Visiting Kahani Tree Mumbai – more than a children's bookstore


This article provides an insightful review of Kahani Tree, a wonderful bookstore in Mumbai. So if you are looking for an exclusive children's bookstore in Mumbai or need advice on the appropriate books to buy for your child to set up a library at home, check it out here. You will get information on the kind of books they sell, their book gift voucher schemes, and the services they offer.

This article is dedicated to my parents who instilled the love of books in us at a very young age. Thank you, mummy & daddy for opening the exciting world of books to us. We read, we learned, we built our vocabulary.

Foreword

There are stores which sell books. Then there are bookstores which go beyond selling books and are an experience in themselves. One such is Kahani Tree, Mumbai which I recently visited. The word Kahani means story and, indeed, the store itself is like a storybook in which you can get totally immersed from start to finish. I entered smiling delightfully and left with a laugh (more about why the laugh, at the end). There are a lot of unique aspects to this charming bookstore which embraces you with warmth and which is part of a very memorable experience. I'm going to be back there, for sure.

Bookshelves at Kahani Tree store Mumbai

Prologue: The location

First off, there's the location. It is not a road-fronting shop on the ground floor. It is on the second floor of a commercial building. No worries, though, about steep steps. There are just a few of them as you enter the building and then a lift to take you up to the world of books. Let your imagination run riot here - consider it akin to going up the magical Wishing Tree of an Enid Blyton book, where you ascend into a cloud and discover a new place!



Next, enter this dreamy-real world of books and check what's in store.

Opening chapters: The books and their shelves

Large glass doors lead you into the bright store of Kahani Tree. No dimly lit and dark spaces here! I was immediately attracted to the shelves of books on either side. They are clearly demarcated under their specific genre, such as mythology, science, biographies, art, poetry, etc. There are bilingual books as well, such as in English and Hindi, English and Marathi, etc.

So what's unique about that, you may well say. Well, think about the book shops which you have visited. Have you noticed how cluttered the books are? Here, at Kahani Tree, they do not attempt to stuff a ton of books on a shelf. They have enough breathing space and are spaced out very well in a neat and organized manner. Not only that, a painstaking effort is to be seen in the helpful little place cards here and there, which have a one-line synopsis hinting at what a particular book is about. There are little notes of recommended books from the store owner and kids themselves. While the main focus is on Indian authors, you can also purchase books of foreign authors and there are books for teens and young adults as well. There are even solely picture books with no text, which is a good gift for little ones who have still to grasp words. Some shelves are grouped as per publishers, such as those of Duckbill publishing house.

Sachin Tendulkar Comic Book
In this, the outer section of the store, there is a round table with chairs where you can sit and browse through books to select what you are interested in purchasing. Believe me, you are sorely tempted to pull out this and that book off the shelves and end up with a pile on the table, spoiled for choice.

So, did I buy a book at Kahani Tree? Of course, I did – couldn't resist! I bought an illustrated comic book on Sachin Tendulkar, the text by Rohini Chowdhury and the illustrations by Sowmya Menon. It was fun to see Sachin's well-know career path in pictures. And it wasn't for a kid – it was for my uncle, who is a big fan of the star batsman, for his 81st birthday. It is that kind of store where an adult can enjoy buying a book for another adult!

Move into the other, inner section, and here are some more delightful storybook-like pop-up surprises.

Annexe: The interactive store

The shelves of books continue in the inner section, which also has open cupboards with sturdy shelves for more weighty books. In a corner, there is the symbol of the store – a tree with its lush branches brushing the ceiling and spread over the two side walls. There is even a nest! A wise owl is perched on the top of a cupboard just below the tree's branches, oblivious to all the exciting happenings in this space.

Kahani Tree Symbol Exciting, indeed, it is, because it is here that kids can enjoy storytelling sessions and interactive reading sessions with the actual authors of books. The events are generally scheduled on a Saturday, but there may be a few on special occasions, so you need to look out for them on the FaceBook page of Kahani Tree. Cane mats are placed on the floor and the place often gets jammed with a group of happy, animated kids. If there is space, immediate relations of the kids are welcome to join them on the mats and have fun, too. Chairs are provided for senior citizens (grandmas and grandpas are welcome, too!) at the back of the room.

It is in this room of Kahani Tree that the delightful surprises spring up at unexpected places. One was the afore-mentioned tree and the owl. Look among the books and around the walls for some cute surprises. A red-peaked gnome (or is that Santa's elf?), like the owl, is lost in the pages of a book. A chubby girl skips among butterflies across the top of a wall, a little bird chasing her extra-long pigtail. An astonished fish jumps out of the waves at a boatful of animals (a reference to Noah's Ark?). A bright red ladybug shares shelf-space with a caterpillar and other insects alongside a ram-rod straight tulip and a tiny watering can in front of books on…guess which topic? Don't miss the tall girl relaxing comfortably with one leg bent and the other dangling from a shelf. All in all, if you enjoy a treasure hunt, there's one right here to enjoy, at Kahani Tree!



