National Book Month is held each October, which was created by the National Book Foundation. The month-long celebration focuses on the importance of reading, writing and literature.
To celebrate National Book Month, MileStone Academy is highlighting the local ground-breaking historical, Harriet’s Bookstore.
Harriett’s Bookshop, named for historical heroine Harriett Tubman, celebrates women authors, women artists, and women activists.
They are located at 258 E. Girard Ave. Philadelphia, Pa. 19125 Thursday-Sunday from 12 am – 6 pm.
Owner Jeannine A. Cook specializes in books by black and women authors. Her store is also a community space “for folks to come together, discuss ideas, and debate in a healthy way,” she said.
In 2017, Cook, a South Philly resident, came close to achieving her lifelong dream of owning a bookstore. She signed a lease for a space at 7th and Girard, began investing in renovations — and then the building suddenly burned down.
Devastated, Cook pulled back, and returned to her career. The UArts alum had found a calling teaching at Yes Philly, a school for teens who’ve dropped out or become entangled in the justice system.
She enjoyed the work, but then a friend forwarded an email from almost a decade ago. In the message, Cook had spoken of her love for writing, and promised she’d open a bookstore one day. It was a call to action for the 36-year-old Virginia native.
Shortly thereafter, Cook found a vacant storefront on Fishtown’s bustling Girard Avenue corridor, the bar-and-restaurant heavy strip that leads from Frankford Avenue to the river. The landlord was willing to take a chance on an independent brick-and-mortar, so Cook signed on, naming her business after Harriet Tubman, who she said she’s been obsessed with since third grade.
Half the opening stock sold out within two weeks, Cook said, and neighbors have been supportive both in-person and online.
Many of the books on its shelves are written by women, or address gender. Each month, feature a local woman artist, and curate the window book display to match how the art makes her feel. She also plans engaging events, community partnerships and a programs that serve women and kids.
Stop by Harriet’s Bookstore during the month of October to celebrate National Book Month and support a worthy local community shop!
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