Author Vicki Conrad Shares Favorite Picture Book Biographies

We asked the author of Just Like Beverly, a new picture book biography of Beverly Cleary, to share her favorite biographies for children in this Nightstand Reads post. Here are five picks from Vicki Conrad:

As a child, the Ramona Series was dear to my heart. I truly felt so much like her. My two favorite books are Ramona and her Mother, and Ramona and her Father. I also loved The Mouse and the Motorcycle.

My 5 Favorite Biographies, right now:

Spring After Spring: How Rachel Carson Inspired the Environmental Movement by Stephanie Roth Sisson
This book is packed with scientific information, but with lovely poetic language. It is a quiet gem.

Poet: The Remarkable Story of George Moses Horton by Don Tate
I have loved this story for years. I read it when I was a classroom teacher, my students always wanted to know more about his life.

The Flying Girl: How Aida de Acosta Learned to Soar by Margarita Engle
We can never grow tired of the women who were brave enough to break through barriers. Rhyme, colorful illustrations, and an unusual topic make this worth the read.

Secret Engineer: How Emily Roebling Built the Brooklyn Bridge by Rachel Dougherty
Part lesson in engineering and architecture, part story of a woman blazing a new trail. Emily Roebling basic took over construction of the Brooklyn Bridge, by studying engineering all by herself. This books shows children and adults we are all responsible for our own learning, and you can figure hard things out with persistence.

When Marian Sang: the True Recital of Marian Anderson, the Voice of a Century by Pam Munoz Ryan
This book literally sings with a lyrical lilt and poetic language. It is masterfully written so you can almost hear her singing voice as you read. It is an older book, but she is a woman worth knowing about and the writing is brilliant.

Vicki Conrad is a Seattle author and also a teacher with a passion for literacy development and inspiring students to love reading just as much as she did as a child. As a young girl, Beverly Cleary struggled to learn to read and found most children’s books dull and uninteresting. She often wondered if there were any books about kids just like her. With hard work, and the encouragement of her parents and a special teacher, she learned to read and at a young age discovered she had a knack for writing. Just Like Beverly, illustrated by David Hohn and published by Little Bigfoot (Sasquatch Books) follows this beloved author’s journey. Meet Vicki and hear more about Just Like Beverly at the University Book Store on Sunday, Sept. 15, at 1 p.m.

Ale Yeah!

My dad’s favorite beer was Schmidt – during football games or working in the garage, that was his go-to drink of choice. Occasionally he might add some tomato juice, but more often than not it was just that simple can with a fish on the label. Camping in my twenties I often grabbed a pack of Rolling Rock or Corona, but I don’t think I started to appreciate beer until I met my husband. Born in Michigan, he was exposed to more floral notes of the hop rather than bitter. I didn’t like IPAs at all until he had me try Bell’s Two Hearted…a smile came to my face when I saw it too had a fish on the label. Not sure dad would have cared for it, but it taught me to discover I had a palate. Now drinking beer is all about trying and discovering. My local favorites are Dystopian’s Coconut Cream Ale and Georgetown’s Gusto Crema. Outside of state lines I’ve fallen for Founder’s Green Zebra as my go to gose; for a stout, Perennial nails it with their Abraxas; for a shandy, Short’s does it for me with their Soft Parade, and Riverbend kills it with their Milkshake IPAs…Hawaiian Crunch is calling my name right now! And now I know no matter where I go, I’ll find something I enjoy.

For those that can’t hit the road right now for a beer tour here are a few books to get some studying in before your beer imbibing adventure begins!

Tasting Cider: The Cidercraft Guide to Distinctive Flavors of North American Hard Cider by Erin James

Ciders were always sweet delights – hot ciders during high school football games or apple cider donuts at the pumpkin patch. Most hard ciders I had were filled with so much sugar I was guaranteed an instant headache in the morning. As more and more hard ciders started being produced, it was more the dry or English style that I enjoyed most. Finn River out of Chimicum is now my go-to with that bit of funk and twang that keeps me wanting more without my gut taking a punch. Cider has a long history and is incredibly diverse – this guide will walk you along the many flavors and ways of imbibing.

