by Betsy Natter


Kids are back in school and cracking open books just in time for International Literacy Day on Sept. 8th. This year marks the 50th anniversary that UNESCO, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, has promoted the day in an effort to mobilize international communities to encourage literacy and increase literacy rates worldwide. You can encourage your family’s reading habits and support the day locally by visiting one of Montgomery County’s independently-owned local bookstores. Here we’ve highlighted four stores that offer a variety of books, reading clubs, story times, lectures and writers’ workshops. Check out the offerings and enjoy reading!

Towne Book Center & Café
220 Plaza Dr., Suite B-3, Collegeville, PA 19426
(610) 454-0640

This book store has lots to offer the reader who likes to talk about what they’ve read with others. Offering five different book clubs, readers can surely find something to fit their taste. The store also hosts book signings and author visits. Author Mike Lupica, who writes sports books for young readers, will be visiting on Sept. 14th at 7 pm. and Minecraft Novelist Sean Fay Wolfe will be visiting on Oct. 12 at 4:30 pm. For adults, a writer’s workshop is held every Tuesday morning from 10:30 – 12:30 giving plenty of time and space for free writing. The Towne Book Center is located in the Providence Town Center shopping village located near Collegeville.

Harleysville Books
2780 Shelly Rd., Harleysville, PA 19438
(215) 256-9311

Visit this local bookstore in their brand new location in the Shelly Square Shopping Center just north of Harleysville. The store offers several book clubs (some offering breakfast or lunch!), author events and weekly children’s story times. Harleysville Books works with local schools to offer discounts and programs to teachers, book fairs and supports reading programs for students. Join in the fun on Sept. 24 at 2pm for a free story time featuring a new release by local author Val Jones, Who Wants Broccoli? – a fun story about a rescue dog and his antics. Come early to watch the pet parade at the neighboring pet store, Bark Ave Pet Supplies.

Twice Upon a Time Books
1540 Cowpath Rd., Suite 142, Hatfield, PA 19440
(267) 649-7009

If you are looking to build your children’s book library at a reasonable price stop by this shop to browse their collection of gently used books, learning toys and educational supplies. Twice Upon a Time carries board and picture books, leveled readers and book series, as well as classic and young adult literature. The store also carries teaching supplies, educational games and workbooks. Located in the Snyder Square Shopping Center, the owners are happy to purchase gently used materials for cash or store credit. Store hours are Tuesday through Saturday.

Character Development
209 Haverford Ave., Narberth, PA 19072
(610) 668-1545

This quaint shop located in the heart of the town’s shopping district features books, toys and resources to encourage your child’s creativity and educational development from birth through teen years. You’ll find classic and contemporary literature and non-fiction books, music, art and skill-building toys. Everything is geared to focus on exploration and the discovery of each child’s unique “character.” The shop holds occasional story times and author events featuring local writers. Open daily. 

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