Look out, too, for the quirky wall posters. There's one which admonishes you to treat a book with care. Another one is a gentle reminder that "You're never too old, too wacky, too wild to pick up a book and read to a child" (Quote by Dr. Seuss). The one on 'Reader's Rights' had me in splits with its humour.

Reaching out outside the store

Beyond the selling of books at the store and holding in-house events, there are pop-up bookstalls at book festivals and customized exhibitions in schools. Kahani Tree also has collaborations for outreach events for less privileged children by providing reading material or organizing book donations or helping out with setting up a reading room. A glimpse of all their events is displayed through captioned photographs on the Board within the store, titled 'Spreading the Love of Books'. You can even consult them on setting up your own personal library at home.

Acknowledgement

This review of Kahani Tree would be incomplete without mentioning the staff. It was not just the friendly owner, Sangeeta Bhansali, who exuded warmth, but the staff comprising Nikita, Sanobar and Purao, as well, whether ushering you in with a welcoming smile or pointing out the appropriate book to a customer or explaining about the gift vouchers and gently, with great care, wrapping a book to be gifted.



Epilogue

My niece's one-word reaction when she caught merely a glimpse Kahani Tree from the square glass pane of the lift as it touched base on the second floor sums up everything beautifully of this charming bookstore: "Wow!" Visit it soon and feel that 'wow' factor.

As for that laugh I mentioned at the beginning – look up at the spouted out text from the crocodile with the colourful teeth as you exit from the store and you'll know why the laugh spontaneously burst out. It is, as I said, that kind of store.

Giraffe

Kahani Tree contact information

Address:-
Industry Manor, 2nd floor, above J.K.Banquet Hall,
A.Marathe Marg, Prabhadevi,
Mumbai-400025,
Maharashtra.
Timings: From Monday to Friday - 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and on Saturday - 9 a.m. to 5.30p.m. (Sunday closed).
Ph: 022-24306780. Ext.: 230/240.
Email: info@kahanitree.com.
Website: www.kahanitree.com.

If you are buying a book at Kahani Tree to gift, they will gift wrap it for free in a delightful wrapping paper with various animals featuring on it. There is a unique Bookbag as well which you can donate to a school or library for underprivileged children. This comprises of a variety of books which they will fill up in the bag's slots as per the requirements of the school or library to which the gift is being sent.

Additional note: Planning to order online from their website? Forget it. As the owner, Sangeeta Bhansali said, ''Then how would we be different?". The idea is to retain Kahani Tree as a brick-and-mortar store, entice people to come, explore, buy, gift, and share the joy of reading and help others build their vocabulary as well through reading. The store has book gift vouchers of varying amounts starting at Rs.100/-.

Kahani Tree Book vouchers

[All images have been taken by the author with permission; not put many of them, though, as I don't want to spoil your experience!]


Article by Vandana
Vandana is based in India with over 15 years experience as a freelance writer. Writing, no doubt, is her primary passion! Having learned the art of blogging from ISC, Vandana is enjoying the thrills of blogging, taking pleasure in sharing information & getting good pageviews at her various blogs.

Follow Vandana or read 1490 articles authored by Vandana

Comments

Author: Umesh16 Sep 2019 Member Level: Platinum   Points : 8

A very well narrated and elaborately presented article on this special children book store. It seems the owner has conceptualised this book store on a theme-based reading entertainment for the children and has done attempts to make it a complete experience in buying a book after considering all the aspects.

Books are our great friends and lifetime treasure. Children's books are especially very important as they inculcate reading habits in them from an early age. Further, giving the children a background about the books and giving them an option of choosing one is something which will delight them much. Parents along with the children can enjoy the trip to such book stores and decide on the buying of select books and consider buying the gift coupons for their friends and family. There are very few of this kind of book stores which are theme-based and invite people to have a distinct buying experience. I remember visiting a similar store ('Crossword') long back where the owner arranged a reading and discussion session with the customers and it was very enthralling and interesting to attend such literary sessions. Though that was for the adults but the same theme can be applied for children where stories by popular contemporary authors can be recited by them in person.



  • Do not include your name, "with regards" etc in the comment. Write detailed comment, relevant to the topic.
  • No HTML formatting and links to other web sites are allowed.
  • This is a strictly moderated site. Absolutely no spam allowed.
  • Name:
    Email: