Seattle's Child

Your guide to a kid-friendly city

Book picks: A joyful love letter to Langston Hughes

Also, the autobiography of the Central Park birder.

Book picks for kids (and adults):

Looking for some reading inspiration? Here’s a peek at what KCLS staff and the young readers in their lives are digging into this month!

All KCLS libraries are open. Plan your next visit at

For adults:

Better Living Through Birding: Notes from a Black Man in the Natural World,” by Christian Cooper

We might recognize Christian Cooper’s name from the viral video that captured his racially charged interaction with a dog walker in May 2020. His autobiography goes beyond the incident in Central Park to present a fuller picture of his life, passions and dedication to birding. Science and comics writer and editor, and host and consulting producer of National Geographic’s “Extraordinary Birder,” Cooper talks about becoming one of the first openly gay writers and editors at Marvel comics, proudly claiming his Blerd (Black Nerd) status. “Better Living Through Birding” is an engaging look into a life filled with exuberance, activism and self-acceptance, and the joyful hobby that has taken Cooper across the globe.


For kids:

There Was a Party for Langston,” by Jason Reynolds

Put on your dancing shoes and join the party! Readers thump and bump through poet Langston Hughes’ life, from his childhood to the 1991 auditorium dedication in his honor. Percussive text and graphic word art become people and buildings filled with sheer joy, and the hoopla peaks when Maya Angelou and Amiri Baraka dance the boogie amid a visual who’s who of the Harlem Renaissance. Written by Jason Reynolds and illustrated by the Pumphrey brothers, this work is a love letter to the poet who inspired them and so many others. And it recently earned a 2024 Caldecott Honor and a Coretta Scott King Honor Book Award for its illustrations at the ALA Youth Media Awards. Children will eagerly point out letters and words while adults revel in word-making and Black culture in this celebratory read!



Jenna Zarzycki is an adult services librarian at KCLS who works in south King County. She adores talking about books to anyone who will listen and regularly contributes to KCLS’ BookMatch and booklist services. Jenna likes fantasy, romance and narrative nonfiction best, although any book has the possibility to become a new favorite. KCLS Children’s Librarian Robin Howe serves her Kent Library community with tuneful Story Times and creative programs. She enjoys connecting young patrons to KCLS’ rich resources, and when she’s not reading aloud or jumping up and down to Sleeping Bunnies, she’s probably knitting, traveling or making soup


More book picks for kids (and other book news):

Kids’ book picks for Black History Month

‘Beowulf’ reimagined — as a graphic novel for kids

Young readers’ historical fiction at its best

KCLS Best Books of 2023


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About the Author

Jenna Zarzycki and Robin Howe