Seattle's Child

Your guide to a kid-friendly city

book picks for kids

Emily’s Book Picks: ‘Night Owl,’ a sweet picture book with silly sounds

Also, a "Great Gatsby" retelling that really works!

Book picks for kids (and adults):

When fellow parents ask how I find time to read with a baby and a preschooler at home, I tell them I read what I love! Here’s a peek at what I’m enjoying and what my children and I are reading together, because finding books they love will help your kids read more too.

Check out digital copies of these titles and more at With modified in-building services being offered at many KCLS libraries now, physical copies can either be picked up inside or outside at contactless Curbside to Go locations or 24/7 lockers. And come June 30, KCLS will begin reopening all remaining library buildings, following Gov. Inslee’s plans to reopen Washington state. See the full schedule and find up-to-date information on what to expect during your visit at

What I’m Reading: “The Chosen and the Beautiful” by Nghi Vo

book recommendationsVo’s retelling of “The Great Gatsby” from tennis pro Jordan Baker’s point of view is lush, witty and astonishing. Jordan is a Vietnamese orphan adopted into the wealthy upper echelons of American society — and where there is money, there is magic. Vo’s confident, stylish prose echoes Fitzgerald’s without descending to mimicry. In this version, Jordan’s friend Daisy sets her up with Nick Carraway, the original story’s narrator, and Jordan finds herself in the middle of the complicated relationship between Nick, Gatsby and Daisy. You’ll want to savor every word of this gorgeous, surprising novel — I did.


What We’re Reading:

“Night Owl” by Toni Yuly

My younger child has just discovered the joy of making animal sounds. This sweet picture book from local author/illustrator Toni Yuly has been her bedtime story of choice for the last few weeks. In it, a brave little owl searches for his mommy by listening to the sounds of the evening. Is that tap, tap, tap his mommy? No, it’s a woodpecker! With bold, simple illustrations and the opportunity to make silly sounds with my little one, this is a book that I don’t mind reading over and over.


Find more book picks from Emily Calkins here

Much more news for book lovers in our Book Corner newsletter

Also: Library reading programs for summer 2021

About the Author

Emily Calkins

Emily Calkins is the readers' services program coordinator for the King County Library System, where she specializes in connecting readers with stories, authors and each other. She is also the co-host of the library’s podcast, The Desk Set. As a reader, she likes flawed characters, atmospheric world-building, and anything with a slow-burn romance. When she’s not reading or listening to audiobooks, she’s cooking, gardening and spending time with her family.