To mark Kids Ink Children’s Bookstore’s first 25 years, owner Shirley Mullin decided to hold a birthday party for the store. When she opened the children’s specialty bookstore in Indianapolis in May 1986, there were only two children’s book authors in Indiana. Now there’s an active group of writers. “That’s one thing I’m proud of,” Mullin says. “I thought, let’s just focus on Indiana authors with new books and celebrate them with us.”

So Mullin invited five authors who are still at the beginning of their careers—Nathan Clement (Job Site), Peggy Archer (Name That Dog!), Janna Matthies (The Goodbye Cancer Garden), Christine Johnson (Claire de Lune), and Julia Karr (XVI)—to sign books and share the store’s big day.

Although she had plenty of party favors for her young guests, including folding flexible flyers with a little green pouch and keychain flashlights imprinted with the store’s name, Mullin wasn’t expecting to receive so many birthday cards—many hand-drawn—and flowers. Children and parents also stopped by to sing “Happy Birthday” to her throughout the day.

The following week, Mullin celebrated 25 years in a different way, by getting the store a new carpet to replace the one she installed when it first opened.