Friday, November 7, 2014

Got Indie Bookstore?

The We Need Diverse Books campaign continues to build steam, and last month Lisa Rose introduced our blog readers to The Missing Voice project to promote diversity in children's literature. Now she's discovered a wonderful gem of a bookstore in her hometown of Farmington, Michigan. The owner hopes to connect with the kid-lit community and expand her children's section. Lisa gives us the scoop:

Ever since Salathiel Palland saw the movie The Neverending Story she wanted to own a bookstore. But then life happened, and Palland studied teaching, musical theater, worked for Detroit Energy and General Motors. Finally, in 2010, she made a New Year’s Resolution to live her childhood dream.  By 2012, she was one of only 200 independent African-American owned bookstores in the United States. By 2014, that number dwindled to just over 50.

Her bookstore is called Off the Beaten Path Books and lives up to its name. It specializes in Steampunk which Palland describes as “Victorian Sci-Fi.” It's an area of literature with very few African-American writers and readers. It’s like the hockey game of literature for people of color, but Palland doesn’t mind. “I always did what interested me. I liked sci-fi, Harry Potter, and all that nerdy stuff. Diversity is about having the freedom to do what you want without judgment or stereotypes. Why can’t a black woman own a Steampunk Bookstore?”

Palland explained how she had all the stigma of growing up as a black woman, but because of the way she spoke and her interests, she was told she was “not black enough.” Her community thought she was “too white.” However, she was also told by black men she was “too dark” to date. Palland explained how sometimes it is our own community that “confines people of color.” Palland explained, “We must stop our own racism before we can expect others to stop theirs.”

Off the Beaten Path Books is much more than a bookstore. It also has a little café counter, Steampunk costumes, and room in the back for gatherings with a stage. Palland hosts anything from 80’s dance parties, to Harry Potter Night, to a Steampunk band concert.  The intention is to use this space for people to connect, create, and explore.

Even though Palland has young children, she admits she has a lot to learn when it comes to children’s literature. However, she can’t wait to meet the kid-lit community and is eager to expand her children’s section. The space in the back is ideal for author events with children’s crafts. Also, unlike the large chain bookstores, the store is very cozy and self-contained. A parent feels his/her child is very safe in this store. So MI authors if you are interested in holding an event at her amazing store, please contact her.

Salathiel Palland
33314 Grand River Ave, Farmington, MI 48336
(248) 987-6055

Lisa Rose lives near Detroit, Michigan with her husband and daughter. She likes to swim, practice yoga, and eat ice cream, but not at the same time.

She has two e-books published with MeeGenius OH NO! THE EASTER BUNNY IS ALLERGIC TO EGGS! and THE TOOTH FAIRY BROKE HER WING!

In 2016, the picture books SHUMLIK PAINTS THE TOWN and THE HUNGRY LATKE MONSTER will be published by Kar-Ben Publishing.

You can learn more about her and her work by following Lisa’s blog and follow her on twitter @lisarosewrites.


  1. Thanks for sharing. My children and I will be making a visit to Off the Beaten Path in the near future.

  2. What a find, Lisa! Thanks for sharing about Salathiel. I'm sure you told her about SCBWI! :)