Tuesday, October 11, 2016

KidtoberFest is Friday!

This would have been the Sixth Annual Decatur Root Beer Festival, but it has been expanded and turned into the

First Annual KidtoberFest! 


October 14th

4:30 to 6:3o

On the Square!

Little Shop of Stories has partnered with Decatur High School's German Exchange Program to bring great soda sampling, bratwurst, Bavarian pretzels, and other goodies for purchase. There will be music and games and lots of fun!

Tickets, while they last, are $10 per person or $30 per family. Food will be extra. 

All proceeds will benefit On The Same Page, Little Shop's community-wide reading initiative, and the DHS German Exchange Program. 

Soda provided by the wonderful folks at Rocket Fizz, brats by our friends at Doggy Dog. SpaƟ und spiele provided by DHS German students.

Below is the beverage list. Notice that Rocket Fizz makes its own proprietary sodas, and we'll be packing loads of other good stuff as well. Note that not all of the drinks on this list will be available at all times, but we'll do our best to accommodate special requests!

Root Beers
Rocket Fizz Root Beer Float
Rocket Fizz Judge Wapner Root Beer
Brownie Carmel Root Beer
Ozark Mountain Root Beer
Frostie Vanilla Root Beer
Bawls Root Beer
Hanks Root Beer
Jackson Hole Sarsaparilla
Reading Draft Birch Beer
Sioux City Sarsaparilla

Other Great Sodas
Filberts Grapefruit
Bruce Cost Ginger Ale
Australian Style Hot Ginger Ale
Fitz’s Ginger Beer
Bubble Up
Mr. Newport Lemon-Lime
Always Ask For Avery’s Blood Orange
Big Red
Thomas Kemper Vanilla Cream
Martian Poop
Shirley Temple

And the Real Good Stuff
Indian Wells Handcrafted Old Fashioned Special Reserve
Root Beer
Indian Wells Handcrafted Old Fashioned Special Reserve
Vanilla Cream Soda
Indian Wells Handcrafted Old Fashioned Special Reserve
Black Cherry Soda

Available for a Limited Time! 22oz wax sealed bottles of Special Reserve Handcrafted Root Beer, Cream Soda & Black Cherry from historic brewing company Indian Wells! Get em before they're gone! #rocketfizzstc #rocketfizzstcharles #stc #handcrafted #specialreserve #sodapopandcandyshop #fizzlife #rootbeer #creamsoda #blackcherry #rocketfizzlife #stclife #waxsealed

All these sodas are regularly available at Rocket Fizz!

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

What Decatur Needs

Decatur has an official logo.

Image result for decatur georgia logo 

Decatur has an official motto.

A city of homes, schools
and places of worship.

You might think that these are quite bland.
(Compare ours to, say, Claxton, Georgia:
the Fruitcake capital of the world.)

The logo and motto don't distinguish our great city from any other.

Decatur has some unofficial mottos that I would regard as improvements.

It’s greater in Decatur.

Decatur: where Mayberry meets Berkeley.

Image result for decatur there's a festival for that     

If you have ever had a conversation with anyone from the city about the quality of the logo or the motto you quickly realize that there is no desire to change these things given all the logistical issues that would be involved.

So what Decatur needs is a new symbol.
A new means of signifying its identity.
Decatur needs …


Why A Flag?

Why a flag? you ask.

Well ...

Flags can signal an identity.

Image result for lgbt rainbow flag
LBGT Rainbow Flag

Flags can unite people.
Image result for flag of singapore soccer match
Flag of Singapore

Flags can be fun.
Image result for fun with flags
from Big Bang Theory

And flags can be really, really cool.
Image result for flag perm russia
Flag of Perm, Russia

 A poorly designed flag is none of the above.

Do you recognize this flag?

Image result for flag atlanta

Probably not. It's the flag of the city of Atlanta.
I don't know if I've ever seen it flying

What Makes for a Good Flag?

What makes for a good flag?

There is actually an organization that thinks about such things. The North American Vexillological Association is devoted to the scientific and scholarly study of flags. What appears to be their most recent survey of city flags was done in 2004 and can be found here. Their second favorite American city flag is the following:

Image result for flag chicago

Why is this flag considered so effective? Using the five basic principles of flag design as promulgated by NAVA, Chicago's flag works because:

1.  The design is simple. Anyone could draw this on a small sheet of paper within a minute and other people -- at least other Chicagoans -- would be able to recognize it.

