“Everything we carry is curated. We don’t have the mandate of a general-interest bookstore,” says Cris Siqueira, co-owner of Lion’s Tooth (2421 S. Kinnickinnic Ave.), which opened late last year in a former Bay View tattoo parlor.
Instead of catering to trends and bestseller lists, Siqueira and Shelly McClone-Carriere sell foreign-language books, titles published by small presses and graphic novels, plus a smattering of more mainstream titles.
McClone-Carriere (a founder of the Riverwest Co-Op) met Siqueira in the late ’90s while vacationing in Brazil. At the time, Siqueira reported for a large newspaper in São Paulo – where she also owned a bookstore with a focus on alternative comics. “I knew then that graphic novels and comics were going to be something big,” Siqueira says.
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In 2004, she moved to Milwaukee.
In addition to selling books out of the store, the owners offer a subscription service. Each month, they package a new release with small artist-made items like cards, magnets, buttons, stickers and keychains, plus a Lion’s Tooth ’zine (prices vary, but average around $35 per month).
Inspired by McClone-Carriere’s work with a student-led café at Highland Community School, a café will debut soon. The co-owners also intend to host events and serve beer on tap for adults.
“We want to have a space that’s activated,” McClone-Carriere says. “We want people to hang out and talk about books.”