Little Chefs, Big Bonding Time

There is something special about cooking and sharing food. We do it for simple nourishment. We do it to show our love to our friends and family. Sharing a meal can be a great way to get to know people or to spend time with people you love. Do you know how great cooking is for literacy too?

I’m not joking! If you’re using a recipe, you have to read the recipe. You have to write a grocery list of the ingredients. You have to know the definitions of special cooking words and know the abbreviations of units of measurement. If you’re making less or more than what the recipe calls for, you have to do math (which will probably involve fractions)! That’s not even covering the motor skills it takes to chop and fold and knead.

You see where I’m going with this, right? Cooking is the *perfect* activity to do with your kids! Not only is it fun and you get to eat at the end, but you’re developing skills they need and making good memories they’ll cherish as adults.  Fall and winter holidays are upon us, which like most holidays are associated with food, so why not check out some cookbooks below and take this time to bond, teach, and make some memories.

Waffles + Mochi Get Cooking! Foreword by Michelle Obama, recipes by Yewande Komolafe
This started as a show on Netflix, and then they made this companion cookbook. The characters Waffle and Mochi have never eaten anything fresh, but they want to be chefs. They learn about different foods and chefs show them how to make recipes using them. One of the recipes in the book is Hoppin’ John (p. 62) which at its most basic is dish of rice and black eyed peas. People in the South eat it (along with some collard greens) for luck on New Year’s Eve. The recipes vary in time and how complicated they are, but I think they include some good recipes that aren’t found in every kids’ cookbook. Continue reading “Little Chefs, Big Bonding Time”

Let’s Read! The 8 Great Books of the 2023 Global Reading Challenge

Global Reading Challenge books 2023
The eight great books of Global Reading Challenge 2023

Hey fourth and fifth graders, are you ready to read, learn and win? The 2023 Global Reading Challenge launches today, with the unveiling of this year’s books.

Now in its 28th year, the Global Reading Challenge is a reading incentive program between the Library and Seattle Public Schools (SPS). Fourth and fifth graders enrolled in SPS of all reading abilities read the books together and team up for trivia competitions. The semi-finals and City Final competitions, which happen in March 2023, will be in person this year! Find out more at spl.org/GRC.

But let’s get to the books! This year’s Global Reading Challenge lineup includes eight wonderful titles that represent a wide range of experiences and backgrounds. As usual, we chose books where the author has a cultural connection to the story they are telling. You can learn about the books from our children’s librarians in this video, or read about them below.


We’ve included links to the books in our catalog, so you can easily put a hold on a copy with your Library card. You can also check out digital copies with your Library Link account. Global Reading Challenge books will also be distributed at participating Seattle Public Schools, so check with your school librarian. And three of the books are available in Spanish.

Find out more about the Global Reading Challenge at spl.org/GRC. Continue reading “Let’s Read! The 8 Great Books of the 2023 Global Reading Challenge”

10 Things to Do in November Through The Seattle Public Library

It’s almost November, a good time to rediscover the joys of the great indoors. Here is a sampler of interesting and useful things to do through The Seattle Public Library  as we sink deeper into fall and the daylight hours wane. All are free, of course, but some programs do require registration.

For much more, see our giant list of 50+ things to do through the Library, which we recently updated at www.spl.org/50things.

  1. Author Kwame Alexander celebrates the release of his new book at the Hugo House on Friday, Nov. 4.

    Get inspired at an author event. The first week of November brings amazing authors and creators to the Library. On Friday, Nov. 4, Oglala Lakota chef Sean Sherman, who has won several James Beard awards, will talk about the revolution of Indigenous foods at the Central Library. On that same night, Newbery Award-winning author Kwame Alexander will celebrate the release of his latest book, “The Door of No Return” at the Hugo House. And on Monday, Nov. 7, Pulizer Prize winning author and historian Ada Ferrer will give the annual Bullitt Lecture on American History about Cuba.

  1. See live music, watch a movie: The Central Library is once again hosting monthly movies and concerts. On Tuesday, Nov. 8, from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m., enjoy a free screening of two documentaries from the Tasveer South Asian Film Festival. And on Wednesday, Nov. 9, the Ladies Musical Club returns with a noontime concert featuring solo works for piano and cello.
  2. Browse the ZAPP zine collection. In conjunction with the Short Run Comix & Arts Festival this weekend, the Library is opening its ZAPP zine collection for the first time in three years this Saturday, Nov. 5, from 3 to 5 p.m. Located on Level 7 in the Central Library, ZAPP contains more 30,000 zines, minicomics, self-published and small press titles. Tip: Combine a visit to ZAPP with an event at 1 p.m. with local cartoonist Megan Kelso. (P.S.: Shout-out to The Seattle Public Library Foundation for supporting ZAPP.)

    ZAPP Zine collection
    ZAPP Zine collection
  3. Write on with #NaNoWriMo2022. Get support with your National Novel Writing Month goals with inspiring lectures from local writers on Seattle Writes – YouTube channel. Or join a Virtual Writes session with the Richard Hugo House, which happens on Nov. 9 and Nov. 15 this month. (Note you have to preregister with Hugo House to get the link to the class.)
  4. Role-playing gamesPlay a role-playing game: Learn Dungeons and Dragons, Pathfinder and Call of Cthulhu and other games by checking out one of the Library’s small collection of tabletop role-playing game books. Browse this BiblioCommons list to get started or go to the catalogue to search. Tip: You can print out character sheets with your 10 free weekly black and white pages at the Library.
  1. Get your ducks in a row: Need to get started on a will? Our “Ducks in a Row” series for older adults is a series of virtual events that shares the nuts and bolts of difficult end-of-life topics, including advanced care directives (Nov.2), funeral planning (Nov. 9), estate planning (Nov. 16) and more.
  2. Improve your personal credit: Our Library to Business program is offering a three-part series in November with all kinds of practical credit tips. Learn how to check your credit, clean up your credit, dispel common myths about credit, and more. Tierra Bonds, CEO of Take Charge Credit Consulting will facilitate free virtual workshops on 15, Nov. 22 and Nov. 29. Tip: The workshops will be live interpreted in Spanish.
  3. Brush up your resume. Want to start a job search in the new year? You can use Tutor.com’s services for adult learners to connect to their career center and get help with resume writing, practice interviews and more. Sign up for a Your Next Job appointment for one-on-one help with your resume, job applications and much more.