2.  It incorporates meaningful symbolism. The three white stripes represent the North, West, and South Sides of the city. The top blue stripe represents Lake Michigan and the North Branch of the Chicago River while the other signifies the South Branch and associated canals. The four distinctive six-sided stars honor four major events in the city’s history: Fort Dearborn, the Great Chicago Fire of 1871, the World’s Columbian Exposition of 1893, and the Century of Progress Exposition of 1933–34. On occasion someone proposes a fifth star. IT WOULD DEFINITELY HAPPEN if the Cubs ever win another World Series.

3. It uses just three basic colors. The fewer the better. NAVA's favorite city flag uses only two.

Image result for flag washington dc
Flag of Washington, D.C.
 4. There is no lettering. There are no seals. Such things tend to be difficult to read, do not reduce well, and do not translate on the reverse side.

5.  It's distinctive. Chicago's flag has unique six-pointed stars. While the flag is red, white, and blue, the shade of blue is distinct from that used in the American flag.

If you go to Chicago you will see the city's flag.
It's everywhere, such as

Image result for flag chicago flying
flying besides all municipal buildings,

Image result for flag chicago cops
police wear it on their sleeves,

Image result for flag chicago hats
on apparel,

Image result for flag chicago mugs
and all kinds of other stuff.
Further, folks alter the design to create all kinds of cool things.
Image result for flag chicago tattooImage result for flag chicagoImage result for flag chicagoImage result for flag chicago bicycle

Even if some of it might be unwanted.

Image result for flag chicago marijuana

It's Time For A Flag!!!

It's Time For A Flag!!!

There are places which have undergone efforts to change their existing flag, most notably Milwaukee (which may eventually succeed) and New Zealand (which won't). Change can be hard, even if you flag contains an image of County Stadium, home of the Milwaukee Braves!

Image result for flag milwaukee
Yes, there are people who didn't like this.
There aren't many examples out there regarding the process by which a city that never had a flag adopts one, but it did happen recently in Albany, Oregon.

If Decatur were to do this, the following would be important:

1.  Get buy in - from residents, city officials, and the local arts community;

2.  Set up a timeline - relatively short, with a goal of June 14, 2017 (that's Flag Day!) as a final deadline for adoption;

3.  Open up the design process to everyone;

4.  Use experts to narrow the selection; and

5.  Open up the final vote to all residents;

Anyone interested in this?

If so, contact

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Poetry & Wine Book Group

The Poetry & Wine Book Group meets monthly, typically (but not always) on the third Friday at 7 p.m.

This is an open group. There is no need to call ahead. Just read and show up.Bring a bottle of wine (or bourbon or whatever) or a dessert of some sort to share if you wish. Folks share their favorite poems and we have truly wonderful discussions.

What we're reading:
May 13th, 2016 - Dead Man's Float by Jim Harrison

What we've read:
April 15th, 2016 - The Best American Poetry 2015, edited by Sherman Alexie

Thursday, March 31, 2016

Storefront Saturday in Decatur!

This event will be held on April 23rd from noon to 5 p.m.

We'll update this post as more information becomes available.

Who's participating?

Bleu Hanger
Boutique Karma
Furry Tails
Little Shop of Stories
Natural Body
Splash of Olive
Squash Blossom
The Great Frame Up
Treehouse Kid and Craft
Tres Jolie
Trinity Mercantile & Design
Wild Oats & Billy Goats
Worthmore Jewelers

Friday, March 18, 2016

Welcoming Marcus Zusak

Marcus Zusak, author of The Book Thief, spoke in Atlanta last night at the William Bremen Jewish Heritage Museum as part of his tour celebrating the tenth anniversary of his acclaimed novel. He was introduced by Little Shop bookseller Krista Gilliam. Her remarks are included below.

Good evening! I’m Krista Gilliam, a bookseller at Little Shop of Stories, an independent bookstore located in downtown Decatur.  It’s my great pleasure to welcome you to the William Breman Jewish Heritage Museum to celebrate the 10th anniversary of The Book Thief by Markus Zusak. I’d like to thank the Breman Museum for partnering with us on this event and for providing this beautiful venue.

