South End Scoop: Books & More from KCLS — Summertime Adventures

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.

Photo depicting a Check Out Washington adventure pack complete with a green messenger bag with text that reads, "Check Out Washington," brochures on Washington State wildlife, binoculars, and a park pass.
If you’re looking for even more ways to make the most of your summer, try checking out a free Check Out Washington adventure pack from your KCLS library. (Photo: Washington State Library)

We hope you are enjoying these sun-filled days and discovering great books through KCLS’ annual, all-ages Summer Reading Program. You have until Aug. 31 to reach the 1,000-minute reading goal, so there’s still time to get involved. Visit KCLS’ Summer Reading Program webpage to join our community of readers, pop into a fun event or two, and track your minutes.

And if you’re looking for even more ways to make the most of your summer, try checking out our free adventure packs and museum passes. Our Check Out Washington adventure packs can be reserved for 14 days with your KCLS library card and include a Discover Pass for free parking at Washington State parks and wildlife areas; educational materials; a set of pocket guides about Washington trees, wildlife, and birds; and a pair of binoculars. You can also get free passes to museums and local attractions like the Museum of Flight, Museum of Pop Culture, Seattle Aquarium, KidsQuest Museum, and more through KCLS. Learn how to get Check Out Washington adventure packs and museum passes on our website

All KCLS libraries are open and air-conditioned. Visit our location finder map to beat the heat at a library near you.

Here are some titles to help you celebrate summertime, selected by KCLS librarian Ursula Schwaiger.


Kids (ages 3 to 7)

Water in the Park: A Book about Water and the Times of the Day by Emily Jenkins; illustrated by Stephanie Graegin

Who doesn’t love the park on a hot sunny day? Jenkins’ rhythmic text and Graegin’s sweet, detailed illustrations celebrate community in a joyful city park. Turtles sun themselves on rocks, dogs arrive for their morning swim, kids pour water down slides too hot to touch, grown-ups fan themselves in the shade, and a surprise thunderstorm arrives at the end of the day. Kids will love identifying familiar activities at the park, and adults will enjoy reading this one aloud.

Book cover depicting children playing and participating in different park activities. In a white oval in the center of the cover, two children play with a water fountain and text at the top of the oval reads, "Water in the Park."
“Water in the Park: A Book about Water and the Times of the Day” by Emily Jenkins; illustrated by Stephanie Graegin

Kids and Tweens (ages 8 to 13)

Swim Team by Johnnie Christmas

Bree and her dad just moved to Florida. She is excited for her first day of school, but finds out that Swim 101 is the only elective with openings. Turns out competitive swimming is a big deal at her new school. Bree doesn’t know how to swim — and doesn’t want to learn. She befriends Etta, an older Black woman in her housing complex, who helps Bree overcome her fear of swimming and teaches her about the history of Black swimmers. Readers cheer Bree on through suspenseful swim races and the challenges of moving to a new town in this graphic novel with lots of drama and heart.

Bonus: Swim Team author Johnnie Christmas will be discussing his graphic novel at KCLS’ upcoming author event on Tuesday, Sept. 6, from 6:00 to 7:00 p.m. Register for the online event on our website to save your spot!

Graphic novel cover depicting a Black-presenting youth in a yellow-and-blue swimsuit with purple goggles against a background of pool water. Yellow text reads, "Swim Team."
“Swim Team” by Johnnie Christmas

Teens (ages 14 to 17)

More Than Just a Pretty Face by Syed M. Masood

This swoon-worthy romance follows high school senior Danyal who is trying to figure out what to do after graduation. He wants to be a chef, but his immigrant parents want him to focus on academics. He is also in love with a girl — who readers of romance will recognize as the wrong girl! Enter Bisma, a smart classmate who helps Danyal prepare for an academic competition. Danyal and Bisma develop an unexpected connection in Masood’s touching debut novel about young love that also addresses heavier themes of colonialism, nationalism, religion, and trauma.

Book cover depicting a South Asian male-presenting teen in a yellow-striped T-shirt and a South Asian female-presenting teen wearing a black superhero T-shirt and white glasses standing in front of a bright-blue wall. Text across the cover reads, "More Than Just a Pretty Face."
“More Than Just a Pretty Face” by Syed M. Masood

Adult (ages 18 and older)

Original Flava: Caribbean Recipes from Home by Craig and Shaun McAnuff

Summer in the Pacific Northwest often means gathering with loved ones for good, homemade food. Written by British brothers of Jamaican descent, this cookbook reveals the love they have for family, food, and Jamaica. Simply browsing through the photos of this Caribbean cookbook will make your stomach growl! Bring a bit of Jamaica into your home with recipes like Jerk Chicken, Pumpkin Rice, and Honey Mac ‘n’ Cheese. There is also a whole chapter of delicious vegan recipes to enjoy. Sign me up!

Book cover depicting authors Craig and Shaun McAnuff sitting on a green bench and eating from plates of food in front of a yellow background. Above their heads text reads, "Original Flava: Caribbean Recipes From Home."
“Original Flava: Caribbean Recipes from Home” by Craig and Shaun McAnuff

For more recommendations and a full list of events and activities, visit KCLS’ Summer Reading Program page.

About the Librarian: Ursula Schwaiger is a children’s librarian at the Skyway Library and lives in South Seattle. She loves discovering new places in the community with her family, and you can often find her eating Mediterranean food and reading.


We offer a variety of free programs for all ages! Visit our events page for a full list of in-person and online events and activities.

Create a Journal

Saturday, Aug. 20, 12:00–1:30 p.m.
Boulevard Park Library

Join artists of all skill levels to create a journal from recycled and repurposed materials in this fun workshop for children, teens, and tweens. The teaching artist from ArtMaranth Mobile School is fluent in Spanish and English.

Author Voices with Syren Nagakyrie

Wednesday, Sept. 7, 6:30–7:30 p.m.

Author Syren Nagakyrie will discuss the newly published book, The Disabled Hiker’s Guide to Western Washington and Oregon: Outdoor Adventures Accessible by Car, Wheelchair, and Foot. This is the first book of its kind to consider diverse access needs in the outdoors. The book removes one of the barriers to access — a lack of information written by and for the disability community. Register for the online event on our website.


Seattle Community Network

The Seattle Community Network (SCN) is a community-run cellular (4G LTE) internet network dedicated to providing broadband access to underserved communities across the Puget Sound. SCN has partnered with KCLS’ Skyway Library to offer free or low-cost internet to residents in need. Learn more about how to get SCN’s internet service on the Seattle Community Network website.


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.

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