Seattle's Child

Your guide to a kid-friendly city

Emily’s Book Picks: ‘The Day You Begin,’ is perfect for back to school

Also, a fascinating account of a 1960s utopian community.

Book picks for kids (and adults):

When fellow parents ask how I find time to read with a toddler 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.

All KCLS libraries are now open for modified in-building services. Plan your next visit at

What I’m ReadingBetter to Have Gone by Akash Kapur 

In this fascinating blend of history and memoir, Kapur recounts the story of Auroville, a utopian community founded during the sociopolitical tumult of the 1960s. He focuses on the lives of John Walker and Diane Maes, a young couple who lived and then died in Auroville. Kapur has an intimate connection to Auroville: Walker and Maes were his wife’s parents. After growing up in the community and leaving as teenagers, Kapur and his wife returned in 2004 to raise their own family. A deeply compelling account of the tension between ideals and the complicated reality of human ego and desire.



Book picks for kids: What We’re Reading

The Day You Begin by Jacqueline Woodson and Rafael Lopez

This colorful, moving picture book is one of my favorite ways to start the school year. Angelina feels like she doesn’t fit in. Her classmates have traveled during the summer; she’s spent it at home caring for her younger sister. Other kids feel different because of their language, food or interests. Woodson’s poetic text illustrates how the kids’ shared experiences can connect them in unexpected ways, too. The book’s gentle reminder to celebrate both differences and similarities is a perfect message for young readers getting ready for a new year.


Find more book picks for kids from Emily Calkins here

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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.