Why do we carry books by Indigenous Authors?
In January 2020, Kinder Books was interviewed by Medicine Wheel Education, a Canadian publisher that delivers culturally authentic books, resources and tools specialized for teachers and schools. We have been working with this publisher for many years. We talked about Kinder Books' mission and the most essential and also powerful question to us was:
Why do you think it’s important to have Indigenous resources in your store?
“Growing up in Germany my idea of an Indigenous person was from today’s point of view “laughable”. It was formed by what we saw in movies or read in books. Mostly these stories were written by a famous German author named Karl May (1842-1912), who had actually never set foot onto the continent of North America. He wrote adventure fiction. Some of his stories included stories of “Indians and cowboys”.
This was my “knowledge” about Indigenous people until I moved to North America in 1999. I first started hearing about First Peoples while working in a children’s museum in San Diego, California. The museum hosted an exhibit about the Native American Navajo tribe. This is what initially sparked my interest and I felt a strong desire to learn more (and the real story!) about the first peoples on this continent, the culture and history in order to see and understand the effects of colonization.
I strongly feel that this my responsibility as a resident of Canada. With the change of the Canadian school curriculum a few years ago, the interest grew and more books became available for people who wanted to learn. I appreciate the authentic resources that have been made available to learn about Indigenous Peoples and their stories. I see it as a good starting point to dig deeper, to evaluate, to form an opinion and to gain knowledge. It is important because we are guests on their land.
As an immigrant myself, I am a guest on the land of the Indigenous people. I personally find that Indigenous stories enrich our lives because they remind us to respect, appreciate and connect to all living things, and draw on our innate wisdom.”
What sets your store apart from other bookstores?
“Since 2011 we have been a traveling bookstore, which means, that we don’t have a brick and mortar store. Instead, we set up our bookshop in many places at events such as artisan markets, farmer’s markets, community festivals, school book fairs and more, and not to forget, we are exhibiting at various educational conferences throughout the Lower Mainland of Vancouver where we meet people from all over the world! We just love to go to different places and connect with people everywhere.
We are a strong supporter of local authors, we always have Canadian themed stories on our displays. We are proud to say that we have read every single book you see on display.
It’s funny that I say “we”, because I am the only one running Kinder Books. However, everyone in my family is a big supporter of Kinder Books. My husband Robert calls himself “the muscle” because he carries book boxes up and down our stairs all the time! Our two children, Amelie (13) and Luka (11), are test readers and book critics. Our dog Lily and our cat named Marvolo greet every book delivery person as well as local customers picking up their book orders from our home. Everyone is involved!
In October of this year we also started a regular (weekly) pop-up bookshop at River Market in New Westminster, BC. Local customers are happy to now find us 1-2 times a week at a set time and location during the week at River Market in New Westminster, BC. The weekends are still booked for markets all over the area.”
Why do you think it’s important to support your local book stores?
“Local bookstores are supporting the local community: schools, organizations, local writers, publishers.
We contribute to the local economy, participate in fundraisers for schools and organizations. We are here to share our knowledge, create meeting places and places to learn from each other.
We are on the front lines of bringing stories to people, supporting local authors and publishers. We actually read and know books!”
What is your favorite book?
Right now, I absolutely enjoy “The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse” by Charlie Mackesy.
It’s a powerful work of art. The illustrations are breathtaking, the story is deep while touching on many aspects of life that are important to me. I have read it about 15 times and have given a copy to many of my friends.
How and where can people find you?
We have a webstore (www.kinderbooks.ca ) and we are able to ship anywhere in Canada/US. We always love to talk to our customers in person, so calling us at 604.616.2653 is also an option. Our event calendar on the website lists all upcoming events in the Vancouver area. To learn more about upcoming pop-up book shops have a look at our event calendar right here.
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