11 June 2024

The Book Cow: a space where children can immerse themselves in the world of books

| Louiza Blomfield
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Man standing in book store holding a toy cow.

Paul Arnaudo, owner of The Book Cow, says he and his family wanted to give their bookshop a memorable name. Photo: The Book Cow.

In the heart of Kingston, opposite the Green Square, stands a place of literary delight known as The Book Cow.

It is a strange name for a bookshop, so what exactly is a Book Cow?

Paul Arnaudo, the owner of The Book Cow, has a passion for books and cows and says he and his family wanted to give their bookshop a memorable name, something that would resonate with people, especially children. And so, The Book Cow was born, a name that not only captures their love for literature but also invokes a sense of charm and nostalgia.

But The Book Cow is more than just a clever name – it’s a haven for book lovers. What sets The Book Cow apart is its dedication to creating a love for reading, particularly among children.

exterior of the Book Cow book shop

The Book Cow supported the Canberra Hospital Foundation last Christmas with a special book delivery for children who couldn’t go home for the holidays. Photo: The Book Cow.

Recognising a shortage of kid-friendly bookstores in Canberra, Peter set out to fill this gap, curating a space where children can immerse themselves in the world of books.

The shop is divided into two distinct sections: one catering to adults with a diverse selection of titles reflecting the tastes of the local community and the other dedicated solely to children’s literature, inviting young readers to explore and discover the magic of storytelling.

Peter says, “It’s a place where you can come and talk about books, exchange thoughts and ideas, and experience books.

“And for kids in particular, that experience is really about having fun, playing with books, reading books, and all those sorts of good things. That’s why we try to make it a really welcoming place for them.”

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In a world saturated with digital distractions, Peter firmly believes in the value of physical books.

He says the ability of books to transport readers to new worlds, ignite their imagination, and offer a reprieve.

As Peter aptly puts it, “The worst thing I can hear when kids walk in is their parents saying, ‘Don’t touch anything!’

“We actually want you to pick up the books. We don’t have problems with kids opening up books and reading them and having fun with them.

“I also don’t have problems with people bringing their dogs into the shop either because dogs shouldn’t be sitting out there moping, thinking, ‘I’m not part of the family.’”

Inside a book store

The Book Cow welcomes young children to pick up and read the books while they are in the store. Photo: The Book Cow.

Given this focus on children and families, it is no surprise that Peter decided to support the Canberra Hospital Foundation last Christmas with a special book delivery for children who couldn’t go home for the holidays.

When asked why he chose to support Canberra Hospital Foundation, Peter told us, “It’s not just good business; it’s supporting the community that supports us.”

Because of the generosity of the Canberra community, the Canberra Hospital Foundation can support patients, families and healthcare teams across Canberra’s public health services.

Delighted to learn of the immediate impact of his book donation, Peter spoke of the therapeutic value of books in promoting mental well-being and resilience.

“From offering solace to hospital patients to providing an escape for those facing adversity, books possess a unique ability to uplift spirits, expand horizons, and instil hope,” Peter says.

“Time moves on a different scale when you’re reading a book, and I think the world drops away because if it’s a really good book that captures your attention and your imagination, you can stay there all day long.”

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By embracing a sense of community spirit, The Book Cow highlights the integral role that small businesses play in nurturing vibrant and resilient communities.

The Book Cow is located at 47 Jardine Street, Kingston. For more information, visit The Book Cow.

Louiza Blomfield is a communications executive with the Canberra Hospital Foundation.

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