Walk it Out

By Kristi S.

It’s (almost) officially summer and the weather is inching its way towards the mid-70s. That means Washingtonians are pulling out their shorts and hitting the trails to enjoy our beautiful state.

   

I love walking and hiking, especially with my dog Huffle. Some of my fondest childhood memories come from day hikes with my family, when my older sisters would blaze the trail and my dad would hang back and talk to me about the plants and animals. As an adult, however, hiking has become much harder. Some days I am up for a nice long hike, other days I’m not even up for a walk to the mailbox. For every occasion, I start with books for inspiration. Continue reading »

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Reaching for the Summit

by Craig B.

I’ve never climbed a mountain. Not a real mountain, at any rate. Nothing that couldn’t be conquered with more than a whittled stick and a ham sandwich. I don’t know crampons from carabiners. I’m not soft or anything. I have bungee jumped, ziplined, and chucked myself out of airplanes; I just don’t fancy the notion of hanging off cliffs. Nevertheless, I’ve been on a mountaineering binge the last six months. It started when I serendipitously watched three simultaneous documentaries about the mountain-goating glitterati who frequent El Capitan in Yosemite National Park (for the curious, the films were, in order, Free Solo, The Dawn Wall, and Valley Uprising). As a result, I’ve watched just about every precipitous flick I could get my hands on. Anyway, following are some of the best panoramas I’ve discovered from the safety of my couch. Continue reading »

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Animal House: Memoirs of Farm Life

By Julie T.

The connection between people and animals can be powerful. When I first planned this post, I fully intended to talk about a range of farm life experiences. From the corn fields of Iowa to the timber lands of the Pacific Northwest (yes, tree farms count) and the cow pastures of Texas (think of all of the cheese curdling tales in Wisconsin!). However, as I plunged into the catalog and my own reading, I found most of the books I’ve gathered share something in common. I’m sheepish to admit that this list contains many sheep memoirs. I sheep you not. All kidding aside, while the daily lived experiences of folks engaged in contemporary agribusiness share many commonalities, they also reflect diverse, deeply personal experiences. Continue reading »

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Coming of Age and Coming Out: LGBTQ+ Graphic Novels for Teens

By Kaley

Hello! Do you like to see yourself in the books that you read? Do you like graphic novels? What about coming of age stories? Can you maybe tell I’ve had a lot of coffee before I sat down to write this? It’s no secret that I find graphic novels to be compelling literature, but I think we can kick that up a notch by looking for books about queer identifying teens. Helping young people find books in which they can see themselves is important, and so is reading books that have folks who are different than you! Here’s a few books I’ve checked out that I’ve enjoyed, plus a bonus novel at the bottom. I make the rules and that means I can break them, too, am I right?

As the Crow Flies

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Some of Melanie’s art in which they explore books as mirrors.

Wow, Melanie has knocked it out of the park with this one! The illustrations they have done are absolutely stunning, and have set the tone for an introspective book. In it, Charlie has sign on for a Christian summer camp. When she arrives, she realizes she is the only black person attending. She immediately feels like an outcast, which is compounded as queer person. But a friendship with another camper helps her feel less alone in a whitewashed world.

Check, Please!

A sweet graphic novel staring a figure skater that loves baking and maybe his hockey captain, too. I highly recommend this one!

Your bonus novel that I couldn’t resist adding: I Wish You all the Best

Ben moves in with their older sister after their parents threw them out of the house when they came out as nonbinary. Now in a new home and school, felling a bit overwhelmed, new friend Nathan might have more than friendship in mind. But first, Ben must come out to him.

 

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Rainbow Kids: Picture Books for Pride Month

by Melleny T.

As you may know, June is Pride Month (or Gay Pride Month, or LGBTQ Pride Month, or whatever you choose to call it). It’s a time to remember that love is love, your identity is your own, and the world is full of a wide range of beautiful colors. It’s also the best time for me to don my rainbow Chuck Taylors that I found at Goodwill. Score!

It’s never too early to expose children to messages of tolerance and acceptance. Fortunately, more diversity is appearing on the picture book shelves every day, providing an age-appropriate way to do just that. In honor of this month of celebration, I’ve gathered ten of my favorite picture books addressing issues of gender identity, sexual orientation, and the history of the Pride movement.

You may remember the controversy years ago surrounding And Tango Makes Three. Or you may prefer your pictures books to have a political edge to them, as with the Marlon Bundo stories. But these are far from the only options out there.

