Stay-at-Home, Read-at-Home with KCLS: Life Goes On

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 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 KCLS’ Curbside to Go pickup service, you can now access both our digital and physical materials. Visit to find a Curbside to Go location near you, and schedule a pickup. And to access KCLS’ digital collections, all you need is a KCLS library card. 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. 

Many of us couldn’t have imagined we’d still be living with COVID-19 restrictions in September, at the start of the school year. But we just keep waking up to the same reality. This week, I’d like to share stories about how life goes on after big changes. While none of these stories perfectly encapsulates what quarantine is like, I thought the parallels would help readers feel seen.

Oh! And parents, we know schooling from home will be one of the biggest adjustments of all. Please stay tuned until the end for some resources to help you out!

Kids (ages 3 to 7) 

Life Without Nico” by Andrea Maturana

Maia and Nico are best friends and do everything together. When Nico’s father tells them both that Nico’s family will be temporarily moving across the world, Maia is heartbroken. But she finds ways to cope with her Nico-less life. Many young readers may be able to relate to this story as they grapple with missing friends and feelings of loneliness right now. 

Kids and Tweens (ages 8 to 13) 

The Peculiar Incident on Shady Street” by Lindsay Currie

I thought this haunted house story would be a fun way to explore life after a big change. Tessa is incredibly bummed out that she had to move across the country. She misses the friends she left behind, and the hot, beachy weather in Florida. But she tries to put on a brave face for her dad, friendless in freezing cold Chicago. Then strange things start to happen in her family’s new house. They can hear noises at night, rooms turn ice cold, and her brother’s ventriloquist dummy starts crying real tears. Tessa, and some new kids she meets at school, must work together to see if they can figure out who’s haunting her new house and — more importantly — how to make it stop.

Teens (ages 14 to 17) / “Almost American Girl” by Robin Ha

This honest and vulnerable memoir beautifully shares the author’s experience about being forced to start over. Robin Ha was just your average comic-loving teenager growing up in Seoul, Korea. Her mother takes her on a summer trip to America, all the way to Huntsville, Alabama. It’s not at all what Robin imagined it would be, and she has a rather boring trip while her mother visits with friends. When it’s time to go back home, Robin is devastated to learn that this wasn’t just a vacation, and they’re staying in Huntsville permanently. She wasn’t even given a chance to say goodbye to her friends and has to start school without being able to speak or read English. But don’t worry, that’s just the beginning of Robin’s story, and she finds ways to thrive in Huntsville and beyond! 

Adult (ages 18 and older)

The Book of M” by Peng Shepherd

Scientists looked for answers at first, but it’s become clear that whatever caused humans to lose their shadows must be magic. It began with a man who lost his shadow at an outdoor market in India, in an exciting event that captured the world’s attention. But the joy in this marvel quickly turns to dread when the man starts to lose his memory, and the condition starts to spread. This story is told through four perspectives: Ory who’s been hiding out with his wife in an abandoned hotel in the woods; Max, Ory’s wife, who just lost her shadow; Naz an archer from Tehran who’s training for the Olympics in Boston; and The Amnesiac who had near total memory loss in a car crash a few months before “The Forgetting” began.

I hope these books offer some comfort and connection to the types of loss we’re experiencing during COVID-19, and how we might be able to adjust to our new realities. 

Parents, as promised, you can find free online resources on KCLS’ Kids page, Teen page, K-12 page and Homework and Tutoring page to make starting school from home a bit easier.

And here are a few more! If your child does not already have a KCLS library card, see if they have an online Student Account with KCLS to access these resources and many more!

  • is an online tutoring service that connects you with a live tutor from 2 p.m. to midnight. Students can also submit a paper for review or drop off a math question at any time and hear back within 24 hours. 
  • Since most teachers won’t accept Wikipedia as a legitimate source, students should check out Britannica Library. It’s an online encyclopedia that’s a great starting point for any paper or research project.
  • Culturgrams is a wonderful database to help you learn about other countries and cultures around the world.
  • Mango Languages is a wonderful, free way to supplement your language instruction. 

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.