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Inclusive children’s bookstore Stories Like Me celebrates grand opening

Sarah Kovash
90.5 WESA

In 2017, Helen Campbell originated the idea for an inclusive bookstore that would help to spur education and empathy amongst her community. She was inspired by the practice of “Mirrors, Windows, and Sliding Glass Doors."

“I was so enthralled with this idea that books could validate people and that we could learn and we could develop empathy,” said Campbell. “So I called my adult kids who were both at college at the time, and I said 'Hey, how about if we do a bookstore in which we focus our work on representation and diversity for all kids and all families?' and they were like 'Yeah, Mom, great idea.'”

Campbell, alongside her children and business partners Imogen and Elise, began searching for a building, making sure to choose a location that could be accessed by both wheelchair and bus. After years of planning, waiting, and pop-ups, the trio are able to open Stories Like Me's first brick-and-mortar.

The bookstore will celebrate its grand opening this Saturday at 1 p.m. in Greenfield. The celebration will include a drive alongside the JFCS Squirrel Hill Food Pantry, where patrons who donate food will receive a discount on their purchase from the bookstore. The event is open to any interested community members, and will be attended by Congresswoman Summer Lee.

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Helen Campbell says it won’t stop here, as the store hopes to continue to be influenced by diverse voices from the community.

“It's essential if I'm building a store in which representation is important, that I have people who are different from myself to be able to say 'No, Helen, that's not right,' or 'You know, you really should think about this.'”

The store hopes to be a safe place for LGBTQ youth through book clubs and other community events. It will offer an array of children’s works that discuss topics like non-binary identities, immigration, and the invention of braille.