Five book-happy spots for NW Philly families

The crisp winter winds have finally hit Philadelphia (on some days), and it’s the perfect time for kids and parents alike to catch up on some extended reading time. Here are five spots in the Northwest for families to hunker down and get your bibliophile on:

1) Big Blue Marble Bookstore. This independent bookstore in Mt. Airy is a great place to spend a cold afternoon. Parents can peruse books with daily meditations by the poet Hafiz and kids can play with wooden toys and read picture books about Frida Kahlo. There’s an interactive Friday morning storytime. Okay, there’s a lot of cool Star Wars comic books too.

2) Germantown Friends Free Library. This cute little library on Germantown Avenue is part of Germantown Friends School but open to the public. Any neighbor can get a library card and use computers or take out materials. You do have to work around student classes in the kid section, but when they’re not scheduled it’s a great place for new kid picture and chapter books. They also have an excellent selection of kid meditation, peaceful resolution, and spiritual books, even for the youngest of minds. Thank you, Quakers!

3) Walk a Crooked Mile Books. This used bookstore in East Mt. Airy, tucked into a train station, has free coffee and tens of thousands of books pouring out of its shelves. Lots of vintage children’s books, and obscure out of print texts you won’t find anywhere else are some of its treats, and it’s always nice to hide yourself in a corner and read one of your finds.

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4) Color Book Gallery. This is a fairly new bookstore, specializing in multicultural books and toys. It’s got a great supply of teacher resources, and a wide selection of black history puzzles, games, and activity books. They also stock a lot of brainteaser books, a good resource in a household with a bunch of snow-day bound children. Drop in on them, located right on Germantown Avenue!

5) Free Library of Philadelphia (Lovett Branch). Last and certainly not least is the epitome of book pleasures and hibernation, the Free Library of Philadelphia. There are branches in Chestnut Hill, Mt. Airy, Germantown, Roxborough, and East Falls, but I’m highlighting Lovett. My family is a regular customer at almost every Northwest branch of the library, but I am especially fond of Lovett right now for their amazing selection of kid DVD’s (sometimes in the dark afternoon of winter, a book just won’t do). They’re open until 9pm on Monday and Wednesday evenings, so late night studying and reading is possible.

There are lists of book recommendations on the Free Library site and on Big Blue Marble Bookstore’s blog, which are good starts for a new year full of books!

Do you have a spot to add to the list?

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NW Philly Parents is a partnership between and, a community blog covering events and issues of interest to parents and children in Northwest Philadelphia.

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