Book Discussion Kits

Book Discussion Kit Home

Sno-Isle Libraries and the Sno-Isle Foundation are proud to offer book discussion kits.

Each kit includes 10 copies of a single title. Resources for book discussions may be found at publishers' websites, bound into some editions of the book, or at www.bookreporter.com or www.readinggroupguides.com (Download a printer friendly list of book kits.)

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100 Year Miracle, The

Ream, Ashley

Once a century, for only six days, the bay around a small Washington island glows like a water-bound aurora. Dr. Rachel Bell, a scientist studying the 100-Year Miracle and the tiny sea creatures that create it, knows a secret about the phenomenon that inspired the regions myths and folklore: the rare green water may contain a power that could save Rachel's own life (and change the world). But the Miracle does things to people. Strange and mysterious things. And as these things begin to happen, Rachel has only six days to uncover and control the Miracle's secrets before the waters go dark for another hundred years"-- Provided by publisher.

2017 Whidbey Reads selection

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Crime Pacific Northwest
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Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian

Alexie, Sherman

Budding cartoonist Junior leaves his troubled school on the Spokane Indian Reservation to attend an all-white farm town school where the only other Indian is the school mascot.
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Art of Racing in the Rain, The

Stein, Garth

Meet Enzo, the unforgettable canine narrator of this bittersweet and transformative story of family, love, loyalty, and hope. Enzo is a philosopher with a nearly human soul, and he's gained a wealth of knowledge from hours spent in front of the TV.

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Animals Family Not so Grim Pacific Northwest Watch It Youth
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Astoria

Stark, Peter

In the tradition of The Lost City of Z and Skeletons in the Zahara, Astoria is the thrilling, true-adventure tale of the 1810 Astor Expedition, an epic, now forgotten, three-year journey to forge an American empire on the Pacific Coast. Peter Stark offers a harrowing saga in which a band of explorers battled nature, starvation, and madness to establish the first American settlement in the Pacific Northwest and opened up what would become the Oregon trail, permanently altering the nation's landscape and its global standing. Six years after Lewis and Clark's began their journey to the Pacific Northwest, two of the Eastern establishment's leading figures, John Jacob Astor and Thomas Jefferson, turned their sights to founding a colony akin to Jamestown on the West Coast and transforming the nation into a Pacific trading power. Author and correspondent for Outside magazine Peter Stark recreates this pivotal moment in American history for the first time for modern readers, drawing on original source material to tell the amazing true story of the Astor Expedition. Unfolding over the course of three years, from 1810 to 1813, Astoria is a tale of high adventure and incredible hardship in the wilderness and at sea. Of the more than one hundred-forty members of the two advance parties that reached the West Coast--one crossing the Rockies, the other rounding Cape Horn--nearly half perished by violence. Others went mad. Within one year, the expedition successfully established Fort Astoria, a trading post on the Columbia River. Though the colony would be short-lived, it opened provincial American eyes to the potential of the Western coast and its founders helped blaze the Oregon Trail.
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Before the Wind

Lynch, Jim

Growing up on the Puget Sound, the Johannssen family has sailing in their blood. But Ruby left for Africa and elsewhere to do good works on land, and Bernard disappeared at sea, a fugitive and pirate. Josh, who repairs boats of all kinds in a marina south of Seattle, is pained and confused by whatever the hell went wrong with his volatile family. When the Johannssens unexpectedly reunite for the most important race in these waters, it leads to a heart-shattering revelation. Growing up on the Puget Sound, the Johannssen family has sailing in their blood, but the oldest brother, Josh, is left puzzling over what caused his siblings to flee, one to Africa, the other to points unknown as a fugitive and pirate.

