The twinkle lights are up and our "book tree" is in the window...the holidays are in full swing at Green Bean Books! The sound of tires whooshing in the rain and our little sign tinkling against the door as customers come and go never fail to get me in the Christmas spirit. Fulfilling wishlists for eager young readers truly is one of the best jobs in the world.
Of all the fun new features we've added to the store this year, one of our most popular has easily been the new, "Perfect for Reading Aloud," section. Full of whimsical and sweet chapter books (and a few picture books!), this little section is a go-to favorite for parents and kids looking for something magical with a classic feel. There have been many winter and holiday books in this style published or re-issued recently, and we're so excited to have them on our shelves for all your holiday read-aloud needs!
We couldn't be more excited about the reissue of Miss Suzy by Miriam Young. A tidy little brown squirrel named Miss Suzy has her cozy winter den taken over by pushy, greedy, gray squirrels--oh no! With a little ingenuity and help from some kind toy soldiers, Miss Suzy will have her den back in no time. A book many grown-ups will remember from their own childhoods, Miss Suzy is wonderful winter title for either giving or keeping!
Alison Jay is one of our very favorite author/illustrators here at Green Bean and her books have a special way of speaking to children of many different ages. There really is something in her work for everyone, and her newest picture book, Christmastime, is no exception. Perfect for a night of family reading!
Something for Christmas by Palmer Brown is part of the New York Review children's collection (which you might recognize by their beautiful, red, cloth spines!), and is the perfect sized chapter book for a stocking stuffer! The simple story of a baby mouse trying to figure out the perfect gift for his mother, Something for Christmas is the perfect holiday chapter book to read by the fireside.
A new title sure to become a winter classic is A Perfect Day by Carin Berger, author of Little Yellow Leaf. Her illustrated collages are the perfect mix of sweet and modern, and her text is the perfect celebration of winter and the natural world. I know quite a few Portland kids who would LOVE more than one "pefect" snow day this year!
What could be a more fitting read-aloud than the original version of E.T.A. Hoffman's, The Nutcracker, illustrated by none other than the late Maurice Sendak? This large-scale, fully illustrated chapter book will certainly become a family treasure. Even if you can't take the kids to the theater for a performance of The Nutcracker, you can still make it a tradition in your home. Sendak's rendering of Marie's dreamworld is nothing short of breathtaking.
So why not start a new family holiday tradition of reading aloud this year? Come in and check out these little gems and so many others we've got on display. Happy Holidays!
"Are you still reading Goodnight Moon to little Jenny? Darcy Jr. and I just finished Moby Dick. He loved it so much he couldn't stop and gurgling about it afterwards!"
As I've shared before
, the board books we get in always amuses me. I'd like to focus on two new series both of which introduces the youngest of readers to classics!The first is from the Baby Lit collection and features
six well-loved titles- A Christmas Carol, Alice in Wonderland, Dracula, Jane Eyre, Pride & Prejudice,
and Romeo & Juliet.
The first two are color primers and the rest are counting books. Cute illustrations by Alison Oliver make Jennifer Adams' simple texts come to life. For example, in Dracula,
we see 5 heroes still smiling, fully unaware of the dangers that await them, and 9 boxes including one coffin keeping a sleeping Dracula safe from the sun. Three more titles are expected to hit shelves early next year expanding into different concepts like weather, ocean, and opposites!Another
series is the aptly named Cozy Classics.
Jack and Holman Wang share timeless stories with just twelve words for each and accompanied by wonderful needle-felted illustrations! Currently, there are Moby Dick
and Pride and Prejudice
available with Les Miserables
and War and Peace
coming out in Spring 2013.These are perfect for the little readers in your life!
We've been thinking a lot about the people of New York in the wake of Hurricane Sandy and keeping this city, home to so many stories, in our hearts. Christmastime always makes me feel like hopping on a train bound for Grand Central Station and enjoying the Big Apple in a big blue hat. Though Portland has plenty of lovely holiday offerings of it's own, I get jealous of all the city mice ice skating under the colossal Christmas tree at Rockefeller Center, visiting Santa at Macy's, and watching the sugarplum fairies twirl at the ballet! To combat my winter wanderlust and in honor of the rallying metropolis, I revisited a couple of my favorite New York books this morning!
