Reach and Teach Independent Bookstore

Tue-Thu, 11AM – 5PM | Fri-Sat, 11AM-6:30PM | Sun, 12PM-4PM | Mon, Closed
1179 San Carlos Avenue, San Carlos, CA, United States, California
Nearby Places
  • Molly O's Irish Pub & Restaurant
  • Starbucks
Online Presence

Reach and Teach: Transforming the World thru Learning

Welcome to Reach and Teach

Inside Reach and Teach Books, Toys, Gifts

Inside Reach and Teach Books, Toys, Gifts

Discover Reach and Teach – Books, Toys, and Gifts, an interactive hands-on indie bookstore in downtown San Carlos, San Mateo County, offering books, STEM/STEAM toys, brain teasing puzzles, cooperative board games, green/eco-friendly products, and handcrafted fair trade gifts from around the world. You will find lots of unique and fun items for all ages.

Everything in our shop is focused on peacemaking, gender equality, diversity, and sustainable living. From engaging, fun, and thought-provoking books on social justice issues for children and adults alike to educational toys and puzzles that foster empathy, curiosity and logical reasoning, Reach and Teach offers a delightful treasure trove of products that align with your values and beliefs. Explore our collection of socially conscious merchandise today and help create a more equitable and compassionate world through education and play.

We also offer a Bring Your Own Container (BYOC) Soap Refilling Service so you can have your laundry, dish, and hand soap, shampoo, and conditioner refilled while you shop!

About Reach and Teach

Reach and Teach: Righting the world's wrong (newspaper)

Located in San Carlos, California, Reach And Teach is a peace and social justice learning company dedicated to transforming the world through teachable moments. Our co-founders, Craig Wiesner and Derrick Kikuchi, launched Reach And Teach in 2004 as a subsidiary of their award-winning educational consulting company, WKMN Training, LLC.

The road to launching Reach And Teach weaved through Silicon Valley, Mexico, El Salvador, Israel/Palestine, New York and Afghanistan. While running their successful multimedia education consulting company, Craig and Derrick became increasingly involved in peacemaking and social justice issues.

Derrick and Craig in El Salvador, 2000Derrick and Craig traveled to El Salvador in 2000, visiting and working with the people in Communidad Octavio Ortiz. There, they learned the stories of people who had lived through the horrors of civil war, torture, assassination, and the ever-present voices and weapons of “Norte Americano” soldiers who supported the Salvadoran government. Despite the damage inflicted on these people and the pain they endured, they welcomed their American friends into their homes, fed these guests their best food, gave up their own beds, and showered their guests with complete hospitality, kindness and love. These people who had so little gave so much to visiting strangers.

Derrick and Craig in El Salvador, 2000

In that community seeds were planted that began to grow inside Craig and Derrick, moving them deeper into a quest for a more peaceful and just planet. Derrick became more deeply involved in border justice (California/Mexico) and Craig began speaking out about the violence between Israelis and Palestinians. September 11th brought war with Afghanistan and soon after the Taliban fell, Craig and Derrick were asked to be part of an interfaith delegation to Afghanistan to bring together people who’d lost loved ones on September 11th with Afghans who had lost loved ones, been injured, or lost homes in the war that followed.

The scenes of destruction and the stories of those who suffered, died, lost loved ones, were horrible. The realities of war could not have been made more clear. Black and white became gray, over and over again, as the mixture of stories about the horrors of the Taliban blended with the horrors of cluster bombs and bunker busters raining down on innocent men, women and children. Yet once again, amidst the blood and tears, hospitality and love were abundant. Wherever the delegation went, all were welcomed with open arms and whatever food and drink could be found. Jews, Christians, Muslims, and Buddhists, were honored guests in the rubble of homes, offices, mosques, and schools.

Building destruction in Afghanistan

The delegation had been arranged by Global Exchange, a San Francisco human rights organization, and one of the requirements for going was that you had to promise to speak about the experience anywhere and everywhere you could for up to one year after returning. Craig and Derrick spoke in schools, libraries, community centers, churches, and on TV. Their two hour presentation included incredibly powerful stories and stunning photos as well as clear calls to action for ways to help the Afghan people and others caught up in war.

On the day before the Iraq invasion in 2003, they were invited to speak at Palo Alto High School’s “International Day.” While most of the parents and teachers organizing that day wanted it to be completely upbeat, one teacher felt that the students needed a place to talk about and deal with the fact that the country was about to go to war again. Craig and Derrick shared the stories from Afghanistan and also talked about what was about to happen in Iraq. They filled two classrooms twice, with standing room only. The kids paid rapt attention and asked powerful questions.

