Stay-at-Home, Read-at-Home With KCLS: Summer of Imagination

by Maggie Block

At the beginning of Governor Jay Inslee’s stay-at-home orders to slow the spread of COVID-19, the King County Library System (KCLS) and the South Seattle Emerald teamed up to offer digital book recommendations to help readers get through the pandemic shutdown. While there may be more opportunities to get out and about now, many of us continue to spend time at home and could still use some great reading material to consume during the reopening process.

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. When you get your library card and PIN number, all you have to do is enter them to search for titles in BookFlix 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. KCLS has also started offering Curbside to Go at select locations.

KCLS’ annual Summer Reading Program is in full swing! This year’s theme is “Imagine Your Story,” and we’re challenging King County residents of all ages to read 1,000 minutes by August 31. To log reading hours, you can use the Beanstack app or print a KCLS reading log. And visit to check out all the fun and educational events and activities we’re offering online this year! 

While there will be a drawing for cool prizes at the end of the challenge, winning at summer reading really means engaging your brain and going on incredible adventures within a book’s pages! Here are some great imaginative stories to help you get started!

Kids (ages 3 to 6): Madam President by Lane Smith — Available on BookFlix

BookFlix is split into subjects, and the entire “Imagination” section would have worked for this list. Madam President made the cut because it’s a fun — and funny — story about a young girl envisioning presidential duties in her daily life. From giving executive orders for more waffles, to practicing diplomacy with a classmate’s strange hat choice, this book will leave your kiddo laughing and singing along to her lyrics for “Hail to the Chief!”

For more recommendations, check out KCLS’ Blast Off Into Space booklist.

Kids and Tweens (ages 7 to 13): The Witch Boy by Molly Ostertag — Available on OverDrive

Aster comes from a magic family where all the men are shapeshifters and all the women are witches. So, naturally everyone assumes he will be a shapeshifter, but Aster is pretty sure he’s a witch. As Aster tries to figure out a way to forge his own path, a magical creature starts preying on young shapeshifters, and it’s up to Aster and his friends to save the day in this fantastic graphic novel!

For more recommendations, check out KCLS’ Classic Novels Revisited booklist.

Teens (ages 14 to 17): The Cruel Prince by Holly Black — Available on OverDrive

When they were children, Jude and her sisters were taken from the mortal world to the kingdom of Faerie. While this sounds like the beginning of a lovely Disney movie, Black tells a vicious version of the Fey that more closely resembles their ancient folklore. Jude has grown up defenseless to the glamours and spells used against her by bored courtiers. Now a teenager, Jude is determined to possess the power she needs to defend herself, no matter the cost.

For more recommendations, check out KCLS’ Teen Imagine Your Story booklist.

Adult (ages 18 and older): Scythe by Neal Shusterman — Available on OverDrive

While this is technically a Young Adult title, the Scythe trilogy is so fantastic, I feel very confident recommending it to adult readers. In the future Shusterman paints, human beings are no longer mortal. There is no accident you cannot heal from or disease you cannot be cured of. Once you grow too old, you merely “turn the corner” to a younger self. Once humanity overcame mortality, they created the order of the Scythes to maintain population control; they’re the only ones with the power to distribute death. The series follows two teenagers who are coerced into becoming Scythe apprentices, roles they wanted nothing to do with. They quickly learn of a “new order” of Scythes who deeply enjoy the job of killing. The two teens must foil the Scythes’ evil plot and fight for a Scythdom that honors the dignity of human life. The trilogy asks readers very important questions about power — who should have it, and who should those in power be held accountable to?

For more recommendations, check out KCLS’ Imagine Your Story: In the Future booklist!

I am so excited to go on this summer reading journey with the South End community! If there are any genres or themes you’d like to see to help keep you reading this summer, please let me know in the comments. Also, please share what you’re reading, either in the comments, or on social media with #KCLS, so we can get a whole community’s worth of recommendations!

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).