Aiming to provide a safe and family-friendly place for people to explore all kinds of literature without having to pay high prices, Donna Penman and her late husband David opened the Hi Desert Book Oasis in Hesperia in 2012.

Penman, whose shop is now located in Apple Valley, says although David has passed away, she will continue sharing their mutual passion for reading with the community.

“David died in December and I am now just getting back to work,” said Penman. “And I’ll soon be announcing some upcoming events for the spring and the rest of the year, such as our annual Dr. Seuss storytime.”

According to Penman, inventory at the Hi Desert Book Oasis includes genres from romance and self-help to science fiction and biographies. The store also features a large selection of children’s books and other specialty titles.

“I try to keep a large selection of large print books in my inventory,” Penman said. “They can be very hard to find these days.”

A significant portion of what’s in stock at Hi Desert Book Oasis comes from people who donate their used books in exchange for store credit, according to Penman. She said she also scours yard sales and thrift shops for titles that will be of interest to her customers.

“We get a lot of donations and I go through everything to make sure we put only the best books on our shelves,” said Penman, a native of Philadelphia. “And when kids come in, I always try to encourage them to recycle their books and exchange them for new things to read.”

Prices at Hi Desert Book Oasis range from $1 for young children’s books to $4.50 for regular hardbacks. Small paperbacks are around $2.50 and trade paperbacks are $3.50.

Along with its wide selection of literature, the store also periodically holds book signings by local authors.

This summer, Penman hopes to bring back her shop’s “Books and Beats” summer concert series, which will feature a lineup of local musical acts in a variety of genres.

“We invite groups in the community to come out and play on our patio for a couple hours,” Penman said. “Additionally, we set up tables and chairs so people can bring their dinner while they are enjoying the music. It’s always a nice selection of everything from jazz to country.”

Hi Desert Book Oasis is located at 20601 Highway 18, Cottage 302.

It’s open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday.

For more information, call 760-247-8400 or visit