At Little Shop of Stories, we feature hundreds of events a year, and host countless authors promoting their recent books. We love being able to introduce our customers to new books and connect them with authors. But there is something extra special about tonight, because we aren’t here to learn about a new book, or to meet the author of a book that’s just recently appeared on The New York Times bestseller list.

The Book Thief was published ten years ago. And somehow this room is still packed with people who have been impacted by this beautiful, haunting story. We are gathering tonight because this is a book that has changed us, inspired us, touched us. It’s a book we’ve handed to our brothers or teachers or students or friends and said. This book. You have to read this book. We are here, ten years later, because it has stayed with us. It isn’t just a story; it’s become our story.

The Book Thief is a book that breaks us. Despite all of Death’s warnings and foreshadowing throughout the pages, when the bombs hit Himmel Street, it is as if they are falling on our own hearts. I found myself completely broken when I reached the end of this book. I felt raw and overwhelmed and hyper-aware of the world and my tiny place in it. And I would bet that we all had a similar response to this story. This is a book that opens us up to the suffering of others. It forces us to look directly at terrible tragedy and to sit with pain. It teaches us empathy, and makes us feel, two things that are crucial to the human experience.

This is also a book that gives us hope for the future. It is about the ability to overcome brutality, and about the power of humanity, and about ordinary people doing extraordinary things. My husband and I were reminded of the hope of this book as we brainstormed names for our baby girl. We thought of all the characteristics we wanted our daughter to have--we wanted her to be brave and kind and tough and compassionate. We wanted her to be able to see beauty even in the midst of suffering. We wanted her to love books. And we remembered the girl from The Book Thief.

Today, my daughter Liesel is one and half years old, and one day when she’s old enough, I will hand her a copy The Book Thief to read herself. In the book, Max and Liesel literally write their own stories, and The Book Thief reminds us of the blank pages of life ahead of us, and the chance we all have to fill them with stories of beauty and hope and purpose.

I heard a quote recently by Frederick Buechner that I think sums up The Book Thief perfectly:

“Here is the world. Beautiful and terrible things will happen. Don’t be afraid.”

Thank you, Markus Zusak, for showing us the beauty and tragedy of the world, for sharing Liesel and Max and Rudy and Hans with us, for helping us not to be afraid, for inspiring us and changing us. We are here tonight because we love your book. Here’s to another ten years of The Book Thief.

Monday, March 7, 2016

Poetry & Wine Book Group

I appreciate poetry whenever I'm exposed. It just doesn't happen often enough. (I have had more exposure to wine.)

Thus is the impetus for Little Shop of Stories' newest book group, Poetry & Wine.

My hope is that the Poetry & Wine Book Group will attract a diversity of poetry lovers and the curious. I will be particularly happy if this appeals to wide variety of ages.

The first meeting will occur smack dab in the middle of National Poetry Month -- Friday, April 15th, at 7 p.m. -- and will continue to meet the third Friday evening of each month.

The first book of poetry will be The Best American Poetry 2015, edited by Sherman Alexie. (All book group books are available at Little Shop of Stories at a 15% discount for folks who plan on attending.) To state the obvious: this is a collection of contemporary American poetry. Alexie is one of my favorite writers across genres (young adult, poetry, fiction, short stories; he even has a picture book coming out in May) and he clearly made an effort to bring in a diverse group of poets. This seems to be a perfect book with which to launch a poetry group and to be able to get a feel for its direction.

As for beverages, Little Shop of Stories will start this off. Bottles of red. Bottles of white. Bottles of water. Snacks. Nothing fancy, but definitely serviceable.

For the first meeting people will be invited to discuss their favorite poem from the collection. They may feel free to read that poem as well.


