Living on the west side of town, we had never made it over to Maggie Mae’s Kids Bookshop in Gresham despite hearing lots of good things. As school came to a close and we were looking for things to do, I headed over to their website to find out more.
I was immediately intrigued by their book subscription boxes and signed both kiddos up, as well as myself. Chicken and I are avid readers (Chicken is reading as I type), while Nugget is a bit more reticent (he’s building dominoes. Again.). After you sign up, you are sent a form to fill out about your reader, their reading level, and their interests. Being a bit of a nerd, I found it to be a fun process.
Before I knew it, our boxes of books had arrived. Each person’s books was wrapped in tissue paper with a lovely personalized note attached. And I have to say, they NAILED it. The two books I received were right up my alley. I had actually read one of them before, and I was kindly informed that if that happens, you are able to take the book back and exchange it for something similar.
Chicken’s books were a perfect fit for her interests, and she finished one of the books that same day. Nugget is a very tough sell when it comes to books. While he’s a perfectly competent reader, it’s just not his activity of choice. But that night we snuggled up with one of the title and he loved it. I have never heard him laugh so hard at a book. We’re talking full on belly laughs. It was great! He’s since read it again on his own, and asked to listen to the audiobook version on a recent car trip.
We were so happy with the book boxes, we decided we needed to visit. As of the time I am writing this, their website indicates you need to book a shopping appointment. While not as convenient as just being able to pop in, we actually thought the idea of having a whole bookstore to ourselves was really fun! And then I saw that, for a small fee, you can add a birthday package! Chicken’s birthday was coming up, so I thought that would be a fun treat for my little reader.
On the morning of her birthday, we headed out. We got there a bit before the shop opened, so we spent some time walking around the downtown area- which was actually really cute! When our appointment time rolled around, a very friendly staff member greeted us. She wished Chicken a happy birthday, asked her what Hogwarts house she is (Gryffindor, in case you are wondering), and put on a Gryffindor inspired playlist. She was also presented with a gift bag of goodies, which included a small gift certificate for our next visit, candies, cute erasers, temporary tattoos, bookmarks, and other trinkets. It was a fun little treat.
The store itself is small, but very sweet. It felt very homey and welcoming. Books seemed to be organized by age, with books for small children located in the front, progressing toward books for grownups in the back. They had a good selection of books as well as related merchandise such as stuffed animals, vinyl stickers, popper fidgets, shirts, etc. Nugget was excited and impressed to see a Timbers logo signed by Jeff Antinella, and Chicken was happy to see a large drawing and note by one of her favorite local authors, Aron Nels Steinke, hanging on the wall.
One of the additional perks of having a shopping appointment was the extra attention we received from the staff member. She was very friendly and fun. She asked Chicken questions about her interests and what books she likes, and was able to introduce us to several new books that look like they will be a great fit. She was patient and fun, making the whole experience very enjoyable.
While we were there, other people wandered in that did not seem to have appointments. I was having too much fun shopping for it to occur to me to ask if appointments are now optional.
You are also able to shop online, participate in book clubs, complete their summer reading program, and get reading ideas by perusing their staff favorites lists on their website. This little store really does a lot!
Overall, we loved this adorable shop and will definitely be going back!
What it’s not: as big as other famous book stores in our area or national book chains, discounted prices
What it is: an adorable local business with kind, helpful, and knowledgeable staff, a great place to get book recommendations for yourself or others, a unique book shopping experience, a fantastic book box subscription service provider
Do we recommend it? Definitely!