Last December, I traveled to Argentina, for only the second time in fourteen years. The first time, I traveled with my Cangri who was barely one year old, and I was eight weeks pregnant. It was April, the time between Summer and Fall (in the Southern Hemisphere). I was there for two weeks–one week was scorching Summer, the next freezing Winter. To say it was stressing and hard to go back and see everything as an adult is an understatement.

This second trip, I resolved to enjoy everything. The whole family traveled together–all six of us plus my parents. It was Summer! Christmas. What else could I ask for?


I found books, of course. And while in Buenos Aires, I fulfilled a lifelong dream of visiting El Ateneo, only one of the most beautiful bookstores in the world. Years ago, a theater operated there and now it functions as a haven of culture.

My husband likes books okay. When we walked into El Ateneo, he looked at me and asked, “How long are we staying here?”
I didn’t want to scare him, so I said, “An hour?” Meaning three or four.
He just nodded. “I ask because this is the coolest place I’ve ever seen.”
And my heart flooded with love. For him and the millions of books around me.
Here are some pictures:

                                                              Unassuming on the outside
Three stories of books, music, film, art inside

Me and a part of my stack of books

 My two middle babies
 Frescoes on the ceiling

 Spanish versions of The Dark Divine and Hush, Hush. I felt I had ran into friends
 Another part of the stack

 Balconies where people can go and read and live. I would have if I could…

And more books

7 responses to “The Most Beautiful Bookstore in the World”

  1. Carolyn V says:

    Wow!!! It's beautiful.

  2. Cristina says:

    Que maravilloso lugar! Me encantaria ir

  3. Shar says:

    i want to go there! shouldn't wifyr be there next year?

  4. It's a dream!!!

  5. Valerie says:

    So beautiful!!!

  6. Margie says:

    coolest bookstore ever!! Great pics!

  7. Julie Daines says:

    what a totally amazing place. It's so huge! We should open a store like that here!

Yamile Saied Mendez

Yamile (sha-MEE-lay) Saied Méndez is a fútbol-obsessed Argentine-American, Picture Book, Middle Grade, and Young Adult author.

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