“My Economy” tells the story of the new economic normal through the eyes of people trying to make it, because we know the only numbers that really matter are the ones in your economy.

Celene Navarrete first met her business partner Chiara Arroyo at a book fair for their children’s school.

“Chiara is from Spain and I’m from Mexico, and our children go to a bilingual program here in Los Angeles,” said Navarrete.

They both expected to find many books in Spanish at the book fair.

“But that was not the case. And it was very disappointing for us,” she recalls. “So, we decided to take action.”

That is when LA Librería, a Los Angeles bookstore that specializes in imported children’s books from Spanish-speaking nations around the world, was born. Navarrete and Arroyo travel to Latin American countries and Spain to find authentic Spanish-language children’s books. They carefully select books

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Inc. is celebrating Small Business Week 2020 with a look at local merchants beloved by customers whose devotion goes beyond loyalty and well into passion.

Nevaeh McKenzie reliably attracts crowds to his monthly story hours at Changing Hands Books. Glossy-tressed and thick-lashed, McKenzie–Miss Gay Arizona 2015–reads from books about feelings and inclusion to between 40 and 100 parents and children, sprawled on the floor or perched on folding chairs. Later McKenzie and the other storytellers–Sophia Sinclair (former Empress to the Imperial Court of Arizona) and Gray Matter (the reigning Mister Phoenix Pride)–lead the children in a craft related to compassion and self-confidence.

“It is incredible to see a 10-year-old boy sitting there–laughing, crying–and then afterward saying this is the only place I feel safe in the entire world,” says Gayle Shanks, the store’s co-owner.

Drag Queen Story Hour, which Changing Hands introduced in 2019, joins an eclectic lineup of programs

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Diesel bookseller Lynn Aime makes a sale next to a sign asking customers to contribute to the shop's GoFundMe. <span class="copyright">(Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times)</span>
Diesel bookseller Lynn Aime makes a sale next to a sign asking customers to contribute to the shop’s GoFundMe. (Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times)

Next to a bottle of hand sanitizer, on a table at an entrance to Brentwood’s Diesel bookstore, is a message to customers describing an existential crisis induced by a pandemic. It says, in essence: We need your help.

“We have tried to weather this storm, with creative reinvention, hard work, and perseverance, as we always have,” reads the note from Diesel owners Alison Reid and John Evans. “We’ve managed to keep our booksellers afloat financially and with the necessary health care. But at this point, our stores are foundering.

“… So we are asking for your support to restore us to a sustainable level, to make it through this taxing time… We have resisted this appeal to our wider community, but now we are running

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