Intiman’s Dragon Lady and Philippine Migration

The migration of a family from the Philippines to America has been explored in colorful form by Sara Porkalob in Dragon Lady, a one woman show at the Intiman Theater, closing October 1st. She revisits the arc of Philippine culture and assimilation from her grandmother’s time to her own, as she portrays three generations of her family members. Along the way she dramatizes the themes of stereotyping, resiliency, sexual exploitation, gangster feuds, teen pregnancy, and single parenting, through the lives and eyes of Filipinos on the islands, and as immigrants of color in America. (Check out this brief interview with the title character of Sara Porkalob’s Dragon Lady. Porkalob will also be reading from a banned book at the Library’s panel on Intellectual Freedom and Libraries this coming October 4 at 7 p.m.). Continue reading

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Ethnic Studies: Banned

This past August, a federal judge lifted a ban on a Mexican-American ethnic studies program at the Tucson Unified School District. The decision came after a group of students sued, arguing the ban was overly broad, discriminatory, and violated their free speech. Although the ban and ruling that followed only affected Arizona, the case had implications for students throughout the country.

Would other school administrators and state legislatures be able to ban books that “advocate[d] ethnic solidarity instead of the treatment of pupils as individuals?” This was a prominent point of contention, despite conclusive evidence showing the educational benefits of such courses that draw on the lived experiences of students.

Banned Books Week is happening now, Sept. 24-30 2017, so we’d like to take this opportunity to highlight 10 books that were temporarily banned under this ruling, and that speak to the experiences and complex history of Latinx in the US. For young students, the most powerful narratives can be those that allow them to closely relate to the characters and their struggles. Characters and narratives can stimulate and facilitate learning by offering a vocabulary to  contextualize concepts that will serve students in class and in life, like critical thinking. Accessible narratives also offer Latinx and other historically underrepresented youth a place to find solidarity during a period of development that can be tough for even the omnipresent youth.

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That familiar chill in the air, those reddish tints starting to appear in the leaves, that playful note of pumpkin spice latte asserting itself amidst the less seasonal scents of marijuana and Axe body spray on city streets: it can only mean one thing. Another Booktoberfest has arrived! Each October, dazed and confused from the flurry of Summer reading, librarians emerge blinking into the autumnal light, and head for the bar. We hope you’ll join us in pubs and bars all across the city, to share books and stories, songs and games. Come out and play! Here’s a quick rundown of what’s in store this year: Continue reading

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Library Reads top 10 picks for October 2017

Each month librarians across the U.S. nominate and vote for their favorite new books. It’s a great way to get ideas for what to look forward to and what to put on hold. That’s definitely what I do; but I also go back through the older Library Reads lists to find books that were Top 10 picks that are more likely to be available for check out now.

And here are some books to place on hold for your October reading:

Seven Days of Us by Francesca Hornak: The Birch family will be spending the Christmas holiday in quarantine, thanks to eldest daughter Olivia’s recent relief work in a disease-infested Liberia. She has returned to England but must be in quarantine for seven days. This family has not ever spent that much time in each other’s company. Each person has secrets that are slowly revealed over the course of the seven days. It is particularly interesting to watch them become the family that they should have been all along: supportive and loving. An enjoyable read.  ~ Cheryl Braud, Iberia Public Library, New Iberia, LA Continue reading

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Are You Smarter Than A Librarian? Find Out!

Question: In 1969, Washington’s Skamania County passed a law making it a felony subject to a penalty of up to five years in jail and/or a $5,000 fine, to shoot what? (Hints & answer follow.)

Katchoo from Terry Moore’s Strangers in Paradise captures what many librarians have probably felt after a long day of answering questions.

Who can resist a good trivia question like that? October has rolled around, and with it Booktoberfest, our annual festival of events in bars that includes happy hours, spooky story times, karaoke, and other fun gatherings. It all starts on October 2 with the first of three trivia nights, to be held at Union Bar in Hillman City; (here’s the Facebook event: invite some friends!) We’ll also be hosting a pair of events on Tuesday, October 10: one event at Floating Bridge Brewing in the University District (Facebook event), and another with the same questions starting 30 mintues later at Naked City Brewery and Taphouse in Greenwood (Facebook event). You see, last year’s events were so popular, we wanted to make sure everyone could get in. Even as I write this, and in a curious reversal of our usual routine of answering your questions 24/7, our crack team of librarians is wracking their brains to come up with questions to puzzle and delight. In honor of this turning of the tables, we call these events Librarians’ Revenge! Continue reading

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Comics are a Medium, Not a Genre

I hear it on occasion at the library, parents telling their children, comics in hand, “you need to choose a real book,” or, “I don’t want you only getting superhero stories.”  After the infamous campaign against reading comics in the middle of the 1950s by psychiatrist Fredric Wertham and the resulting self-censorship by the Comics Code Authority, the previously diverse storytelling platform of comics became dominated by the superhero stories of publishers DC and Marvel, and were considered by most an immature pastime. Continue reading

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Seattle Rep’s PRIDE AND PREJUDICE: Beyond the Theatre

Seattle Repertory Theatre presents Jane Austen’s PRIDE AND PREJUDICE adapted by Kate Hamill from September 29 to October 29, 2017. Librarians at Seattle Public Library created this list of books, CDs and films to enhance your experience of the show: Seattle Rep’s PRIDE & PREJUDICE: Beyond the Theatre.

Seattle Rep presents Austen’s beloved classic this month, adapted by Kate Hamill. As per Seattle Rep,  “Kate Hamill imbues new life to this classic love story with a decidedly progressive take on the trials and travails of Elizabeth Bennet, Mr. Darcy, and, of course the delightful Bennet clan. But not to worry, empire waists and lavish Regency-era attire still abound in this familiar yet surprisingly modern premier adaptation.”

In anticipation of this sure-to-charming debut, we here at The Seattle Public Library have compiled a few reading suggestions for all the Austen fans out there:

Eligible by Curtis Sittenfeld
From the best-selling author of Prep comes a modern retelling of a classic. Liz may be a magazine writer and Darcy a neurosurgeon, but Sittenfeld still captures Austen’s humor and social criticism. Continue reading

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