You’re on a train

A train is a great setting for a novel because it inherently heightens the tension and conflict – the characters are all trapped together, with a limited number of chances (station stops) to leave. Enjoy this handful of books set on trains.

Bullet Train by Kōtarō Isaka
Five assassins board the Shinkansen train from Tokyo to Morioka: Nanao  needs to grab a suitcase and then get off; duo Tangerine and Lemon also need the suitcase, and to deliver the rescued son of a crime lord; the Prince is lying in wait for an assassin who wants him dead, and Kimura has come to kill the Prince for injuring his son. As the train hurtles forward, the assassins fill the tight corridors, each trying to take out the competition.

Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie
Traveling from Syria to Paris, the Orient Express is halted by a snowdrift on the tracks. The passengers discover that a wealthy American has been stabbed to death, in a train compartment locked from the inside. The killer must be on the train. Luckily, ace detective Hercule Poirot is also on board, and on the case. What list of train novels would be complete without this classic mystery?

Peaces by Helen Oyeyemi
Otto and Xavier Shin have been gifted a remarkable honeymoon gift by Xavier’s aunt: a trip onboard a former tea-smuggling train with an unknown destination. This is no ordinary train, but instead is seemingly curated just for them. Indeed, they appear to be alone on the train, until they meet a secretive woman with a surprising message.

Blood on the Tracks edited by Martin Edwards
Part of the British Library Crime Classics series, this anthology gathers together 15 classic mystery short stories set on trains.

Snowpiercer by Jacques Lob
Following an environmental catastrophe that has brought about a new ice age, humanity now survives on a 1,001 car train called the Snowpiercer in this graphic novel. It mimics the hierarchy of the world we lost, with the elite traveling in luxury at the front and things getting progressively more miserable toward the back. But impending mechanical failure; a virus; and human greed are about to throw everything into chaos.

~ posted by Andrea G.


Is Gratitude Still a Thing?

It has been a few years since we shared books for adults, and for children on the topic of gratitude. After all we’ve been through since then, together and apart, we wonder: is gratitude still a thing?

Now more than ever, as it turns out. A few short years ago, who could have imagined being thankful just to feel the air on one’s face after unmasking at the end of a long workday? Have we ever been so giddy over getting a shot in the arm? Were we aware then of how much it means simply to gather with family or friends, in the same room? And what about our enhanced gratitude for all those everyday heroes in the health and service sectors whose determination and grit have saved lives, and made them so much more bearable?

As Thanksgiving approaches, just in case you needed a reminder, here are some of our latest books about the power of valuing what we have, and counting our blessings.

How to Love the World: Poems of Gratitude and Hope, edited by James Crews. This gathering of inspiring verse from favorite poets and writers including Joy Harjo, Tracy K. Smith, Jane Hirschfield and Ted Kooser feels like a graduate class in appreciating life.

I Want to Thank You: How A Year of Gratitude Can Bring Joy and Meaning in A Disconnected World, by Gina Hamadey. The author turns the frequently rote obligation of the Thank You note into a conscious practice of gratitude capable of opening minds and hearts.

The Gratitude Project: How the Science of Thankfulness Can Rewire Our Brains for Resilience, Optimism, and the Greater Good, Jeremy Smith et. al, eds. Varied essays from positive psychologists and public figures attest to the benefits of thankfulness, and how to invite more of it into our lives.

Leading With Gratitude: Eight Leadership Practices for Extraordinary Business Results, by Adrian Gostick. Why positive reinforcement and thanks should not be meted out stingily in our workplaces, but become the common currency of our jobs.

Wake Up Grateful: The Transformative Practice of Taking Nothing for Granted, by Kristi Nelson. Grace and gratitude explored as a spiritual discipline, to radically transform our relationship to the world.

Happy Thanksgiving, and be sure to check out our previous posts on gratitude as well.

      ~ Posted by David W.

Montessori at Home

Growing up I remember hearing about Montessori from an educational stand point. Relooking at it now, as a parent, has become sort of a fascination: the idea of my child being guided by his own independence – gaining self esteem and confidence in his ability do things on his own, but always knowing we are there if he needs us. Here are two authors in our collection that have me exploring the Montessori path at home.

Tim Seldin is an author, educator and the President of The Montessori Foundation and Chair of The International Montessori Council. He has more than forty years of experience in Montessori education, which includes twenty-two years as the Headmaster of the Barrie School in Silver Spring, Maryland. The Barrie School is a progressive independent school that serves students with Montessori and Project-Based Learning curriculum.

How to Raise An Amazing Child the Montessori Way by Tim Seldin

Great introduction to applying Montessori educational principles to our day to day home life. He covers the beginnings of your child’s life to age six with clear and concise language and visuals.


