Words Bookstore Welcomes Those with Special Needs
Kim and I are fond of pretty much every independent bookstore (unless the people who work there are mean to us, in which case you simply won’t ever see a review on this blog) but every once in a while a bookstore comes along that has a special slant that’s particularly meaningful to one or both of us. For example, there’s the bookstore that serves wine–talk about being tailormade for Kim . . . (hee, hee).
And if you wanted a bookstore to mean something special to me, you’d make it geared for families dealing with special needs. You’d ensure that their children always felt welcome there by providing your staff with sensitivity training and that the parents would be able to find both the books they want to read for enjoyment and the ones they need to read for information about their children’s disabilities. My dream store would also make a point of hiring and training adults with special needs. It would also be warm, cozy, and inviting.
It would, in short, be exactly like Words Bookstore in Maplewood, New Jersey. Except maybe it would be in Southern California so I could actually go and see it with my own eyes.
Oh, well, you can’t have everything, and the very good news is that Words Bookstore is flourishing in Maplewood and that the community there has a resource unlike any other. Jonah Zimiles, who, with his wife Ellen, owns the store, is pretty new to the bookstore business, having been a lawyer, a business school student, and a stay-at-home dad to his son with autism over the last couple of decades. But once he and Ellen decided to buy a bookstore, they knew exactly the direction they wanted to take it in.