Small businesses across the world have been struggling for far longer than COVID-19 has swept the globe. With huge corporations like Amazon coming into power, it’s become more convenient to get items online; as a result, our hometown stores end up left in the dust, forgotten just down the road.
Tucked in a corner of Clock Tower Square on Main Street here in Monroe, Turning the Page is a bookstore full to the brim with literature for all ages. The store is colorful and bright, with different shelves everywhere you look, and books upon books. It has an air of intellect and fun, inspiring for all customers. It’s not a “get lost in the stacks” type of place which makes it different and exciting as well as easier for younger guests, something that is mirrored in it’s owner, Pia Ledina.
As a former librarian at both Stadley Rough Elementary school in Danbury and Reed Intermediate School in Newtown, Ledina uses her experience in school libraries to talk to children and find their perfect book. “I think that every person has a book that’s gonna be that book that, you know, sort of makes that light go off in their head,” Ledina says.
Like a game, Ledina starts a conversation about the little details to put together the puzzle of a person. “It gives me an opportunity to talk to somebody who, for whatever reason, hasn’t figured out what makes them happy with a book,” she explains.
Sophomore patron Safa Memon adds, “I love how the owners can instantly connect and understand each child’s personality after hearing only a few words come out of their mouth. They always manage to help find books that the people are excited about.”
Ledina’s store has a variety of books, all ready to be checked for availability online through her new and improved website. Her young adult and adult sections have expanded to include books for all ages. “I guess you could say that we are really more of a family bookstore with a heavy emphasis on children,” she muses.
Ledina creates a sense of community, something that can’t be mimicked by stores like Target. Ledina goes so far as to say, “As far as I’m concerned, anyone who comes in here is one of my kids.” Large stores do not have that special connection with their customers. There is an indifferent attitude people have when entering a store they don’t connect with.
“As far as supporting Turning the Page specifically…” Ledina says, “Well, we’re just totally awesome, so you should totally come in here all the time!”
The week of Valentine’s Day marked the book fair event Turning the Page hosted for Jockey Hollow Middle School, and there is also opportunity for Masuk involvement too. Ledina welcomes high school students interested in helping or considering joining her new Young Adult Counsel to plan future events. She can be reached through the email on her website or a visit to the store.
Monroe is lucky to have a long history of independent booksellers, reflecting the power and importance of reading in our community. Ledina understands the beauty that lies within connections to books;
“It is something that is both soothing and an escape. It is educational, it is fun, you can learn from it and it is also a way to find yourself.”
An inspiration to all of the simple and pure love of books, Pia Ledina and Turning the Page bookstore should be a destination for all Monroe readers.