To call Megan Bormet a fan of iconic author and illustrator Eric Carle would be an understatement. Bormet got married at Carle’s Museum of Picture Book Art, has read her two young kids all of his books, and even included a floor-to-ceiling mural of his most famous piece, The Very Hungry Caterpillar, at her new bookstore in Takoma Park.
People’s Book opens its doors Tuesday. And Bormet, a teacher and literary specialist who lives in Takoma Park, says she wants the store to bring the neighborhood an array of books for all ages. The back section of the store, the location of the caterpillar mural, is dedicated to kids’ books and reading, a passion of Bormet. “The thing that brings me the most joy is finding the right book for the right kid at the right time,” Bormet says.
But the store isn’t all about kids. It has an array of graphic novels, comic books, and zines (which Bormet’s husband orders). The traditional bookworm will also appreciate People’s Book’s eclectic collection, which lines every corner of the store, from cookbooks and memoirs to fiction and romance. Sections are cutely marked off by nicknames like ‘Yum’ for cookbooks and the idiom for the inevitable ‘When the Shoe Drops’ for romance novels.
The store’s name pays homage to both the tongue-in-cheek nickname of the progressive neighborhood – the People’s Republic of Takoma Park—and the defunct Washington pharmacy chain Peoples Drug. “When we started thinking about the vibe of the store, we were thinking about Peoples Drug and that kind of modern retro vibe, which I hope comes through,” Bormet says.
On the outside, a giant yellow arrow points customers from the street into the bookstore. Once inside the store, you can grab coffee or tea while browsing the shelves or pick a book to read in big yellow chairs inside or at bright yellow tables outside. Even some of the chalk signs and the store’s website are the dandelion tint. So why all the yellow? Bormet says it’s because of local designer Jesse Kirsch, who recommended the hue and helped design the store’s art. (At first, Bormet says she didn’t like the bright yellow but has since come around) “It’s bright, it’s happy. It’s a positive feeling. And that’s what we’re gonna go for,” she says.
The front of the store also features rolling tables that can be pushed out of the way, making way for an event space where they plan to host book clubs and authors—there are ten book clubs and 11 author talks already set for this summer.
It’s not all books, either. People’s Book sells items that are “tangentially related” to reading, such as reading lights, Mister Rogers mugs, and even Toni Morrison and William Shakespeare candles. Of course, People’s Book also sells Very Hungry Caterpillar plushies and toys.
Correction: A previous version of this story stated that People’s Book offers free coffee and tea. The store does not. Washingtonian regrets the error.
People’s Book is open Tuesday through Wednesday from 9 AM to 6 PM, Friday through Saturday from 9 AM to 8 PM, and Sunday from 9 AM to 5 PM It’s located at 7014-A Westmoreland Ave. Takoma Park. A ribbon-cutting ceremony is set for July 15.