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Barefoot Books and the Storyteller's Cafe

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by Oxford Explorer (subscribe)
I'm a Mum of two boys living in Oxfordshire, enjoying lots of fun activities and writing about them when I get a chance.
Published September 9th 2012
Enter an enchanted children's storybook
Barefoot Books
Barefoot Books

Enter Barefoot Books in Oxford's Summertown and you step into a magical children's fairytale. The vibrant colours, tents, and buzz of excited children will draw you through the store. A wide range of children's books greet you, each one tempting with hand puppets snuggled up beside them on the shelves.

Barefoot Books
Barefoot Books Store

The Book Store

Barefoot Books is an independent publisher and bookstore. Started by two mums back in the early 1990's, the business has grown with a global reach. Once you have a look at their books you'll understand why. Driven by their five core values, "Imagine, Explore, Create, Connect and Give Back", their books combine both illustrations to inspire and stories that will develop a well rounded child. It's not surprising that they have won too many awards to describe them all in just this article.

Barefoot Books have also kept up with the age of technology. On my last visit, I found myself drawn into their World Atlas that was shortlisted for the Junior Design Awards 2012. I then found out that it has been an Apple App of the week for the iPad.

Barefoot Books
Imaginative Displays

Storyteller's Cafe

If that's not enough to tempt you in, then midway down the store is the Storyteller's Cafe. There are lots of imaginative favourites for children, like the Humpty Dumpty Two Eggs & Soldiers, and grownups don't have to compromise as you often do in a family friendly restaurant; the salmon fishcake with hollandaise sauce sounded very appealing. If you just want to relax with tea and cake there are lots of choices and the portions are generous. My pot of loose leaf Early Grey tea from Suki was enough for over 2 huge mugs.

The fantastic food and choice is perhaps not surprising when you discover that it's developed by two brothers, Vladimir and Jose Niza, who have trained under the famous Raymond Blanc at the Michelin starred Manoir Aux Quat Seasons.

Storyteller's Cafe Barefoot Books
Storyteller's Cafe

On a sunny day you can sit outside watching the world go by and there are even low tables and chairs for the little ones.

Barefoot Books
Outside seating at Barefoot Books

It's not just my two year old and I who have been enchanted by Barefoot Books. Junior Magazine recently awarded the Storyteller's Cafe with 'Best Family Restaurant 2012'.

Storytime

Tucked down at the end is the Storyteller's Chair, bringing alive the ancient art of storytelling. Twice a day at 11am and 4pm, stories are read with all the wonder they deserve and the kids go quiet as they cluster around entralled. It's lovely to see their faces light up and a great way to foster a love of reading from an early age.

Storyteller's Chair Barefoot Books
Storyteller's Chair

Inspire Your Imagination

There are lots of creative activities run throughout the day in their upstairs studios such as arts and crafts, music time, and even post natal pilates for mums. Check their website for details (some are free and some are charged).

Barefoot Books
Activities change daily

Why not pop in and be enchanted?
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Why? Inspire your children
When: Mon to Fri 9:30am to 5pm, Saturday later opening to 5:30pm. Sunday 10am to 5pm
Phone: 01865 311100
Where: 294 Banbury Road, Summertown, Oxford, OX2 7ED
Cost: Free storytelling
Your Comment
I've loved Barefoot Books for ages, and I wondered what their shop was like. Thanks for the review, I think we'll be popping in to explore next time we are on a family holiday down South!
by Lindsay Law (score: 2|392) 2259 days ago
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