Stay-at-Home, Read-at-Home with KCLS

by Maggie Block

It is amazing how quickly COVID-19 has changed our world. The biggest day-to-day change for many of us is Governor Jay Inslee’s stay-at-home order. Suddenly our schools, jobs, and favorite outdoor activities have been put on hold. While this is the best action in order to keep Washingtonians safe, it’s still very hard to be stuck inside. So, the King County Library System (KCLS) and the South Seattle Emerald are teaming up to bring you the best magic we know of to help get you through these tough times: books. 

All you need is a KCLS library card to access our digital collections. If you don’t have one, residents in the KCLS service area (in King County, outside the city of Seattle) can sign up instantly for a digital eCard. Enter your library card and PIN number to search for titles in TumbleBook and hoopla. And the Libby app makes it especially easy to download digital titles through OverDrive. Contact Ask KCLS if you need assistance with your account, or to get help finding and downloading titles. (Don’t worry, Seattle Public Library cardholders, SPL uses these apps too — but you’ll need to contact SPL for any technical issues on their site.)

This week’s theme is escapism! Let’s get as far away from our current reality as possible, shall we? 

Kids (ages 3 to 7): The Ghost Catcher by Martha Hamilton and Mitch Weiss  / Available on TumbleBook Library

A barber in Bengal refuses to collect money from his customers if they do not have the means to pay. While his wife admires his kindness, they need money to survive, so she sends him out in search of a new job. While away, he runs into a gullible ghost who gets tricked into bringing the barber what he needs. A short author’s note about Bengali barber culture and folklore at the end of the book lets readers learn a little bit about another part of the world. Great for young readers, TumbleBook uses picture books with animated illustrations, and reads them aloud while highlighting the words. 

Kids (ages 8 to 11): Diana: Princess of the Amazons by Shannon Hale and Dean Hale / Available on hoopla

Diana is the only girl on Themyscira; all the other Amazons are grown women. Life as the only child around isn’t easy for Diana. When she discovers that she was made out of clay, and had life blown into her by her mother, she decides to see if she can make a friend the same way … and it works! This kid-friendly comic is an imaginative and fun look at Wonder Woman’s young life, and explores themes of friendship, loyalty, and honor. 

Tweens and Teens (ages 12 to 17): Akata Witch by Nnedi Okorafor / Available on OverDrive

Sunny always feels like an outsider. She was too Nigerian for America where she was born, and too American for Nigeria where she lives now, mocked everywhere for being a Black albino. Then she discovers she’s a “free agent,” a witch who was not born to witch parents! She must learn how to harness her magic, and find her place in this strange new world. 

Adults (ages 18 and older): The Right Swipe by Alisha Rai / Available on OverDrive 

Rhiannon Hunter, the creator of a dating app, has very strict rules when it comes to her own dating life. A promising guy, who didn’t make the cut the first time around, shows up in her life again—after creating his own rival dating app. Rhiannon must decide if she should give him a second chance. Or follow her own rules, and block him for good. 

I hope these suggestions help you and your family explore the world out there, while we’re all stuck in here. Stay healthy, be kind to yourself and remember this too shall pass. I look forward to sharing more great titles with you soon!  

Maggie Block is the teen services librarian at KCLS’ Skyway Library. When Maggie is not collaborating with community members to create meaningful programming for Skyway’s tweens and teens, she can be found: reading graphic novels; listening to audio books; watching as many movies as she can fit into her week; and cooking batch meals. She lives with her partner of five years, two cats and one dog, and is currently trying to see if she can turn seeds into vegetables in her front yard (wish her luck). 

Featured image: Many Old Books (public domain)