Founded in 1966, this bookstore has been a magical place for thousands of children and adults alike throughout the years. In April 2003, the Palacios family, by way of our then 9-year old daughter Jessica’s letter-to–the-editor, bought the business from founder Jane Humphrey.
Jane Humphrey, Founder of Once Upon A TIme Bookstore
The Palacios family in 2017 (Maureen, Jorge, Amelia, and Jessica)
In 2008, Publisher's Weekly announced that Once Upon a Time was the nation's oldest children's bookstore. In 2015, Once Upon a Time was awarded the prestigious Women's National Book Association Pannell Award, given annually to a bookstore whose community contributions stimulate, promote, and encourage children’s and young people’s interest in books. In 2016, California State Senator Carol Liu (District 25), named Once Upon a Time as the California Small Business of the Year in her district, representing about 930,000 people in the 25th Senate District, which includes Burbank, Bradbury, Glendale, Pasadena, La Cañada Flintridge, La Crescenta, Montrose, Altadena, San Marino, Shadow Hills, Atwater Village, South Pasadena, Sierra Madre, Sunland-Tujunga, Monrovia, Duarte, San Dimas, La Verne, Claremont, Glendora, and Upland. In September 2017, we were voted as CV Weekly's The Finest Family Bookstore for the 5th year in a row! In 2018, Once Upon A Time was honored by the Montrose Chamber of Commerce with the Community Endearment Award.
We are proud to be independent booksellers, with a unique combination of superb customer service and fast special order fulfillment. One of our strengths, besides our store's obvious charming ambiance, is our book selection: we continue to carry only QUALITY children’s books and an intelligently curated choice of books for the entire family. With an open heart, we have built a community-based neighborhood store that spurs imagination, whimsy, and a passion for reading.
There's more to a bookstore than the books on the shelves. When you buy a book or other merchandise from Once Upon a Time, part of the price you pay goes to:
Support our friendly, hardworking, knowledgeable staff
Support local schools, teachers & librarians
Support dozens of local, national & international charities and service organizations
No part of the price you pay goes to:
Remote corporate headquarters where decisions are based solely on maximizing profits
Absentee owners who don't work in the store or live in the community
At Once Upon a Time we are dedicated to doing business as a responsible member of our community. When you shop at Once Upon a Time, you join with us in building community.
Our store’s location, 2207 Honolulu, is nestled next to mouth-watering Zeke’s BBQ at the east end of Honolulu Avenue in the beautiful, tree-shaded 3-block long Montrose Shopping Park. Be sure to experience all our store’s delights and while you are here – visit our neighbors for a bite! Click on this link to see Once Upon a Time and Montrose featured in a national (CBS Evening News with Scott Pelley) clip on Small Business Saturday as well as this segment on KTLA Weekend Morning Show and this link to a recent blog post about bookselling.
Once Upon a Time Bookstore – an independent community bookstore for the entire family
Raw, gritty and acutely tuned to his community, Matt Mendez' debut blends authenticity with poignancy, heartbreak with heartfelt, this emotionally true contemporary story about 2 El Paso teens and a mom of one of the boys, will keep you riveted and engaged. Comparisons to Jason Reynolds, Matt de la Pena and Angie Thomas are accurate but Mendez is a break out star to be watched. This wallop of a tale should be handed to high school kids en masse. - Maureen