Earlier this fall I ran into Lauren Vanderpool at an outdoor market where she was introducing her brand new business called Book Scout, an independent pop-up shop of custom children’s books. I've known Lauren for many years and have seen her grow from a college student to newlywed to a mom of two littles and now a mompreneur! I was super excited to team up with Lauren for a pop up event at The DIME Store yet Lauren was hesitant wanting to be sure that it supported our mission, I assured her that in the story of every maker is inspiration from the books we read as children! DIME is teaming up with Book Scout for Wassail weekend fun, and wanted you to have a chance to get to know this passionate mom and hear the story behind Book Scout, so read along!
Join Book Scout for a family Story Time at The DIME Store on December 1st at 5pm, we will be serving milk + cookies and wassail of course! Get all the details here and make your plans to park and start your Wassail/Holiday Tree lighting at DIME and then plan to come back on Saturday 10-2 to load up on books and handmade gifts.
What is your Denton story?
I am from Denton and was actually born at Flow Hospital before it was torn down (my tiny claim to fame). I went to school in West Texas and travelled a bit after college but always felt compelled to move back to this place. It’s been incredible to see the community’s growth in recent years, like I couldn’t have dreamt what Denton has become. I simultaneously feel a sense of pride in that reality and also small pangs of sadness thinking about the sleepy college town I grew up in.
Tell us about your inspiration for Book Scout and how did this all get started?
Book Scout is an independent pop-up shop of custom children’s books, and my daughter Scout is the muse behind our operation. I’ve always collected books for Scout, even before she was born, and loved the idea of curating a library that would carry my girl through her childhood. After receiving multiple inquires about the books in Scout’s library, I began to wonder if other families in the community might benefit from a bookseller that felt a little more personal than a box bookstore or the Internet. Since that time, Book Scout has been an idea rolling around in my head that is now finally coming to fruition. We’ve had some of our first events this fall and couldn’t be more pleased by the support and encouragement we’ve received from the community. Currently, we’re learning the most effective ways to get books in the hands of young readers and are excited about the next steps.
What are your dreams for Book Scout?
A huge dream for Book Scout is to have a storefront, from which to sell books, host literary events and add to the local flavor of the community. Denton used to have a wonderful children’s bookstore, Children’s Book Express, and I would love to be a part of revitalizing the experience of reading and buying books from a local children’s bookshop. I find myself sometimes peeking in the windows of stores for rent downtown, sighing nostalgically and channeling my inner Kathleen Kelly… someday. On a lesser scale, Book Scout is currently working to improve its online presence and hopes to offer a few new services in the coming year, including book subscriptions and what we call “library bundles”. Customers will be able to go to our website, provide specific information about their family and Book Scout will curate a library tailored especially for them.
Tell us about the books that Book Scout offers? which is your favorite, or more importantly which are your children's favorites?
Book Scout sells modern children’s books, and we hope to introduce readers to some new titles. We care about the book itself, how it feels in your hands and the quality of the paper used. Additionally, we feel strongly about captivating illustrations and clever, thoughtful writing. You will always find a Jon Klassen book on our shelves, and Andrea Beaty and David Roberts’ books are some of our best sellers.
Currently, Scout and I are loving Rapunzel and Little Red by Bethan Woollvin. The black and white graphics with intentional pops of color somehow feel modern and retro all at once, and we love her cunning heroines. My 17 month-old son Collier has been slower to the reading game but just in the past few weeks has been requesting Brendan Wenzel’s They All Saw A Cat. We read it over and over again - I love watching the world of books begin to open to him.
What books inspired you as a child?
Any book illustrated by Eric Carle would rank among my favorites. Speaking of Children’s Book Express, they hosted a book signing with Eric Carle where I had the opportunity to meet him as a child. I have a signed copy of The Very Hungry Caterpillar that I now read with my children, which feels a bit surreal. His bold use of color and negative white space has largely affected my own aesthetic, and his illustrations always feel new, no matter how many times I’ve read his books. Also, my inner five-year old loves The Berenstain Bears; I’ll always have a sweet spot for those loveable bears.
What books will you be featuring at the DIME pop up?
Oh, I want so badly to give you all the titles we will be selling at the DIME event (I’m a horrible secret keeper), but we would much rather families come discover and interact with the books for themselves. We hope for customers to be swept up in the activity of reading, to rediscover the childlike joy that comes from a good picture book.
I can say that we will have books for toddlers as well as elementary-aged students. We will have a selection of whimsical, rhyming books, as well as books that deal with heavier issues like grief. In addition to our regular collection, we will have a selection of Christmas books for sale, all of which have been published in last year. Simply put, we believe we have the right book for every child and look forward to helping families find the ones that are best suited for them.