A Brooklyn husband and wife duo will soon open the doors to a new bookshop, which hopes to help give children the opportunity to open their minds and explore the world of storytelling.
Maggie Pouncey and Matt Miller are the couple behind Stories Bookshop + Storytelling Lab, which will not only offer a selection of literature for children of all ages but will also feature a space where kids can expand their writing skills.
“I think for a lot of kids [writing] can be a way to express things that they are unable to express speaking to an adult or a friend,” said Pouncey. “I think writing things down can really unlock a world, a private world, an imaginary world, a world of memories.”
The first section of Stories — which will be located at 458 Bergen St. in Brooklyn — will be a shop carrying books for children ranging from infants through young adult.
The store will also include a section for parents, feature rare and out-of-print books, framed book art and also stationary and supplies young writers need.
“It will be a curated selection but I really do think we are in the golden age of children’s literature,” Pouncey said about the books at the shop. “We are really excited to be showcasing those.”
Along with the bookstore, Stories will also feature a storytelling lab for children between 5 and 14 years old that will offer activities, such as workshops and classes, for young readers and writers alike.
For Pouncey — who is a novelist and writing instructor – offering this space for children was important because as a writer herself she spent a lot of time at writing workshops as both a student and teacher.
Although the first few months after opening the couple will be used as an experimental phase to get a sense of what children are interested in, plans for the lab include offering genre-based creative writing workshops, bookmaking and illustrating classes, drop-in session where kids can bring in a project for feedback, and more.
She added that they also hope the space will attract real-life writers and authors who will not only participate in traditional book signings and readings, but will also be able to offer master classes to children to help them expand on their writing.
“We are really hoping it can be a community hub for bookish kids that can really discover that part of themselves,” she said. “Making it a community both of published successful authors and also kids that are their audience.”
Stories is currently still under construction, but plans to hold a soft pop-up opening on April 30, which is Independent Bookstore Day, and host some events for children.
The Brooklyn couple has also turned to Kickstarter to raise funds that will help further develop the look of Stories, finalize work with architects, complete the building of the Bergen Street space, install custom bookshelves, order books, and will also go towards hiring teachers for the classes.
As of Tuesday afternoon, the Kickstarter campaign had reached over $10,400 of the $25,000 goal.
Once construction is complete, plans are to officially open Stories by mid-May and Pouncey said that the overall dream for the shop is to become a place where children from all over will come and grow as storytellers.
“There are a lot of rules in life and your character don’t have to follow those rules ad I think that kind of freedom can be great,” she said. “I think it can be confidence boosting that you create a world that becomes real to other people.”
For updates on Stories, Pouncey said people can check out the Kickstarter pageor follow the shop @storiesbk on Twitter.