When my kids were little, we had a book called, “Goodnight, Oregon.” They loved it so much because it had pictures of the Oregon Zoo, a place that we always go to. Seeing somewhere that they had been before in a book was magical to them. They would always say, “Wow! The Zoo is famous!” The book also references Oregon favorites like Haystack Rock, the Oregon Coast Aquarium, Crater Lake, and others. Just recently, we have read a few books about Portland that gave my kiddos the same sense of pride in their hometown. Their eagerness prompted me to research what other kids’ books are about Portland and I was pleasantly surprised to find quite a few. Below is a list of kids’ books about Portland, Oregon.
Larry Gets Lost in Portland-
This book is about a dog named Larry getting separated from his family in Portland. While he is searching for his family, he is able to explore the zoo, the art museum, the waterfront, and other important places in Portland.
This one is a board book for little kiddos. The book boasts its introduction to the diversity and quirkiness in Portland. The description relays that the book references the Portland Children’s museum and the tram. The author, Barbara Kerley, is from Portland.
Hello, Portland! –
This book is aimed at kiddos between the ages of 2-5. It is about a beaver family who visits Portland and their journey around the city. The cover has an adorable illustration of the beaver parent and kiddo.
Spenser Goes to Portland-
This book seems so adorable. It is about a dog named Spenser who explores famous spots in Portland, including Powell’s Books! This book is special because Spenser’s character promotes important ideas like taking care of the environment and participating in the Oregon Food Bank. The book is part of a series that explores multiple cities and states in the United States. I found this book on a used website for pretty cheap ($3-4 plus shipping).
Monsters Under Bridges: The Pacific NW edition-
This book I can personally vouch for. My son has been obsessed with this book for a little over a year now. The book lists different bridges in Portland, Oregon to Vancouver BC and their corresponding “monsters” that live underneath them. My son’s favorite is the “Fremont Flixies” under the Fremont bridge. Every time we go over a bridge, he calls out the monster that is supposedly underneath, ha-ha! I can’t believe how he can recall them, even long after we have read the book. This is definitely worth checking out.
Wildwood is a fantasy-adventure book trilogy that is based around the land, Wildwood, which is a “hidden world on the edge of Portland.” The author is famous for being a writer, but also for being the lead singer of The Decemberists, a band that has sold over 1 million albums. He also lives right outside of Portland.
Walking with Ramona: Exploring Beverly Cleary’s Portland-
This book looks like a ton of fun. I’m definitely buying this now that I know it exists, because I adore Beverly Cleary and her work. The book is a guide to the real streets, sidewalks, landmarks of Beverly Cleary’s books. The route in the book takes about an hour and the landmarks are in Northeast Portland where Beverly Cleary grew up. I found the book on an awesome website called, “Microcosm” (side note: SO much cool stuff on this website to explore).
This book is for little kids, as the purpose of the book is helping kiddos to learn how to count 1-10. The cover has the picture of the iconic White Stag (Portland reindeer) sign. The book explores places like Mount Hood and the Willamette River. It looks like this book is part of a multi-city series as well, because in the recommendations was a book called “Los Angeles 1-10”.
Ways to Make Sunshine-
This book is geared toward middle-aged kiddos. The main character is a girl named Ryan and the setting is in Portland. The book is part one of a series. The author, Renee Watson, grew up in Portland and wanted to make her own series of books that is comparable to the stories of Ramona Quimby. Ryan and her families face challenges throughout the book, but as the title suggests, she finds “ways to make sunshine.”
This Side of Home-
This book is also for young adults by Renee Watson, and is also based on Portland, Oregon.
These Portland-based books seem to have something for kids of all ages. Parents, caregivers, and teachers can find Portland-based books for babies through teenagers. I am excited to check some of these out. I seriously cannot wait to get that Beverly Cleary book and take the neighborhood tour! And even though I am not a “middle-age” child, I am definitely picking up some of Renee Watson’s books. I expect the pictures in these books about Portland to be beautiful and the details of Portland in the books for older kids should be very interesting. Best of luck to you all in exploring these great kiddos books about Portland.