Baristanet Profile: Sheila Frye

NameSheila Frye

Where do you live? The South End of Montclair

When did you move there? I’ve lived in Montclair for 20+ years, but I’ve been in my current house for 8 years.

Where did you grow up? I spent half of my childhood in Plainfield, NJ and the other half in Dunellen, NJ.

How do you make a living? OR What is your everyday passion?

Inspired by the work of Sarah Kamya and Little Free Library’s Read in Color initiative, my current passion involves adding inclusive and diverse books to Little Free Libraries (LFLs) in our area. 

I purchase inclusive books written by or about people of color and people from the LGBTQ+ community and place them in local LFLs, hoping that young readers will find books that speak to them. (I document this on my Little Free Diverse Libraries Montclair Instagram page.) This all stems from my belief that inclusive books serve as both mirrors and windows to the world. Readers who see themselves reflected in literature gain a sense of validation that their voices matter. That THEY matter. Inclusive books also provide a glimpse into the lives of people who may differ from the reader. From there, empathy grows. 

If anyone is interested in helping to boost these efforts, feel free to visit my Watchung Booksellers Wish List  or Amazon Wish List. All BIPOC and LGBTQ+ books purchased from the wish list will be deposited into Little Free Libraries in Montclair and the surrounding towns, and documented on my Instagram page.

Coffee, tea or … ? Big Train Vanilla Chai!

What’s your idea of a perfect weekend day? Spending time with my teenagers and parents, having time to read, and taking a short nap on the couch.

What’s your favorite local restaurant? There are so many! Samba is a lovely restaurant that never disappoints.

What’s on your nightstand? Piles and piles of books! I love reading children’s books, middle grade fiction, and Young Adult titles.

What are you listening to? Lately, I’ve been listening to a lot of Hole, Fiona Apple, and 90s hip hop.

What are your current indulgences? Going thrifting for books! That and watching way too many TikTok videos.

What talent you would most like to have? I wish I knew how to speak multiple languages, especially French.

What’s the worst-kept (or best-kept!) secret about Montclair? The South End is a fabulous place to live!

What do you hope they say about you at your funeral? That I loved deeply and made people feel special.


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