Cute notebooks ensure better notes, more attentive students, and higher grades — or at least that’s what we used to tell our parents during back-to-school shopping. Public school starts next week in New York City. Get ready, or get the students you know ready, by visiting the stationery suppliers below for the very best in notebooks, pens, and other writing needs. By Jessica Allen.

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(credit: Kate's Paperie)

(credit: Kate’s Paperie)

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For more than 20 years, Kate’s Paperie has offered customers a dizzying array of paper, pens, printing services, and other stationery products. The notebooks and sketchbooks come ruled or unruled, from pocket-size to oversize, with covers ranging from solid pink to mottled to worn wood. Among the writing implements on offer are ballpoint pens, pencils, and calligraphy sets. This Soho store speaks to the most organized, most elegant of note-takers.

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Kinokuniya Bookstore specializes in Japanese and English reading materials, including fashion magazines, manga, travel books, architecture and art books, and literature—something like 20,000 titles in all, as well as CDs, DVDs, and toys. In addition to arts and crafts supplies, the stationery section includes pens, pencils, notebooks, erasers, flashcards, and blank flipbooks. Across from Bryant Park, this multi-level store also has a cafe.

(credit: Dabney Lee)

(credit: Dabney Lee)

After gaining a large following for her stationery designs, Dabney Lee opened her first retail store in 2012 in DUMBO. Here you’ll find paper products, including desk sets, business cards, and invitations done by the graphic designer herself, as well as a selection of equally bright or whimsical products created by others. You can order customized plates (yes, plates) or announcements, browse cute housewares, or just dream up the opus you’ll write once you get your hands on that special notepad.

Greenwich Letterpress seeks to “supply NYC with paper goodness.” In an age in which we text people congratulations and write condolences on Facebook walls, it can be disconcerting to walk into a store that has so many uniquely designed cards, for just about every occasion. Other small-batch, custom-made letterpress goods include invitations, matchbooks, tote bags, and journals. The store is run by two sisters, whose father and grandfather were also printers.

(credit: Sam Flax)

(credit: Sam Flax)

A creative person’s dream, Sam Flax sells paper and markers and glue and scissors and pencils and easels and crayons, as well as carrying cases, picture frames, binders, and scrapbooks to display your masterworks and furniture to enable the creative juices to flow. If you can’t get inspired walking through this store, perhaps you don’t have the magic in you. Its selection of journals, planners, and notebooks encompasses Moleskine, Gallery Leather, Graphique de France, Cavallini (pictured), and Peter Pauper Press.