Cascadia is one of the most-literate regions in North America. Donâ€™t just take myÂ word for it â€“ check out where Seattle and Portland rank on â€œAmericaâ€™s Most Literate Citiesâ€ — number one and number six, respectively. Arts groups in Vancouver are working on getting the city designated as one of UNESCOâ€™s â€œCities of Literature.â€
Readers tend to raise kids who love to read. We also support our independent childrenâ€™s bookstores, which offer a great combination of wise advice and the best of kidsâ€™ books. Kids bookstores sell unique souvenirs; you won’t find these region-specific titles at home. Better than just another t-shirt!
Hereâ€™s the list of my favorite children’s bookstores. Categorized by city, then alphabetized. Of course.
Portland children’s bookstores:
A Childrenâ€™s Place. For 35 years, A Childrenâ€™s Place has entertained reading families in Portland. In fact, I went when I was a kid! The storeâ€™s location has bounced around since my childhood, but remains a mainstay for Portland parents. Why? Because parents love the hand-picked book recommendations from the staff and the kids’ play area.
Green Bean Books. This shop takes adorability to new heights. Itâ€™s the smallest of all the bookstores on this list, but it makes up for square footage with floor-to-ceiling shelves and only-in-Portland fun. Check out the vending machine dispensing handmade puppets and the mustache dispenser. Oh, and the book selection is stellar, too. Of course! In Portland’s Alberta neighborhood, chock-full of goodies (including Vita Cafe, mentioned on the Portland Family-Friendly Restaurants page).
Seattle Children’s Bookstore:
Mockingbird Books in Seattle serves up storytimes, hot coffee and house-made cookies. Books for babies through adults, but primarily concentrating on great kid lit and fun easy-to-travel-with book kits. Within walking distance of Seattleâ€™s Green Lake, where the stroller set meets at the playground and fit families jog around the waterâ€™s perimeter. Get a book and a blanket, and enjoy a book under a leafy tree.
Vancouver, BC children’s bookstore:
Kidsbooks. Founded by a former children’s librarian, Kidsbooks features thousands of impossibly wonderful kid and teen books, make-your-own art kits from France, travel-ready games, a half-dozen cheerful staff ready to help you find the perfect title, and petite areas to sit and cull your selection. Don’t miss the First Nations and Canadian-focused slections. It’s hard to pick just one, two or a few items out of this large bookstore. We’ve walked out with over a dozen books and a depleted bank account. Once out the door, you’re in Vancouver’s Kitsilano district and temptingly close to several Greek pastry shops. Just pick one — can’t go wrong.
Victoria children’s bookstore:
Tall Tales Books.Â Tall Tales Books recently opened on Vancouver Island, filling Victoriaâ€™s kid niche. Located in downtown Victoria and easy to reach via any of the Inner Harbour hotels; The stroller-friendly interior is perfect for travelers looking for that perfect book for the ferry ride home. Check the schedule when youâ€™re in town to catch a local author reading or a storytime.
Do you know of a great kidsâ€™ bookstore in a smaller Pacific Northwest city? Let us in on your secret!