] Street

I live in Hyde Park, a neighborhood of Chicago whose most famous resident currently resides in the White House. Hyde Park is very much a small college town that has been woven into the city—legend has it that it’s a place where you can’t hide and you can’t park. Legend is at least half right. While it’s a quirky bubble filled with a confusing array of retail opportunities—shop for sex toys, candy, and pets in one block—we are well stocked in pizza joints, grocery markets, and, best of all, bookstores.We have a Powell’s for used books, a university-oriented Barnes and Noble, a second university coop, a rare books establishment, and until recently, a Borders. Because I’ve never felt the need to pick up DVDs when perusing potential lit, the loss of Borders has had little impact on my life. I’ve always been loyal to the bookstore I grew up patronizing, 57th Street Books, a branch of the Seminary Coop. This unassuming, indie gem is the hope diamond of bookshops as far as I’m concerned.

Like other establishments on the block, it is a destination for Obama tourists that frequent our ’hood—though no “Obama reads here” shirts have been processed as of yet. Renowned for their impeccably stocked “front table,” 57th Street Books is perhaps best known for hosting an annual children’s book fair each September. It’s a fall landmark on our calendar and it’s coming up this weekend!

This Sunday, September 18, from 1 to 6 pm, is the 25th annual 57th Street Children’s Book Fair—Hyde Park is going to be bumpin’. Complete with live musical acts, al fresco reading tables, and craft activities, the fair is a fantastic afternoon for adults and kids alike. Featuring old and new, fiction and fact, short and long, picture and prose, there’s a book here for everyone. Additionally, it’s a legit balloon festival—like Up! with gravity.

I’ll be there—sitting on the cement in front of makeshift street shelves skimming for Penny Parish novels (also avoiding costumed characters that roam the closed streets in hordes with my four-year-old sister (more for my benefit than hers))—and I definitely think you should come! …Good luck with the parking.

10 responses »

  1. Is your sister wearing red, glitter shoes?? So jealous!

  2. Here’s the question, though: would you go if you didn’t have young siblings? :)

    Love the pics.

    • I would! With my mom (to trick her into buying me “early Christmas” gifts). And by “tricking” I mean “accepting her natural generosity.”

  3. Totally wishing that emoticon didn’t come alive.

  4. you had me at balloons.

  5. “But the children love the books!”

  6. I find it absolutely adorable that Alex is AlexBird. Right on!

  7. We will be there with our sparkly shoes! (Maybe they fit in your fashion round up–Michael Kors for tots?)

  8. Pingback: Fall to-do list « threebirdsblog

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