The Flying Dragon Bookshop
Stepping into The Flying Dragon is like walking into a friend's living room, the cozy atmosphere accentuated by comfy sitting chairs and a couch at one end of the store. As usual, I head for the fantasy section for young people. One of the staff wanders over to ask if I need any help, and I'm excited to discover that an author I like just came out with a new book.
"You know," the woman says thoughtfully, "If you like that author's writing style, you may like this other book as well ..." And this is one of the things I love about The Flying Dragon, one of my favourite bookstores in Toronto: the friendly and knowledgeable staff who can help me discover new books and authors as well as re-discover familiar titles.
The bookstore was started in 2003, when Nina McCreath and Cathy Francis got together for coffee one day and talk about possible job prospects. They decided to open a bookstore, with a focus on children's literature. "We both had had a lot of experience in the book business," says Nina, "Particularly with children's books and other related school/job experience that would benefit the store. Nancy Davidson came aboard shortly after. We were a year fine-tuning all aspects of our business plan to see if this could be a money-making as well as a soul-satisfying venture and the rest is history."
Staff are hired for their genuine passion and love for books and reading, and are encouraged to read the books in the store so they can become familiar with the stock. The Flying Dragon has several part-time employees including Elaine Cowan, a professional storyteller, who handles all their story times and book clubs:
No matter what the age, staff can recommend a great read. In addition to board and picture books, the store carries fiction and nonfiction titles for middle grade readers, teenagers, and even some books for adults.
Store events include regular storytelling times throughout year on Tuesdays: 10:30 am for 2-4 year olds and at 1:30 pm for 3-6 year olds. There's a book club for 8-10 year olds on Thursday afternoons and even a book club for adults once a month. "We have had a number of wonderful authors into the store for events and teas including Jane Yolen, Mem Fox, Karen Kain, Cynthia Kadohata, to name a few."