The International Changemaker

The Student News Site of EF Academy

The International Changemaker

The International Changemaker

Octavia’s Bookshelf Brings the Dream of a BIPOC-Focused Bookstore to Life

Octavia’s Bookshelf, front window November 3, 2023. Photo by Tiffany Trinh.

On E. Washington Blvd, just about seven minutes away walking away from EF Academy, there is a small bookstore with a variety of unique types of books, Octavia’s Bookshelf. According to Kiki, the manager of Octavia’s Bookshelf, speaking on behalf of Nikki, the owner of the bookstore, the inspiration behind the shop started from Nikki’s deep admiration for literature. Nikki“ always talks about how when she was a kid, reading was her escape from any sort of distress,” Kiki said. Nikki, the owner of Octavia’s Bookshelf, was born in Chicago but she spent most of her life growing up in Pasadena. One of the most influential authors for her was Octavia Butler, a black, queer, sci-fi author, who was from Pasadena and wrote a lot of books here. Nikki decided to open a bookstore; she named it after the author to honor her.

The store’s focus is BIPOC authors (Black Indigenous People of Color), as well as writers whose voices don’t get heard often like queer, immigrant authors, etc… “We like a really wide range of stuff that you won’t necessarily see all the time when you go to other bookstores.” says Kiki who first heard about the bookstore opening in December of 2022. Her friend sent her a screenshot of a Tweet that the owner of Octavia’s Bookshelf had posted about quitting her corporate job and opening the bookstore of her dreams. Kiki, who loves books and has always dreamed about working in a bookstore, was excited, especially after hearing that the bookstore would be centered around BIPOC writers.

Today, the bookstore is doing better than expected. About six weeks ago, they were still in the small place, but now they are in the process of moving to a bigger place next door. “We have huge support from the community, from just like local people who live in the area to like the school district, who want to order books from us,” said Kiki. In addition, Nikki and Kiki have been successfully promoting the business through social media such as Instagram, Tik Tok, and as well as Nikki’s Tweet that went viral on Twitter.

However, it hasn’t all been easygoing. The hardest moment for the new business was when a break-in occurred a few months ago. The thief stole their cash register.. “That was really unsettling, and felt kind of like violating, especially because we have things that have been going so well,” Nikki shared. However, the community showed up and offered help, “looking back… the community support was what we were grateful for.”

In years to come, the bookstore wishes to continue growing strong, to keep offering books, and to listen to the voices that don’t get heard within the area, and worldwide.

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About the Contributors
Tiffany Trinh, Staff Reporter
Tiffany Trinh is a senior and a news reporter for The International Changemaker, a brand-new newspaper of EF Academy Pasadena. In addition to writing, Tiffany is passionate about fashion and crocheting and is planning to work in the fashion industry in the years to come. She loves cats, and seals, and cute stuffed animals.
Tristan Lo Conte, Staff Reporter
Tristan is a senior and a passionate staff reporter for The International Changemaker. Tristan, who traveled from Italy to attend EF Academy Pasadena, is excited to write about events that take place at EF Academy to better inform the whole community.

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