Booklist Editor's Choice
2018 Whidbey Reads selection

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Family Pacific Northwest
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Boys in the Boat, The

Brown, Daniel James

The dramatic story of the American rowing team that stunned the world at Hitler's 1936 Berlin Olympics, Daniel James Brown's robust book tells the story of the University of Washington's 1936 eight-oar crew and their epic quest for an Olympic gold medal, a team that transformed the sport and grabbed the attention of millions of Americans. The sons of loggers, shipyard workers, and farmers, the boys defeated elite rivals first from eastern and British universities and finally the German crew rowing for Adolf Hitler in the Olympic games in Berlin, 1936. They remind the country of what can be done when everyone quite literally pulls together--a perfect melding of commitment, determination, and optimism. An irresistible story about beating the odds and finding hope in the most desperate of times--the improbable, intimate story of nine working-class boys from the American west who, in the depths of the Great Depression, showed the world what true grit really meant.

ALA Notable Book
Indies' Choice Book Award
2015 Whidbey Reads selection

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Awards Bio & Memoir History Pacific Northwest Watch It WWII
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Breakfast at Sally's: one homeless man's inspirational journey

LeMieux, Richard

One day, Richard LeMieux had a happy marriage, a palatial home, and took $40,000 Greek vacations. The next, he was living out of a van with only his dog, Willow, for company. This astonishingly frank memoir tells the story of one man's resilience in the face of economic disaster. Penniless, a failed suicide, estranged from his family, and living "the vehicular lifestyle" in Washington state, LeMieux chronicles his journey from the Salvation Army kitchens to his days with "C" a philosopher in a homeless man's clothing to his run-ins with Pastor Bob and other characters he meets on the streets. Along the way, he finds time to haunt public libraries and discover his desire to write.
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Breath of A Whale, The

Calvez, Leigh

An exploration of the elusive lives of whales in the Pacific Ocean. Leigh Calvez has spent a dozen years researching, observing, and probing the lives of the giants of the deep.
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Crow Planet

Haupt, Lyanda Lynn

There are more crows now than ever. Their abundance is both a sign of ecological imbalance and a generous opportunity to connect with the animal world. CROW PLANET is a call to experience the wildlife in our midst, reminding us that we don't have to head to faraway places to encounter "nature." Even in the cities and suburbs where we live we are surrounded by wildlife such as crows. Through observing them we enhance our appreciation of the world's natural order, and find our own place in it. Haupt, a trained naturalist, uses science, scholarly research, myth, and personal observation to draw readers into the "crow stories" that unfold around us every day, culminating in book that transforms the way we experience our neighborhoods and our world.
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Dragon Springs Road

Chang, Janie

After being abandoned by her mother in 1908 Shanghai, a young Eurasian girl, Jialing, becomes the bondservant to the new owners of a grand estate until she befriends a young English girl who mysteriously disappears and forever changes her life.
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Egg and I, The

MacDonald, Betty

When Betty MacDonald married a marine and moved to a small chicken farm on the Olympic Peninsula in Washington State, she was largely unprepared for the rigors of life in the wild. With no running water, no electricity, a house in need of constant repair, and days that ran from four in the morning to nine at night, the MacDonalds had barely a moment to put their feet up and relax. And then came the children. Yet through every trial and pitfall—through chaos and catastrophe—this indomitable family somehow, mercifully, never lost its sense of humor. A beloved literary treasure for more than half a century, Betty MacDonald's The Egg and I is a heartwarming and uproarious account of adventure and survival on an American frontier.
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Eruption: The Untold Story of Mount St. Helens

Olson, Steve

For months in early 1980, scientists, journalists, sightseers, and nearby residents listened anxiously to rumblings in Mount St. Helens, part of the chain of western volcanoes fueled by the 700-mile-long Cascadia fault. Still, no one was prepared when an immense eruption took the top off of the mountain and laid waste to hundreds of square miles of verdant forests in southwestern Washington State. The eruption was one of the largest in human history, deposited ash in eleven U.S. states and five Canadian providences, and caused more than one billion dollars in damage. It killed fifty-seven people, some as far as thirteen miles away from the volcano’s summit. Shedding new light on the cataclysm, author Steve Olson interweaves the history and science behind this event with page-turning accounts of what happened to those who lived and those who died.

