The Twin Cities, already home to the Red Balloon Bookshop and The Wild Rumpus bookstore, is gaining another indie children’s bookstore this spring. Babycake's Book Stack will open its doors for a soft opening in March in St. Paul’s Lowertown district, a trendy area full of art galleries, restaurants, and loft apartments. Babycake's Book Stack will be housed in a 1,200-square-foot retail space next to The Buttered Tin, a popular café and bakery.
Zsamé Morgan, the store’s owner, says that she wanted to open a children’s bookstore primarily because she is “passionate” about reading to her three-year-old daughter and wants to instill that passion in other adults. The store is a riff on her daughter’s nickname.
Morgan also wants to reach out to St. Paul’s large immigrant communities by accommodating their needs for reading materials. She says that Babycake's will carry the classics, contemporary reads, and also, she hopes, foreign-language titles. There will be a very small selection of adult titles. “It’s going to be 99.99% children’s books,” she says. “I’d like to be able to provide a space for families to [read] together. I want to make reading accessible and fun.”
Literacy is important to Morgan, who points out that literacy is “a family affair,” particularly in families where the parents are learning English as a second language. She notes that a lot of adults learning English use children’s books in print format as well as audiobooks.
While Morgan has worked in the financial field for more than 16 years, she does have a bookselling background. While a student at the University of Minnesota’s Twin Cities campus, Morgan worked at the bookstore there. She is also being mentored by Angela Schwesnedl, the co-owner of Moon Palace Books in Minneapolis, who walked the floor with her at BEA and, more recently, at Heartland Fall Forum, introducing Morgan to publishers and others in the industry.