Beyond reading: Beijing's oldest and biggest picture bookstore
By Li Qiong
["china"]
The Poplar Kids Republic is one of China's first and biggest bookstores specializing in children’s picture books. Opened in 2005 in Beijing, Poplar is also a publisher and has been a driving force in changing the reading habits of a new Chinese generation. 
For the past 12 years, this small bookstore has been filled with children's dreams and fantasies. It's shelves are exclusively dedicated to picture books. 
The Poplar Kids Republic. /CGTN Photo

The Poplar Kids Republic. /CGTN Photo

According to Song Xi, manager of the bookstore, there used to be very few Chinese picture books. Now there are more than 3,000 different copies at the bookstore from around the world.
As a publisher, Poplar aims to foster a sense of multiculturalism in young children through exposure to picture books from around the globe.
There's a wide range of books for young children here, but it's also a fun and comfortable place in which to read them.
Song said every detail of decoration is a result of delicate design, and Poplar was voted one of the most beautiful bookstores in the world.
The Poplar Kids Republic. /CGTN Photo

The Poplar Kids Republic. /CGTN Photo

A decade ago, picture books were not very popular in the country, but Poplar staff helped change that by reading the books in kindergartens and libraries for free.
And this tradition continues today. Storytelling for kids is held regularly on weekends.
Poplar Kid's Republic was founded by a Japanese woman, Ishikawa Ikuko, 12 years ago, but the company only started to make a profit four years ago. Staff members have said that their persistence has been worthwhile, as more and more Chinese children are engaging in the imaginative world of picture books.