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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.


Summer Camps at Lyceum Village


Join us for literary and writing camps!

Variantions on a Magical Tale (Cinderella Stories from Around the World) Perfect for 1st-3rd graders, this day camp incorporates writing, crafts, and read-aloud Cinderella stories from around the world. The kids produce their own take-home book after learning what Cinderella stories have in common. June 10-14 8:30-10:00 June 24-28 8:30-10:00 July 8-12 8:30-10:00

Harry Potter Camp For those experienced with the world of Hogwarts or those just itching to learn, Harry Potter Camp will inspire! Daily readings from Harry Potter, plus creative journaling activities, games, and crafts will inspire every young wizard! June 10-14 10:30-12:30 June 24-28 10:30-12:30 July 8-12 10:30-12:30

Lyceum Village's summer camps are organized by morning & afternoon sessions. Mornings have two camps (which include sports, music, academics, and hobbies) and afternoons have two camps. You can sign up for morning, afternoon, or both. Check out their website today for registering.


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 Tustin Library, 345 E Main St, Tustin, CA, usually on the third Saturday of each month.

Fee: No charge for book club participation. To make our model profitable, we would encourage you to purchase the book club books from Once Upon a Storybook. See the Shop Online tab or the Purchase buttons below. Book Club participants receive $2 off each book club book, with the code “BOOK CLUB” in the comment section of the order form. Deduction will take place after your order and before your credit card is charged.

Note: Currently Mock Newbery Book Clubs are the only book clubs meeting. Stay tuned for further updates!


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 2020 Newbery Medal winner! Join us for a Saturday discussion each month beteen now and February 2020, when the award is announced.


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

Little Bookworms is suspended through the end of the summer. Keep checking back to see what we'll be doing in the fall! You will have a month to read the selected book as a family read aloud or the child alone if the child is a strong reader. 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).



Spring Storytimes

With Miss Susie the Storylady


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

Wednesdays 10-10:50 am, $30 per child for the six-week session.

Preschool Storytime (ages 3-6 years)

Wednesdays 11-11:50 am, $40 per child for the six-week session (includes a craft)


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:

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This bestselling classic features the Sandra Boynton clan heading to bed. Their bedtime preparations mimic a child's bedtime routine, but giggles will abound! Every family library should have a Boynton or two! This one is likely to be a family favorite.

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4-8 Years Old

A special tribute to the name-giving process all children should know and understand. Poor Alma doesn't appreciate her name--it is soooo long! But her father patiently explains how each part of her name came from a special family member. But "Alma"--that's just her, and she will get to make her own story.

This lovely story is perfect for 4-8 yr-olds, but Miss Susie has read it to 10-yr-olds who love it, as well! It is likely to inspire great discussion about where the listener's name came from. Great families memories will be made!

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9-12 years Old

Life is quiet and ordinary in Amal's Pakistani village, but she had no complaints, and besides, she's busy pursuing her dream of becoming a teacher one day. Her dreams are temporarily dashed when--as the eldest daughter--she must stay home from school to take care of her siblings. Amal is upset, but she doesn't lose hope and finds ways to continue learning. Then the unimaginable happens--after an accidental run-in with the son of her village's corrupt landlord, Amal must work as his family's servant to pay off her own family's debt.

This novel pairs well with the nonfiction story of Malala Yousafzai, as children start to understand how different their own culture is from others in the world. This amazing book (which wins Miss Susie's award for most beautiful cover of 2018!) will show readers a complicated world in a gentle way, as Amal navigates her harsh reality and her big dreams. She is brave and makes a difference in her community, as we hope all of our children will.

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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Summer Camps at Lyceum Village