Porchlight Book Company is proud to be a woman-owned company. Here in Milwaukee, we’re also lucky to be in company with a growing number of fellow woman-owned bookstores. In honor of Women’s History Month, we’re proud to highlight these community change-makers.
La Revo Books
Pop up shop based in Milwaukee, WI
Recognizing a community need to expand access to Spanish-language and bilingual literature, sisters Barbara and Valeria Cerda launched La Revo Books in the spring of 2021. They’ve brought their pop-up book shop to events ranging anywhere from street festivals to baseball games to car shows. Recently, they launched the Amoxtli Club, a book club to amplify Latin American literature and bring together a supportive community of readers.
Photo courtesy of La Revo Books
How did your bookselling journey begin?
La Revo Books launched on March 8th, 2021. We are two years old now! We chose International Women's Day because our bookstore is an homage to the revolutionary women in our lives, especially our abuelitas who both passed away in the two months before we launched. La Revo is short for "The Revolution" in Spanish. We had been dreaming of a community space for quite some time and we decided to open a Latine bookstore that offered libros en español and curated BIPOC literature.
What are your favorite aspects of being a bookseller?
We love getting to know our readers. We are getting to a point when we are remembering what certain people like so we can recommend books to our frequent customers.
We are also reading so much more. Being able to get folks excited about books we know about and hand selling them feels like a fun hobby and we like to expose them to literature that reflects them and their identity as chicanos, latinas, et cetera.
We also enjoy planning events, throwing parties and integrating our cultura in any way possible.
What are some challenges you’ve faced as a bookseller?
We have some challenges that relate to us specifically and other challenges to the book world. As far as La Revo Books, we are volunteer run and we have full-time jobs to support our families. Being able to manage our store is quite a task. Also, because we operate as a pop-up, there are people who don’t take us seriously and don’t consider us a “real bookstore.”
In the bookselling world, it’s a very white dominated field. It’s a struggle finding books in Spanish that are readily available or that the publisher has the rights to in Spanish. We also find ourselves doing considerable research ensuring that the books we offer are not only relevant but written by POC.
We are also working hard to change the relationship our people have with books and reading. From the time we learn to read, we are handed books with stories that don’t represent people who look like us. We come across a lot of people who say, “I don’t read” or “I don’t like to read” and we feel that comes from not being offered literature that is written for us and by us.
What’s one book you’d like to recommend to readers right now?