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 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 more time at home, and could still use some great reading material to consume during the reopening process.
With that in mind, I am happy to inform you that KCLS is now offering Curbside to Go at select locations! You can place holds on KCLS’ physical materials, and pick them up outside one of our many participating libraries, including the Skyway Library for all you South Enders. Surprise bags of books are also available at Curbside to Go locations, which are filled with five books according to age and interest. Visit kcls.org/curbside to learn more about library locations, hours of operation, and how to schedule a pickup.
And if you still want to go the digital route, all you need is a KCLS library card to access our eBook and audiobook 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 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.
For this week’s recommendations, let’s take advantage of Curbside to Go, and get our hands on some titles that are now available for physical check out.
Kids (ages 3 to 7): Ho’onani: Hula Warrior by Heather Gale
Hawaiian native, Ho’onani is not quite a girl, and not quite a boy; they’re somewhere in between. Ho’onani has always dreamed of doing traditional male hula dancing, but doesn’t know if someone who is assigned female at birth can. When Ho’onani finds out their school is having a male hula dance performance, they find themselves not only participating but leading it. This picture book, based on a true story, is a beautiful tale about acceptance and finding your place in your community.
Kids and Tweens (ages 8 to 13): As the Crow Flies by Melanie Gillman
This is a stunning graphic novel drawn with colored pencils. I’ve never seen anything like it! Readers follow the story of a young queer Black woman who goes to a Christian feminist hiking camp. Unfortunately, she discovers that this type of feminism isn’t for all women. She befriends a girl who’s also part of the LGBTQ+ community, and while they may not find a sense of place in the camp, they create space for themselves and each other in their friendship.
Teens (ages 14 to 17): Slay by Brittney Morris
“Do you eat meat?” That is the coded language slay players ask in real life to find out who plays this online role-playing game. Slay is a very special game; all the cards and powers are based on Black history and Black culture, and Slay is only for Black players. That’s exactly how Kiera designed it — an online fantasy game where Black players can just be without experiencing hatred from other players. When the media catches wind of the game, and puts it unfairly under a microscope, Kiera must figure out how to save her secret identity and the game she built.
Adult (ages 18 and older): Kerry James Marshall: Mastry by Kerry James Marshall
I was lucky enough to see Kerry James Marshall’s “Mastry” exhibition while visiting friends and family in LA back in 2017. The artwork is breathtaking. Marshall creates beautiful dark-skinned Black people using new painting techniques to show the tones in dark pigments. His passion and talent to show and celebrate Black people, the ordinary and the great, throughout American history, makes his work unforgettable. While going to museums is still unadvisable, checking out “Mastry,” and other fine art books from KCLS’ collection, is a wonderful way to feast your eyes on incredible works of art!
I am thrilled that I can now recommend titles to you from our entire collection! The floodgates have opened, and I cannot wait to share some amazing stories with you. Happy reading!
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 turning seeds into vegetables in her front yard with moderate success.