Jawas, Comics, and Intergalactic Fun at Tankano Traders
Not long ago in this very galaxy, a brave alliance of literacy fighters has come together to form a very special trading post with a revolutionary idea: to share the magic of literacy with young Padawan learners across the Empire.
In this time of unrest in the Empire, Tankano Trading Post is a place where Jedi and storm troopers alike have come together in this effort to endow the galaxy with the magical ability to see and experience the world through language.
Everybody knows Jawas love to scavenge and trade. Tulsa Pop Kids’ latest venture, Tankano Traders, gives kids the chance to do some scavenging of their own while nurturing their own lifelong love of reading and literature.
If you’ve followed our blog for any time, you know that we’re huge fans of Tulsa Pop Kids. Tulsa Pop Kids is a simply fantastic organization aimed at inspiring kids and advancing literacy through sharing their love of pop culture, a love our family fervently shares. Tulsa Pop Kids uses awesome props and cosplayers to connect with kids’ sense of wonder and adventure while sharing comic books with children throughout the region.
Tulsa Pop Kids also organizes the Tulsa Pop Culture Expo every (non-pandemic) year to help raise money and awareness for this amazing cause. To read all about our Tulsa Pop Culture Expo adventures, check out this post.
We love doing all we can to support Tulsa Pop Kids, which is why we were beyond thrilled to get invited to the unveiling of their super dope new joint, Tankano Trading Post. Masks in hand, we piled into the car and headed out to Persimmon Hollow in Broken Arrow, the new home of Tulsa Pop Kids.
When we showed up, we were greeted by the Mystery Machine and a whole gang of Imperial troopers, rebels, Jawas, and bounty hunters milling about. The trading post itself feels just like being back home on Tattooine. The goal is to give kids a place to trade reading and literacy goals for awesome Star Wars and other pop culture swag. Kids can put together video book reports and other approved literacy projects, which they in turn trade for points that go to prizes in much the same way they trade skeeball tickets at an arcade.
And to kick things off, each kid 14 and under gets their very own comic book just for participating!
Our three kids were super stoked to stand in line outside of the trading post and sign up for their accounts. In addition to their free comic book, they also got their first 100 points for signing up.
After piling inside and conversing with some chatty Jawas, who gifted us each a slick neon commemorative coin they apparently had scavenged, we were blown away at how fantastic this place looks. The wizards at 6 Dot Scenic did an incredible job making it feel a bit like a mini Disney experience.
Everywhere we looked were fun visual details to take in, but our favorite was the giant LEGO minifig Han Solo encased in carbonite. Giant minifigs have been something of a staple for Tulsa Pop Kids, and I believe they are all housed now onsite in the Tulsa Pop Kids shop across the way from the trading post along with many other props featured at Tulsa Pop Expo.
Our shopkeeper for the day, Tyler Rigney, who also happens to be the imagineer who created the room, filled us in on the project’s goals.
“The whole premise is that we want to get kids excited about reading and help them learn to read. Comic books are usually a good way to get them to engage, not because their teacher told them to read, but because they want to read. We’re trying to encourage that with this trading post as well as to create a culture of a place that is safe and fun to be in.”
So how does it work? The trading post will be open from 9 AM to noon on the first Wednesday and third Saturday of every month.
Pop culture fans will have a few ways to participate:
- Reading Logs: Earn points by reading and trade your reading log (for kids 14 and under).
- Projects: Read any book over 100 pages, then create a project like a diorama, booklet, or 20-30-second video report for points. This is your kids’ chance to really show their creativity! The more excitement kids show for their story, the more points they’ll be awarded.
- Scavenging: Trade clean, safe pop culture items (up to five per day) for points (with parent’s permission, of course!).
“If you look around the room,” Tyler told us, “you’ll see a bunch of little signs that have points or credits on them. As folks come in here and they read, they could do either a little video report or a handwritten report and they get points for that.”
“They get points for how many pages they read, they get points for the report they do, and they can come in and cash those in for really cool prizes. Everything from graphic novels to Funko pops all the way up to signed memorabilia, so there’s a wide range of custom stuff they could get. It is pop culture as a whole.”
The trading post is open to all ages, but points will double for kids under 14.
What kinds of things earn points?
- Graphic novels
- Kid-friendly reading is worth more points
- Action figures
- LEGOs in a bag or unopened container
- The more you know about an item, the more points it’s worth
How Reading Logs Work
Kids 14 and under can download a reading log or pick one up at the trading post and earn one point for every minute they read.
One of the most exciting parts of Tankano Traders is the plans for expansion. Phase Two includes a lounge area where Lando and Han would feel right at home.
Tulsa Pop Kids is also hosting a socially distant drive-through event on October 24th. Last May, they hosted a hero-centric drive-through event, but this fall, right in time for Halloween, the villains will have their day in the sun. Hook, the residents of Halloweentown, and Maleficent will all be present for roll call. You’ll drive through lifesize props and interact with characters for a pop culture experience that includes Avengers, Jurassic Park, Star Wars, all your favorite princesses, Harry Potter, Scooby Doo, Nightmare Before Christmas, the Batmobile, and more.
This event is free but ticketed, so you’ll need to head to Eventbrite and sign up. Tickets are by the carload, and every kid will get a free meal card from Chick-fil-A and a free book for participating.
- October 7th: Trading Post hours 9 AM to noon
- October 17th: Trading Post hours 9 AM to noon
- October 24th: Drive-Thru Villain Experience, morning or afternoon ticketed event
Tulsa Pop Kids is located at 6927 S 115th E Ave, one Block East and one Block North of 71st & Garnett behind the Salvation Army store in Broken Arrow. To learn more about or get directions, visit their Facebook page. As always, thanks for reading and we hope you have a beautiful week in your little nebula!