New Yorker Maira Kalman offers one of the most beautiful hustle-bustliest looks at the especially grand Grand Central Station in her picture book Next Stop Grand Central. She honors it's "stupendous star-filled ceilings" with her wacky paintings and introduces readers to all the important folks behind the scenes make the trains run smoothly 365 days a year! George Coppola, the stations police chief, deals with no-goodniks. Wanda handles complaints, of which there are bound to be many, since the station welcomes 500,000 people every day! We meet loads of oddball passengers rushing off on their weird outings. Ofir Weiss is headed to the Bronx zoo in a dino outfit and Millicent Bluebird delivers a lemon to a man at the Botanical Gardens!
Sasek's New York celebrates the city's huge fluffy squirrels and tiny hot dog restaurants on wheels! He depicts both famous landmarks and little things that make the city what it is. He remembers shoe shiners and art museums, tunnels, dinos, tubas, and many varied mother tongues. Besides boasting hundreds of languages, the city cooks up a zillion snacks from near and far! Sasek paints beautiful bridges and cityscapes in the moonlight! A wonderful symphony on one of America's favorite melting pots! Don't you want to have lunch at the soda fountain pictured below, where you can buy both a hamburger and a copy of Hamlet!?
Another absolute treasure is The Cricket in Times Square--the classic chronicle of a little country cricket from Connecticut who makes his home in a train station magazine stand, befriends a city cat and mouse, and sets off to experience the sights, sounds, and smells of the city for the first time! This is the sweetest story, perfect for anyone who has ever felt little or lost in a new place! Also a treat for lovers of miniatures like us, as it's filled with things like cricket-sized strawberry soda floats!
"They were standing at the corner of the Times building, which is at the south end of Times Square. Above the cricket, towers that seemed like mountains of light rose up in the night sky. Even this late the neon signs were still blazing. Reds, blues, greens, and yellows flashed down on him. And the air was full of the roar of traffic and the hum of human beings. It was as if Times Square were a kind of shell, with colors and noises breaking in great waves inside it. Chester's heart hurt him and he closed his eyes. The sight was too terrible and beautiful for a cricket who up to now had measured high things by the height of his willow tree and sounds by the burble of a running brook."
Don't miss these other amazing books set in NYC--from Brooklyn to the Upper East Side, from the Plaza hotel to the Metropolitan Museum of Art!
THE VOTES ARE IN!
The story book ballots have been counted and the numbers show just how polarized the voracious picture book readers of this nation have become! Olivia the Pig eked out a narrow victory over the incumbent—Piggie from Elephant and Piggie, and the conservative coalition of three little pigs, suggesting Green Beaners are ready for a female pig on their bookshelf! Said the vivacious pig-elect of her coming term, “Don’t think just ‘cause I only wear red-stripes, I’m unwilling to hold out my hoof to the blues. Let’s get a few things done in this sty,” adding with a wink, “Sometimes your lucky tights are luckier than you thought.”
Establishment candidates the Sneaky Monkeys from Caps for Sale kept their seats, FOR ONCE, despite having been haunted by embezzlement allegations throughout their campaign. The Cap-Peddlers Union expressed disappointment at an evening rally, shaking their fingers and scolding, “These sneaky monkeys are really really bad for small business.” Polls suggest that despite the gorilla from Little Beauty’s choice of a fluffy kitten for second in command, voters just couldn’t get over the fact that he smashed that one TV. Despite having come in far behind the other monkeys, earning only six votes, Chico Bon Bon from Monkey with a Toolbelt is already macgyvering a 2016 victory.
And finally, America has re-elected its favorite monsters--The Wild Things--
in a landslide victory! Let’s get ready for four more years of the wild rumpus! Said equally wild but predictably pooped campaign manager Max, “Can I go home now?” And sailed away over a year and in and out of weeks and through a day and into the night of his very own room where he found his supper waiting for him and it was still hot. Pundits have speculated The Wild Things may find places for their challengers in their slimy, sharp-toothed, goofy, growly cabinet. Shrek for Secretary of State, and Bog Baby for Chief Sustainability Officer?
And that’s the way the cookie crumbles! Thanks for tuning in.
Story Book Ballot!
Come to the store to cast your ballot for your favorite story book creatures using a real ballot and voting box! You are welcome to participate anytime during store hours: November 1st - Election Day on November 6th! Who gets your vote for best pig? How about for best monster? We love VOTING--both presidential and picture book-ish! See below some of our favorite books about voting, presidents, civics & America!
Donkey: "Not to change the subject, BUT I've got a question I've been meaning to ask you. Do you like CANDY? Because...if you vote for ME. I'll give you a sucker!" Elephant: You ARE a sucker if you vote for HIM. Besides, if you pick me, I'll give you PEANUTS!
