Thursday, December 1 2022

DELMARVA – Liz Decker, someone you might call a bookworm, has always loved books and the stories they tell. While she loved owning a bookstore, it was the pandemic that changed her outlook. With more readers opting for deliveries, she knew she had to change tactics. “So we hit the road, and during that time we also decided to move to the beach, and we said if we had to be mobile, we can deliver everywhere and we can expand our community and spread the love of the book,” says Decker, owner of Caprichos Books.

Now Caprichos books are anywhere and everywhere. Decker tells us, “With the outdoors, there were more festivals and things like that, people felt safer outside, so it’s better for us to be outside and to have these stores on the outside accessible to people.” She says she has a passion for bringing the love of reading to even the most remote places. “We do different pop-up events in all kinds of places, we really wanted to connect different communities, so we like to partner with different communities for different events in different places.” Decker adds, “People can see that we can pivot and we can see and be in the community around us, but we’re also very adaptable and give what the community asks for.”

However, Decker’s goal is to get the books into the hands of community members, she has a bigger mission; carry forbidden books and make them available to everyone. “Somewhere in the county, someone questioned their material and found out they didn’t want it publicly available,” says Decker.

Banned books are not books that can no longer be found, read or sold. They’re just not readily available for censorship reasons, which means readers don’t get access to them for free. “Something as simple as this great ‘Hey Kiddo’ book, is a book where this young man struggles with his mother’s addiction and people didn’t want that in college because of the heavy subject matter.” However, Decker says books like these have a deeper meaning, which is beneficial for the development of young minds. “At the same time, a lot more kids need to see those experiences and understand what other people might be going through, even if it’s not something they’re going through, so they can have more compassion.”

That’s why Decker says she wants to be the middleman. Whoever Helps Families still preserves beloved stories that are no longer told, like “The Little Engine That Could” that teaches perseverance, or “Where the Wild Things Are” that shows how your family will love you unconditionally. “When someone comes up to me and says I didn’t know it was banned, I can start that conversation and say that’s what’s happening in your community, your community is questioning this book and saying that it shouldn’t be available for any child do you want that to happen?” says Decker. She adds, “If you want to get your hands dirty, you can help make these books accessible to your children.

Decker also tells 47 ABCs, every story is a tale as old as time, regardless of the book, and being at the forefront of the community will help share those stories for generations to come. “Adult readers remember that their childhood was full of books and it’s the most important thing that these books are accessible to children,” says Decker.

Decker also says she still accepts used books and constantly donates them to free community libraries.

Caprichos Books has an e-book and audiobook option for other readers and they will be opening a new bookstore in Ocean Pines in January 2023. Deckers says they will continue with the mobile bookstore, but the store will serve as a base for the company he hopes to offer activities for children, crafts, authors and much more.

To learn more about its mobile bookstore, visit Whims website.

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