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.)

We’ll highlight stories of resilience this week. These titles offer vital reminders that people can persevere and thrive during difficult times.

Kids (ages 3 to 7): Castle on Hester Street by Linda Heller / Available on TumbleBook Library

Like most children, Julie loves spending time with her grandparents, and she especially loves the stories they tell. While her grandfather’s tales about being pulled all the way to America by his singing goat are fantastic, her grandmother always shares the true story — they rode to America on an overcrowded ship to escape Jewish persecution in Russia. The different ways of remembering the past is not only fun, but truly illustrates the dreams all immigrants have to create better lives for themselves and their children.

Kids and Tweens (ages 8 to 13): The Nameless City by Faith Erin Hicks / Available on OverDrive

Kaidu, a bookish kid, grew up without his father who’s been serving as a general in the Dao military. When he’s sent to military school in the occupied city where his father governs, he finds himself an outsider. He sneaks out to explore the city, and is immediately impressed by a local girl who can outrun any soldier by scaling building walls and racing across rooftops. This story spans across three graphic novels, and explores a complicated world, in which our two young heroes must persevere to find the truth, and fight for justice. 

Teens (ages 14 to 17): With the Fire on High by Elizabeth Acevedo / Available on OverDrive

Acevedo is one of the best teen authors right now. Her sophomore novel tells the story of Emoni, a high school senior who had a baby her freshman year. She and her grandmother have made it work, in large part because Emoni has always been a realist who makes the tough decisions. Her true passion is creating magic dishes in the kitchen, which she dismisses as an unrealistic daydream. But as the story unfolds, Emoni slowly starts to realize that her dreams of becoming a chef are worth pursuing. 

Adult (ages 18 and older) (I couldn’t choose just one!):

The Fifth Season by N.K. Jemisin / Available on OverDrive 

In this astonishing Afrofuturist fantasy, readers follow three women, at three different stages of their lives — a child who’s just discovered her “raga” powers, a young woman who has been training her “orogene” skills at the fulcrum for years, and a middle-aged woman who is on the hunt for her husband who kidnapped their daughter.

Saga by Brian K. Vaughan / Available on hoopla

In this science fantasy series, seminal comic writer, Vaughan, tells the intricate story of Hazel. Born to parents from different sides of an intergalactic war, her family and friends go through many epic adventures to protect Hazel, a child that neither side of the war wants to exist.

While I would never tell you how to feel about living through a pandemic, it’s okay to be overwhelmed by it all. I hope these stories offer a little inspiration and perseverance to help us get through this.  

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: courtesy of the King County Library System.