Complete IPA: The Guide to your Favorite Craft Beer by Joshua M. Bernstein

In the Pacific Northwest we love our hops…like really, really, really love our hops. We love them so much that our IPAs will often taste like someone is hitting me with a pillow filled with them. My face distorts and I forget where I am. But I think that is starting to change with more and more experimentation. I love hops, I do, but it’s their floral notes that really pull me in. Sweet and smooth is the kind of IPA I can cuddle up with. This guide will show you some of the places making some interesting changes in the IPA realm.

Craft Beer Country: In Search of the Best Breweries From the South Pacific to the Pacific Coast by Kirk Richardson

Some great breweries in the craft beer game have found their way into this guide of the Pacific Coast – I see you Georgetown! While there are tons more to discover and explore, this guide will get you started and have you trying beers you might not have tried before, although I will always encourage folks to find those back roads! Some of the best breweries I’ve found have been road trips with friends like Fort George Brewing in Astoria and Bron Yr Aur in Naches.

My Beer Year: Adventures With Hop Farmers, Craft Brewers, Chefs, Beer Sommeliers, & Fanatical Drinkers as A Beer Master in Training by Lucy Burningham

Follow Lucy’s path as she gets her beer education on! Like the sommeliers of the wine world, Lucy dived into that beer knowledge so deep in order to become a certified cicerone (sis-uh-rohn). I’m also a sucker for a good memoir, so beer plus story has me taking some pretty big sips. Hello, beer goddess, tell me all the things!

Want the beer to come to you? Just check out the many beer festivals Washington has to offer! And take a look at our Booktoberfest events!

~posted by Kara P.

Three Views of Seattle

Seeing your city through different eyes can be revelatory, bringing to the fore details you may not have noticed. Whether you’ve lived here your whole life, just moved in, or are somewhere in between, pick up one of these books for a new lens on Seattle.

Seattle Walk Report
Exploring 23 Seattle neighborhoods, Seattle Walk Report uses charming comic book-style illustrations to highlight landmarks, history, and the quirky people, places and things she’s seen on her walks since 2017. How many people did she see jaywalking in Ballard? What did she observe in the span of five minutes on the corner of 8th Ave S. and S. King St.? Who is Ernestine Anderson? What are the top three poses you can strike in front of the Gum Wall? Read this book and you’ll know.
— The artist behind Seattle Walk Report will be in conversation with Paul Constant (co-founder of Seattle Review of Books) at the Central Library Tuesday, Aug. 13 at 7pm. Continue reading “Three Views of Seattle”

Books for Two or More

There’s no need to go to the trouble of getting a large group together for a book group each month (unless you want to). I have a book group for two, sometimes more, and it’s going just fine. We get together once every two months to discuss our read.

My book group’s previous selection was French Exit: A Tragedy of Manners by Patrick deWitt:

Cover image of French Exit“Frances Price – tart widow, possessive mother, and Upper East Side force of nature – is in dire straits, beset by scandal and impending bankruptcy. Her adult son Malcolm is no help, mired in a permanent state of arrested development. And then there’s the Price’s aging cat, Small Frank, who Frances believes houses the spirit of her late husband, an infamously immoral litigator and world-class cad whose gruesome tabloid death rendered Frances and Malcolm social outcasts. Putting penury and pariahdom behind them, the family decides to cut their losses and head for the exit. One ocean voyage later, the curious trio land in their beloved Paris, the City of Light serving as a backdrop not for love or romance, but self destruction and economical ruin – to riotous effect.” (publisher description)

Continue reading “Books for Two or More”

New and Notable Northwest Nonfiction – 2019 edition

Are you new to the Northwest, or a lifelong resident looking for some historical perspective? 2019 is shaping up to be an exciting year for publishing about our region, so let the reading begin!

The University of Washington Press is releasing a number of regionally relevant titles. Explore local fashion with Seattle Style by Clara Berg, which features garments and accessories from the collection at the Museum of History and Industry (MOHAI). In Transit, Jim Kershner looks back at 125+ years of trolleys, trains and buses that have served the region. Sculpture on a Grand Scale by Tyler Sprague explores the work of Jack Christiansen, whose design of the Kingdome combined thin shell concrete with a modern aesthetic. Continue reading “New and Notable Northwest Nonfiction – 2019 edition”