Despite Florida’s Book Ban, Kizzy’s Books & More Embraces African-American Culture

As Florida continues to ban books, more Black-owned bookstores continue sharing African American stories. Trenessa Williams owns the online bookstore Kizzy’s Books & More, headquartered in Orange County.

Williams opened her store in 2018 after one of her favorite local bookstores permanently closed, Click Orlando reports. According to its website, Kizzy’s is an independent bookstore committed to embracing the African American culture and the joy of reading. Before entering the book space, the Winter Gardens native wanted to be a New York-based fashion buyer for luxury boutiques, but in 2008, something changed. “I got up that Saturday morning, went to that bookstore, to find out that the location wasn’t open,” Williams said.

“I thought, ‘OK, we need a bookstore here.’”

For 10 years, Williams walked the journey to entrepreneurship. She pursued her MBA in marketing and earned her Doctorate of Business Administration in 2014. Shortly after, she worked as a school liaison for Orange County Public Schools and an instructor for Bethune-Cookman University.

Recently, she used her platform as a business owner to foster her relationship with her community. As recent legislation in the Sunshine State has limited children’s access to books written by African American writers, the HBCU professor collected over 100 books to donate to children, working with different community organizations. “I reached out to some organizations and my customers and set up the book drive on my site,” Williams said. “Reading is so fundamental and so powerful, and it’s especially important for kids to have access to books.”

Earlier this year, Kizzy’s participated in the Protect Black History initiative, sponsored by the National Black Cultural Information Trust, Inc. The program provided Black history resources and materials to local communities and organizations needing support, including free online Black history seminars, panel discussions, and children’s storytimes. Regardless of her status as a business owner, Williams says she doesn’t want to stop growing. “When I talk to my students, I always tell them that it’s OK to have different jobs and different aspirations,” Williams said.

“You’ll get to wherever it is that you want to get to.”