Spokane is Reading 2016

tsar-of-love-and-techno-paperback-jacket-199x300anthony-marra-credit-smeeta-mahantiSpokane is Reading’s community-wide book selection for this year is The Tsar of Love and Techno by Anthony Marra. We’re really excited about this beautifully written set of connected short stories. The stories are set over a large period of time and set in Chechnya and Russia and, as you read them, you discover the complicated and unique ways the characters are interconnected.

Author Anthony Marra will be visiting Spokane for two free presentations:

Thursday, October 27

1:00 pm – Spokane Valley Event Center
10514 E. Sprague, Spokane Valley, WA 99206
Ample, free parking is available outside the venue.

7:00 pm – The Bing Crosby Theater
901 W Sprague Ave, Spokane, WA 99201
Parking is in paid lots close-by and on the street. Meter parking is abundant and meters must be fed until 7pm. Download the Downtown Parking map for help finding the best spots.

Seating is plentiful but limited and no tickets are issued so come early if you want to sit up front. Doors will open 45 minutes prior to each event’s start time. Anthony Marra will be available to sign books following each presentation and Auntie’s Book Store will have copies of all of his titles available for sale.

Here comes Kitty in Boots

who was Beatrix PotterLost manuscript found! Kitty in Boots by Beatrix Potter discovered! I have read Beatrix Potter’s books but didn’t really know anything about her. So I picked up Who Was Beatrix Potter? By Sarah Fabiny. Beatrix Potter’s full name was Helen Beatrix Potter.  Because her mother’s name was also Helen, Beatrix was called by her middle name.   She grew up in a time when children had to stay quiet and stay out of their parent’s way. Women did not get jobs or get to study science.  Beatrix loved animals and nature and drew and painted them.  She studied mushrooms and wrote a scientific paper about them.  I thought this was super interesting because I love fungi. Beatrix wrote letters with little illustrated stories to a friend’s son who was sick.  Her friend kept the letters and they became the Tale of Peter Rabbit and Beatrix Potter’s other wonderful books.   I recommend this fun biography to readers in grades three to seven. Younger readers should check out the picture book by David McPhail, Beatrix Potter and her Paint Box.  And, for all Beatrix Potter fans, young and old, take a look at her new story the Tale of Kitty in Boots. Beatrix Potter and Her Paint Box

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Looking for a Story Narrated by a Dog?

WoofHave you completed the summer reading challenge to read a book narrated by a dog? I really loved Woof by Spencer Quinn.  This story begins at the dog pound.  Our hero is in a cage being looked over by a little white haired old lady and a gum chewing eleven year old girl. Soon he has a new name, Bowser, and a home with Birdie and Grammy.  Grammy runs Gaux (pronounced GO) Family Fish and Bate in Louisiana. They return to find someone has stolen Black Jack, a stuffed marlin, that may or may not have had a treasure map hidden behind his right eye.  Bowser and Birdie are soon hot on the trail of cracking the case.   I recommend this delightful mystery to readers in grades three to six.  If you haven’t signed up for summer reading yet, drop into your local branch and join the fun.

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Unidentified Suburban Object

Unidentified Suburban ObjectHave you ever felt different from the other kids in school? In Unidentified Suburban Object by Mike Jung, seventh grader, Cloe Chu, the only Korean American kid in town, is a first chair violin player and straight A student. She and her best friend, Shelly, enjoy Korean pop music, Korean fashion and food.  If Cloe could only get her parents to talk about their family and history.  Then a new teacher at school, who is Korean, has the class do a family history/anecdote assignment.  Cloe’s dad finally opens up and tells Cloe a story about his uncle who escaped a North Korean work camp.  When Cloe gets a big fat red F on the assignment for plagiarism, she confronts her parents about their secrecy and lies.  The shocking truth sends her spinning out of control. I recommend this interesting and fun summer read for kids in grades four through seven.  Have you signed up for our summer reading program yet? We want to reward kids for reading this summer.  Go to read.spokanelibrary.org or drop in to the library and we will help you register!

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Abandoned and Found

This Raging LightHave you signed up for summer reading yet? No? We want to reward you for reading this summer. Go to read.spokanelibrary.org or drop in to the library and we will help you register. Here is a suggestion to get you started.  I enjoyed This Raging Light by Estelle Laure. Seventeen year old Lucille is trying to keep it together.  Her dad had a breakdown and is institutionalized.  Her mom split. Lucille is trying to stay in school and take care of her kid sister while hiding their abandoned state from the neighbors and teachers.  But they are running out of food and out of money to pay the bills.  Lucille gets a waitress job that helps a little.  But then to make matters worse, Lucille starts falling for her best friend’s brother.  I recommend for readers in grades eight and up.

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Korman does it again!

