Green Feather Books

A photograph of the interior of Green Feather books
Photo courtesy of Green Feather Books

Spring in Oklahoma can be unpredictable, with sweltering heat, severe storms, and even cold snaps. With continual changes in the weather, you must find a constant haven to escape to. Located in Norman, Green Feather Books has become that place.

As someone who grew up in the area, the path to the bookstore is familiar. In all stages of my life, I’ve driven or walked down Gray Street looking at the different shops and restaurants as they change from year to year. But when I first walked into Green Feather, it immediately felt unique. The large brown bookshelves towered over me with books lining the shelves at every turn. Soft lighting accented the walls of books, and colorful decorations gave the room a bright and inviting atmosphere. One step into the shop, and there’s a chance you could spend hours scanning the shelves, reading in one of their comfy chairs, or attending an event. Recently, Chickasaw astronaut John Herrington visited the store to sign his children’s book, Mission to Space.

Located in a small enclave of shops and businesses, the bookstore changed owners a couple of times before Green Feather came onto the scene. The shop may be a new addition to the community, but the location it resides in has been a Norman staple for book lovers for over forty years; it originally opened as the Book Stall in 1973. While the locale is familiar to the community, the current shop has developed its own unique identity. The store is the first Indigenous woman–owned bookstore in Norman and has become an advocate against reading restrictions in public schools.

The shop made headlines in 2022 when it responded to a local controversy after a Norman schoolteacher, Summer Boismier, resigned over book censorship in the classroom. Boismier, a high school English teacher, provided students access to the Brooklyn Public Library’s QR code and covered a bookshelf with red paper that read “Books the state doesn’t want you to read.” This created an outcry from conservative public officials and showed another example of book bans throughout the country.

At the time, Linda Johnson, the president and chief executive of the Brooklyn Public Library, told the New York Times: “This gets to the heart of democracy. It’s First Amendment rights that are at stake. The idea that the government would be legislating around that is incredibly frightening to people in our line of work.”

Green Feather Books raised awareness after the incident by giving out free shirts and pins with the QR code. By doing so, the shop immediately made a name for itself not only as a place for patrons to browse books but as an advocate for book lovers alike.

After visiting Green Feather Books, you can tell they have a love for books and recognize the importance the shop has to the community. Green Feather’s timeless location and its ability to weather Oklahoma’s unpredictable storms, whether political or seasonal, means its readers can count on it always being there for them and standing strong for bookworms in Norman and beyond.

Come by Green Feather—located at 300 West Gray Street in Norman—from 6-8 pm on Friday evening, October 13, 2023 for an event to showcase writers included in the “Indigenous Literatures of the Americas” cover feature.

Olivia McCourry is a journalist from Norman, Oklahoma. She has interned for both World Literature Today and Oklahoma Today and recently graduated with a master of science degree from Columbia University.