The King County Library System (KCLS) and the South Seattle Emerald are teaming up to bring you the “South End Scoop.” Dig into this community-centered column each month for great book, music, movie, and event recommendations from your local librarians.
KCLS’ annual Summer Reading Program has begun! Each year, we challenge King County residents of all ages to track minutes spent reading during the summer to help keep minds active and engaged. Participants ages 5 and older are encouraged to read 1,000 minutes by Aug. 31. We’ve also planned early literacy activities for younger kids to complete and a variety of in-person and online events to enjoy all summer long.
You can read anything you want during our Summer Reading Program! And reading to someone else or listening to an audiobook counts toward reading minutes, too. Visit the KCLS Summer Reading Program page to learn more and track minutes.
Get started with these great titles, selected by KCLS librarian Alexis Carter.
Local Librarian Picks
Kids (ages 3 to 7)
Uncle John’s City Garden by Bernette G. Ford; illustrated by Frank Morrison
When Li’l Sissy first arrives at Uncle John’s garden, there are no plants yet — just dirt. But with a few packets of seeds, time, and hard work, the empty city lot becomes a magical haven where vegetables grow and families gather during the summer. An autobiographical work by the late children’s book author, this story cultivates a vibrant homage to the urban garden Ford’s family created in the 1950s. Her fun and engaging tribute introduces early readers to multiple STEM concepts such as units of measurement, spatial awareness, estimation skills, gardening, and plant life cycles.
Kids and Tweens (ages 8 to 13)
The Last Last-Day-of-Summer by Lamar Giles
When cousins Otto and Sheed accidentally extend the last day of summer by freezing time, they can’t agree on how to spend their newfound magical freedom. Before the fun even begins, the boys discover secrets hidden between the frozen minutes and realize their town is in danger. They must put their differences aside to save the day before time stops for good. Laced with humor, Giles’ fast-paced mystery is sprinkled with themes of reconciliation, family, and identity.
Teens (ages 14 to 17)
Hamilton’s autobiography explores life as a 14-year-old aspiring professional surfer in Hawaiʻi. The young athlete made headlines when she lost her arm in a harrowing shark attack while surfing on the coast of Kauaʻi. This moving account of Hamilton’s life, recovery, resilience, and determination to continue surfing truly stand out in this courageous and inspiring tale. If you like the book, try checking out the film Soul Surfer, starring AnnaSophia Robb, from our collection as well.
Adult (ages 18 and older)
The Guncle by Steven Rowley
Gay Uncle Patrick (or GUP, for short) has always been known as the fun, caftan-wearing uncle with a fabulous house in Palm Springs. After his sister passes away, he does not seem like the likely candidate to take custody of his niece and nephew. But it turns out he is exactly who the kids need. Although Patrick initially flounders, you will find yourself cheering him on in this enthralling story about life, death, family, and love.
For more recommendations and a full list of events and activities, visit KCLS’ Summer Reading Program page.
About the Librarian: Alexis Carter is a teen services librarian at the Burien and White Center Libraries. When she’s not at the library, you’ll find her out and about, traveling near and far. Drop into one of her art programs this summer or join her online trivia nights at Kahoot! Trivia: Musicals & Dance.
We offer a variety of events for all ages! Visit our events page for a full list of in-person and online events and activities.
Amazing Magic Show with Jeff Evans
Thursday, July 14, 11:00 a.m.–12:00 p.m.
Des Moines Library
Every book is a magic book, but only when you read it! Magician Jeff Evans’ career began from a book of coin tricks he read when he was 12. Discover the amazing things that can happen when you open a book!
Arts and Crafts for All Ages
Thursday, July 14, 12:30–3:00 p.m.
White Center Library
Do you love arts and crafts? Learn how to use different types of materials and mediums in this fun weekly series. The workshop on July 14 will focus on painting landscapes.
Sunday, July 31, 2:00–3:00 p.m.
Des Moines Library
Learn the practice of slow gentle movements and postures, a meditative state of mind, and controlled breathing with Hansie Wong, M.D. All experience levels are welcome.
Future Voter Hubs
(multiple dates and locations )
KCLS and the Urban League of Metropolitan Seattle (ULMS) have partnered to provide support services to empower voters. Drop in to a Future Voter Hub near you — including the Burien, Skyway, Tukwila, and White Center Libraries — to learn about voter eligibility, register to vote, or print your personalized ballot and voter guide.
If you already have your ballot, bring it along! Get helpful resources to learn about candidates and elected offices so you can feel confident in your vote. This is a safe space to learn about voting and these events are open to all community members.
Additional Programming and Services
BIPOC Mental Health Month
July is Bebe Moore Campbell National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month, also known as BIPOC Mental Health Month. Formally recognized in June 2008, BIPOC Mental Health Month was created to bring awareness to the unique struggles that Black, Indigenous, and People of Color face in regard to mental illness in the U.S. Bebe Moore Campbell was an American author, journalist, teacher, and mental health advocate who worked to shed light on the mental health needs within Black communities and other impacted populations. Find local mental health resources from the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI).
KCLS continually strives to support and serve our communities with a wide range of services and resources. We began offering a new service last year called Peers in Libraries to further help meet community members’ needs. Our Peer Services Specialists, or “Peers,” work through a trauma-informed lens to connect people to the community resources and services they need, including shelter and housing, education, food, and mental health referrals.
Peers are individuals with lived experiences of mental or medical illness, substance abuse, homelessness, and/or involvement with the criminal justice system. Now on a path to recovery, Peers draw on their experience, helping community members to identify and achieve wellness goals. They provide emotional support in a compassionate space, while sharing stories without judgment to help people to rebuild their lives. This program is offered in partnership with Peer Kent. Contact us via Ask KCLS to learn more about Peers in Libraries.
Need a Library Card?
Residents in the KCLS service area (in King County, outside the City of Seattle) can sign up instantly for a physical card to access our full collection or a digital eCard to access our digital collection. Visit our website to get started. Contact us via Ask KCLS if you need assistance with your account or call (425) 462-9600 or (800) 462-9600.
📸 Featured Image: South Seattle Emerald and the King County Library System (KCLS) are teaming up to give you book, media, and event recommendations each month via the South End Scoop.
Before you move on to the next story … Please consider that the article you just read was made possible by the generous financial support of donors and sponsors. The Emerald is a BIPOC-led nonprofit news outlet with the mission of offering a wider lens of our region’s most diverse, least affluent, and woefully under-reported communities. Please consider making a one-time gift or, better yet, joining our Rainmaker Family by becoming a monthly donor. Your support will help provide fair pay for our journalists and enable them to continue writing the important stories that offer relevant news, information, and analysis. Support the Emerald!