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Friday, September 13, 2013

Bookstore Tour: Kids Ink Indianapolis, Indiana

Kids Ink

Kids Ink opened its doors to children in May of 1986 - and Shirley Mullin has been there ever since.  At first the attraction may have been that it was next to the local Baskin Robbins store but it soon became the place to find great books, find exciting hands-on books and toys -- everything to keep young readers reading and thinking.   An article in Publishers' Weekly (09 June 2011) by Judith Rosen focused on the bookstore's 25th Birthday party and emphasized Mullin's continuing support of writers, particularly Indiana writers.

Kids Ink

Photographs courtesy of Mike Mullin

Kids Ink is nestled in a quaint neighborhood shopping center on North Illinois in Indianapolis, Indiana. My mother, Shirley Mullin, opened it in the middle 1980s while I was spending a year as a foreign exchange student in Brazil. When I returned, I worked at the store for about six years, and still help out occasionally at conferences or special events. I’m a writer today because of the store.  When I decided to try my hand at novel writing a few years ago, it was natural that I’d choose to write for young adults since I’ve been immersed in YA fiction for more than thirty years. 
The store caters to children: books, games, toys, cards, and bookmarks. There’s a massive wall of books—the elementary fiction section. Kids Ink is a small (1100 square foot) children’s only store, although they do carry titles on parenting and teaching. As a result of their specialization, they easily have the best selection of children’s books in Indianapolis. Want a children’s book in Spanish, Latin, Arabic, or Mandarin? They’ve got that. Poetry? There’s a whole bookcase. Astronomy? The section is near the back door. Dinosaurs? Another full  bookcase. Teen fiction, and more bookshelves, and so on. There is a train table—a favorite of the store’s younger patrons. and a wall of new arrivals: books, puzzles, and games.

And do not leave until you visit the bathroom. The walls are covered with the signatures of authors and artists. This is Steven Kellogg’s contribution featuring everyone's favorite Great Dane, Pinkerton and Rose (the most loveable cat).

Editor's Note: If you are not in the Indianapolis area you may wish to visit their website at and check out the great selection of autographed books they have for sale.  Autographed books make a very special gift for children and teenagers.  Check the autographed books page at  Kids Ink.  The staff will be pleased to ship the books to you.

Mike Mullin's debut novel, Ashfall (Tanglewood, 2012), is about a teen struggling to survive and find his family after the eruption of the Yellowstone supervolcano. Ashfall was named one of the top five YA novels of 2011 by NPR.  It was the first in the Ashfall Trilogy.  The second in the series, Ashen Winter (Tanglewood, 2012), was named a VOYA prefect ten winner.  The final book in the trilogy will be Sunrise, which Tanglewood will release in 2014.

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