It’s going to be a crazy and awesome July in Penny Candy Land. We’re hitting the road to visit some of our favorite independent bookstores—and to introduce ourselves to some new ones, too—in the Midwest, Northeast, Eastern Seaboard, and Southern US. Booksellers are our heroes, and now more than ever they play a critical role in connecting people and ideas, dreams, hopes, and reality. No algorithm can ever replace them. Booksellers forever!
As we’ve been preparing for the trip, planning stops along the way, we remember what a privilege it is to be able to do this. It wasn’t so long ago that African-Americans wanting to travel by car across the United States had to rely on the Green Book to know which businesses would serve them along the way.
And although the Jim Crow era ended over 50 years ago, it seems that not a week goes by without someone (like the woman in San Diego who called the police on black people for having a barbecue in a park or another woman who called the cops on an 8 year-old girl for selling bottled water without a permit or the President accusing Democrats of wanting immigrants to “infest our country”) reminding us that being a person of color in the US is still dangerous.
It is ignorance that fuels responses like these. And bookstores are an enemy of ignorance. So we like to think that our road trip to visit bookstores, to shine light and love on booksellers, and to showcase our catalog of diverse books that spark big conversations between kids and their adults, may, just may, be a small step toward change.
Starting with Novel in Memphis, TN, and ending with Lorelei Books in Vicksburg, MS, there are at least 45 stores across 20 states we hope to visit. Follow along with us on social media as we document our progress!
[images from H is for Haiku, Blue Pool of Questions, and Somewhere a Bell is Ringing]