After the second presentation, as Craig and Derrick were leaving, a young man came up to them to thank them for the presentation. He then said “I don’t know what you two do for a living, but whatever it is you should stop. This is what you need to be doing. This is how kids like me need to learn about the world.”

He walked away. As they put their stuff in the car to leave, they knew he was right and that they needed to change from being part-time peacemakers into full-time……. what? The idea for Reach And Teach was born.

Today, Reach And Teach creates and distributes books, games, puzzles, toys, curriculum, posters, music, DVDs, green lifestyle, fair-trade, and other products that help to transform the world through teachable moments. Reach And Teach is a treasure hunter, searching the planet for that special something that mainstream stores won’t promote. Whether the products come from a non-profit, a small publisher, or an indigenous artisan from a small village across the world, we see our job as making sure that great products can be found under one roof.

State Senator Josh Becker selected Reach And Teach to be his district’s Small Business of the Year. They received their award on August 17th in Sacramento California. In an interview with the San Mateo Daily Journal, Senator Becker said “Craig, Derrick and Reach and Teach focus on the community values and world values we greatly prize in the 13th Senate District,” Becker said in a statement. “The personal learning journey that led Craig and Derrick to take up this mission is as spirited, inspiring and fun as the business they’ve built together.”

Click here to read Senator Becker’s press release about the award.

About Our Team

Co-founder Derrick Kikuchi is a graduate of UC Santa Barbara (BSEE/CS) and Stanford University (MSEE). As one of Hewlett-Packard’s first firmware and software engineers, Derrick spent nearly two decades at HP, including HP Labs. Intrigued by emerging distance learning technologies in 1991, Derrick founded the HP Media Applications Learning Lab (MALL), helping the company move away from purely classroom education (Same Time, Same Place) to an Anytime, Anyplace paradigm. Derrick co-founded WK Multimedia Network Training in 1994, developing the first interactive e-Learning CD-ROM for 3Com Corporation. Derrick designed additional e-Learning for Cisco Systems, Hewlett-Packard, and IBM.

Derrick has been deeply involved in peace and social justice issues through his work as a Presbyterian Elder at the First Presbyterian Church of Palo Alto. He has been on the board of directors for Northern California Presbyterian Homes and the Council of Churches Santa Clara County. He was an editor for Open Hands, an ecumenical quarterly journal on LGBT inclusion in communities of faith. He has traveled to El Salvador, Mexico, and Afghanistan on peacemaking and solidarity delegations and often lectures on theology, church history, economic justice, and peacemaking.

Derrick currently serves as an ordained elder at the First Presbyterian Church of Palo Alto where he and Craig were married 32 years ago in the first same-gender marriage in the church’s history.

Co-founder Craig Wiesner is a graduate of the University of San Francisco with a degree in Organizational Behavior and Adult Learning. Craig is a decorated veteran and John Levitow Honor Graduate (Air Force Leadership School) who spent eight years in the United States Air Force as a linguist, intelligence analyst instructor, and instructional designer at the Defense Language Institute. Craig later applied his expertise in education to the emerging computer networking industry, leading education departments for two Silicon Valley pioneers, Vitalink Communications and SynOptics (Nortel Networks). Craig was a co-founder of WK Multimedia Network Training, developing award-winning classroom and e-Learning courses for clients including industry leaders 3Com, Cisco, Hewlett-Packard, Lucent, Nortel Networks, and Packeteer.

Craig has been deeply involved in social and economic justice issues and the peace movement for the last 20 years. He is a member of the steering committee for Multifaith Voices for Peace and Justice, a Bay Area interfaith peace organization. Craig has been a frequent contributor to the KQED radio perspective series and is a prolific writer whose opinion writing has appeared in the San Jose Mercury News, the San Francisco Chronicle, the San Mateo Daily Journal,, the Christian Science Monitor, and DemCastUSA. Today Craig is a bi-weekly columnist with the San Mateo Daily Journal with columns appearing every other Tuesday.

Craig currently serves as a San Mateo County Commissioner on the LGBTQ Commission, the first such commission to have been formed in California. In his role as a commissioner Craig has spoken at dozens of events, recommended legislative changes at the county and state level, helped raise $2 million dollars in funding for the County Pride Center, worked with the Board of Supervisors to sign onto an Amicus Brief to the Supreme Court in a landmark case that recognized that LGBTQ people are protected by the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and for the last three years has participated in county-wide efforts to make Covid testing and vaccines available to everyone.


