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A Unique Children's Literary Resource for Orange County

Because stories inspire and books make memories

Miss Susie (left) with Author Alison McGhee.

It All Began With a Dream.

Susie Alexander is a dreamer. She's also a do-er. So, when she'd launched her fledglings out of the nest and was ready for her "Next Big Thing", she knew it was time to open the store of her dreams and get doing. Once Upon a Storybook opened its doors on October 4, 2014 and quickly became the epicenter for children's literature in Orange County, California. With a staff of trained book sellers, unparalleled resources for educators and home-schooling families, and a passion for igniting the reading fire in little hearts and minds, it was a special place. Yes, it was a store. But it was, and still is, also a community of dreamers who loving doing. To see why Once Upon a Storybook is special, check out our instagram feed

While our storefront closed in April of 2018, we continue to offer unique programs for young readers and those who love them: book clubs, story times, an online store and coming soon, our signature subscription service curated by Miss Susie and guaranteed to delight young readers of various ages!

Read our story.


Book Clubs 

The only thing better than enjoying a great book... sharing the experience with others. We've created book clubs for kids to expand their reading repertoire, learn how to analyze the content of their literature, and connect with new friends.

Date/ Location: All book clubs meet at Cedar Grove Park, 11385 Pioneer Rd, Tustin, CA 92782 on Saturday, December 1, 2018.

Fee: No charge for book club participation when you buy the book(s) at Once Upon a Storybook. If you buy elsewhere there is a $5.00 fee per child, payable at the start of the book club meeting. 


Mock Newbery Club (4th-8th graders) 4:00 PM

Every year the American Library Association (ALA) selects the very best in writing for kids. The Newbery Medal has come to represent the best in literature--the gold sticker is a badge of honor for the books that receive it.

The qualifications to be considered for a Newbery are that the author must be an American and that the book had to be published in the previous year. (For the 2019 award, the book must have been published in 2018.)

So . . . Kids! Let’s take a look at the new chapter books that could become the 2019 Newbery Medal winner! Join us for a Saturday discussion each month beteen now and February, when the award is announced. During the first meeting, we’ll decide which book we’ll read each month. Then we’ll have a party for the winning book in February!


Little Bookworms (1st- 3rd graders)- 3:00 PM

You will have a month to read the selected book as a family or the child alone. We will discuss, act, and create based on the story of the month. Here are some of the books we have read: The Chocolate Touch (Catling) Toys Go Out (Jenkins) Mrs. Piggle Wiggle (McDonald) 26 Fairmount Avenue (dePaola)



Winter Storytimes

With Miss Susie the Story Lady

Winter Dates from Wed, Jan. 9 to Wed, Feb. 27, 2018

Itty Bitty Storytime (ages birth-2 years)
Lyceum Village, 14281 Chambers Road, Tustin, CA 92780

Wednesdays 10-10:50 am

Preschool Storytime (ages 3-6 years)

Wednesdays 11-11:50 am

Storytime Fee: $40 per child for the eight-week session.

Bonus: Receive $5 off your purchase of any books in our online store


Shop with Us Online 

Once Upon a Storybook uses Indielite to offer a full range of children's literature. You can shop with us online anytime, 24/7 and receive your books shipped right to your door.

Here are a few of our favorites this month:



This bestselling classic features a berry-loving boy and an endearing rhyme-spouting bear. The fun wordplay and bright paintings with lots of details for young readers to explore make Jamberry a perennial favorite, and this board book edition is a great stocking stuffer.

A small boy and a big friendly bear embark on a berry-picking extravaganza, looking for blueberries, blackberries, and strawberries. Their fun adventure comes to a razzamatazz finale under a starberry sky.

From author-illustrator Bruce Degen, Jamberry is perfect for sharing. "With delightful, rich illustrations and zany wordplay, Jamberry is a must have book for any family with young children," according to Children's Books Guide.


