Don't judge this Phoenix bilingual bookstore by just its cover

Posted at 8:04 PM, Dec 09, 2016
and last updated 2016-12-09 22:09:13-05

A new bilingual bookstore in Phoenix is one-of-a-kind and filling a void in the community.

Palabras Librería Bookstore, located along Grand Avenue near downtown Phoenix, opened last month. But it's more than just a bookstore, according to owner and founder Rosie Magaña.

"[It’s] not just a bookstore but a community space. Having something tangible, having human interactions, is the basis of the bookstore," Magaña said. 

At Palabras, board games are on the shelves next to books, Mexican candies are on the counter and the titles are in English and Spanish.

"If you look at the books on the bookshelf, you're going to see a lot more diversity and a lot more cultural representation, and that's extremely intentional," Magana said. That's because she’s is trying to fill a void.

About 40 percent of Phoenix's population is Hispanic, according to the U.S. Census Bureau; yet, Palabras may be the city's only Spanish bookstore.

Magaña said many in the Hispanic community do not see themselves reflected in the books they read.

"Not until you get to college, do you really get an idea of what's really happened in history, start seeing your face in some of the reading material, and I wanted to provide that for the community," Magaña said.

Palabras takes the community to heart by dedicating a section of the store as a small library for local residents who can't afford them.

Spanish language classes are also offered for free at the bookstore. And the store hosts word game nights on the first Fridays of each month. 

Magaña added that most of the books are donated, and she hopes to grow the bookstore through more donations.