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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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‘Not all who wander are lost’ at Whimsy and Wild Emporium

Photo by Photo by Emma Lawson

A quote from “The Sandlot” at the Whimsy and Wild Emporium in Downtown Bryan on Tuesday, July 12, 2022. Children and children-at-heart are welcome to read, learn and play at the local bookstore.

For avid readers and parents of future bookworms, Whimsy and Wild Emporium has books and activities that will capture the imagination of all ages. 

Located in Downtown Bryan, Whimsy and Wild Emporium opened in June to promote literacy by providing events for the community through utilizing music and stories. The bookstore holds free events weekly —  at 10:30 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays they host a “Jump, Wiggle and Shout” class and on Tuesdays and Thursdays at the same time they host a story time, according to the Whimsy and Wild Emporium website. They also host local writers within the community, such as B.W. Van Alstyne, and sell books that give back to the community.

Lindsey Terry, co-owner of Whimsy and Wild Emporium alongside Maggie Ruiz, said opening a bookstore was a passion of hers that was partially inspired by her own teaching experiences. 

“I loved where I was with teaching, but I’ve always wanted to own my own bookstore, and the timing worked out perfectly,” Terry said. “[Ruiz] was also ready to take a break from daycaring, so we both went into this project together.”

Whimsy and Wild Emporium hosts a teen room alongside the main room, Terry said, allowing older visitors a chance to revisit book series they may have read as kids themselves. 

“Our age range is [infancy] all the way through high school,” Terry said. “We’ve even had college students coming in to look at series they loved when they were in high school. That’s what we want, a safe place for them to come and hang out.”

Terry said a new bookstore faces challenges and, in order to continue offering free events, they need support from the community.

“We love that we can offer people a place that is, firstly, air conditioned, but also can entertain kids, and we have something every single day of the week that’s free,” Terry said. “But we also need the community’s help to offer that … That could be buying books or signing up for paid events.”  

Some paid events that Whimsy and Wild hosts include summer camps, tutoring and craft-snack nights, Ruiz said. 

Ruiz said one of the store’s major goals is to encourage kids to grow and have fun. 

“We want to put books and literacy into kids’ hands while being the No. 1 go-to place to see kids be excited,” Ruiz said. “Kids are often handed tablets to play, and they miss that face to face communication, so I really value [in-person] storytime.”

Ruiz said she also teaches music lessons at Whimsy and Wild on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays in the early afternoon or evening.

“Music has been my passion for over 25 years, and I started teaching when I was out of high school,” Ruiz said. “I like seeing the excitement in kids, especially at young ages. I’m also one of the few teachers locally who will teach [kids] under first grade.” 

Ruiz said she likes to encourage kids to have a fun, positive learning experience during music lessons. 

“It doesn’t have to be just sitting there and playing piano,” Ruiz said. “It can be interactive music games to teach them the basics and build a passion and love for music.”

B.W. Van Alstyne, a local children’s book author, said he fell in love with Whimsy and Wild Emporium after visiting and wanted to get involved. 

“A friend of mine who runs Anointed Abilities, which is a social group for children with autism and special needs, told me there was a new bookstore downtown,” Van Alstyne said. “I [visited and] showed them my books, and they ordered some for their store.”

Van Alstyne said his storybook “Under the Crescent Moon” is a book that is currently sold at Whimsy and Wild.

“I wrote the poem for my son who’s autistic, and I thought it would be a great children’s book,” Van Alstyne said. “[For self publication], I found my own illustrator, a young local lady who is also on the spectrum, and I asked her to do all the illustrations. It was brilliant.”

Because young children often experience books using all their senses, Van Alstyne said he wanted his physical publications to be free of hazards. 

“Companies in China use harsh chemicals in their printing, and I didn’t want that,” Van Alstyne said. “I did find a company right here in America called Pint Size Productions, and they photocopy the images onto paper so kids can suck on it and it’s fine.” 

Van Alstyne said he now reads his stories at Whimsy and Wild, such as “Under the Crescent Moon” and “The Sweet Adventures of Henry P. Twist,” and hopes to read his Christmas poem in December. 

“You are as old as you feel,” Van Alstyne said. “I want to get adults to start reading to their children again, and I want them to find some commonplace with the books themselves, just like they did when they were young.”

For more information on upcoming events, visit the Whimsy and Wild event calendar.

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  • A room within a wardrobe at the Whimsy and Wild Emporium in Downtown Bryan on Tuesday, July 12, 2022. Children and children-at-heart are welcome to read, learn and play at the local bookstore.

    Photo by Photo by Emma Lawson
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