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History Pacific Northwest Science & Nature
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Girl Who Fell from the Sky, The

Durrow, Heidi

This debut novel tells the story of Rachel, the daughter of a Danish mother and a black G.I. who becomes the sole survivor of a family tragedy. With her strict African American grandmother as her new guardian, Rachel moves to a mostly black community, where her light brown skin, blue eyes, and beauty bring mixed attention her way. Growing up in the 1980s, she learns to swallow her overwhelming grief and confronts her identity as a biracial young woman in a world that wants to see her as either black or white. In the tradition of Jamaica Kincaid's Annie John and Toni Morrison's The Bluest Eye, here is a portrait of a young girl--and society's ideas of race, class, and beauty. It is a winner of the Bellwether Prize for best fiction manuscript addressing issues of social justice.
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Girl Who Wrote in Silk, The

Estes, Kelli

The smallest items can hold centuries of secrets... Inara Erickson is exploring her deceased aunt's island estate when she finds an elaborately stitched piece of fabric hidden in the house. As she peels back layer upon layer of the secrets it holds, Inara's life becomes interwoven with that of Mei Lein, a young Chinese girl mysteriously driven from her home a century before. Through the stories Mei Lein tells in silk, Inara uncovers a tragic truth that will shake her family to its core -- and force her to make an impossible choice. Inspired by true events, Kelli Estes's brilliant and atmospheric debut serves as a poignant tale of two women determined to do the right thing, and the power of our own stories.

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Family History Pacific Northwest
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Golden Spruce: A True Story of Myth, Madness, and Greed

Vaillant, John

When a shattered kayak and camping gear are found on an uninhabited island in the Pacific Northwest, they reignite a mystery surrounding a shocking act of protest. Five months earlier, logger-turned-activist Grant Hadwin had plunged naked into a river in British Columbia's Queen Charlotte Islands, towing a chainsaw. When his night's work was done, a unique Sitka spruce, 165 feet tall and covered with luminous golden needles, teetered on its stump. Two days later it fell.As vividly as John Krakauer puts readers on Everest, John Vaillant takes us into the heart of North America's last great forest.

BC Book Prizes: Roderick Haig-Brown Regional Prize

Governor General's Literary Awards: English-Language Nonfiction

Hilary Weston Writers’ Trust Prize

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Awards Pacific Northwest Science & Nature
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Good House, The

Due, Tananarive

Working to rebuild her law practice after her son commits suicide, Angela Toussaint journeys to the family home where the suicide took place, hoping for answers, and discovers an evil force that is driving locals to acts of violence.

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Pacific Northwest Society & Culture Underrepresented Authors
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Highest Tide

Lynch, Jim

One moonlit night, thirteen-year-old Miles OMalley slips out of his house, packs up his kayak and goes exploring on the flats of Puget Sound. But what begins as an ordinary hunt for starfish, snails, and clams is soon transformed by an astonishing sight: a beached giant squid.
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Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet

Ford, Jamie

In Ford's stunning debut novel, he offers an on-the-ground look at the true tolls of Japanese families' deportation to concentration camps in the 1940s, at what each family lost and left behind, and what two families--Henry's and Keiko's--stood to gain by facing their painful past.

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Awards Family History Pacific Northwest Society & Culture WWII
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House of Hope and Fear, The

Young, Audrey

Opening with the view of an idealistic young doctor entering her first post-graduate job, The House of Hope and Fear explores not only the personal journey of one doctor's life and career but also the health care system as a whole. The setting is Seattle's Harborview Hospital.
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Last Town on Earth

Mullen, Thomas

Nestled in the quiet woods of the Pacific Northwest, the town of Commonwealth is a haven for the loggers who live there, until the flu starts striking down entire surrounding villages. When the residents of Commonwealth vote to quarantine themselves, armed guards are posted at the one road leading to town. But then a disheveled--and apparently sick--soldier approaches begging for food and shelter. Shots are fired, and soon Commonwealth is plunged into turmoil.

