Bassetlaw children's book shop shortlisted in British Book Awards

A children’s bookshop that has served as an ‘oasis of calm’ for youngsters and their parents throughout the pandemic is up for an accolade in the prestigious British Book Awards.

Thursday, 25th March 2021, 11:13 am

The Barrister in Wonderland bookshop in Reford has been shortlisted as a ‘nibbie’ in the Children’s Bookseller of the Year 2021 category.

Owner Helen Tamblyn-Saville said she was ‘thrilled’ with the nomination, especially as the Carolgate indie is relatively new to the bookselling scene.

It opened in May 2019 and was originally the sister shop of The Barrister's Book Chamber.

"There's a lot of uncertainty and upset in the world at the moment, and when people come in and say the shop is an oasis of calm and joy, it's a really special feeling."

"I worked part-time in the shops and when it was announced that the Book Chamber was going to relocate to Matlock, I took over ownership and management of Wonderland,” said Helen.

"After taking the keys in early November 2019, I initially took it on for a six-month trial period, planning to extend the lease if things went well.

"In July 2020, despite the challenges of the pandemic, I signed for a five year lease.

"Over the last year, we've expanded the range offered and we have a fantastic and diverse selection of books suitable for babies through to young adults.

The Carolgate shop is relatively new to the bookselling scene having opened in May 2019.

"We also have a shelf for grown-ups and can order in most books in print.

"We've been fortunate enough to build relationships with some really wonderful authors who have been incredibly supportive, and have been able to offer author events, which we hope to expand on as we come out of lockdown.”

It’s a dream come true for Helen, who was ‘always the child who quite literally read the entire library’.

“I'm passionate about books and expanding reading horizons so when the opportunity was there to take on the bookshop, I had to grab it,” she said.

"For me, it isn't just about selling books, it's about helping people to discover new worlds and authors.

"We love working with schools and the community and believe everyone should have access to a broad selection of books and I hope to do more as we come out of lockdown.

"There's a lot of uncertainty and upset in the world at the moment, and when people come in and say the shop is an oasis of calm and joy, it's a really special feeling.

"We're very lucky and I'm very grateful to the community for their support.”

This year’s award ceremony will take place on May 13.

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