Continue reading “10 Things to Do in November Through The Seattle Public Library”

November Author Events: Chef Sean Sherman, Cartoonist Megan Kelso, Historian Ada Ferrer and More

Chef Sean Sherman, photo credit Nancy Bundt
Chef Sean Sherman, author of “The Sioux Chef’s Indigenous Kitchen,” photo credit by Nancy Bundt

From Oglala Lakota chef Sean Sherman to Newbery Award-winning children’s author Kwame Alexander, The Seattle Public Library’s November author events feature writers and thinkers who will light you up with stories, history and food for thought.

All Library events are free and open to everyone. Most events require registration beforehand, which you can find at the link. Questions? Go to www.spl.org/Ask. Find (many!) more events and programs at www.spl.org/Calendar.

The Sioux Chef's Indigenous Kitchen, by Oglala Lakota Chef Sean Sherman Chef Sean Sherman: “The Revolution of Indigenous Foods of North America.” From 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., Friday, Nov. 4. Central Library (Level 1 Microsoft Auditorium) and online. Oglala Lakota Chef Sean Sherman, author of “The Sioux Chef’s Indigenous Kitchen,” will share his journey of discovering, reviving and reimagining Native cuisine. Born in Pine Ridge, South Dakota, Sherman’s main culinary focus has been on the revitalization and awareness of indigenous foods systems in a modern culinary context, opening The Sioux Chef in 2014. This is the second event in the fall public engagement series guest-curated by Seattle poet Shin Yu Pai. Continue reading “November Author Events: Chef Sean Sherman, Cartoonist Megan Kelso, Historian Ada Ferrer and More”

11 New or Unexpected Things to Do at The Seattle Public Library This Fall

Library card

Did you know that September is Library Card Sign-Up Month? It’s a good reminder not just to get or renew your Library card (available in minutes at www.spl.org/Card), but also to brush up on all that a Library card enables you to do.

With that in mind, we put together this sampling of interesting and useful things to do through The Seattle Public Library this fall, many of which don’t even require a card. For much, much, much more, see our giant list of 50+ things to do through the Library, which we’ve just updated at www.spl.org/50things.

  1. Revisit the iconic Central Library. Now that the Central Library’s  public spaces
    Don’t miss a visit to the Central Library’s iconic Red Floor (Level 4) reopened to the public in July 2022.

    are reopened,  it’s a great time to visit: Walk the innovative nonfiction Book Spiral from Levels 6-9, visit the Reading Room on Level 10 and gawk at the views (the Spiral and Reading Room are open Tuesday-Thursday during open hours), find the hidden murals, book a music practice room on Level 9 (Library card needed), and browse with your kids in the light-filled Children’s Center. And don’t forget the Red Floor. on Level 4. Check out this self-guided tour to get started.

2. Get free Homework Help from a trained tutor. After a 2.5-year pandemic pause, the Library’s free, drop-in afterschool tutoring program (www.spl.org/HomeworkHelp) has restarted at six branches: The Columbia, Douglass-Truth, High Point, Lake City, NewHolly and Rainier Beach branches. It’s available for all students in grades K-12, and you don’t need a reservation or a Library card to participate. Check each branch’s schedule on the Homework Help page. (Tip: Virtual tutoring is also available daily at www.spl.org/VirtualTutoring.)

Scan EZ machine for faxing and scanning
A ScanEZ machine for faxing and scanning in the Central Library’s Mixing Chamber

3. Scan and fax for free. The Library offers free high-speed scanning and faxing through ScanEZ kiosks at 16 Library locations (described by one Library staffmember as “Best. Machine. Ever”). You can also print up to 10 black-and-white pages and 3 color pages per week for free (all Library locations have printers).

4. Learn to paint, draw and dance  from your home. The Library partners with Silver Kite to offer virtual arts classes in everything from beginning drawing to essay writing. Explore at www.spl.org/calendar. These classes are geared towards people who are 50 and over, but all are welcome.

The Read-Along collection at the Central Library’s Children’s Center

5. Borrow a picture book that does the reading for you. Here’s a gift for tired parents. You can now borrow from the Library’s new collection of “Read-Along” picture books, which come with an attached (and very compact) MP3 player on the inside front cover that reads the book aloud to your child in a way that allows them to follow along. The Read-Along collection includes 50 titles and 500 copies; look for them in any branch’s children’s section, or ask a staff member.

Jekeva Phillips
Jekeva Phillips brings the page to the stage with Bibliophilia! every night from Sept. 27 to 30.

6. Get inspired by a performance or author reading. The Library has relaunched in-person author events, with many terrific events planned for fall 2022, including Biliophilia! literary / improv festival this week, and three events with Seattle Reads author Jose Luis Urrea from Oct. 19-20. Many events are also now livestreamed to make them more accessible. Find details and how to register at www.spl.org/calendar. Continue reading “11 New or Unexpected Things to Do at The Seattle Public Library This Fall”