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Awards Pacific Northwest
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Let Him Go

Watson, Larry

The celebrated author of Montana 1948 returns to the American West in this riveting tale of familial love and its unexpected consequences. Dalton, North Dakota. It's September 1951: years since George and Margaret Blackledge lost their son James when he was thrown from a horse; months since his widow Lorna took off with their only grandson and married Donnie Weboy. Margaret is steadfast, resolved to find and retrieve her grandson Jimmy -- the one person in this world keeping James's memory alive -- while George, a retired sheriff, is none too eager to stir up trouble. Unable to sway his wife from her mission, George takes to the road with Margaret by his side, traveling through the Dakota badlands to Gladstone, Montana. When Margaret tries to convince Lorna to return home to North Dakota and bring little Jimmy with her, the Blackledges find themselves entangled with the entire Weboy clan, who are determined not to give up the boy without a fight. From the author who brought us Montana 1948 , Let Him Go is pitch-perfect, gutsy, and unwavering. Larry Watson is at his storytelling finest in this unforgettable return to the American West.

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Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven, The

Sherman, Alexie

A darkly comic short story collection paints a portrait of life on and around the Spokane Indian Reservation.
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Look of Love, The

Jio, Sarah

Born during a Christmas blizzard, Jane Williams receives a rare gift: the ability to see true love. Jane has emerged from an ailing childhood a lonely, hopeless romantic when, on her twenty-ninth birthday, a mysterious greeting card arrives, specifying that Jane must identify the six types of love before the full moon following her thirtieth birthday, or face grave consequences. When Jane falls for a science writer who doesn't believe in love, she fears that her fate is sealed. Inspired by the classic song, The Look of Love is utterly enchanting.

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Not so Grim Pacific Northwest Sci-fi/Fantasy
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Madonnas of Leningrad

Dean, Debra

Bit by bit, the ravages of age are eroding Marina's grip on the everyday. And while the elderly Russian woman cannot hold on to fresh memories -- the details of her grown children's lives, the approaching wedding of her grandchild -- her distant past is preserved: vivid images that rise unbidden of her youth in war-torn Leningrad. Seamlessly moving back and forth in time between the Soviet Union and the contemporary Pacific Northwest, The Madonnas of Leningrad is a searing portrait of war and remembrance, of the power of love, memory, and art to offer beauty, grace, and hope in the face of overwhelming despair.

Regional Author

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Family History Pacific Northwest Short (less than 250 pages) WWII
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Mink River

Doyle, Brian

Like Dylan Thomas'Under Milk Woodand Sherwood Anderson'sWinesburg, Ohio,Brian Doyle's stunning fiction debut brings a town to life through the jumbled lives and braided stories of its people.In a small fictional town on the Oregon coast there are love affairs and almost-love-affairs, mystery and hilarity, bears and tears, brawls and boats, a garrulous logger and a silent doctor, rain and pain, Irish immigrants and Salish stories, mud and laughter...It's the tale of a town, written in a distinct and lyrical voice, and readers will close the book more than a little sad to leave the village of Neawanaka, on the wet coast of Oregon, beneath the hills that used to boast the biggest trees in the history of the world.

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Morning Glory

Jio, Sarah

New York Times bestselling author Sarah Jio imagines life on Boat Street, a floating community on Seattle's Lake Union, home to people of artistic spirit who for decades protect the dark secret of one startling night in 1959 Fleeing an East Coast life marred by tragedy, Ada Santorini takes up residence on houseboat number seven on Boat Street. She discovers a trunk left behind by Penny Wentworth, a young newlywed who lived on the boat half a century earlier. Ada longs to know her predecessor's fate, but little suspects that Penny's mysterious past and her own clouded future are destined to converge.

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Crime Family History Pacific Northwest
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My Old Man and the Mountain

Whittaker, Leif

Growing up in a mountaineering family in Port Townsend, Leif explores his relationship to his legendary father, Jim Whittaker, the first American to summit Everest in 1963. Leif also describes his process of discovering his own path. Filled with descriptions of local places and peaks, this climbing story focuses on family and relationships. How do we define ourselves when a larger than life person is leading the way?

