Sevenoaks Bookshop Young Readers Scheme

Sevenoaks Bookshop has a range of exciting programs for its customers, one of these being the Young Readers scheme.


CommunityAd chatted with bookseller Elle and owner Fleur Sinclair to find out more.


Can you tell me a bit about the Young Readers scheme?

As book-buyers as well as booksellers, we know how important it is to have reviews to look at when you are browsing for inspiration in a bookshop. For children, being able to see what their peers think of new books is so much better than reading reviews by booksellers and other adults. Therefore, allowing children to read new and upcoming books and hearing what they think about them works brilliantly! Parents and grandparents also find it helpful when buying books for children.

As booksellers, we are very lucky to receive copies of books before they’re published. We send out lots of these books to the children in the Young Readers scheme each month – they bring in a review for the book, and in return they get to read a new or upcoming copy of a book for free.

The child or their parent can sign up via our Young Readers Questionnaire form on our website. We also make sure we find out what sort of books and authors the Young Reader has liked in the past, as well as anything they particularly dislike – that way, we’re able to tailor which books we give out to each Young Reader.


Who came up with the scheme?

The bookshop owner, Fleur Sinclair, came up with the scheme after reading about a bookshop in New York that has an annual newsletter about children’s books, written by children. She wanted to do something similar for our shop but before we could have a magazine, we needed to have a team of children reviewing books. What started with just a handful of regulars grew into a database of over 100 children and with the bookshop’s children’s buyer, Alex, they worked hard to share all the information about the scheme with local primary and secondary schools. We’ve not been able to produce the magazine since the start of COVID, but the reviews are of great value to our customers, young and old.


What has the response been like?

We’ve had a fantastic response to the scheme. We have a display table in our children’s section where we display the newest reviews alongside other books that have been reviewed. We also list all our Young Reader reviews on our website. It is so brilliant to see so many enthusiastic responses from the children involved in the scheme – whether they loved the book we gave them or not! (Usually they do!)


Why is the scheme so important?

It is a really nice way for children to actively engage in reading for pleasure outside of a school environment. It is also great for us Booksellers to have the children’s reviews to look at so that we know what to recommend the customers who come into our shop.


Will you introduce any more schemes like this in the future?

We don’t have any plans to introduce anything similar currently. However, we are constantly thinking of ways to improve and expand on what we have already achieved with the Young Readers Scheme and hope to be able to start producing the magazine again at some point in the future – when things finally settle down in relation to COVID.


Find out more about the magnificent scheme by visiting the Sevenoaks Bookshop in person or via their website.

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