Bookworms unearthed at reading celebration

ELLERY JOYCE read from The Wind in the Willows with the phrasing of the most practised storyteller.

The eight-year-old was perched atop an elevated chair in the Leichhardt bookshop Shearer's, which was transformed into an elaborate children's play land yesterday for National Bookshop Day.

While paper book retailers have abandoned bricks and mortar in favour of going online, Shearer's is focusing on a niche market - children - and succeeding.

The shop's children's specialist, Rachel Robson, helps run the four children's book clubs that meet in the shop. ''I'm completely blown away with some of the ideas that they come up with. They take it very seriously,'' she said. ''But it's also very fun.''

Barbara Horgan opened the store 13 years ago with a special focus on children. ''We go out of our way to make this a community bookshop, where children and adults can come to meet and read,'' she said.

Ellery began reading at age three and joins a children's book club at the shop each month. She also pens her own stories and says her latest is quite comical.

''I just put a really funny bit in and I couldn't stop laughing,'' she said.

''I just fell over my desk in laughter.''

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