Friday, January 22, 2016

2016 Summer Camps!

Summer is magical! Everyone should have wondrous memories of their childhood summers and Little Shop of Stories strives to be a part of creating them. We love hosting weekly camps – most of which are book related -- and filling the shop with the extraordinary sounds of kids doing kid things. We love making books come alive, and we love spending time with your kids. Here are some things to know about our camps:
· Camps run from 9am-4pm every day. We provide a morning and afternoon snack, and kids are required to bring their own lunches and water bottles.
· All of our camps take place in our upstairs loft here at the shop, but we take walking field trips around the square and to Ebster pool.
· All camps cost $325 with the exception of Jedi Academy which runs four days and costs $275.
· Once again each of our camps will be peanut (and tree nut) free. Some of our campers have serious allergies and we feel that this is the most effective means of addressing this.
And here’s some information about registration. In an effort to be fair, here are our guidelines for signing up for camp:
· Camp registration begins on Saturday, February 6th at 9 a.m. Registration must be done in person by the child’s parent or legal guardian.
· Our camps are extremely popular and many will fill up within the first hour or two of registration. Yes, we know it’s crazy. We just wanted to warn you. (I believe the first person in line last year arrived at about 6 a.m.)
· While in line on Saturday morning, you may not save spots for your friends. No line cutters! Let’s set a good example for our kids here!
· There is a $100 deposit per camp. In case of cancellation, $50 is NONREFUNDABLE. In case of cancellation within 21 days of the start of camp, the entire $100 deposit is nonrefundable.
We request that all camp deposits and other payments be made with checks. While we’ll take cash and credit cards payments, checks serve to help (immensely) with record keeping.
Here's the lineup for this summer!

Goody for Girls! Camp

May 30 - June 3 | Rising 3-5 Graders

With Sunny & Krista
Maximum enrollment: 20
 Cost: $325
Get ready for a special week for girls only, inspired by the achievements of real women. From Amelia Earhart to Julia Child, from Coco Chanel to Alice Coachman, from Frida Kahlo to  Annette Kellerman, from Martha Graham to Ruth Bader Ginsburg, women throughout history have been making waves and doing incredible things! Each day at camp, we learn about different women and their achievements, and then do activities inspired by these role models. In past years at Goody for Girls Camp we have learned to synchronized swim, visited the vet, put on talent shows, had mock trials, designed our own clothes, learned secret codes, performed choreographed dances, baked cookies, run relay races, created flower arrangements, flown paper airplanes, and started petitions.  And we promise even more excitement and fun this year! Goody for Girls Camp is full of activities, art, and adventures that celebrate everything girls can be and do, and this super-fun camp will encourage, challenge, and bring out the best in your girl. 

American Girl Camp

June 6 - 10 | Rising 2-4 Graders

With Kimberly
Maximum enrollment: 20
Cost: $325
From fighting for independence to farming on the frontier; from surviving the Great Depression to tie dying t-shirts; from escaping slavery to planting Victory gardens during WWII, girls throughout American history have had lives full of adventure, resourcefulness and fun.  This week we pay tribute to the olden times by playing games, doing crafts, learning history and exploring the lives of our favorite American Girls.  Please note that this camp will be identical to last year's, so if you've already taken it you might want to check out Goody for Girls Camp instead.

Magic Tree House Camp

June 13 - 17 | Rising 1-2 Graders

Please note that this camp is full. A wait list has been started.

With Sunny
Maximum enrollment: 20
Cost: $325
Calling all boys and girls who hunger for adventure and knowledge! The upstairs of Little Shop of Stories has turned into a giant Magic Tree House and it's whisking campers off to different places in history just like Jack and Annie.  Join us for a week of dinosaurs, ninjas, cowboys, mummies, wild animals, magic tricks, and so much more! We'll spend lots of time doing games, activities, and crafts based on each place we'll visit. Please note that it is helpful if your camper is familiar with the Magic Tree House series before starting camp.
A camper may only attend one week of Magic Tree House Camp.

Magic Tree House Camp

June 20 - 24 | Rising 1-2 Graders

Please note that this camp is full. A wait list has been started.

With Sunny
Maximum enrollment: 20
Cost: $325
Calling all boys and girls who hunger for adventure and knowledge! The upstairs of Little Shop of Stories has turned into a giant Magic Tree House and it's whisking campers off to different places in history just like Jack and Annie. Join us for a week of dinosaurs, ninjas, cowboys, mummies, wild animals, magic tricks, and so much more! We'll spend lots of time doing games, activities, and crafts based on each place we'll visit. Please note that it is helpful if your camper is familiar with the Magic Tree House series before starting camp.
A camper may only attend one week of Magic Tree House Camp.

