A 6th grade creative writing teacher opened a bookstore this summer, and ever since, he’s been helping locals get their work noticed. Demoir Books and Things was created by Jeremee Demoir. He says the bookstore is the city’s first independent black-owned millennial led bookstore in the city.
From well-known novels to ones you may not have seen before, you can find a lot in Demoir Books & Things on White Station in northeast Memphis.
“I noticed, there was a huge knowledge gap when it came to reading,” Demoir said.
He’s now a bookstore owner, an author of eight books and a 29-year-old educator. He decided to open the bookstore after seeing a need in the neighborhood. It’s just a walk away from White Station Middle School where he works. Demoir wanted to create a safe space from any distractions within the area and open doors for kids. He also offers game nights and literacy programs for young adults.
“We have so many people that have written books, written poems, and they might never see their items in a store,” Demoir said. “They might never see their things on a shelf, and I felt as the owner of a bookstore, it was important to give everyone a seat at the table.”
He means everyone, including children.
“We have a wide variety of books such as G is for Grace and Super Lucas,” Demoir showed us as he walked around the store.
G is for Grace is a book written by three-year-old Kaelyn Jones.
“This B is for brave, this A is for adventurous, C for curious,” little Kaelyn says as she reads a page from her book.
“Literacy is very important to us. We feel like being able to read and open up your mind, open up your vocabulary, it helps you to articulate. It helps you to imagine,” Kaelyn’s father, Karlton said.
Kaelyn and three of her classmates are all authors, at ages two to four.
Lucas Thompson has his book, Super Lucas in Demoir’s bookstore as well as Brenton Bryant the author of the book, Brave.
They’re all working on sign language, speaking Spanish and are all reading on higher grade levels.
Although Demoir Books & Things is one of the few black owned bookstores in Memphis, Demoir says it’s all inclusive– including books that focus on current societal issues that may be hard to find in the city.
For Demoir, it’s all about helping kids see a path forward and putting literacy first.
He’s hoping students like the ones he teaches throughout the week, learn the importance of reading and creativity. No matter what that looks like.