2017 Washington State Book Award finalist

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Bio & Memoir Family History Pacific Northwest Science & Nature
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Orchardist, The

Coplin, Amanda

At the turn of the 20th century in a rural stretch of the Pacific Northwest, a gentle solitary orchardist, Talmadge, tends to apples and apricots. Then two feral, pregnant girls and armed gunmen set Talmadge on an irrevocable course not only to save and protect but to reconcile the ghosts of his own troubled past.

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Family History Pacific Northwest Youth
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Plover, The

Doyle, Brian

Declan O Donnell has sailed out of Oregon and deep into the vast, wild ocean, having had just finally enough of other people and their problems. He will go it alone, he will be his own country, he will be beholden to and beloved of no one. No man is an island, my butt, he thinks. I am that very man . . . . But the galaxy soon presents him with a string of odd, entertaining, and dangerous passengers, who become companions of every sort and stripe. The Plover is the story of their adventures and misadventures in the immense blue country one of their company calls Pacifica. Hounded by a mysterious enemy, reluctantly acquiring one new resident after another, Declan O Donnell's lonely boat is eventually crammed with humor, argument, tension, and a resident herring gull.

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Pacific Northwest Science & Nature
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Reservation Blues

Alexie, Sherman

Legendary blues guitarist Robert Johnson appears on an Indian reservation to lead a Catholic rock band in this novel.

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Awards Pacific Northwest Underrepresented Authors
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Revised Fundamentals of Caregiving, The

Evison, Jonathan

After losing virtually everything meaningful in his life, Benjamin trains to be a caregiver, but his first client, a fiercely independent teen with muscular dystrophy, gives him more than he bargained for and soon the two embark on a road trip to visit the boy's ailing father.

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Awards Not so Grim Pacific Northwest Watch It

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Rough House: A Memoir

Tina Ontiveros

A story of growing up in turmoil, Rough House recounts a childhood divided between a charming, mercurial, abusive father in the forests of the Pacific Northwest, and a mother struggling with poverty in The Dalles. It is also a story of generational trauma, especially for the women - a story of violent men and societal restrictions, of children not always chosen, and frequently raised alone. Tracing her childhood through the working class towns and forests of Washington and Oregon, Ontiveros explores themes of love and loss, parents and children, and her own journey to a different kind of adulthood. Award winner: Pacific Northwest Bookseller Awards (2021)

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Bio & Memoir Pacific Northwest
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Smell of Other People's Houses, The

Hitchcock, Bonnie-Sue

Four lives intersect in this portrait of 1970's life in an Alaskan fishing town. Vividly told and an "exquisitely drawn, deeply heartfelt look at a time and place not often addressed. Hitchcock’s measured prose casts a gorgeous, almost otherworldly feel over the text, resulting in a quietly lovely look at the various sides of human nature and growing up in a difficult world" just one decade after statehood (Maggie Reagan, Booklist).

Morris Award Finalist
Carnegie Medal Shortlist
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Snow Child, The

Ivey, Eowyn

Alaska, 1920: a brutal place to homestead, and especially tough for recent arrivals Jack and Mabel. Childless, they are drifting apart--he breaking under the weight of the work of the farm; she crumbling from loneliness and despair. In a moment of levity during the season's first snowfall, they build a child out of snow. The next morning the snow child is gone--but they glimpse a young, blonde-haired girl running through the trees...

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Awards Family Pacific Northwest
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Snow Child, The

Ivey, Eowyn

A childless couple working a farm in the brutal landscape of 1920 Alaska discover a little girl living in the wilderness, with a red fox as a companion, and begin to love the strange, almost-supernatural child as their own.

