There’s nothing cozier than a bookshop on a rainy day, and Portland has no shortage of either. Check out these local, independent bookstores sure to please kids and adults alike.
Special thanks to Christine Lewis and the Facebook group Portland-Area Working Moms for contributions to this article.
Portland’s oldest independent bookstore for children, A Children’s Place, is turning 50 next year! Stay tuned for special events. The spacious storefront at 1423 NE Fremont St. holds books for everyone, from babies to adults. There is a strong selection of graphic novels, Oregon Battle of the Books titles, and a shelf of bilingual books. There are puzzles, crafts, stuffed animals, and free gift wrapping. A Children’s Place offers educator discounts as well as holiday school fundraisers.
Green Bean Books at 1600 NE Alberta Street is a strong contender for Cutest Bookshop Anywhere. The tiny shop with its lovely outdoor space is packed floor to ceiling with books, with stuffed animals peeking out from between them. Then there are science kits, birthday cards, squishies, and miniature secret message capsules. They offer frequent events, including author story times and opportunities to read to a therapy dog.
You may have seen in the Oregonian that Portland now has a Spanish-English bilingual kids’ bookstore! Linda Letra’s brick and mortar shop is at 7101 NE Glisan St. The shop aims to support Spanish-speaking families, as well as English-speaking parents wanting to introduce their kids to Spanish, and, of course, teachers working in bilingual or Spanish settings. You’ll find books in Spanish, books with the full text in both Spanish and English, and books in a mix of the two languages. You’ll also find Indigenous languages from around the Americas.
Sunrise Books is up in the air on the second floor at 4605 NE Fremont St., Suite 208. It was founded in 2020 by Edith Johnson, who goes by EDEE and was inspired by a Chuck Palahniuk passage that begins “What if all our anger and fear is unwarranted?” The bookstore inspires on many levels: it’s full of titles that have faces of all colors on their covers, and it also has a dedicated inspirational/devotional section. See their many events and story times at their website.
Musical Monsters and Budding Budding Bookworms is an innovative new book-and-music store at 4203 SE Woodstock Blvd. They sell new and used books (including Oregon Battle of the Books) for all ages, from board books to graphic novels. They also offer parent-child music classes for kids ages 1-6, and guitar lessons for kids 4-6, with other lessons for kids up to 12 on the near horizon. Register for classes at their website.
Persida Bookstore at 11051 SE Division St. and persidabookstore.com specializes in Russian and Ukrainian titles — and if you’re feeling homesick for the Cyrillic alphabet, check out their website for a quick pick-me-up. Almost nothing is in English there!
Up Up Books at 1211 SE Stark Street makes a point of trying to feel like home, both for its native Buckman neighborhood and for voices and stories less often heard. Small-press publishers also find a home here, and the bookstore is literally open to the community: you can rent out “The Space” (just past the kids’ section) for any literary gathering you can imagine.
White Rabbit Books and Gifts in Oregon City (503 Main Street) is a local treasure. There are books from board books to early readers and young adult, games of all types, as well as a few toys that make White Rabbit an easy stop for a last minute baby or birthday gift. While you’re at it, treat yourself to Black Ink Coffee, located in the front of the store, which offers a selection of local pastries.
Out toward the Gorge, Maggie Mae’s Bookshop at 50 NW 1st St in Gresham is another place you can get just about anything book- or gift- or toy-related. With their logo based on an adorable white bulldog, and books for every age of human, they’re an eastside gem. They carry Oregon Battle of the Books titles, will order books for you, and as an added bonus, they have an event room you can book. If you would like to order online, they have their books organized helpfully by age range. Learn about their book clubs and events for all ages at their website.
Nestled in the heart of Multnomah Village at 7834 SW Capitol Hwy, Annie Bloom’s Books draws in pedestrians with its eclectic carts of bargain books (including lots of kids’ titles). This is another bookstore where the age range is as wide as it gets: from chewable books for babies through middle grades and young adults, graphic novels for all ages, and as of recently, a manga section. Try out the story time, hosted by Parkwood Clinic Speech and Language Therapy the first Tuesday of each month, or check their online calendar for author readings.
Powell’s City of Books needs no introduction, really, but this is a piece on independent bookstores with family-friendly aspects, so — anyone for an entire city block full of toys, plushies, gadgets, gags, magnets, postcards, and towers and towers of books? Learn more about events and story times here. If you’ve never checked it out, the rare book room is a gem, and something slightly older kids may enjoy. They are located at 1005 W Burnside St.
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