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Newark Life

The Nomadic Storybook Shop

Oct 07, 2019 02:32PM ● By J. Chambless

The GoGo Books book truck made its debut earlier this year. Newark residents Sam and Kate Keeper developed the concept for about a year before they rolled out the book truck.

By Steven Hoffman
Staff Writer

Kate Keeper has been preparing herself to be the owner of “a nomadic storybook shop” her entire life.

That’s what Kate likes to call the GoGo Books book truck—a nomadic storybook shop. And indeed it is. The storybook shop features a wide selection of books for children of all ages—board books, picture books, a collection of children’s classics, young adult novels, and much more. There are magnetic games and books on parenting, too. Just one of the things that makes this storybook shop so special—in addition to a few thousand wonderful books to spark the imagination—is that this shop is completely mobile. Many Newark, Delaware residents have likely already seen the delightful blue truck rolling through the city or set up at community events in Newark and the surrounding communities.

 Kate has always been a dreamer, a trait that was no doubt nourished by an early love of reading. She said that GoGo Books began “as a tribute to the magic of those beloved stories from childhood that become a part of us.”

Those magical stories serve as an assurance that the only limitations that we have as people are those placed on our imaginations, where possibility isn’t conditional, and everything can happen.

As we age, many of us lose the ability to believe, especially when it comes to chasing our dreams.

Through GoGo Books, Kate is setting out to make sure that children get to lead a thousand lives through books, just as she did as a child. The fact that she and her husband Sam are operating this Nomadic Storybook Shop is also evidence that adults can still pursue their dreams if they have the courage to believe.

According to Keeper, she always loved to read and to be surrounded by books. But the idea of starting a bricks-and-mortar book shop in 2019 was a difficult one to pursue. Kate was still working as a registered nurse when her husband made a casual remark about a traveling bookstore. That remark was the first seed of GoGo Books being planted. Kate and Sam visited the Stories Bookshop + Storytelling Lab in Brooklyn, New York. They were still unsure about opening a conventional bookstore, but the idea of a book truck held real possibilities, they thought. Kate did more research on bookmobiles, and she and Sam developed a plan.

 After about a year of planning, the GoGo Books book truck debuted in April of this year. There is nothing exactly like it around. While there are other bookmobiles, the GoGo Books book truck features children’s books exclusively, which differentiates it from other bookmobiles. The selection of titles is tremendous. Kate curates the selection of children’s literature herself, an incredible job for someone who loves books so much.

The classic books, teen fiction, and young adult novels are featured alongside thoughtfully crafted children’s wares, creating a unique experience focused on the joys of storytelling with a touch of whimsy and charm.

Kate wanted to create an experience for local children. There aren’t as many bookstores as there once was, and the GoGo Books book truck allows children the opportunity to explore books—to pick them up, to look at the pictures, to flip through the pages—so that they can decide which ones they like the best.

“It’s fun and it’s novel,” Kate said of the book truck. “There are other book trucks, but not book trucks that are exclusive for children, and the other book trucks are not of this scale.”

One of the community events that Kate and Sam took the GoGo Books book truck to was Yorklyn Day 2019 in early June. The book truck certainly ranked among the most popular attractions, even though there was a lot to enjoy that day. Parents with children flocked to the book truck to look over the selections.

“It’s great,” said Sara Mora, a resident of north Wilmington who enjoyed looking at the books with her young son, Cameron. “It reminds me of when I was a kid and we had bookmobiles come to the school.”

Kate and Sam are always looking for ways to make the book truck experience more enjoyable for children and families. Kate plans to host story-time and sing-along sessions at the truck. In addition to setting up shop at festivals and community events in Delaware and the surrounding communities, she would also like to partner with local businesses.

Kate and Sam have really enjoyed being out in the community, meeting people, and giving children and parents increased access to books.

Plus, Kate now spends much more time surrounded by books. It’s like a dream come true for her. Such is the life of the owner of “a nomadic storybook shop.”

More information about GoGo Books, including how to book them for your next event, can be found at Gogobooktruck.com. The website also has a feature that allows visitors to see where the GoGo Books book truck is. Information about upcoming events where the book truck will be appearing is also available on the GoGo Books Facebook page.

To contact Staff Writer Steven Hoffman, email editor@chestercounty.com.

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