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Songs of Willow Frost

Ford, Jamie

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER From Jamie Ford,nbsp;author of the beloved Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet, comes a much-anticipated second novel. Set against the backdrop of Depression-era Seattle, Songs of Willow Frost is a powerful tale of two souls--a boy with dreams for his future and a woman escaping her haunted past--both seeking love, hope, and forgiveness. nbsp; Twelve-year-old William Eng, a Chinese American boy, has lived at Seattle's Sacred Heart Orphanage ever since his mother's listless body was carried away from their small apartment five years ago. On his birthday--or rather, the day the nuns designate as his birthday--William and the other orphans are taken to the historical Moore Theatre, where William glimpses an actress on the silver screen who goes by the name of Willow Frost. Struck by her features, William is convinced that the movie star is his mother, Liu Song. nbsp; Determined to find Willow and prove that his mother is still alive, William escapes from Sacred Heart with his friend Charlotte. The pair navigate the streets of Seattle, where they must not only survive but confront the mysteries of William's past and his connection to the exotic film star. The story of Willow Frost, however, is far more complicated than the Hollywood fantasy William sees onscreen. nbsp; Shifting between the Great Depression and the 1920s, Songs of Willow Frost takes readers on an emotional journey of discovery. Jamie Ford's sweeping novel will resonate with anyone who has ever longed for the comforts of family and a place to call home.

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Tale for the Time Being, A

Ozeki, Ruth

A time being is someone who lives in time, and that means you, and me, and every one of us who is, or was, or ever will be." In Tokyo, sixteen-year-old Nao has decided there's only one escape from her aching loneliness and her classmates' bullying. But before she ends it all, Nao first plans to document the life of her great grandmother, a Buddhist nun who's lived more than a century. A diary is Nao's only solace--and will touch lives in ways she can scarcely imagine. Across the Pacific, we meet Ruth, a novelist living on a remote island who discovers a collection of artifacts washed ashore in a Hello Kitty lunchbox--possibly debris from the devastating 2011 tsunami. As the mystery of its contents unfolds, Ruth is pulled into the past, into Nao's drama and her unknown fate, and forward into her own future. Full of Ozeki's signature humor and deeply engaged with the relationship between writer and reader, past and present, fact and fiction, quantum physics, history, and myth, A Tale for the Time Being is a brilliantly inventive, beguiling story of our shared humanity and the search for home"-- Provided by publisher.
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This Is How It Always Is

Frankel, Laurie

"This is Claude. He's five years old, the youngest of five brothers. He also loves peanut butter sandwiches. He also loves wearing a dress, and dreams of being a princess.When he grows up, Claude says, he wants to be a girl. Rosie and Penn want Claude to be whoever Claude wants to be. They're just not sure they're ready to share that with the world. Soon the entire family is keeping Claude's secret. Until one day it explodes."-- Provided by publisher.

GoodReads Choice Award Nominee

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Coming of Age Family Pacific Northwest Social Justice Youth

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Tulalip, From My Heart: An Autobiographical Account of a Reservation Community

Dover, Harriette Shelton

In Tulalip, From My Heart , Harriette Shelton Dover describes her life on the Tulalip Reservation and recounts the myriad problems tribes faced after resettlement. Born in 1904, Dover grew up hearing the elders of her tribe tell of the hardships involved in moving from their villages to the reservation on Tulalip Bay: inadequate supplies of food and water, harsh economic conditions, and religious persecution outlawing potlatch houses and other ceremonial practices. Dover herself spent ten traumatic months every year in an Indian boarding school, an experience that developed her political consciousness and keen sense of justice. The first Indian woman to serve on the Tulalip board of directors, Dover describes her experiences in her own personal, often fierce style, revealing her tribe's powerful ties and enduring loyalty to land now occupied by others.
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Where'd You Go, Bernadette

Semple, Maria

When her notorious, hilarious, volatile, talented, troubled and agoraphobic mother goes missing, teenage Bee begins a trip that takes her to the ends of the earth to find her.

