Tina Moore moved to the United States from the Philippines in 1969, but this was not her biggest adventure. She would later start one of the nation’s oldest, and beloved, independent bookstores.
Tina opened the Blue Marble in June of 1979 in a storefront on North Fort Thomas Avenue. Initially, the store was focused on selling back-to-basics toys. Her goal was to get children away from electronics.
She built up connections with children’s authors and illustrators, making some life-long friendships with some of the biggest names in children’s literature. She helped schools to invite authors and illustrators to speak to their students, and would invite them to the store as well. She also connected with her customers by remembering names, faces, and books they enjoyed.
In 1991, the Blue Marble moved to 1356 South Fort Thomas Avenue, its current location.The building was a fixer-upper, but Tina was a go-getter and Peter, her husband, was a problem solver. They transformed the building into a store and a living space.
What kept people coming back was Tina’s hospitality, and a little hospitality can go a long way! They transformed the upstairs into a bed-and-breakfast for authors who visited. There was no need to worry about paying for a hotel or eating alone. Tina and Peter prepared dinner and even gave them a tour of Cincinnati.
With the connections she made, she helped start both the Association of Booksellers for Children (ABC) and the Kentucky BlueGrass Awards program. She was recognized for her contributions to area literacy by winning the Silver Gertie Award (1989) and was named one of the Women of the Year in Northern Kentucky (1991).
Her love for children’s books came from her own experience as a parent. Every night Tina and Peter read to their sons for hours. Reading was important for every child. Any child that walked through Blue Marble’s doors, with the jingle of the bells around the door handle, became just as important as their own.
Tina passed away in December of 2016, but the roots she planted are still strong. It can never be the same without her, but we carry on her legacy through our actions: the best way to get things done is to just go and do it! Tina proved this with every breath she took, and we are so proud of her legacy.
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