This April 30, The Secret Mountain will join readers, publishers, artists, and booksellers in celebrating Canadian Independent Bookstore Day. “Indie bookstores are a playground for a child’s imagination. I cherish the moments I spent in shops as a young father with my kids, looking for something to take home with us,” says The Secret Mountain publisher, Roland Stringer. “As an independent children’s publisher today, I’m so grateful for their support in introducing our stories and music to those little eyes and ears that grow up way too fast.” To spread our love for independent bookstores, we asked some of The Secret Mountain’s Canadian contributors past and present to share why independent bookstores are special to them. Marie-Louise Gay, author and illustrator “Going to an indie bookstore is inspiring. The booksellers, who are also bookworms, are always knowledgeable, helpful, and well-read. They often curate their book choices so the bookstore reflects their enthusiasm and predilections. Indie bookstores each have their own personality. Hours of joyful browsing.” Find The Fabulous Song on Bookmanager (CA) or Bookshop (US). Connie Kaldor, author and singer-songwriter “I love books and independent bookstores are staffed and run by folks who feel the same. You can find books that matter culturally to the area. They also support local writers as a rule and cater to their community. They are a lifeline to a community and to writers. They usually have a personality of their own as well.” Find A Poodle in Paris on Bookmanager (CA), Les libraries (CA), or Bookshop (US). Sophie Casson, illustrator “I really enjoy developing a more personal relationship with all smaller kinds of local shops. It gives me a sense of belonging to my community. Plus indie bookstores are welcoming and have knowledgeable personnel, which is not the case in chain bookstores. I believe in supporting local and smaller businesses mainly because I know where my money is going: not to an international multimillion-dollar company. They face many challenges ranging from large-scale competitors to facing high taxes in gentrified neighbourhoods, retaining employees, and dealing with all facets of being an entrepreneur. I identify with some of those challenges in some ways as a freelance artist!” Find Sing Out! on Bookmanager (CA) or Bookshop (US). Marie Lafrance, illustrator “I prefer independent bookshops by far. All the shops I can think of have a distinct vision and enlightened staff who like to read. You usually know what you’re looking for when you visit, but you can rarely leave without picking up a few extra treasures.” Find That’s My Piano, Sir! on Bookmanager (CA), Les libraries (CA), or Bookshop (US). Christiane Duchesne, author “Each bookshop has its own character, its own presence, and booksellers with passions, opinions, and very judicious advice. Like a landmark in the heart of a village, the independent bookstore exposes itself… and imposes itself in its neighbourhood. It is there that you can discover new books as well as classics, and marvel at the magnitude of literary production from near and far. You enter with a specific goal in mind, you get lost, you forget time and you leave with (at least!) one discovery under your arm. The independent bookshop is a magical place full of surprises, a haven for book lovers, a place to meet people, in person or in words.” Find W is for Wapiti! on Bookmanager (CA), Les libraries (CA), or Bookshop (US). Marianne Ferrer, illustrator “Like libraries, independent bookshops are important to me because they are a refuge for literature. After a friendly conversation with a bookseller, you can discover new paths to new stories that you never imagined. You can be sure that every recommendation is made with real love and passion for reading. You can always find kinship in every independent bookstore.” Find A Picnic in the Sun on Bookmanager (CA), Les libraries (CA), or Bookshop (US). To learn more about Canadian Independent Bookstore Day, visit www.cibabooks.ca/CIBD.