African American Books from the Soul Nook Bookstore, Amber Collins, Owner
Amber Collins makes it no secret that her mother inspired her love of reading.
As a girl, Collins would travel from Waterloo to south-central Los Angeles to spend summers with her mom — who was an avid reader, writer and poet who loved to send Collins books from her travels abroad.
"When I was little, she started to birth that love of reading and literacy" which had long-lasting effects, Collins says.
Part of that was taking her daughter to The Aquarian Bookshop, renowned in Los Angeles and elsewhere as the citadel of black intellectualism on the West Coast.
The shop, which historians believe was the longest continuously-Black-owned bookstore in the U.S., was transformative for Collins as a child, who recalled meeting black authors and celebrities at the store in the late 1980s.
“That was when I knew that I would one day own a book store," she says. She proudly shares how that experience helped define her dream of owning her own bookstore. Alongside the myriad bookshelves, Collins also sells other products.
She welcomes all people of all races, ethnicities and backgrounds to physically come to read a book. Due to the pandemic, e-books are also available. Books can make a difference in one’s life as they certainly impact a person’s fundamental belief and well-being.
“Come visit, come browse.... This is community.”
The Amazing Life Cycle of Butterflies ( Look and Wonder ) - Two Rivers by Contributor(s): Barnham, Kay (Author), Frost, Maddie (Illustrator)
Butterflies Up Close ( We Both Read - Level 1-2 (Quality) ) by Contributor(s): McKay, Sindy (Author)
Just Ask!: Be Different, Be Brave, Be You by Contributor(s): Sotomayor, Sonia (Author), López, Rafael (Illustrator)
Sonia and her friends plant a garden, and each one contributes in his or her own special way, in a book that celebrates the many differences among humans.
Do Unto Otters: A Book about Manners by Contributor(s): Keller, Laurie (Author), Keller, Laurie (Illustrator)
In her smart, quirky style, Keller highlights how to be a good friend and neighbor, in this story about Mr. Rabbit and his new neighbors--otters. Full color.
His Truth Is Marching on: John Lewis and the Power of Hope - Street Smart by Contributor(s): Meacham, Jon (Author), Lewis, John (Afterword by)
I Am Every Good Thing by Contributor(s): Barnes, Derrick (Author), James, Gordon C (Illustrator)
An upbeat, empowering, important picture book from the team that created the award-winning Crown: An Ode to the Fresh Cut
Your Name is A Song
"Frustrated by a day full of teachers and classmates mispronouncing her beautiful name, a little girl tells her mother she never wants to come back to school. In response, the girl's mother teaches her about the musicality of African, Asian, Black-American, Latinx, and Middle Eastern names on their lyrical walk home through the city. Empowered by this newfound understanding, the young girl is ready to return the next day to share her knowledge with her class"--
Color Me In by Natasha Diaz
Fifteen-year-old Nevaeh Levitz is torn between two worlds, passing for white while living in Harlem, being called Jewish while attending her mother's Baptist church, and experiencing first love while watching her parents' marriage crumble.
Some Places More Than Others by Contributor(s): Watson, Renée (Author)
Amara visits her father's family in Harlem for her twelfth birthday, hoping to better understand her family and herself, but New York City is not what she expected.
I Am Enough by Byers, Grace
A gorgeous debut and a lyrical ode to self-confidence and kindness, for girls from every background and every color, from "Empire" actor and activist Byers and talented newcomer artist Bobo. Full color.
Hearts Unbroken by Cynthia Leitich Smith
When Louise Wolfe's boyfriend mocks and disrespects Native people in front of her, she breaks things off and dumps him over e-mail. She'd rather spend her senior year with her family and friends and working on the school newspaper. The editors pair her up with Joey Kairouz, an ambitious new photo journalist, and in no time the paper's staff find themselves with a major story to cover: the school musical director's inclusive approach to casting The Wizard of Oz has been provoking backlash in their mostly white, middle-class Kansas town. As tensions mount at school, so does a romance between Lou and Joey. But 'dating while Native' can be difficult. In trying to protect her own heart, will Lou break Joey's?