“Green Bean Books is a children’s bookstore that recently opened in Portland’s Alberta district. Walking inside is an invitation to leave the grown up world behind and just be a kid again. I was warmly greeted by the owner who chose the name “Green Bean Books” because it sounded fun. The handmade decorations give you a hint of Jennifer Green’s previous profession as an elementary school teacher. There are also a lot of quirky personal touches around the store like the “instant disguise machine” and a gumball machine that dispenses pompom pets.
One wall is dedicated to adult and young adult fiction and non-fiction books but the majority of the selection is, of course, for children. GBB also buys select titles or gives in-store credit. There is an outdoor reading room and a weekly story time is held “under the magical story bush house.” But for the reader who just wants to be alone, there is also the secret room where a book can be enjoyed in peace and quiet.
GBB was a dream two years in the making. It seems more than a bit risky to be opening any kind of business in this economy but Jennifer Green feels optimistic that if a local independent bookstore has a chance to thrive anywhere, it would be in Portland. And, I, for one, wish her and Green Bean Books the best of luck and the happiest of endings.”
I wrote the above post almost three years ago- August 2009- the summer Green Bean Books opened. And, it has, since then, become my most favorite bookstore in Portland. I can’t tell you how many people I’ve brought there to show it off. (Actually, I can since I don’t really know that many people- three!- but I’ve raved about it to much more than that!)
Each time I visit, by myself or with a friend, I always feel welcome. Every good thing I wrote about it before are still true.
One of the reasons for GBB’s success is that it’s “community-based.” I’ve seen them in literary fairs promoting reading and making it fun. They also do occasional book drives that benefit The Children’s Book Bank. And GBB’s got a lot going on! As posted on their website, “We’ve got regular story times in multiple languages, comics classes, craft stations, summer camps, author visits, poetry slams, and are always planning for more fun! Stay tuned via our Facebook page, [Twitter,] blog, and newsletter!” I’m always jealous when I see the events they have planned!
A highlight for me whenever I go to Green Bean Books is that I can always get a fantastic book recommendation. Jennifer even gave me suggestions for my A to Z Children’s Picture Book Series Challenge!
So, if you find yourself feeling too grown up for your own good, a visit to Green Bean Books may just help you reconnect with your inner child- and help you find some great books in the process!