4-8 Years Old

A long, long time ago, before email and texting, the mail was delivered in a much slower way-it was called Snail Mail (because some thought it was delivered by a snail). Although it took much longer, everyone agreed that letters were a little more special when they were delivered by Snail Mail. They might be handwritten. They might include a drawing. They might even contain a surprise inside. One such letter was sent by a Girl to the Boy she loved, and it was up to four special snails to deliver her card across the country. The snails trek across the country-through desert heat and dangerous blizzards, across mountains and plains, through cities and forests-and along the way, they find that taking time to slow down and look around makes the journey all the more beautiful.


9-12 years Old

It's been five years since Livy and her family have visited Livy's grandmother in Australia. Now that she's back, Livy has the feeling she's forgotten something really, really important about Gran's house.

It turns out she's right.

Bob, a short, greenish creature dressed in a chicken suit, didn't forget Livy, or her promise. He's been waiting five years for her to come back, hiding in a closet like she told him to. He can't remember who--or what--he is, where he came from, or if he even has a family. But five years ago Livy promised she would help him find his way back home. Now it's time to keep that promise.

Clue by clue, Livy and Bob will unravel the mystery of where Bob comes from, and discover the kind of magic that lasts forever.

Once Upon a Storybook in a Box

Monthly Book Subscriptions


Littlest Listeners

(Ages birth-3)

This box is specially curated for infants-toddlers. Reading with your baby is one of the best ways to create lasting memories, spark your child's imagination, and accelerate language acquisition. Each month our box will have a new theme with 3-4 picture and board books hand picked by Miss Susie, and a complementing toy for your little listener.

Early Readers

(Ages 4-8)

Readers at this stage still enjoy being read to, but they're also eager to begin experiencing the joy of reading to themselves. This box embraces the spirit of adventure and independence of Early Readers while also providing the opportunity for storytime snuggles. Each box contains 3 hand-picked books and a craft or toy in the theme of the month, along with a note from Miss Susie to help you get the most from the selections.

Middle Grade Readers

(Ages 8-12)

Cultivating a love of reading at all ages is what Once Upon a Storybook is all about! With this box, Middle Grade Readers will get to experience stories from a variety of genres, including some of your own childhood favorite titles, and books written by up-and-coming new authors that will become the classics of tomorrow. This box will have 2-3 books each month along with a reading guide provided by Miss Susie to help your independent reader enjoy their books.

 Once Upon a Storybook Supports Childhood Literacy

Once Upon a Storybook has always been more than a bookstore. We offer services and resources that you can't find on Amazon or at a big box store. Miss Susie has a command of children's literature that enables her to be able to make recommendations, assist with curriculum development, speak to service clubs and school audiences, and support home-schooling parents in a way that is unparalleled in our lovely little corner of the world. If you have a special request, need help with a lesson plan, or are looking for a speaker for your next PTA meeting, look no further!


Speakers Bureau

Miss Susie the Story Lady is available to speak to groups of children or adults about literacy or other favorite literary topics. Here are some of her recent engagements:

Tustin Community Preschool: annual speaker for parent education evenings

MOPs : annual speaker for Mothers of Preschoolers about the importance of reading aloud to children

TUSD Elementary Librarians: 2x year speaker about significant new books

Various PTAs and PTOs: speak about literacy, parent involvement, types of reading material, reading outside of homework (reading for the love of it!)

In addition, Once Upon a Storybook can assist you with securing an author or illustrator to share the creative process with your students. Let us help you plan your program!


Home School Family Support

Susie is a former homeschooling mom and currently works as a school librarian. If you need a hand developing a lesson plan, selecting just the right book for your next unit, or even planning a field trip around literary topics, contact Miss Susie! Let Once Upon a Storybook assist you with developing age-appropriate reading lists for summer reading. We will be reopening our charter accounts, so homeschool families can continue to order through us. Miss Susie is happy make to make recommendations that correlate to your curricula. We will be offering book clubs through The Homeschool Campus in late 2018, stay tuned for more details.

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