WordPlay Connects is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization with the mission of connecting young West Virginians with authors, illustrators, and books to inspire a lifelong love of reading.

Our Story

WordPlay opened in September 2020 as a community-minded independent bookstore, committed to nurturing a love of reading and play in the small Appalachian town of Wardensville, West Virginia and beyond. We’re a little bookstore with a big heart, and–as the only indie bookstore in a five-county region–we have even bigger dreams of making a positive impact on this place we call home. 

In early 2022, WordPlay was one of nine bookstores nationwide–and the only bookstore in West Virginia–to receive generous funding from a national philanthropic organization to support what we consider the heart and soul of our business: connecting young people with authors, illustrators, and books to inspire a lifelong love of reading. We focus our efforts on the Potomac Highlands region, which includes Hardy, Hampshire, Grant, Mineral, and Pendleton counties.

To support our work with a tax-deductible contribution, you can donate online – or mail your check to WordPlay Connects, PO Box 525, Wardensville WV 26851. 

Thank you!


Board of Directors

The Work We Do

WordPlay Connects, the nonprofit arm of WordPlay, provides free books to young people in the Potomac Highlands region of West Virginia and broadens access to authors, illustrators, and new ways of seeing the world.

Author/Illustrator visits in Hardy, Hampshire, and Grant County schools in 2022-23:

  • Joe McGee – Night Frights: The Squirrels Have Gone Nuts
  • Claudia Friddell – Road Trip: Camping with the Four Vagabonds
  • Shannon Earle – The Penguin of Ilha Grande
  • John Patrick Green – Investigators: Agents of S.U.I.T.
  • Sara Shepard – Penny Draws a Best Friend
  • Peter H. Reynolds – All We Need Is Love and a Really Soft Pillow 
  • Ashley Belote – Witch & Wombat 
  • Gary R. Gray, Jr. – I’m From 
  • Kate Albus – Nothing Else but Miracles

WordPlay Connects is committed to strengthening literacy through books, programs, and events that make a difference in young people’s lives. We believe that helping young people discover new stories and build robust home libraries, filled with books they love, will have a positive, lifelong impact not only on them but also on their families and their communities.

To follow our progress and learn how you can help, email wordplayconnects@gmail.com.

    Impact Graphic

    Projects in 2022 and 2023 included hosting nine authors and illustrators in eight different schools–resulting in a total of 20 in-person presentations and more than 3,500 free (and signed!) books for students. WordPlay Connects also distributed more than 3,400 free books through community outreach events and partnerships with other nonprofits. As of December 2023, the retail value of donated books totals more than $95,500!

      WordPlay Connects also partners with these nonprofits and programs that are making a positive difference in our community:

      • Burlington United Methodist Family Services – Parents as Teachers Program
      • Capon Bridge Public Library
      • Capon Valley Neighbor to Neighbor
      • Eastern Action Agency Family Support Centers – Hampshire and Pendleton counties
      • Eastern Regional Family Resource Network’s Baby Bank
      • Friends of J. Allen Hawkins Park
      • Hampshire County Communities in Schools
      • Hardy County Schools English Language Learners Program
      • Hardy County Health & Wellness – Read & Swim, Wiggle & Jiggle Programs
      • Mineral County Family Resource Network’s Child and Family Expo
      • Potomac Highlands Guild’s Youth Regional Services Center
      • Preston-Taylor Community Health Centers – Mt. Storm
      • Read Aloud WV
      • The River House
      • Wardensville Community Library
      • Wardensville Lions Club
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