PINELLAS PARK, Fla. (WFLA) — A couple in Florida is seeking to provide the people of Pinellas County with more accessible, affordable books — including some titles that have been banned by schools in the area.
George and Sarah Brooks have turned their love of books into a full-time job after opening their store, The Book Rescuers, in Pinellas Park. Their goal is to sell donated books at inexpensive prices, with the priciest book in the shop costing only $8.
The Brooks’ effort began during the COVID-19 pandemic, when they found out some online booksellers were trashing titles that had little resale value.
“It blew our mind. We were like, ‘That’s insane, can we take your trash and sort it?'” Sarah Brooks remembered.
“Books were always very important to me. So when I found out someone was throwing away 10,000 pounds of books a week away, I was like ‘What? We can’t have that,'” she added.
Among the books available at The Book Rescuers are titles banned in some school districts across Florida and around the country. A shelf dedicated to these “banned books” contains entire sets donated by teachers who were told they needed to remove them from their classrooms.
The store’s owners, however, insist their efforts have nothing to do with politics.
“I don’t think parents shouldn’t have a say in what’s in the classroom; we definitely should. But I think we’ve gone a little crazy with the things that are being pulled from classrooms,” Sarah Brooks said.
“I understand that people don’t want their kids reading certain things and I also feel like you don’t have a right to tell me what my kids can read,” she added.