Reach And Teach was honored to be selected for the Sustainable San Mateo Award in 2014. BACIPIX, a terrific video company, created this video about us which was shown at the awards dinner.

From Reach and Teach Official Website

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Top Reviews


Rachel A.| San Mateo, CA

This is such a fabulous local bookstore! The owners are extremely kind and helpful, and there’s so much to discover in the shop. I think there’s something for everyone here, and it feels cozy and joyful the way a bookstore should.


Tanushree A. | San Jose, CA

There is such a sense of connection and wellness as one walks through the door of this shop. The personal touch of the shopkeepers, the paradise of innovate toys (many on display) and support of social justice initiatives makes this one of a kind toy stores. We are so fortunate to have this store in our town of San Carlos. I think I love it more than my 9 year old!!


David L. | San Mateo, CA

This store defies retail gravity. It has a strong sense of purpose and mission, but it’s a joy to explore and shop inside. If you like Five Little Monkeys you’ll be happy here. If you like Barnes & Noble or Kepler Books, this place will feed your soul.

If you miss Maker Faire or are passionate about STEM’s importance for kids and for our country, this store will make your inner cynic quiet. If you’re old enough to remember The Nature Company and its great stores before Discovery bought/ruined them, this store will refresh you.

Great assortment of products. Well merchandised. Fairly priced.

And if my brief interaction with the co-owner is any indication, this is a store that is making a difference in the San Carlos, SM County, Bay Area and the world. Bravo gentlemen! May you thrive in your efforts to give back to the community and the world. We notice, and we’re grateful!

Full disclosure – I’m a retail nerd. At cocktail parties I’m the guy who stays late talking about product assortments, ad strategies etc if anyone will endure such mundane discussions. I’ve designed, manufactured and sold products to a long list of specialty retailers.


Katherine M. | Redwood City, CA

Hands down the most awesome store in San Carlos. They have a little bit of everything! Great place to go for gift shopping for people of any age.

They have kids toys and books, they have jewelry and various cool things from different countries for adults, books for adults, they have eco-friendly kitchen stuff, chocolates and teas from different countries. They also have tea in the store to try (towards the back).. what a nice touch! I’m all about supporting local! I got a sponge cloth that is biodegradable and saves 15 rolls of paper towels for 8 bucks (same product was just advertised to be on Instagram for $35).

Sponge cloth and general purpose cloth for the kitchen, coconut milk chocolate 🙂


Luisa H. | San Mateo, CA

I have been going to this toy store for the last 3-4 years, from San Mateo to San Carlos. That’s ok!
I love the professional service and the quality of products they have for my grandkids ages 10- newborn. Let’s support this business, I try to avoid amazon but I know sometimes we’re on the losing end…


Kimeron H. | San Carlos, CA

Craig and Derek have created a wonderful spot for finding unique gifts, toys and educational materials for both regular, and adult, children! Both owners are so friendly, kind and helpful. What a breath of fresh air compared to empty video games or TV that don’t teach or encourage curiosity!


Bruce R. | San Jose, CA
BEWARE! You will spend far more than you had planned because Reach and Teach is THAT awesome 🙂

R&T is the kind of place where you keep finding things to add to the pile for checkout. In a day of specialization, R&T offers a wonderfully diverse selection of items that are all about care, justice, love, and healing. Whether you need a book for any age and topic, a toy that is environmentally and developmentally awesome, or a whimsical item to express goodness in the world, you will find it here!

Lastly, the owners Craig and Derrick, are the epitome of small business owners who are invested in the community and committed to their local clientele. While they have a robust online ordering system, their connection to the people who enter the store makes this place special!

Get there today!


Alice C. | San Francisco, CA

We are so happy this shop moved even closer to us from San Mateo (which we would frequent) to San Carlos. They are full of unique books, puzzles and games, and everything can be a touched and explored right there. The owners and staff go out of their way to help you try everything with no pressure to buy but lots of fun.

Our elementary-aged kids can spend hours here trying all the games, and we do always come home with something new and fun and educational. Highly recommend stopping by and adding this place to your list of unique gifts and puzzles for youngsters of all ages (and adults too)!


Nikki G. | Pleasant Hill, CA

Wonderful store that adds tremendous value to our neighborhood. Very thankful to have them.


Addison L. | San Mateo, CA

Fabulous local shop with very kind owners. All products are consciously and carefully chosen and I loved the variety of inclusive children’s books. Also a wonderful selection of toys, games, and our toddler’s favorite – trains! We will be back, and then back again!


