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BEAT THE SUMMER SLIDE: Dive into a Summer of Reading with The Bookshelf!


As the summer break approaches, students are eager to rush out the classroom doors and dive deep into their new found freedom. While it is necessary for them to rest and recharge, students often end up going right down the summer slide. Now, this slide isn’t a part of the playground. Instead, it speaks to the learning loss and regressed reading skills that students often experience when they return to school in September. In this educational edition of VI Life and Style magazine, we sat down with Daphodil Sampson and Sherry-Ann James to share their journey to starting The Bookshelf and connect us with books that stop the summer slide!


Based in the heart of Road Town at R & F Decastro Building, between Capriccio Restaurant and Pussers, The Bookshelf is a children’s Bookstore that offers a wide selection of reading and recreational materials for children of all ages. Owned by sisters, Daphodil Sampson and Sherry-Ann James, two avid readers themselves, The Bookshelf is more than just a business. They are both committed to the cause of literacy and education and believe that every child should have the chance to achieve their fullest potential in life. “No matter what circumstance you were born in, education provides an opportunity to change your life. We’re living proof of that,” Daphodil shared. The two sisters experienced the struggles of single parenthood with their mother who raised them in St. Vincent along with their three other siblings. Despite the challenges, their mother always made a way to provide them with all their needs and they were always surrounded by the transformative power of reading. “Growing up, especially in high school, the library was my favourite place, my sanctitude. I could read for hours, escape to another world,” Daphodil said. As children, it was also common practice for the sisters to pass down books between siblings and cousins to ensure that no one in the family went without the school materials they needed. Growing up surrounded by books sparked a lifelong love affair with reading and motivated them to push for a better life. “We believe strongly that education is the key to success,” Daphodil said. The sisters went into pursuing higher education after moving to the Virgin Islands. This was soon the start of opening up a new chapter not only for themselves but for their new community.


It was a dark and stormy night in the Virgin Islands. Back to school preparation ensued. Parents ran around from store to store trying to find last minute textbooks and school supplies. This did not bode well for the students entering a new school year. But amid the chaos, there was a light of hope along the horizon. With their energy and passion for education, the two sisters created The Bookshelf to become beacons of change. “Working in the field, I saw children turning up to school without the necessary materials and I wanted to get involved, to help change this,” Sherry-Ann shared from her experience working in the education sector. They officially launched their business in February 2021 with early back to school preparation, forging relationships with Publishers and researching what was needed. “It took us well over one year to find the right location, but we didn’t give up,” said Daphodil. Instead, they started with just a few schools and gradually grew over time. They packaged orders at home and delivered them to a single classroom in Road Town for pickup and even delivered to parents personally whenever they could. In absence of a physical location, they hosted book fairs in parks and in schools and even rented a booth at Christmas in the City. “Our goal was to ensure that we supplied every book on the booklist, along with backpacks and all required school supplies, to make this part of back to school preparation easy for parents,” Sherry Ann added.

Finally, in summer 2022, they found their current location and quickly began the process of transforming it into the space that persons know and love today. They have since expanded to supply textbooks for all schools in the Virgin Islands. They are official sellers for all the major publishers including Houghton Mufflin, the publisher of the textbooks used in the Government primary schools. Their location is close to Road Town Ferry Terminal, making it easy to ship orders to the sister islands. They also carry a wide selection of educational materials from storybooks to activity books to toys to games.


Don’t venture out anywhere this summer without a good book in hand. The Bookshelf has all the perfect summer books and summery items you’ll need to keep your children engaged and beat the summer slide! Here are a few titles to look out for in the store:

Summer Workbooks:

  • Summer Bridge: for every class from Pre-K to Grade 9
  • This workbook contains engaging activities to keep students active 15 minutes a day during summer break.
  • Subject areas:
  • Reading
  • Vocabulary
  • Writing
  • Science
  • Social studies
  • Fitness

 Fictional books:

  • Diary of a Wimpy Kid
  • Archie Comics
  • Dog Man
  • Thea Stilton
  • Geronimo Stilton
  • Suri (Black Panther Novels)
  • Bedtime Stories
  • Babysitters Club
  • Nancy Drew
  • Books from Local BVI Authors

For parents seeking an early start to their school shopping, The Bookshelf offers primary and secondary school textbooks for all schools in the Virgin Islands. Other Items include:

  • Stationery & School Supplies
  • School Bags/Backpacks
  • Teacher Supplies
  • Art & Craft Supplies
  • Activity Books
  • Coloring Books & Crayons
  • Educational Games & Toys
  • Flash Cards
  • Office Stationery

The Bookshelf receive orders by phone at (284) 494-2512, email at orders@thebvookshelfbvi@gmail.com and even by WhatsApp (284) 340-2270 and Facebook at The Bookshelf BVI. To place an order, parents on Tortola and the sister islands simply state the class and school the child attends and make your payment via card, cash, cheque or ATH Movil. Look out for their summer raffle and back to school savings.

Give your children the break they deserve while still engaging them in fun activities that just so happen to be educational with The Bookshelf!