Project: Babycake's Book Stack Bookmobile
Amount Needed: $25,500
Date Needed By: December 31, 2017
Children of all backgrounds deserve to experience the charming world of reading and feelings of inclusiveness by seeing themselves represented in books. That is why Twin Cities based former jazz singer Zsamé Morgan decided to open a mobile children’s bookstore that focuses on culture and language in the Twin Cities, MN, a hub of many diverse people. Babycake’s Book Stack will carry popular and current baby, children's, middle school and young adult (YA) titles and also a highly curated inventory of books that will include the culture and/or languages of indigenous, immigrants, refugee, African Americans, people of color, multicultural and ethnic backgrounds. Out in the community, Zsamé and the staff of Babycake's Book Stack will also work to increase family literacy by being welcoming to and building enduring relationships with parents and caregivers, local daycares, schools and teachers, libraries, homeschools and underserved communities in the Twin Cities such as North and South Minneapolis, East St. Paul, Midway/Frogtown, West 7th Corridor and others. With a constant visibility, presence and availability at community gatherings, art fairs, music festivals and school book fairs, Babycake's Book Stack bookmobile also hopes to offer ESL classes, American Sign Language for children, weekly story hour(s), local and national author events, and a partnership with a locally owned publisher to help your child(ren) publish their own writings!
To get the Babycake’s Book Stack Bookmobile in action, Zsamé has scouted the country to find the perfect bookmobile; now, she has stepped out on faith and her belief in the backing of her community and supporters of literacy and diversity to make a bid on a bookmobile to house Babycake’s Book Stack.
CALL TO ACTION: Address the literacy needs of our communities and fight to bridge cultural divisions by donating to raise $25,500.00 by December 31, 2017. This fundraiser covers the price of the bookmobile, tax, title , relocation and re-branding of the well maintained, 32 foot converted Bluebird bus bookmobile currently located at a library in central Indiana. The bookmobile has a wheelchair lift and an ADA approved restroom onboard. Funds raised above the $25,500 will be used to pay for inventory and startup costs of the bookmobile.
Ready to make a difference in your community? Take the important step and please make a donation today!
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With a degree in Family Social Sciences and Child Psychology, a 6 year work history in retail book selling at the University of Minnesota’s St. Paul campus Books Underground, 1+ year of interning at a successful (and growing!) Minneapolis based independent bookstore, currently, a 17 year career in banking and 12+ years performing as a well loved, local, regional and national professional singer, entertainer and community volunteer, Babycake’s Book Stack is a phoenix career that Zsamé is passionate about and shares her enthusiasm with her 4 year old daughter Éva and her extended family and friends. According to Éva, they needed to “Go to the people!” and thus, a mentor's idea to turn Babycake’s Book Stack into a BOOKMOBILE was solidified and the earlier adopted logo AROUND THE WORD IN A BOOK sudddenly took on new meaning and sprang to life!
Why the transition in careers? In February, 2015, Zsamé’s significant other, Éva’s father Greg unexpectedly and tragically passed away, leaving Éva as a tender one year old and Zsamé as a solo parent. Heartbroken and realizing that being away from her daughter in the demanding corporate world for 8-10+ hours per day was not a healthy way to approach healing, nor allowed her to spend much needed time with Éva, Zsamé decided to focus on building a new career that both she and Greg were passionate about, reading. At this time, Éva already had a substantial personal library of over 150+ books, most of which she knew by heart. Fondly remembering her own childhood days of becoming immersed in reading, Zsamé decided that she could spend more time with her daughter in a career that they could do together, running a children’s bookstore. Babycake, the nickname Greg had for his adorable little girl, felt sweet and it felt right. The name stuck for the burgeoning business and thanks to Zsamé's very talented teenaged nephew Ontario , aunt Hetta, and the creative staff at Matchbook Marketing, Babycake our loveable zebraffe (half zebra/half giraffe) mascot and logo joined the team!
After attending the international Book Expo America in her hometown , Chicago, Illnois, Zsamé began being mentored by the gracious owners of Moon Palace Bookstore in Minneapolis, MN and additionally, she attended an intensive retail bookseller’s training hosted by Paz and Associates held outside of Boston, Massachusetts. Further increasing her growth in the bookselling industry, she attended the Heartland Fall Forum hosted in part by the Midwest Independent Bookseller’s Association (MIBA) and the Winter Institute, hosted by the American Bookseller’s Association (ABA), both organizations of which Zsamé is a member. On the heels of several well written articles about Babycake’s Book Stack, Zsamé has received a warm welcome into the bookselling world by fellow bookstore owners, publisher’s reps, authors and industry journalists from Publisher’s Weekly (PW) and continued interest by MPR and St. Paul Pioneer Press journalists. Zsamé, Éva and their Babycake’s Book Stack Bookmobile are a highly anticipated addition to the thriving independent bookseller’s scene and to the Twin Cities communities.
Zsamé has a solid business plan for Babycake’s Book Stack and continues to network heavily, recently traveling to meet with the owners of the bookmobile bookstore, the Itinerant Literate in Charleston, SC. Maintaining her unpaid internship with Moon Palace also provides additional on-the-ground experience with running a point of sale system, interacting with customers, hosting special events like Independent Bookstore Day, and book selling at pop-up locations like the weekly farmer’s market.
Please help bring Babycake’s Book Stack Bookmobile to life with your interest and your financial backing. Every amount counts!
Help heal a family, heal our communities, and heal the world... one book, one child and one family at a time.
Publisher's Weekly Articles:
Photo credit: Claire Kirch, Publisher's Weekly
- Sarah Warren
- Latasha O'Neal
- Harryetta Morgan
- Alton Dixon
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