Stories Like Me Reflects For Everyone

Photo by Jeff Freedman.

A new queer-owned children’s bookstore is committed to providing books for everyone. No matter your sexuality, gender, race, or religion – the people at Stories Like Me will help you find a book that you relate to. 

Helen Campbell, the owner of the bookstore Stories Like Me, has always had “fleeting” thoughts of owning a bookstore. 

“In 2017 I took a training, and in part of that training I learned about the importance of kids being able to see themselves in stories,” Campbell said. “I learned about the concept of books as mirrors, windows, and sliding glass doors.” 

Photo by Jeff Freedman.

The concept of books being like mirrors, windows, and sliding glass doors depends on who is reading a book. When people can see themselves and their lives reflected back to them while reading, the book is a mirror. 

The business started in 2020, but the move to Pittsburgh was more recent. The shop is physically located in Greenfield. 

“What’s important to note about the physical location is that because our commitment is all kids and all families can find themselves in stories, we wanted a place where if a child used a mobility device or had a parent who was in a wheelchair, they would have an easy time getting around our store,” Campbell said. “So the physical space is designed and set up to be completely accessible from that perspective.” 

Campbell emphasizes that their shop is dedicated to being a safe space for everybody. 

“We hope everyone will always be able to find themselves in stories,” she said. “And we will always be learning. So as we learn more, and as more books are published, we will continue to evolve as a bookstore to keep making sure that we are representing everybody.” 

Photo by Jeff Freedman.

Although the shop just opened a few weeks ago, Campbell knows where she would like the bookstore to head in the future. 

“I’d like us to be a thriving community space,” she shared. “I’d like people to come and find what they’re looking for, and for us to hold educational evenings for parents and storytimes for kids – which is all in the near future.” 

She would also love to work with community spaces and schools to help ensure all students can see themselves in stories. 

On the store’s website, there are many categories that give customers a taste of what they have to offer. They have everything from LGBTQIA+ stories to stories for those with disabilities. 

Photo by Jeff Freedman.

Additionally, Campbell shared that as much as possible, the store sells books that are written by people who the stories are about. So for example, books about trans experiences and characters are written by transgender authors. Although it is not always possible, the team at the store shares that the majority of their books are like this. 

“Most of these are written by people who come from their life experience,” Campbell said. “We’re committed to making sure the authors and illustrators we select are diverse.”  

Find yourself in a story from the queer-owned bookstore. Stories Like Me is located at 4381 Murray Ave, Pittsburgh, PA 15217. You can follow them on their website, Facebook, and Instagram.

Tia (she/her) is a recent Point Park grad who majored in journalism. She loves all things movies, music, and Pittsburgh! As the summer 2022 QBurgh intern, she’s looking forward to writing about Pittsburgh’s LGBTQIA+ community and highlighting all the cool people doing cool things in the community.