Seattle's Child

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KCLS summer reading

Library summer reading programs ready for 2023

Give kids an incentive to keep reading in June, July and August!

According to officials at King County Library System (KCLS) and Seattle Public Library (SPL), children and teens grow their reading skills when they: choose their own books and read for enjoyment. That’s why each year the county’s two largest library systems host  their own versions of a Summer Reading Program.

Both programs encourage kids to pick their own books, enjoy them at their own pace and, for added encouragement, win prizes for their reading efforts. You can help kids get in the habit of reading wherever they are by including books in backpacks when they go outside and creating a comfortable reading space inside.

Seattle Public Library Summer of Learning launching June 8

SPL’s Summer of Learning program kicks off for the 104th year on June 8. As in previous years, it will include a guide which can be collected at any of the library’s 27 locations (or downloaded at The guide is filled with fun, activities, reading lists and more and will be available multiple languages. Participants will also get an activity board game and the chance to be locally “famous” on their neighborhood library branch Wall of Superheroes. The theme this year will be time travel.

For more details, including how to become a star on SPL’s Wall of Superheroes and how to join in on the Summer of Learning party in late August , log onto on June 8 and use the search box to find “Summer of Learning.”

King County Library System Summer of Reading launched June 1

The KCLS  reading program has already started and runs through August 31. What’s the program goal? For everyone in the family to read 20 minutes per day (or set your own reading goal). Listening to audiobooks and listening to a parent or another person read counts, and children ages birth to 5 can take part by completing 50 early learning activities with an adult.

During the challenge, readers can track their summer reading. There are three different ways to do it:

There is a halfway and a finisher prize for Summer Reading.

KLSC half-way and Finisher Prizes

After marking 25 shapes on the reading or activity log, young readers will receive a King County Library System Reader patch. There are two patch designs for you to choose from. And, the child’s is posted on the library’s Community Board with parent permission.

After marking 50 shapes on the reading or activity log, readers will receive a journal that celebrates you as a King County Library System Reader. Then a sticker is added to the child’s name on the library’s Community Board. Prizes are given while supplies last and available starting July 1.

While the summer reading program is for kids, parents can always join in the fun.  Pick your own books and designate a family reading time.

Kids looking for book ideas?

The librarians at Seattle Public Library post their favorites of the year online with a link to place holds on books. Among the 27 titles on SPL’s 2022 best of kids chapter books, graphic novels are:

KCLS also put out its 2022 “best books” earlier this year. Below are library staff favorites from across the county.

KCLS summer readingThe 1619 Project: Born on the Waterby Nikole Hannah-Jones and Renée Watson, illustrated by Nikkolas Smith

Staff: Marriam, public services assistant

I love this poetic picture book because it brings the past to life in fresh ways. Written by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Nikole Hannah-Jones and Newbery Honor-winning author Renée Watson, “The 1619 Project” portrays the consequences of slavery and the history of Black resistance in the United States. It teaches the importance of knowing and understanding where you come from; history is powerful. Ages 6 and older.

“The Red Palace”by June Hur

Staff: Brenna, teen materials selector

“The Red Palace” is a fascinating piece of historical fiction set in 1758 Korea. A ghastly night of murders throws the capital city into chaos and suspicion falls on the Crown Prince. Readers follow an unlikely pair — an intrepid nurse and an amateur inspector — as they embark on a dangerous journey to discover the truth. June Hur’s latest book packs murder, mystery, historical court intrigue and romance into one gripping read. Ages 13 and older.

“Breathe and Count Back from Ten”by Natalia Sylvester

Staff: Genesis, public services assistant

Verónica is a first-generation Peruvian American teen diagnosed with hip dysplasia. She loves swimming — both for her physical and mental health — and she dreams of becoming a professional mermaid at a popular Floridian attraction. But her strict immigrant parents do not approve. Author Natalia Sylvester expertly addresses bodily autonomy, societal expectations and family dynamics as Verónica takes control of her body and her future. Age recommendation 8 and older.

“Isla to Island”by Alexis Castellanos

Staff: Anne, assistant operations mkanager

“Isla to Island” is a spectacular debut by local graphic designer Alexis Castellanos. Fearing for her safety during Castro’s regime in 1960s Cuba, Marisol’s parents send her to Brooklyn, New York. In lieu of text, Castellanos’ rich and symbolic illustrations guide readers through Marisol’s journey as she attempts to redefine her notion of family and home. I particularly enjoyed the clever use of red to help depict Marisol’s happiness throughout the graphic novel. Age 10 and older

Want to be a model to your kids?

The KCLS best of list includes some of the librarians favorite books for adults as well. They include:

Choose an hour each day that you all dedicate to reading alone — each member of the family with their own book. Then wrap in weekly dates for reading together or listening to audio books. Track your progress through your local library’s program.

More great book ideas at Seattle’s Child:

Summer reading: Picks from local booksellers and reviewers

Monthly book picks from KCLS youth and family services manager Rekha Kuver

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