Chris B. | Burlingame, CA

I needed to find a gift for an eight year old girl. Both of the staff in the store were incredibly helpful and knowledgeable and showed me lots of great options, from arts and crafts to jigsaw puzzles to games. I ended up choosing a game which looks really fun. The staff member demonstrated it to me. Wonderful service, incredible selection, and reasonable pricing.


K M. | Redwood City, CA

Always a fun time at Reach & Teach! My husband and I spent three hours at the mall, unable to find presents for our little nephew and nieces. We checked off half of our list within 10 mins of walking into Reach & Teach! The owners are always so helpful and knowledgeable about their products. Also don’t need to think whether or not something is sustainably and responsibly made — majority (if not all) of their inventory fit the criteria.

They also do home product refills and have products to help you transition to a more sustainable lifestyle.

Def one of our favorite stores! Oh and they also told us that they’re moving to San Carlos by January 2023.


Torien N.| Redwood Shores, CA

It’s been a while since I’ve been here, the store is an institution worthy of a greater rate of visits. It’s an inspiring visual display of creativity and ingenuity while also triggering the youthful memories we have and wish to pass onto our kids. There’s an aura of humility created by the owners with their unique items that are not found online. My kids love this place! Point for dad!

See all photos from Torien N. for Reach and Teach


Dee C. | San Mateo, CA

Reach and teach is a institution in san mateo. they are sincerely green, environmentalist, just wonderful people. great product selection. san mateo misses them – now in san carlos 🙁


Suz q. | San Mateo, CA

One of our favorite local businesses! The owners’ knowledge and enthusiasm is contagious and truly unparalleled. It’s so inspiring to be in the presence of someone living their calling!

You can’t help but feel like a kid again in this unique toy store. They have adult items too! Prices are very reasonable. Make a visit — you’ll be delighted and leave with at least one fun toy and a full heart!


Jenny H. | Portland, OR

This store has a thought out and eclectic variety of stimulating children’s activities and toys. Even some random adult things, like honey and cute butter dishes. The owners are very sweet and stayed open a few minutes late for me while I looked for some books. They know the children’s books so well and definitely had great suggestions when I told them what topics I wanted to teach my kiddos about.

The books are really a curated collection of art, both in their illustrations and wide range of topics. I picked out one about sitting with anger, and another about loss. (There’s silly stuff too, don’t worry 😉 They also have puzzles, kids games, cute felt finger puppets, kid’s electronic boards. Wish I lived nearby!


Tavis S. | San Mateo, CA

Love this shop. I admit I am an avid Amazon Prime shopper but supporting small local businesses like this one is what differentiates the city and gives pockets of San Mateo its charm. The owners here are extremely nice and knowledgeable. The service is too notch.

Incredibly unique selection of gifts and books for kids of all ages all for very reasonable prices. I am sure you could save a few dollars by finding the same items on Amazon but as the owners take special care to curate the items…why would you not support them.


Local Girl G. | Millbrae, CA

This store is a DELIGHT. It has a wonderfully curated collection of high quality toys for all ages, including Uncle Goose, a personal favorite. High quality puzzles and books, eco friendly products (not just toys, but cleaning products too) and what looked to be fair trade cocoas and chocolates. A gem of a store, the kind of place I wish I could spend all day in.

The two gentlemen running it were helpful and knowledgeable and kind. My partner had to listen to me talk about how perfect it was all day yesterday, so I recommend it for anyone in the San Mateo area (or shopping online). I will be returning for gifts for my friends and family throughout the year.


C M. | Palo Alto, CA

Lovely gift shop/bookstore/toy store on 25th Ave! I was looking for a retirement gift for my mom and wanted to give her a gift that will keep her brain active, such as puzzles and/or brainteasers. The customer service at Reach and Teach is impeccable; the helpful, young female employee helped me find a wooden Sudoku puzzle as well as a brainteaser game.

Besides puzzles, Reach and Teach is full of books (for both adults as well as children), toys, and other gift items. The store also has a fantastic selection of greeting cards, including ones that are quite artistic and unique.

Apple Pay is accepted! Highly recommend this local store with fantastic, warm service.


Jewel L. | San Mateo, CA

Every year I do my children Christmas shopping here. They have great games, books, art supplies, and puzzles for all ages. My favorite brands are Smart Games (which are logic games for kids), Begin Again wood puzzles, and Green Toys. They have so many great suggestions for kids. Every gift I’ve given from reach and teach have been great hits!