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Opening soon in São Paulo, bookstore AIGO focuses on immigrant stories

Walk through Bom Retiro in São Paulo, and you'll likely hear a smattering of languages. Since the late 19th century, the neighborhood has been home to Italian, Jewish and Greek migrants, followed by other countries of origin and now a strong Korean and Bolivian presence.

Aiming to reflect the cultures and stories of that diverse group, a new bookstore will exclusively curate books about or by immigrants, covering a wide range of genres, from fiction to cookbooks. AIGO's founders, themselves children of Asian immigrants, want to share migration stories, promote intercultural understanding and shine a spotlight on Brazil's rich multicultural origins. As they point out, each migrant brings a story, and each migrant is writing a new story.

AIGO, opening on 27 July 2023, will arrange its shelves by narrative themes: 'Displaced and Descendants' provides stories of generational shifts, 'Origins' explores literature from homeland countries, 'Crossings' highlights travel tales and a 'Comfort Food' section focuses on cuisines introduced by migrants. The store will also stock children's books exploring these themes.

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More than just a bookstore, AIGO could become a potent tool for illuminating the richness of Brazil's blended society, capturing the lived experiences and perspectives of immigrants in their own words. Literature can also help younger, second or third-generation Brazilians — or children of newcomers to any country — navigate their connection to their familial heritage, especially in the face of societal assumptions or misconceptions about their ethnic identity. 

For the wider community, absorbing multidimensional stories of individual migrants might be the most powerful way to counter anti-immigrant narratives, break down prejudices and create a more inclusive society. How could your company help share those tales? We could see Unilever add printed short stories to food products that borrow from other cultures, Spotify spotlight audiobooks about immigrants to a specific listener's home country, Chipotle print the first chapter of a Mexican migrant's novel on a take-out bag... You get the idea ;-) 

Related: New bookstore in São Paulo only sells books by female authors

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Spotted by: Priscilla Brossi