About Us

Our Story & The Creation Of Island Tales Bookshop

Island Tales Bookshop is a unique children’s book shop located on Balboa Island in Newport Beach, California.  Our quaint little shop is filled with quality children’s literature both new titles and the classics.  We also carry unique and wonderful gifts for those special times in a child’s life.  Additionally, Island Tales offers children’s crafting in our fun arts and crafts room, story time in the book store and event hosting for birthday parties and other special events.  We’ve created this special space to be a place the entire family can enjoy from your littlest ones to their grandmas and grandpas too!


Island Tales Bookshop was first imagined from the creative minds of Donna Mantei and Susan Nielson who met over 17 years ago during their careers as teachers in Newport Beach, CA.  Susan and Donna taught across the hall from each other, and upon meeting they quickly became friends.  Many times throughout their careers, they often talked about the future and how they could continue to have a positive impact on the lives of children and their families after their time in the classroom came to a close.  With their mutual love for reading, as well as their passion and expertise in early childhood education, a children’s bookshop seemed like the perfect answer.


In October 2014 Susan spotted a business location for sale in the heart of Balboa Island.  This quaint little building formerly housed Martha’s Book Store for many years on the Island.  Susan called Donna to meet for breakfast soon after seeing the sign.  Over the course of their meeting and discussion, ideas and enthusiasm became excitement.  Not only would they be able to realize their dream of owning and operating a children’s bookshop, but they would be able to do it on Balboa Island!  By the time they left breakfast, Island Tales Book Shop was born.

From that first meeting, everything began to move forward.  The business plan was created, the space was rented, and the real work began.  Remodeling, furnishing and stocking the bookshop would prove to be an exciting, fun and sometimes scary challenge.  While both Susan and Donna carry degrees in education and long respected careers in teaching, neither of them had owned or operated a business like this before.  However, with a well crafted business plan, budget, strategy, and a strong belief of the importance of being a life long learner they were able to turn their dream in to a reality in an incredibly short time.  Island Tales Bookshop was open for business in Spring 2015.


Island Tales was created to be a support to the families and children of our community. We desire to create an environment that instills a love of reading and continued learning no matter what age.


A Wide Selection Of Wonderfully Unique Children's Books


Island Tales Bookshop is located at 308 1/2 Marine Ave. Balboa Island, in the heart of the Island’s shopping area.  Our charming little shop is located in the rear building behind Just Basics Boutique.  When you walk into our shop you’ll find every shelf and corner filled with wonderful treasures and great fun for the special little ones in your life.

Island Tales Bookshop carries quality children’s literature from some of the most well-renowned authors available.  From the classics we all know to some of the wonderful new books offered today, you’ll find something fun for everyone.  We also carry unique gifts for that special event or time in a child’s life.

Our shop has space for the little ones to browse through our books, and sit for the occasional story time.  We also have a wonderful space for crafting and arts in the back of our shop, as well as for hosting special events like birthdays and more.

SHOP ISLAND TALES ONLINE (Not just for the kids!)

shoponlineIn addition to our shop on Balboa Island, our customers can also SHOP ONLINE to purchase books and much more!  Our online store has an endless selection of books…and it’s not just for the kids!!! We wanted to provide a place for all of our moms, dads and grandparents alike to find books, videos, CDs and more in one easy to use online store.  Find what you’re looking for today!


If you can’t find what you’re looking for in our shop or online, be sure to inquire directly with us at the store or by phone or email, and we’ll be happy to help you find what you’re looking for.


We would like to thank all of our customers who visit our store and shop online for purchasing from Island Tales Bookshop.  We appreciate your continued support for your local independent bookstore!


Join Us At One Of Our Upcoming Events

Saturday17Dec / 201607:00 PM


Come visit with Santa Claus at the Island Tales Bookshop courtyard this Saturday from 7-10pm just after the Christmas Boat Parade. Brought to you by our friends and neighbors at Sugar N Spice Balboa Island.

The bookshop will have extended hours on Saturday as well, so you'll be able to visit with Santa AND get some shopping done!

Friday18Mar / 201612:00 PM


Temple Bat Yahm Preschool is having a fun kick-off event for TBY’s Book-A-Thon. Author April Halprin Wayland will read her newly released children’s book, More Than Enough, to a group of 3-5 year olds and parents.

1011 Camelback Street
Newport Beach, CA 92660

Saturday12Dec / 201511:00 AM


Join us this Saturday December 12th for a special visit and storytime with Santa! Jolly old St. Nick will be reading a special Christmas book to the kids, and hanging out at our shop for a fun visit. Make sure to bring your camera and get some Santa Selfies to take home after storytime.

Saturday Dec. 12th
11am - 2pm / $5.00 fee
Free book to our first 10 guests to signup!

Saturday31Oct / 201512:00 PM

Halloween Fun At Island Tales

Come in your costume and celebrate Halloween at Island Tales Bookshop with pumpkin crafts, stories, trick-or-treating and more! Can't wait to see all of the wonderful costumes at our shop!


Tutoring At Island Tales

Stay Sharp And On Point This School Year!


As former teachers ourselves, we enjoy helping students stay on track at school.  With Island Tales Tutoring, we provide guidance, encouragement and assistance on a weekly basis to help your young student achieve a successful school year.

Contact Island Tales today.  We would love to help your student stay sharp and on point this school year!  Island Tales Bookshop is also open for your children’s reading needs and enjoyment.  Stop by our shop on Balboa Island in Newport Beach today!



Tuesday, Wednesday & Thursday

Tutoring Session Details:  

30 Minute tutoring session
Private Session:  $30
Group Session (2-4 Students): $20

1st – 4th Grade
60 Minute tutoring session
Private Session:  $55
Group Session (2-4 Students): $40

Island Tales Bookshop Storytime

A Wonderful Time For Our Young Readers Here At Island Tales

Island Tales Bookshop Storytimes are a fun way to help your young readers grow and learn with others in a fun environment at our bookshop. Payment will be collected before each Storytime session.  We will be providing online payment services very soon, but in the meantime please call, email or stop by our shop on Balboa Island to sign up. Class space is limited, and will fill up quickly…so please sign up ahead of time.  You can check our Events section on the website for the next upcoming Storytimes, and please contact us with any questions you may have.  We hope to see you and your little ones there soon!

Island Tales Storytime

When:   Wednesdays: 1030am – 11am
Age:  2-4 years old
Price:   $10

Island Tales Storytime is a language rich time that will introduce the young child to the world of books. There will be an age appropriate craft that reinforces the story for each child to take home.


Book Your Next Event With Island Tales

Book your next event with Island Tales Bookshop.  If you have a birthday party or special occasion you want to celebrate with your little one and their close friends, fill out our quick form, or contact us directly today in order to book your event.  We look forward to hearing from you and celebrating with you!
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Contact Us

Contact Island Tales Bookshop Today

Get in Touch

308 1/2 Marine Avenue Newport Beach, CA 92662949.873.5184Come into our shop on Balboa Island and find that special book or gift you've been looking for! Or, contact us today for information about booking your child's next birthday party or event at Island Tales.


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