On stage as a play right NOW at the Oregon Children's Theater!
A beautiful book about the potential of daughters, and a lovely tribute to George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Martin Luther King, Neil Armstrong, Sitting Bull, Cesar Chavez, Billie Holiday, Maya Lin, Albert Einstein, Georgia O'Keeffe, Jackie Robinson, Helen Keller, and Jane Addams.
A TREASURE for grown-ups about the hidden treasures in American history by one of our FAVORITE children's book authors!
Thank you, thank you to all the folks who put together Wordstock this year! Thank you to the the visiting authors, and to all the new and old friends of Green Bean who visited our booth! We loved spending time in the children's area--the scavenger hunt was a big hit!
We were so happy to see friends from bookstores like Broadway Books and Powell's, organizations like the IPRC, and publishers like Tin House at the fest as well. It is awesome to live in a place that gathers so energetically on behalf of the literary arts!
Meeting Jon Klassen was a total highlight for us, and his new book This is Not My Hat--a sequel to I Want my Hat Back--will remain a fall-favorite post fest! His illustrations are the coolest on the kid's book block these days. See also: Extra Yarn and House Held Up By Trees.
Harlem's Little Blackbird by Renée Watson and irresistibly illustrated with collages by Christian Robinson was one of the very cutest books at the whole festival! Come check it out this marvelous story about Florence Mills--a marvelous singer and dancer overcoming adversity during the Harlem Renaissance!
A special thanks to the wonderful Christopher Healy who visited Green Bean Books for a special event, in addition to gracing Wordstock with his presence. Everybody at Green Bean Adores The Hero's Guide to Saving Your Kingdom--a middle-grade fractured fairy tale on the truth about princes!
Whew! What a couple of weeks it's been!
I don't know if any of you've noticed but October at Green Bean Books has been full of fun events for the whole family- and we're only halfway through the month!
Our regular Tuesday story times continue to be popular and a great way to share some of our favorite new titles. Have you read Jon Klassen's latest book "This is Not My Hat?" It's a hilarious follow up to his bestselling "I Want My Hat Back."
As usual, we've enjoyed having Portland Early Learning Project stop by for our monthly Spanish story time! "Los Gatos Black on Halloween" was the current pick.
Last Monday, I had the pleasure of holding my first in store arts and crafts project teaching people how to make origami jack-o-lanterns. I'm always blown away by how creative kids are!
We had a full house for our 2nd Bookmaking Around the World class with the wonderful Sarah Fagan. Kids worked on their very own Totem Tales! There are a couple spots left for each of the remaining classes.
This past Saturday, Christopher Healy read from his fun middle reader novel "The Hero's Guide to Saving Your Kingdom." We even raffled off a gift basket full of wonderful stuff from some of our fellow businesses in Alberta. Thanks to Candy Babel, Milagros, Collage, and Tin Shed! Congratulations to our lucky winner!
Since working here, I never know who's going to drop by our store. Alexis Smith stopped by to shop and even signed her book "Glaciers" for us. Monday morning had John Stephens ("The Emerald Atlas" and "The Fire Chronicle") coming in to check out our store, which was a nice surprise.
Of course, the big event we had recently was Wordstock- Portland's annual literary festival. Having attended it the past few years, I've got to say I was impressed by how fun and creative they got during this go around- especially the Little Word area for kids!
We were lucky to be right in front of KinderCare's Carnival of Stories so we got to see just how excited the kids were visiting us and our neighboring exhibitors as they read to the dogs, sat in for a reading of their favorite authors, and picked out their prizes after completing their scavenger hunt- as well as doing countless other activities!
We enjoyed sharing our book recommendations with people stopping by our tables (yes, we had two locations this year!) and it was a real treat meeting authors who stopped by to sign copies of their books! Tad Hills ("How Rocket Learned to Read" and "Rocket Writes a Story") even drew a special piece for our store!
Thank you to everyone at Wordstock for doing such a great job- as evidenced by how many people shared with us how much fun they were having! We're already looking forward to next year's!
I want to end this rather lengthy post with a thank you to all our customers who make working at Green Bean so much fun however hectic it may get around here!
We hope to see you in our upcoming events. Happy Reading!
One of the best things about working here is sorting through the new titles we get in and discovering books I normally wouldn't be paying attention to. Lately, I've been quite tickled by the board books I've come across.
While we have the more typical board books that teach babies basic concepts and the familiar stories we grew up with, we also have fun and innovative titles.