I have been a fan of Gordon Korman for a long time. I didn’t find the hero of Slacker, Cameron Boxer, very appealing at first.  He is indeed a slacker, never listens to his parents, doesn’t do his homework, just hangs with his friends (remotely – not even in person)  playing videogames.  He should have listened to his mother when she told him to turn off the oven in ten minutes.  The sound of the fire department chopping into his front door with axes interrupted his game.  His parents revoke his gaming privileges until he shapes up.  Cameron’s solution – invent and become the president of a fake do-gooder club.  Cameron’s problem – some of his classmates, the school counselor and the principal believe the club is real.  Well, the beaver is a bit of a problem, of course. Slacker I recommend this hilarious story to readers in middle school and all Gordon Korman fans

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Masterpieces from the Vault: Special Editions of Literary Classics

The Northwest Room has a new exhibit highlighting some of the literary classics in our rare book collection. Come in and browse this selection of literary classics from England and the United States. This small assortment of novels, tales and poetry includes literature from the fifteenth to the twentieth centuries, as well as the seventeenth century translation of the ancient Roman poet, Virgil. We have first editions of Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter and Nature by Ralph Waldo Emerson.


New York has more than pigeons!

Bird_CatcherEvery summer I go to New York to visit my parents, my hometown and the arts and culture of the city. I know, summer in NY (humidity=90) versus summer in Spokane (humidity=30 – at its worst) – I must be crazy! But there’s something about NYC in the summer that is so energizing to me. Believe it or not I also spend time birding while I’m there. Birding in NYC! YES! Central Park is a haven for migrating birds and the close-by coastal areas are amazing places to see birds. Feeling homesick recently, I read a book called The Bird Catcher by Laura Jacobs that wrapped up all I love about NY and its art scene as well as a healthy dose of birding. The main character is an artist/window designer for one of the big department stores in the city. She discovers a love of birding and early morning NY when she meets her husband to be. The best part about the book is the beautiful writing. The characters are well drawn and the dinner parties so well described I almost felt tipsy reading about them. There’s romance, personal and professional struggle and lots of atmosphere!

If your summer includes some armchair traveling, you might want to grab The Bird Catcher and sightsee amongst New York’s skyscrapers and greenbelts. If you want some additional suggestions check our blog archives or stop by and talk to a librarian for recommendations.

Beat the Summer Slump

NoveList_K-8_Plus_logoIf you are a parent or guardian and concerned about learning losses while your child is out of school, the library can help. Our online Summer Reading Program starts at the beginning of June, encouraging kids to read throughout the summer to earn points and badges. Looking for book ideas? Novelist K-8 Plus has suggestions for titles or authors that are similar to kids’ favorites. How about something more academic? Learning Express School Center has tutorials in math, English, and other topics for older elementary, middle, and high school students. Encourage kids to learn a foreign language with Pronunciator, which includes many kid-friendly courses specifically for early learners (3-6) and young learners (7-12).

As a parent, maybe you want to discover how to best support your child’s learning. Six-week instructor-led Gale Courses start soon which will give you background on child development and suggestions for encouraging literacy and reading. Check out “Ready, Set, Read!” and “Enhancing Language Development in Childhood,” for example. Just use your library card to sign up and start learning.


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Washington Legal Forms


You can find many legal forms online, especially official court forms from the city, county, and state, but what if you need personal or business forms such as a will, power of attorney, or rental lease? Our Washington State Legal Forms databases includes samples of these plus many others. You can download a rich text or Microsoft Word version that can be filled out online and printed. Each form has a description of what it is and how it works. There are also completed examples to give you an idea of how the forms should be filled out. This database is a great place to find legally-acceptable landlord/tenant, corporation, and other generic forms that are sometimes hard to locate for free online.


of Bears and Boys, Of Ravens and Brothers

skeleton treeIn The Skeleton Tree by Iain Lawrence, twelve year old Chris and Frank, an older boy he doesn’t know, are taken for sailing on the coast of Alaska by Chris’ Uncle Jack.  On the second day the boat sinks and Chris and Frank alone survive.  They reach land and find an abandoned cabin.  They have no phone or radio.  Chris makes friends with a curious raven, but Frank seems to hate Chris.  The boys must work together to get food and figure out how to survive in the Alaskan wilderness.  Chris tells this story, alternating between today as he sits waiting for rescue, and remembering how it all began and got to this point. I recommend this riveting adventure is for readers in grades five through eight.

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Online Travel Resources

pronunciator-120x90The summer travel season kicks off soon, but did you know the library has many useful resources that will make your traveling easier or more interesting? Of course we have lots of travel guides for places around the world, but did you know we also have some ebook versions, which you can download on your device to take with you?

Our subscription databases can be helpful, as well. Check out Culturegrams before you head off to another country, state, or Canadian province. You’ll learn about history, climate, the people and their culture, lifestyle, and society. If you are traveling to a foreign-speaking country and want to learn the basics of the language, Pronunciator has handy 8-week interactive travel prep courses for many languages. All you need is your library card to get started.

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