Publisher's Weekly reported this awesome feature about a Charlotte, N.C. children’s bookstore called Author Squad. But it's what Author Squad offers that is unlike most children's bookstores you know. At Author Squad, kids and parents don’t just buy books, they make books—as in writing, illustrating, laying out, and hand-binding hardcover volumes, at the store’s own publishing center.
How cool is that?
Yes, there are a few online companies such as Tikatok where kids can create their own books, but Author Squad is the first bookstore I've read about where children actually get to make it all happen right before their eyes! Customers make their books on-site, from start to finish, using scanners, Microsoft Publisher, and binding materials the store orders from a library supply company.
In the PW article, it reports that the publishing center is a big draw for field trips, “especially with after-school programs,” and parties of all kinds: birthdays, playgroups, and showers. At a typical birthday party, each guest puts together a page, making a custom keepsake for the birthday boy or girl. Author Squad also holds classes five days a week to introduce the process and develop storytelling skills for members of every age and skill level—“babblers,” “scribblers,” and “doodlers,” through teens and adults (teachers get a significant discount on membership).
Perhaps this is something that will catch on in more bookstores! We can only hope! I can really see this instilling a love of books in children!