Junior Detectives Camp

June 27 - July 1 | Rising 2-4 Graders

Please note that this camp is full. A wait list has been started.

With Justin & Terra & Hannah
Maximum enrollment: 20
Cost: $325
Do you like solving puzzles, investigating mysteries, and figuring out whodunnit? Then join us this week as we follow in the footsteps of great kidslit detective series like Nancy Drew, Encyclopedia Brown, Cam Jansen, Nate the Great, 39 Clues, All the Wrong Questions, and the Mysterious Benedict Society! Each day will be packed with treasure hunts, puzzles, and games. In addition, we will be exploring the jobs of real world mystery solvers like lawyers, archaeologists, spies, journalists, mystery writers, game builders and more. This brand new camp is for girls and boys who love nothing more than getting to the bottom of a good mystery!

Jedi Academy

July 5 - 8 | Rising 2-4 Graders

Please note that this camp is full. A wait list has been started.
With Justin & Hannah
Maximum enrollment: 20
Cost: $275
Please note that this is a four-day camp.
Has the Force awakened a love of Star Wars in you? Are you excited to explore adventures in a galaxy far far away? Then join us this week for games, activities, crafts, and adventures to inspire the Jedi in you. This camp, for both boys and girls, will involve light saber training, droid programming, flying x-wings, and lots of other Jedi fun!

Camp Hogwarts

July 11 - 15 | Rising 3-5 Graders

Please note that this camp is full. A wait list has been started.
With Lindsay

Maximum enrollment: 24
 Cost: $325
The Ministry of Magic is pleased to announce that 24 lucky young Witches and Wizards will be accepted to the Hogwarts Camp of Witchcraft and Wizardry this summer. All students will receive training in Potions, Divination, Charms, Care of Magical Creatures, and Defense Against the Dark Arts.  All students will be required to sit for their O.W.L.s (Ordinary Wizarding Levels) at the end of the week- NO EXCEPTIONS.  In addition to lessons, students may participate in extracurricular activities, including Quidditch. However, loss of limb will not excuse you from completing assignments. Please note: It is important that all students have read at least the first book in the Harry Potter series, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, to fully experience this camp.
A camper may only attend one week of Camp Hogwarts.

Wreck This Journal Camp

July 18 - 22 | Rising 4-6 graders

with Sunny & Terra & Lindsay
Maximum Enrollment: 24
Cost: $325
Creation and destruction are two sides of the same coin, and it's one we want you to toss with us this summer! Using Wreck This Journalas inspiriation, this camp will challenge and ignite your creative energy by helping you learn to create new art out of what has been destroyed, and look for the beauty in the unnoticed.  We will engage all five senses and investigate things through many different lenses via writing, sketching, jumping, thinking, listening, spying, doodling, ripping, gluing, observing, painting and composing! Don't be afraid to color outside of the lines!

Comics Camp

July 25 - 29 | Rising 4-6 Graders

Please note that this camp is full. A wait list has been started.

With Justin & Jason
Maximum Enrollment: 24
Cost: $325
Draw, baby Draw! You know when you get caught doodling and reading comics instead of doing homework or your chores? Well, Comics Camp is exactly like that without the homework and chores. This summer, discover how to cartoon your heart out as we make comics. Whether you like comic books, graphic novels, comic strips, or webcomics, you'll learn all about how to design, pencil, and ink your ideas and turn them into comics! In addition, this year's Comics Camp will finish with a bang as every camper will make comics to sell at our 2nd Annual LittleCon, the only comics convention exclusively for kid cartoonists! (Want to know more about LittleCon? Here's a write up from the Huffington Post last about last year's even.)

Camp Hogwarts

August 1 - 5 | Rising 3-5 Graders

Please note that this camp is full. A wait list has been started.
Please see description under July 11th.
City of Decatur schools are back in session this week (as is Atlanta), but DeKalb County tends to start later (their fall calendar has yet to be posted as of this writing) as do most private schools. So we've added this extra week of Hogwarts!
A camper may only attend one week of Camp Hogwarts.