Alex Award

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Awards Family Not so Grim Pacific Northwest Watch It Youth
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While the City Slept: A Love Lost to Violence and A Young Man's Descent Into Madness

Sanders, Eli

"A Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter describes our failing mental-health system through the story of Isaiah Kalebu, who invaded the home of an engaged Seattle couple. In this riveting, probing, compassionate account of a murder in Seattle, Eli Sanders, who won a Pulitzer Prize for his newspaper coverage of the crime, offers a deeply reported portrait in microcosm of the state of mental health care in this country--as well as an inspiring story of love and forgiveness. It shows what can happen when a disturbed member of society repeatedly falls through the cracks, and in the tradition of The Other Wes Moore and The Short and Tragic Life of Robert Peace, is an indelible, human-level story, brilliantly told, with the potential to inspire social change"-- Provided by publisher.

Edgar Award Nominee for Best Fact Crime

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Crime Pacific Northwest Social Justice Society & Culture
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Whistling Season

Doig, Ivan

"Can't cook but doesn't bite." So begins the newspaper ad offering the services of an "A-1 housekeeper, sound morals, exceptional disposition" that draws the attention of widower Oliver Milliron in the fall of 1909. That unforgettable season deposits the ever-whistling Rose Llewellyn and her font-of-knowledge brother, Morris Morgan, in Marias Coulee along with a stampede of homesteaders drawn by the promise of the Big Ditch--a gargantuan irrigation project intended to make the Montana prairie bloom. When the schoolmarm runs off with an itinerant preacher, Morris is pressed into service, setting the stage for the "several kinds of education"--none of them of the textbook variety--Morris and Rose will bring to Oliver, his three sons, and the rambunctious students in the region's one-room schoolhouse. A paean to a way of life that has long since vanished, The Whistling Season is Ivan Doig at his evocative best.

ALA Notable Book
Alex Award
Booklist Editors' Choice

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White Cascade: The Great Northern Railway Disaster and America's Deadliest Avalanche

Krist, Gary

In February 1910, a monstrous blizzard centered on Washington State hit the Northwest, breaking records. Near the tiny town of Wellington, high in the Cascade Mountains, two trainloads of cold, hungry passengers and their crews found their railcars gradually being buried int eh rising drifts. For days, an army of railroad employees worked to rescue the trains. Panic and rage set in as snow accumulated on the cliffs overhanging the trains. Finally, just when escape seemed possible, the earth shifted and an avalanche tumbed from the high pinnacles. Donated by the East County Senior Center.

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History Pacific Northwest Science & Nature
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Wind Is Not A River, The

Payton, Brian

A gripping tale of survival and an epic love story in which a husband and wife - separated by the only battle of World War II to take place on American soil - fight to reunite in Alaska's starkly beautiful Aleutian Islands. While John is accompanying a crew on a bombing run, his plane is shot down. He survives only to find himself exposed to a harsh and unforgiving wilderness, known as "the Birthplace of Winds." There, John must battle the elements, starvation, and his own remorse while evading discovery by the Japanese. Alone in their home in Seattle, Helen struggles with the burden of her husband's disappearance. Forced to re-imagine who she is and what she is capable of, she plots to find John and bring him home; a quest that takes her into the farthest reaches of the war, beyond the safety of everything she knows. A powerful, richly atmospheric story of life and death, commitment and sacrifice, The Wind Is Not a River illuminates the fragility of life and the fierce power of love.

2016 Whidbey Reads Selection
LibraryReads Favorite

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Your Heart Is A Muscle the Size of A Fist

Yapa, Sunil

Grief-stricken after his mother's death and three years of wandering the world, Victor is longing for a family and a sense of purpose. He believes he's found both when he returns home to Seattle only to be swept up in a massive protest. With young, biracial Victor on one side of the barricades and his estranged father — the white chief of police — on the opposite, the day descends into chaos, capturing in its confusion the activists, police, bystanders, and citizens from all around the world who'd arrived that day brimming with hope. By the day's end, they have all committed acts they never thought possible.
As heartbreaking as it is pulse-pounding, Yapa's virtuosic debut asks profound questions about the power of empathy in our hyper-connected modern world, and the limits of compassion, all while exploring how far we must go for family, for justice, and for love. -From the publisher

Finalist for the PEN/Faulkner Award
An Amazon Best Book of the Year
Washington Post Notable Book

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