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Nonprofit Reading Ready Pittsburgh opens free bookstore for kids

A storefront with red books painted on the glass door and window.
Kate Giammarise
90.5 WESA
B is for Books is a free children's bookstore in Homestead. It is run by Reading Ready Pittsburgh, a nonprofit that promotes early literacy.

There are tiny, kid-sized seats and the shelves are lined with colorful children’s books in the bright, cozy storefront on 8th Ave. in Homestead.

B is for Books looks at first glance like a regular children’s bookstore, but there’s something unique about this “store” — the books here are free, in the spirit of the Free Stores in Wilkinsburg and Braddock.

Kids can take home up to three free books.

A project from Reading Ready Pittsburgh, a nonprofit that promotes early literacy and aims to increase access to books, the bookstore opens Feb. 1.

"What we're doing is taking donated books and just having an option for people to come in, have a safe, nurturing, loving environment that any child can come in and visit,” said executive director Mary Denison.

The books are donated; some of them are new and all are in good condition. The store has thousands of books on hand, ranging from board books for toddlers to teen reading, and even a few books for grown-ups.

The group’s goal for the space is for “every child walking past can walk through these doors and find something that they can take home and love,” said Mark Sepe, the group’s outreach coordinator.

An open house event featuring snacks and crafts, as well as free books, is planned for Saturday, Feb. 17, from noon to 3 p.m.

Reading Ready Pittsburgh has several other literacy programs for kids, including the Raising a Reader program, and maintaining multiple little free libraries throughout the Mon Valley. The organization hosts the Dolly Parton Imagination Library, which mails free books to children until age five, for 18 zip codes in the Mon Valley as well as the entirety of the City of Pittsburgh. The organization is funded through small donors, foundation grants, and the Allegheny County Department of Children Initiatives.

B is for Books is located at 222 East 8th Ave., Homestead. For hours and other information, click here.

Kate Giammarise focuses her reporting on poverty, social services and affordable housing. Before joining WESA, she covered those topics for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette for nearly five years; prior to that, she spent several years in the paper’s Harrisburg bureau covering the legislature, governor and state government. She can be reached at or 412-697-2953.