"Pride" by Rob Sanders

Pride: The Story of Harvey Milk and the Rainbow Flag by Rob Sanders

A mix of history, biography, and social commentary, this book will introduce readers young and old alike to the origin of the Rainbow Flag. Timelines are included at the end, as well as biographical notes and suggestions for further reading.

 

"Prince & Knight" by Daniel Haack

Prince and Knight by Daniel Haack

This cleverly rhyming fairy tale story includes dragon-fighting, working together, honoring yourself, and of course a sweet happy ending. Also check out the author’s newest picture book, Maiden & Princess.

 

"Red" by Michael Hall

Red: A Crayon’s Story by Michael Hall

This story told in the language of art supplies is about much more than crayons. The parallels with real human issues are both heartbreaking and hopeful.

 

 

Take a look at the full list, and maybe you’ll find something new to share with a little one in your life.

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Beyond Bestsellers: Memoirs and Biographies

by Lois H.

Happy June and welcome to another month of Beyond Bestsellers! I hope you had some good laughs last month as we celebrated all things humorous. This month, we’ll be taking a walk in another person’s shoes. That’s rightit’s Memoir and Biography month.

Need a refresher on Beyond Bestsellers? Here’s a quick rundown.

Beyond Bestsellers: Biographies and Memoirs

Continue reading »

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Beyond Bestsellers: Humor, That’s All Folks!

By Kristi S.

We’ve reached the end of Beyond Bestsellers: Humor, but that doesn’t mean that the laughs have to stop! If you have not had your fill of humorous books this month, keep browsing lists and our many blog posts for suggestions. If you want to see all of your options, you can search the catalog on your own using the subject headings ‘Humor’ or ‘Humorous Fiction’ and use filters to limit your selection. Maybe you want to branch out into films? We’ve got a huge selection of comedies (over 2,000 titles!) waiting to be checked out and enjoyed.

Options abound and we had a bunch of lists created this month with suggestions to guide your reading.

Grant made a great list of Humorous Graphic Novels:

Beyond Bestsellers: Humorous Graphic Novels

Continue reading »

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It’s Gemini Season

by Lois H.

Buckle up everybody because it’s Gemini season. For some, it’s a time of loathing or choice memes. For me and my fellow airy twins…this is our time.

Gemini season runs from about May 21 to June 21. This is the time of year when the sun transits the Gemini constellation. According to astrology, those born between these dates share Gemini as their Sun Sign and thus share personality traits. The Gemini constellation is associated with twins: Castor and Pollux of Greek and Roman mythology. Because of this, we get a bad rap for being seen as two-faced or easily changeable.

I can’t deny that we may be a little flighty. The Gemini sign is classified as a mutable air sign, making us a little more flexible and all over the place. However, we’re ruled by the planet Mercury, named after the Roman god of communication. So yes, on our worst days maybe we can be indecisive or impulsive. But we’re also fun to talk to, rarely bored (or boring), and super adaptable.

Am I biased? Probably. But I think we’re pretty great.

In honor of the season, I made a list of essential materials for my fellow twins and all of those who want to understand us a little better:

Gemini Season

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Killing Me Softly

by Marie B.

It’s no secret that I am a fan of gritty mysteries.  I am often feverishly turning pages when I really ought to be sleeping – I have to know what happens next!  Sometimes, though, I want to kick the terror down a couple of notches with a kinder, gentler mystery.  That’s where cozy mysteries come in.

Why cozies?  I know the author will provide a satisfying puzzle in the mystery itself.  I also meet characters I want to know better, which is good news for this fan of series.  Bonus: I won’t be subjected to all the gory details at the crime scene.  Sure, someone dies, but the author presents the pertinent facts without the blood spatter.  Ahhh. Continue reading »

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Teenage Girls Who Save the World

By Jennifer K.
Once upon a time, not too long ago, I happened to be in the Young Adult section of my library. Nearby was a person who audibly scoffed at the selection: “All these books about teenage girls who save the world.”

Now, that is a completely valid point of view. We all have different tastes, and no one has to read about awesome teenage girls saving the world if they don’t want to.

Personally, I always want to read about teenage girls. I want books about nerdy girls, and funny girls, and fat girls, and girls of color, and queer girls. The vulnerable girls, the smart girls, the scared girls, the creative girls, the brave girls. I definitely want to read books about the teenage girls who save the world.

Continue reading »

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