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Blue Manatee Children’s Bookstore specializes in literature for everyone ranging from babies to young adults while also offering a variety of events that include craft demonstrations and group story times. Additionally, it publishes its own books that are written by experts in child-related areas. ADDRESS: 3054 Madison Square Rd, Cincinnati, OH 45209. / Image: Christi Scott // Published: 12.28.16

Let Your Inner Child Run Wild At Blue Manatee Bookstore

In a grown-up world of chain bookstores and cookie-cutter shopping plazas, Blue Manatee is a magical oasis for children that’s stood the test of time.

The Oakley bookstore offers more than just books for curious young readers to indulge, though. It brings families together in a way that only literary imagination can.


It’s no coincidence that Blue Manatee rhymes with “humanity.”

The store began operations in 1989, when it was then known as Blue Marble. It's mission: to “revive an endangered place for families to explore the wonderful world of ideas.”

Dr. John Hutton and Sandy Gross happened upon the bookstore when it was days away from permanently closing up shop. Dismayed at the thought of losing an independent bookstore to a chain company, the two made an offer to the owner and signed a contract, fittingly, in green crayon.

The store underwent a makeover and a name change that reflects the heart of its new owners. Manatees and children have a lot in common; they’re docile and playful (also adorable), and the environments in which they thrive are at risk.

By getting back to basics for the sake of children, Blue Manatee provides them with incredible opportunities later in life.


There is something for all age groups ranging from babies to young adults. Picture books, workbooks, board books. You name it, they have it!

Aside from offering a wide variety of children’s books, Blue Manatee hosts special events, including weekly ManaTots story times and other themed readings.

But perhaps what makes this shop stand out most from the others is the other businesses they run under the same roof.


In 2011, Blue Manatee Press started publishing its own books as part of the Independent Publishers Group. The staff are accredited publishers who are experts in child development, fine art, and children’s literature. The team is also working to expand its network of authors across the globe.

Everything Blue Manatee does, whether it be the publishing, selling, or shipping of children’s books, is done with the young readers in mind. Even the boxes that Blue Manatee Boxes used to ship themed book packages are made to engage with their imagination. And who doesn’t love a good box?

While they do have a group of regular customers that come by, they also enjoy visits from adult customers who made memories there as a child.

The rich history, the fan base of both young and old, and the sense of community all wonderfully converge for a remarkable experience that can only be had at Blue Manatee.


Blue Manatee is located at 3054 Madison Square Rd, Cincinnati, OH 45209.