Palabras Bilingual Bookstore

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“Palabras” is Arizona’s only bilingual bookstore, but it also doubles as a community and art space. Now, from book club meetings to art gallery, this bookstore is truly unique. Horizonte host Jose Cardenas spoke with owner Rosaura “Chawa” Magaña for more.

Magaña started the bookstore to address some of the injustices that immigrants face. “I think there is just not enough representation or stories, they are not as valued or shared when you think of the literary canon for sure. Also, when you think of local history, you do not see a lot of history books about Latino history specifically to this area or anything like that. We need a space to be able to share our stories so I though a bookstore would be the perfect thing to do that, and be able to find community and have a place of belonging,” Magaña said.

Magaña has tried to make it a place where people spend time. She hosts workshops and there are different groups that meet there. “At Palabras we do not try to make it the stuff that we create. We would rather have a community create the program,” Magaña said. Different organizations approach Palabras to do workshops, readings, and host discussions at the shop.

“It is just a welcoming space where people can come and connect and share. This is a place where you can hang out. You do not have to just buy your books and leave,” Magaña said. “We have plenty of seating here.”

There are also artists who showcase their work there. They have a monthly rotating art gallery, and they have a different artist featured every month. The book store has been at several different locations, but this location is special. “This location is more like a home. When you look at it you would probably think it is just another house on the street except it has a giant beautiful mural,” Magaña said.

Rosaura "Chawa" Magaña, Owner of Palabras Bookstore

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