My Favourite Bookshops – Blog Post 2 – The Little Bookroom, Carlton North, Melbourne.

 The Little Bookroom logo illustrated by Edward Ardizzone

Ever since I began this crazy career called writing I’ve been visiting The Little Bookroom sometimes just to be surrounded by books and feeling their presence, or to buy books, attend launches and have my own book celebrations. It’s a very special place.

On October 13, 2010 I was lucky enough to be present for the celebration of The Little Bookroom’s Fifty Years of children’s books with the launch of The Little Bookroom – Fifty Years with Children’s Books by Jeffrey Prentice. My treasured copy is signed by Albert Ullin, Leesa, Lesley and Ian Lambert.

On October 25, 2014 The Little Bookroom was the bookseller for the launch of Little Dog and the Christmas Wish in the beautiful Block Arcade, long before any of us realised that the book would be chosen as the theme for the 2015 Myer Windows.


Also in 2014 Leesa invited Robin Cowcher and I to be part of The Little Bookroom (then the Degraves Street shop) to a celebration of Little Dog and the Christmas Wish published by Black Dog Books. Robin Cowcher painted the glass windows with scenes from the book.

On 2nd September, 2015 The Little Bookroom hosted a celebration of Counting on You at the Carlton North shop where I read and signed copies of my new book


and I met one of my writing heroes, Kate Di Camillo at The Little Bookroom on 31st May, 2017.

Coming up on March, 31st at 10.30 will be the launch of A Cat Called Trim, illustrated by the wonderful Craig Smith and published by Allen and Unwin. Please contact The Little Bookroom or me if you’d like to join us.

If you go to the ‘About Us’ page of The Little Bookroom’s website, this is what you’ll read:

A Little History

The Little Bookroom opened its doors to the public on Friday the 13th October, 1960. Albert Ullin, after studying literature and languages and working extensively in the booktrade in Australia and internationally, decided to focus his love for contemporary children’s literature and illustration into an Australian first: he would open a bookshop devoted solely to children’s books.

Albert named his shop for a collection of whimsical short stories by Eleanor Farjeon who wrote on the occasion of the shop’s opening: “I am proud and happy to know you’ve chosen the title of my book for the title of your Bookshop in the City my Father first set foot in the 1850s when he emigrated to Australia as a boy of 16. The stories he told me of his arrival in Melbourne have always made it seem to be one of ‘my’ cities. Thankyou for giving me a home in it”.

The Little Bookroom’s logo also comes from its award-winning namesake – it is a treasured example of Edward Ardizzone’s ink illustration.

Albert found tiny premises (the shop was ten foot by twenty) in Melbourne’s Metropole Arcade – a once beautifully balconied wrought Iron arcade that now forms part of the Commonwealth Bank Building on the corner of Bourke and Elizabeth Streets.

In 1963 The Little Bookroom moved to Equitable Place where it stayed for sixteen years before being forced to move once again to the shop in Elizabeth street that most are now familiar with. In 2005 another migration was forced upon The Little Bookroom which this time found a home in 771 Nicholson Street North Carlton before finally coming to rest in the present, and particularly happy premises, of 759 Nicholson Street. Albert’s original shelves have made every single move!

In its history The Little Bookroom has only had three sets of owners, all of whom have been committed to continuing its iconic legacy. Albert sold the business to three of his staff in 1997 – Christine Andell, Debra Kelly and Sarah Portelli spent ten wonderful years immersed in children’s books before, in turn, selling it to one their employees, Leesa Lambert and her parents Lesley and Ian in early 2008.

The Little Bookroom now operates a thriving shop and events space in Carlton North, bringing authors, illustrators, publishers and readers together in a welcoming, respectful, inclusive community space. Our events schedule is also growing as demand for child friendly bookish activity grows in Melbourne, a UNESCO City of Literature.

We are very proud of the contribution we make to the world of children’s literature sharing our expertise and enthusiasm, and hope you can visit soon!
You can keep in touch with us on facebooktwitterinstagram and email.

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