Montessori for Every Family: a Practical Parenting Guide to Living, Loving, and Learning by Tim Seldin

Loved how this book was organized and covers so much – not just applying Montessori principles to younger ones, but building on the Montessori concepts as they age. Also, looking at the whole family as a part of this journey of living and learning.

Simone Davies is an AMI (Association Montessori Internationale) Montessori teacher with over fifteen years’ experience in education and owner of Jacaranda Tree Montessori in Amsterdam where she’s been running her own parent-child classes since 2008. She is currently working on The Montessori Child covering how to bring Montessori into the home for families with children from 3 to 12 years. There are also lots of free resources on her website!

The Montessori Baby: a Parent’s Guide to Nurturing Your Baby With Love, Respect, and Understanding by Simone Davies

With our kiddo knocking on the door of his first birthday, I didn’t know of Montessori concepts at home yet and that it could be applied to such an early age! This book is an excellent place to start when your little greets the world to get them on the Montessori path young.

The Montessori Toddler: a Parent’s Guide to Raising a Curious and Responsible Human Being by Simone Davies

One of those books that I had to purchase and have been using as a guide to reorganize our kid’s space. Really enjoyed the suggestions for a Montessori bedroom – having a few selected toys out at a time on shelves that are easily viewed, have a few books displayed with their covers showing, and the exciting (and slightly terrifying) idea of a floor bed!

My kiddo’s recommendation: The Wonderful Things You Will Be by Emily Winfield Martin.

~posted by Kara P. 

Ready, Set, Read! The 8 Great Books of the 2022 Global Reading Challenge

Stack of Global Reading Challenge 2022 books for fourth and fifth graders
The Global Reading Challenge 2022 books

All over Seattle, fourth and fifth graders are forming teams and starting to turn pages for the 2022 Global Reading Challenge, which launched earlier in November with the announcement of this year’s books. Now in its 27th year, the Global Reading Challenge is a reading incentive collaboration between the Library and Seattle Public Schools. Fourth and fifth graders of all reading abilities read the books together and team up for trivia competitions related to the books in 2022.

But let’s get to the books! The 2022 Global Reading Challenge lineup includes eight wonderful titles that represent a wide range of experiences and backgrounds. As Ms. Louisa explains in this year’s Global Reading Challenge video, they represent “all different kinds of books about all different kinds of kids all around the world.”

Below, find a bit about each book and why it was selected. We’ve included links to the books in our catalog, so you can easily check them out with your Library card, or with your Library Link account (which allows all Seattle Public Schools students to check out e-books and e-audiobooks with your student ID number). We have lots of digital copies of each book available.

Global Reading Challenge books will also be distributed at participating Seattle Public Schools, so check in with your school librarian or teacher. And many of the are also available at Library locations in the “uncatalogued” section – meaning you don’t need to officially check them out. Just take a copy home, and bring it back when you’re done!

The 2022 Global Reading Challenge books

Red Panda & Moon Bear, by Jarod RosellóRed Panda & Moon Bear, by Jarod Roselló

Red Panda and Moon Bear have hoodies that give them Superhero powers. They’ve sworn to defeat evil and protect their neighborhood, and this graphic novel is full of their hilarious and hair-raising adventures!

Why did we pick it? We loved the humor, the heart and the seamlessly bilingual dialogue. Author Jarod Roselló draws heavily from his own Cubano-American experience in his writing, and the story sings off the page.

Tip! You can instantly download this book in Hoopla in English or Spanish! You’ll just need your Library card or student ID number. Continue reading “Ready, Set, Read! The 8 Great Books of the 2022 Global Reading Challenge”

Books for the Young Hockey Fan

It seems everyone in Seattle has hockey fever right now – even the kids. Here’s everything you need to capture the interest of even the youngest hockey fans.

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Ice Clash, by Emma Carlson Berne. Their losses started when their new coach replaced 12-year-old Louise with his own son, refusing to accept that the team’s true star was a girl. Grades 4-6.

Breaking the Ice, by Nancy Bullaro. The inspiring true story of Manon Rhéaume who became the first woman to play in a major North American sports league when she hit the ice in 1992 for the Tampa Bay Lightning. Grades 2-3.

Glory on Ice: A Vampire Hockey Story, by Maureen Fergus. In this charming, offbeat picture book, 800-year-old Vlad finds a new lease on the afterlife when he puts on the pads and hits the ice at his local community center. Grades 1-2.

What is the Stanley Cup, by Gail Herman. This colorful history of the oldest sports trophy in the world contains all you need to know to full appreciate professional hockey’s own ‘superbowl.’ (Did you know the Seattle Metropolitans won the Stanley Cup in 1917?) Grades 4-6.

Lake Placid Miracle, by B.A. Hoena. At the height of the Cold War, a rag-tag U.S. team beat the mighty Soviet behemoth, and the crowd went wild! Here’s how it all happened. Grades 4-6. Continue reading “Books for the Young Hockey Fan”