In the tradition of Dorothy Kunhardt's Pat the Bunny series, Amelie Graux wrote and illustrated a couple of touch-and-feel books that give English, French, and Spanish translations of first words centering around certain themes like eating and sleeping. Every page is vibrant and colorful and is sure to captivate even the youngest readers while they learn different languages.
"I Love to Eat" and "I Love to Sleep" by Amelie Graux
These next books by Sebestian Braun have been all the rage with us. Kids (and adults!) will enjoy flipping the pages and trying on the different masks they turn into! The titles in the series are: "Look at Me, I'm a Monster!", "Look at Me, I'm a Robot!", "Look at Me, I'm an Alien!", and "Look at Me, I'm a Clown!"
Here we are as an alien and robot!
So, if you're looking for fun books for your young ones, these board books are for you!
Being surrounded by books all day, I can't help but be inspired by them. I've wanted to be a writer since I was a young boy growing up in the Philippines. I often got in trouble because I would scribble on the pages of the Little Golden Books my grandmother bought me. I like to think that was just my subconscious trying to tell me what I should do with my life.If you've caught the writing bug yourself, we definitely have fun stuff you need- and don't need! We have your traditional journals to scribble down your ideas in- as well as a handful of Ex Libris Anonymous'
wonderful hand-made vintage ones. My favorites though are the mini-book and pencil sets that dispenses from a vending machine! Not very practical but they're quite interesting.I'm a bit jealous of the Bookmaking Around the World classes for the kiddies (grades K to 2) starting up later this month.
Fortunately, we have great titles for adults interested in creating their own books- "How to Make Books" and "Magic Books and Paper Toys" both by Esther K. Smith, just to name a few.If you're looking for a great book to give to the aspiring writer in your life (or even for yourself), consider "Rocket Writes a Story" by Tad Hills. I think it's perfect for anyone regardless of how old they are.I'm sure you'll find just the "write" stuff on your next visit here to get your creative juices flowing!Happy Reading (and Happy Writing!),Earl
We hope this letter finds you well and wild-minded! As the weather turns and we turn to our writing desks and our reading chairs, a couple of are new books are reviving our love for books about LETTER-writing!
Same Sun Here by Silas House and Neela Vaswani: What starts as a class project penpalship between an Indian girl who has just emigrated to Queens and a boy living on a mountain in the Appalachians buds into an incredible best-friendship. This book is a great primer on activism, what it means to be American, and cross-cultural understanding--all written in letter form! A totally eye-opening look at two unfamiliar worlds for kids growing up in the NW! As a bonus, both of the correspondents are emerging creative writers exchanging artistic ideas by mail like real grown-up writers do!
Letters to Leo by Amy Hest: A totally darling book of letters from spunky fourth-grade budding writer and artist Annie Rossie to her new pup Leo. Annie has a marvelous sense of humor in merry moods and muddy ones. Annie confides in Leo re. normal school things like spelling bees and best friend spats, but also writes about the death of her mother, which Hest treats tenderly and thoughtfully. This book could spur some pretty cool writing prompts too! A good reminder that you can write letters to reveal things to yourself and that addressing them to a real reader is NOT NECESSARY!
Thank You, Miss Doover by Robin Pulver: A riotous book about letter-writing conventions, creative communication, and the role of revision! Jack makes knee-slapping mistake after knee-slapping mistake in thanking his Great Aunt Gertie for a stationary set he was less than ecstatic to receive: "Dear Aunt Gertie, Thank you for the USEFUL gift. It's my own personal paper, in case you forgot. It's not my favorite gift, but I have used it a lot. Just ask my mom. Love, Jack."
The Jolly Postman by veteran children's book authors the Ahlbergs: This interactive "archive" of letters between nursery rhyme characters was my prize possession as a kid and a fledgling epistler! The book contains a series of real pullout letters! Very sophisticated. I made a whole series knockoffs, composing possible exchanges between my favorite storybook personalities! What might a Wild Thing have to say to Stellaluna!?
It's a bit early for Christmas considerations, but J.R.R. Tolkien's collection of Letters from Father Christmas to his own children is stunning, silly, and utterly special. Tolkien wrote and illustrated the book himself, adding a new letter each Christmas until his children were grown! Check out the regular version or the pop-out version, structured like The Jolly Postman.
Visit the store to check out kajillions of accessories to jumpstart creative correspondence--
things like our WORLD'S SMALLEST POSTAL SERVICE kit, cartoony stationary sets, letterpress greeting cards, and Japanese stickers!