About Us

Kathy Burnette’s activism roots run deep. She’s a “See something, DO something” person who's made more than one career change in her life in order to do something to connect children to the tools they needed to enhance their educations and build brighter futures.

As a child growing up in a neighborhood on Chicago’s southside that was “so bad it no longer exists,” she found safety and hope from the community members who banded together to ensure her and other’s safety by walking them home, finding ways to feed hungry people, and helping remove the obstacles that kept an entire community from accessing the resources that were available to them.

Kathy found escape and inspiration through books, an impact so profound that she became first an elementary school teacher, then an elementary school librarian, and now the owner of a book store that features books focused on diversity and inclusion in order to share the life-changing influence writers and illustrators offer to children.

Kathy believes in the potential of each child and how a strong educational system can nurture, develop, and encourage that potential; eventually impacting the community at large in a social, economic, and quality of life way. 




The Brain Lair Bookstore is here to help everyone, especially children and teens, see themselves in a new light. We want to help you find, and celebrate, your place in the world. And if you can’t find your place? The Brain Lair Bookstore helps you make it.


When you see someone like you reflected in books and other media, you get a clearer vision of what’s possible, of what you can do, of where you can go. The Brain Lair Bookstore’s job is to seek out books that help you create that vision.


Our inclusive focus benefits everyone, including people who often find themselves on the margins. The people of color. The people with disabilities. The people who identify as LGBTQ+. The very people who make up our world.

Visit The Brain Lair Bookstore to find books face-out, prominently featuring all the people of the world. Our small store size allows us to handpick our titles; books that reflect our community and show the vast array of communities we share. The Brain Lair, developing empathy and building community with inclusive books. Come find YOUR story.