Kids’ Books at the Airport

Josie Leavitt - April 1, 2013

On my way home from Key West, I had a lengthy layover at the Charlotte Airport. As I’m wont to do, I scoped out the books that were available. Most small airport shops don’t have any children’s books. This airport had a small but interesting selection of six.
The first thing that struck me about the kids’ books was they were directly under one of the scariest scarymagazine posters I’ve ever seen. An ad for some sort of automatic weapons. Because really, shouldn’t every small child look for a comforting board book under the gun poster? And, not just a little handgun, but a semi-automatic rifle?
rightsideOnce I got past the horror of the guns, I looked down at the kids’ selection and while it was only six books, they were six good books. The top row had activity books: A Llama Llama:Birthday Party Sticker Stories, which doesn’t require precision of coloring that can be hard to do on the plane, and Disney Cars Mazes Book. Both are delightfully appropriate for little flyers.
The second shelf was for bears. The oversized board book Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? Is a great addition to any child’s traveling collection, though somewhat hard to pack. Then the real surprise was Bear Has a Story to Tell. I love this book, I was just shocked and happy to see it at the airport.
The last shelf had the message book. Max Makes Friends — what better book for a young child to read before or during a journey? Let’s all make friends during airline travel and maybe it would feel so arduous. The final book really speaks to all the bad flyers out there: My Brave Year of Firsts. 
I think that pretty much says it all.

5 thoughts on “Kids’ Books at the Airport

  1. Lise Friedman

    Travelling with my son when he was 2 or 3 I realized too late that the only pictures of airplanes when you’re at the airport or on the plane is the emergency card in the seat pocket of the plane. The in flight magazines seldom have stories or pictures of planes. You can often buy a model plane but not a book about planes. I always suggest parents flying with children bring books with pictures of airplanes.

  2. Linda Cohen

    Josie- We need to get you out to the Portland airport where there are 3 Powells locations with fully stocked kids sections. I almost cried when I saw this post. I have YA, mid-readers, picture books, board books, activity books and non-fiction from the Pacific northwest. I have lots of books about airplanes and flying for young readers. I stock authors from Portland like Colin Meloy and Laini Taylor. I guess it’s nice for them to have any kids books at all but this is just sad. They could have at least sprung for an airplane book or two–kids flying for the 1st time or parents needing something special from a trip away for the 1st time find them perfect 🙂

    1. K. Blanc

      Linda- I’ve always thought of Portland, OR as the “City of the Book”! I hope that other airports follow your lead.

  3. Steven Sussman

    Thanks for noticing the inconsistency of kids’ books at airports.
    Wouldn’t it be great to have a Powells at every airport?
    Since that is not the case….
    Breaking the price barrier for less expensive children’s books at airports is very difficult given the limited space and margins.
    What better books to stock at airports,train stations and bus depots than activity books for kids?
    Sounds right, but very difficult to pull off.
    When my daughter was younger (much!) I used to bemoan the fact that I could not find much in the way of children’s activity books or coloring books when traveling (the REAL time fillers and occupiers) but I always only seemed to find the Magic Pen product from Lee’s…..but those weren’t books, just activity pads….but there they were, rack and all…
    Dover has great items for airports, a huge line of $1.50 Little Activity Books (with an airport title being a huge seller….on Amazon, people must be planning ahead) and they can compete with the price of a candy bar but we can’t seem to get traction.

  4. David LaRochelle

    Here in Minnesota, we are REALLY blessed! The Mpls/St. Paul airport not only has children’s books, our magnificent independent children’s bookstore the Red Balloon has an entire outlet at the terminal. It stocks a large selection of outstanding books for preschools to young adults, often highlighting the strong authors and illustrators we have in our state. If you are ever on a layover here, make sure to check it out, Josie!


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