Bookstore Highlight: Mil Mundos
Name: Mil Mundos
Space: Bilingual bookstore, cafe, and community space
Location: 323 Linden Street in Bushwick, Brooklyn
In the run up to Independent Bookstore Day I saw this article from Remezcla with a list of Latino Bookstores in NYC to support. I had never heard of Mil Mundos, the latest addition to this list which just opened its doors to the Bushwick Community a month and a half ago. Seeing a new space like Mil Mundos pop up was a great joy and I made note to visit next time I was in the area. I finally got a chance to stop by last weekend.
The space from the outside is unassuming and blends in with other Bushwick businesses in the area, only its colorfully painted metal garage door cover, only visible when it is pulled down, and a chalkboard sign announces the space as a bookstore/libraria. Once you step in however you are immediately pulled into a warm and homey space Although not large, the space is versatile, well curated and inviting. This is clearly a neighborhood space through and through. It is run by Bushwick residents for the Bushwick community; a welcome space in a quickly gentrifying borough. You can read more on their story and mission statement here.
On one half of the one room space, there is an ample kid lit section and space for children to read and play which can also be turned into a projection space for mixed media performances if needed. On the other side there is a cafe with bar top and table seating that offers a place to enjoy local coffee and pastries while browsing the display tables and bookshelves that line the walls.
On these shelves, you will find a carefully curated selection of non-fiction, fiction, poetry and genre fiction written by and about authors of colors with an emphasis on Latinx and Black authors, liberal philosophy and political activist texts. There are plenty of Spanish language texts both translated from English and Spanish language originals. Adorable and quirky merch including candles, tarot cards, stationary and toys dot the bookshelves too.
I felt instantly welcomed in this space; the staff was really friendly and you could tell that they were passionate about their work, the space and what it represented for their community. While browsing and chatting with the staff, I fell in love with this space and the services it provides and even though I was in a kind of book buying ban I couldn’t help but pick up some books because their curation and displays are just that good. I picked up Like Water for Chocolate by Laura Esquivel, Black Skin, White Masks by Frantz Fanon and Speaking From The Heart: A Feminist Perspective On Ethics by Rita C. Manning.
Like any indie bookstore however, especially ones in Brooklyn, it is a difficult business environment to stay afloat in. Currently all staff are working as volunteers as their amass the funds necessary to keep operations running and the space and events available to everyone in the community. If you are in NYC I highly recommend checking out this beautiful bookstore and supporting them with your book buying dollars. If you are not nearby but still would like to help they also have an online store, accept donations and have recently opened an Indiegogo which you can find here: https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/help-mil-mundos-books-stay-in-bushwick#/.