READERS' PICK: Tucson was once the province of a number of great little independent bookstores. But the new age has dawned, folks, and we have to live with the best of the rest. So when it comes to kids' books, that spells Borders. The children's literature section at Borders is a nicely sprawling niche; plenty of room to browse, wander aimlessly or listen to music in the conveniently located children's music section. All the essentials are here: teen-idol bios, surviving-adolescence how-to books, hot young-adult titles like Louis Sachar's Holes, and for the wee ones, Animalia, Goodnight Moon and the ubiquitous Barney in overstocked proportions. Gather 'round at 1 p.m. Saturdays for a variety of kid-centric presentations, including story hours, magic and puppet shows, and visits by children's authors.
READERS' POLL RUNNER-UP -- TIE: Barnes & Noble Booksellers, 5130 E. Broadway Blvd.; 7325 N. La Cholla Blvd.; and Bookman's
Used Books, 1930 E. Grant Road; 3733 W. Ina
Road. Bookman's is a Tucson landmark for used books. And because many of our avid readers are kids, who outgrow books even more quickly than they outgrow their clothes, Bookman's is a good choice for the toddler-toting, bargain-hunting family of bibliophiles. Not all adults can bear to part with the cherished titles marking the passage of the wonder years, so you may not find groovy Graeme Base or the latest Harry Potter on the first visit; but keep trying (or fill out a request form at the front desk). Unpredictability is part of the attraction of a used-book store. You'll congratulate yourself for your tenacity, not to mention the pile of coins you'll save, when you do happen upon those sought-after treasures. The summer months feature a variety of storytimes and special events in the guise of the Bookman's Kid's Club.