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Buy Local update: More choices to shop for our picture books and Willow soft toy locally

Updated: Aug 5

I am sure many of you will agree with me when I say that one of the greatest pleasures of driving around in Australia, is being able to stop, browse and shop at the many locally owned stores that sell beautiful, unique and locally produced items. We find such stores all over Australia and fell in love with them on our many road trips around the country.

So, when we were starting Wise As Stories, Darren and I decided that if there was anyone we'd partner with to distribute our books and toys, it would be these local book, gift, toy and other independently owned stores. Thus began our Buy Local directory.

We started developing our Buy Local directory the old fashioned way.

Darren and I embarked on a series of roadtrips in our "Willow van". Yes, we'd simply rock up to on the doorsteps of cool indie bookshops we'd read about or other cool independent stores we encountered on our drive. We'd walk around the store, and if we liked the vibe, would request to speak to the owner and tell them our story!

Cold calling is scary but thankfully (most) people who run small independent shops tend to be the sort that don't mind a chat with travelling artisans selling their wares... And to our delight most of these good folks also took our books on, and some even generously paid for the stock upfront.

Their support has meant the world to us and we love profiling them to our community. You can shop at these places knowing that you are not only supporting your local community but also the good folks who support local authors and artists.

Things are getting easier these days for Darren and I, as stores have begun to seek us out now. To this end, it gives us great pleasure to welcome the latest additions to our Buy Local listing where you can stock up on Willow the Wonderer picture books, the adorable Willow soft toy and even the premium gift sets. But you must hurry, for you see, it's taken me a while to find the time to write this article ...

Willow the Wonderer, a donkey in a striped purple onesie, running in full flight with a manic look on his face
Hurry! Limited stock on hand.

Latest additions to our Buy Local directory

Petrarch's Bookshop, Launceston Tasmania

We are thrilled to introduce our first local stockist in Tasmania - meet the fantastic folks at Petrarch's Bookshop!

Petrarch’s Bookshop is an institution having existed in Launceston as a general bookshop since 1985. Although it has been owned and operated by Peter and Rhonda Durkin for most of that time, Marcus Durkin has joined his parents in the business and is now the operational manager of the shop. And yes, it was Marcus who reached out to us to stock the books.

two generations of booksellers in tasmania
Petrarch's Bookshop Owners and Manager

Petrarch’s stocks a wide range of book categories, with special emphasis on Tasmaniania, gardening, cooking, architecture, health, art and many more.

Their children’s book section has quadrupled in size in recent years and we are delighted to say now includes the Willow the Wonderer series.

Their rather interesting name also has an interesting story, having being inspired by Italian poet Petrarca.

So dear Tasmanians, next time you are feeling like buying some of our books, give the good folks at Petrarch's a holla - and get your hands on signed Willow the Wonderer books.

Other new book, gift and other stores who joined our community in 2023

Foodworks in Longreach, QLD

Located in the town of Longreach in sunny Queensland, Foodworks Longreachis possibly our most remote stockist todate! Think we fell in love with them the moment we looked up their facebook page and checked out all the shennigans the ladies running the joint get up to ...

Foodworks Longreach pride themselves on providing good old fashioned service, quality & fresh produce, and a little bit of something for everyone."

It seems to be working as testment by one of their customer reviews:

A toddler in a crumpled pink dress standing in the middle of a supermarket aisle
Hmmm. What to buy?

"Well the foodworks in Longreach would have to be one of the best small personally owned stores we have ever been in. They run rings around the large commercial stores and their customer service is so welcoming and friendly. As you walk in the door your greeted by all staff that are on the floor with a hello or help finding something if you need it. Must say that goes a long way in my book ... Thanks for showing us that there is still that good old Aussie friendly service alive and well."

So if you live in and around Longreach, consider buying Willow the Wonderer picture books and premium giftsets directly from here.

Our huge thanks to Rose for taking our little Willow on.

Linen Caravan in North Stradbroke, QLD

Another rather exotic store, from another rather exotic location, in our most exotic state - Queensland! (Have I used the word exotic enough times?) Extending a warm welcome to Linen Caravan from North Stradbroke Island to our Buy Local directory.

Books on sale at a market stall
Books, book s and more books!

Linen Caravan was established in 2014 on North Stradbroke Island. It was born from the discovery of a love for beautiful textitles and soft furnishings for the home. Today, Linen Caravan is a collection of beautiful tactile, colourful and quality soft furnishings, and a wide array of gifts.

You can find them online as well as at the Point Lookout Markets on North Stradbroke Island. Another huge thanks to Estelle for stocking Willow the Wonderer picturebooks and toys.

Charlie Horse Toys in Whittlesea, VIC

We also welcomed a gorgeous new toy shop, with an equally gorgeous name, to the mix: Charlie Horse Toys based at Whittlesea in Victoria.

a baby crawling on ground covered in a flowery blanket
All things children

Charlie Horse Toys hosts a wonderful collection of interesting toys, books and learning resources that will spark children's curiosity. The store at Whittlesea is an enchanting place to spend a lazy hour or two browsing their collection.

They also have an online store as well - where from what we can see, all the Willow the Wonderer picture books have already sold out (!) but a few plush toys are still around, waiting to find their special little human friends.

Huge thanks to Nicola for adding our Willow to her collection of favourite things.

And finally - A reminder of the best bookshops in Sydney

Admittedly, we may be a tad biased with our assessment of best ... but hey if they are seeing our books walk off the shelves, they are probably a pretty good joint ;-)

Ending this update with a shout-out to the stores that have re-stocked Willow the Wonderer books and toys - our huge thanks to the store mangers - Beth, James and Michael - for their ongoing support.

Incidentally all these stores are located in some of Sydney's best shopping and food district, so do pop in when you next feel like indulging in a bit of (responsible) retail theraphy or cafe culture ;-)

Support local businesses written in curly type
It's the right thing to do.


If you have a favourite store where you like to buy local, we'd love to hear about them and would welcome warm introduction to the owners :-)

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