While visiting San Antonio for the annual Children’s Literature Association conference, I noticed that a local bookstore, The Twig, had a table set up at the conference book fair. This isn’t unusual--lots of publishers set up booths and sell books for a discounted rate--but it’s rare that an actual bookstore sets up shop at this extremely academic conference. But here was The Twig, providing a full display of great children’s and YA books. Emily and I began browsing, and almost every time we picked up a novel to read the back cover, the staff person helpfully began chatting with us about the book.
But this isn’t the sort of chat that seemed like someone trying desperately to sell us something. We engaged in genuine, enthusiastic talk about the books for sale, sharing our thoughts and favorite authors. If the staff person hadn’t read the book, she offered us things other customers had told her about the title. I like talking about books, obviously, so having a chance to get to know a book before committing to buying it is a wonderful thing. Emily and I both picked up a Children of Blood and Bone. We knew we had to go to the store itself.
The Twig is located in a beautiful, bustling old brewery that has been converted into shops and (on the weekends) a huge farmer’s market. It’s a nice space, close to a yummy ice cream shop and many other offerings. The store itself is sizable, with nooks dedicated to different genres from contemporary literary fiction to children’s lit to local interest titles. There are also the typical bookstore knick knacks, like small toys and notebooks and bookmarks. I picked up a Leuchtterm1917 with red dotted pages, because I am a notebook snob.
The staff at the store was also very friendly and helpful, looking up a book for us and chatting with us even though the store was very busy (due to the farmer’s market). It’s clear that The Twig is a bookstore, but also part of the community. We heard about a recent project the store was participating in to donate LGBTQ themed books to a local youth shelter in honor of Pride Month, and that highlighted something important for me. Bookstores are a community in and of themselves and also part of the local community they exist within. They’re not just places to buy books, but spaces that people can gather in and learn from each other while also attempting to give back to others. This is why we highlight and will continue to highlight independent bookstores!
You can find The Twig online here, where you can buy books online and get in contact with the store. If you’re in the San Antonio area, make sure to stop in for a visit!