Summer Lee Visits a Place In Pittsburgh Where Children Can Find Themselves In Books (Pittsburgh Magazine)

Feb 27, 2023
In the News

Stories Like Me, a new independent bookstore in Greenfield, is a place where all children, and all families will find themselves in the stories.

Co-founded by Helen Campbell and her two adult children, Elsie Campbell and Imogen Campbell Hendricks, the store celebrated its grand opening on Feb. 25 to offer a diverse collection of children’s books. Their aim is to make the store — a queer-owned, woman-owned family business — “a community hub promoting equality, equity and inclusion, and we share the stories of the world to generate empathy and peace through books,” according to its website. 

Stories like Me has been doing pop-ups for a few years throughout the Pittsburgh area; the brick and mortar store offers books for children of all ages and has a young adult section in the back of the store. The books are organized by age and identity. Sections dedicated to Black history, neurodiversity and queerness are just a few of the categories. 

The emphasis on families expresses the importance of children not only seeing themselves but seeing and understanding others who are different from them.  “We hand pick all of the books for that mission,” says Elsie, the store’s education specialist and a Ph.D. student at the University of Pittsburgh. 

When Helen came up with the idea for the concept in 2017, the wave of book banning across the country and scrutiny surrounding children’s literature were not so prevalent, so that was not a primary motivator. “The idea wouldn’t leave me alone,” she explains about the desire to open the store.

Helen, a native of England who has a background in film and television, says that it is simply a perk that the founders can offer books that have been banned elsewhere. “We get to be the safe space,” she says. 

During the grand opening, the store was full of families, young children and teenagers. There was even an appearance by U.S. Rep. Summer Lee, who purchased books with a smile.

The founders also made an effort to make the store as accessible as possible to those with disabilities. Helen pointed to the rolling tables, which allow for flexible seating and layout. 

Click here to read the full article.

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