Tree House’s story began in the summer of 2004 when the Advocate Community Development Corporation (ACDC) conducted a Susquehanna Avenue Commercial Corridor Study. The completed study contained a number of recommendations—including focusing initial redevelopment activity in the 1400 block of Susquehanna. Among the types of retail operations suggested for this block were an arts and crafts supply store, moderately priced ethnic restaurants, and a used bookstore. ACDC was not able to initiate the development of a bookstore. However, Temple Partnership Schools, a local real estate developer, and community advocates supported the development of a used bookstore. Tree House Books opened in June 2005.
Tree House Books is a literacy center and bookstore based in North Philadelphia that supports children and their families in building literacy skills. What makes us unique is that our programs move beyond strictly academics to include a social, emotional, and cultural focus. In addition to providing access to a wide variety of books, we foster healthy attitudes towards reading and help our participants expand their self-concept through awareness of the opportunities reading provides. We also engage the community in holistic literacy activities that reflect our community’s rich ethnic, racial, and cultural heritage, giving us all as readers time and space to examine issues we find relevant to our lives.