AUSTIN (KXAN)—When you walk into Black Pearl Books, diverse books are on every shelf because it wants to promote representation and cultural awareness.

These stories range from social justice, Black history, the Royal Family and more.

The bookstore is Black-owned and founded by a woman named Katrina Brooks in 2019. She and her family run the business together, building it after surviving a shutdown at the beginning of the pandemic.

Black Pearl became what it is after Brooks said she wanted her kids to learn stories not being taught in schools.

“From when they were babies, we would constantly go to the library or go to bookstores and look for books that showed representation and diversity for them,” Brooks said.

At first, Black Pearl was an online-only store, with some pop-ups around the city.

It wasn’t until 2020—when the social justice movement after George Floyd was killed by police, among other injustices around the country, that more people found out about Black Pearl books.

There was a shift. More people wanted to buy their books. According to Black Pearl, it received 10,000 online orders that summer.

Once they got their own physical space, they were able to launch a paid internship with high schoolers, shipping more than 200 orders per day. Now they even partner with AISD schools for library book clubs.

“We had a customer in two nights ago…She walked through and she enjoyed the space, and she came back up to check out and she said, ‘It’s so nice to go into a bookstore and not have to ask, where’s your Black section because the entire store is representative of not only in the Black community, but people of color in general,” Brooks said.

Brooks said the store is a safe space, dedicated to those who might not feel as if everyday society reflects their background or who they are as an individual.

“We really try to have an inclusive space and feature stories of groups that are traditionally marginalized or underrepresented,” Brooks said. And so that’s what you find on our shelves. 

What happens here, goes beyond the store.

The family just launched a non-profit called “Put It In A Book” last year to support literacy throughout our area.