By Andy Hirst

A Huddersfield bookshop loved by generations of children is moving … but hopefully not far.

The Children’s Bookshop on Lidget Street in Lindley opened in 1975 and has become one of the town’s favourite independent businesses.

The lease on its current property is up and the bookshop needs to move by March 31, but owner Nicola Lee has found another property which she is hopeful of getting just a couple of hundred yards away at the end of Lidget Street near its junction with West Street.

Nicola said: “We’ve looked at a few options, including relocating away from Lindley, but decided we really want to stay here as we are so synonymous with the village.”

A delicatessen called The Larder shut just after Christmas and the aim is to move the bookshop into there.

Nicola first visited the Children’s Bookshop when she was eight and then her own children always wanted to visit. She ended up working there 17 years ago and has owned the business for the last seven.

“I just love books, especially those for younger children,” she said. “I read and read so if children come into the shop I can chat to them, discover what they like and then introduce them to books I know they’ll love.

“That’s what being an independent bookseller is all about, spending time with children to find books to fire their imagination and a love of reading.”

Nicola outside what she hopes will be her new shop

She said the Harry Potter books by J K Rowling changed children’s literature forever.

“They certainly raised the standard,” she said. “Although no one author has reached the heights of fame like J K since, there are some great books out there.

“It’s an effort to read a book so it has to be worth it but good stories are always worth it. Children like to read books because books are fabulous and which parent wouldn’t want their children to read books?

“I think the pandemic lockdowns rekindled a lot of people’s passion for books and helped children to discover their own love of reading as they had so much time at home.”

Favourites at the moment include the comic-style Dog Man books by author and cartoonist Dav Pilkey, the Percy Jackson fantasy series by Rick Riordan, the Adventures On Trains series by M G Leonard and Sam Sedgman and the Land of Roar series by Jenny McLachlan.

Books that have been around for ages and are still popular include Diary Of A Wimpy Kid and illustrated books for young children such as Paddington, the Very Hungry Caterpillar, Elmer The Elephant and Hairy Maclary from Donaldson’s Dairy.

Nicola said: “People who read these stories when they were children now want their own children to enjoy them.”

The Children’s Bookshop supplies books to schools, nurseries and playgroups – some as far away as Leeds and Bradford. They often phone with a budget in mind and leave it to Nicola’s knowledge and experience to sort out the books they think their pupils would like.

“We always get a positive response with our selection, “ said Nicola. “We are here to help schools so they are more than welcome to contact us.”

The shop regularly has authors dropping in for book signings and also organises visits and signings at schools – usually one or two a month.

“Publishers phone us and ask if there are schools in our area who may like an author to visit so we arrange it for them,” said Nicola. “They can be real eye-openers for the pupils.

“We live in an age where people can read on Kindles or iPads but there really isn’t anything like a proper book, especially for children. They are often so vibrant, filled with illustrations or photos and beautifully presented. That just doesn’t translate onto an electronic device.”

Nicola is a member of the Children’s Committee of The Booksellers Association so is always right up to date with the latest children’s books and trends.

“We are constantly receiving proofs of new books so we always know what’s coming next,” she said.

The shop is having a sale to reduce its stock before the move, including lots of books for very young children.

It may be called the Children’s Bookshop but Nicola and her staff can order any book – adult or children.

“We can get just about any book anyone could want,” she said. “We love to talk books.”

* Written by ANDY HIRST who runs his own Yorkshire freelance journalism agency AH! PR ( specialising in press releases, blogging, website content and copywriting. Copyright Andy Hirst.