It is still a good 15 minutes before the shop opens and she is still setting up, but already Julie Wilkins, owner of the Little Bookshop — the new Squamish mobile bookstore — is fielding customers.
Several more potential customers stop by in the first few minutes after she officially opens for the day.
Her adorable bookmobile sells books for kids from ages 0 to young adult. She also has a selection of local adult authors.
Locals may also recognize Wilkins from her other role, which helped spark the mobile bookshop.
She started the Inclusive Culture Club (ICC) in June of last year.
The club offers free family-friendly resources that "amplify underrepresented voices, celebrate diversity and foster acceptance."
"Everyone was always asking me where to buy the books, and I was sending them to [Armchair Books] in Whistler because he is so great. And then I realized we don't have a new, up-and-coming diverse bookshop here in town," she said.
Before launching the bookmobile last month, Wilkins already had the online bookstore — littlebookshop.ca — up and running.
She looked into renting a brick-and-mortar space in town, but she thought a mobile bookshop would be more feasible.
Asked how she chooses which books to sell, Wilkins said she aims to inspire a love of reading, so she lets that be her guide.
"Sometimes that is graphic novels or dragons or kittens and things like that, and then I expand from there," she said, adding she does a lot of research and looks to reviews from trusted sources.
She focuses on showcasing books readers may not have seen before that are inclusive.
"I think it is important for... kids to see themselves reflected and to see people they may not get to meet in our town," she said. "Being able to connect with people and cultures that you might not otherwise get a chance to in a meaningful way is what we are all about."
Wilkins — who has two children of her own aged six and eight — says it has been lovely to see children in person who are excited about books on the mobile cart.
"The online part is great, but you are dealing with the parents — the kids are so cute," she said, shortly before a woman came up to browse with two young kids towed behind in a wagon. The youngsters were wide-eyed, looking at the many books on the cart.
She added said that while a lot of books are read online now, there is something special about holding and reading a physical book. "I feel like books do a similar thing where they connect people, but they also allow you to go into a world that is not a screen. It is a very different connection and tangible."
The business also donates 5% of profits in the form of books for schools and kids in need.