Travel to Other Places with Books

Rainy Northwest days prompt many of us to console ourselves with dreams of travel beyond the gray, wet landscape around us. If you enjoy losing yourself in the adventures of other intrepid souls, here are some recent book suggestions:

Midnight in SiberiaMidnight in Siberia: A Train Journey into the Heart of Russia by NPR host David Greene puts you into the snowscape of Siberia during his 6,000 mile train ride across Russia. Having already experienced Russia several years while based in Moscow, Greene took this opportunity to ponder questions about the Russian state and the lives and outlooks of its people.

In search of perfect loafIn Search of the Perfect Loaf: A Home Baker’s Odyssey by Samuel Fromartz traces the author’s journey in search of a perfect baguette from Paris (of course!) to California’s artisanal bakers and to the Midwest (to learn about wheat). This is a fun and informative book about food, food history and, of course, bread.

Never Mind BullocksNever Mind the Bullocks by British author Vanessa Able is a hilarious account of her trip around India in “the world’s cheapest car,” also referred to as a stripped down mini-car. Imagine a tiny car on poor unimproved roads often teeming with traffic—both human and animal. Better to read about than to actually try it!

Walking the woodsWalking the Woods and The Water by Nick Hunt retraces the travels of the great British writer Patrick Leigh Fermor. Fermor made his trek from Holland to Istanbul in 1933 and Hunt set out to retrace it in 2011. While travel lends itself to philosophical pondering of all kinds, reproducing Fermor’s classic walk also allowed Hunt to note all the social and political changes that have altered these European countries he walked through. Using Fermor’s book as his only guide, Hunt hoped to have an old-fashioned adventure which he surely did. Now we can all enjoy reading about it. By the way, the library also has Patrick Leigh Fermor’s travel books.

Click here for more travel books.

Presence as Presents

It seems like everywhere I go the first weeks of December, people are rushing and bustling around to get regular errands done, wrap up all those gifts, get ready for the school holiday concert, and still get home in time to bake cookies before midnight rolls around.

If you are looking for a calmer way to celebrate and share some holiday spirit with others, what better way than enjoying your local theater? Support local arts, see community members you may know personally, and offer your family a fantastic shared experience!

There are several holiday shows playing around the county on weekends through December 21st:

CSTOCK‘s A Christmas Carol in Central Kitsap is sure to be a good time for the whole family.

Port Orchard’s Little Playhouse on the Waterfront is offering another family classic: A Charlie Brown Christmas.

Ovation Musical Theater is performing Peter Pan at Bainbridge High School.

At the library, we’re hosting The Bushwick Book Club Presents A Christmas Carol,  a one-of-a-kind musical interpretation of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol that I myself can’t wait to see! You can catch this show for free on Saturday, December 20th at the Manchester branch at 10:30, or at the Downtown Bremerton branch at 2 p.m.

We wish all of you an enjoyable, peaceful,  and festive holiday season from Kitsap Regional Library!

KRL Connects With One Family on an Incredible Adventure

It is always fun to live vicariously through our library users.  I’d like to share with you one family’s story of how Kitsap Regional Library has kept them connected to home and their Bainbridge community as they travel across Europe in what sounds like the most incredible adventure.  Their goal is to live ‘deliberately’ with the world as their classroom and to share their stories in their blog, Livology: The Study of Living Deliberately.

Please enjoy Colleen Mariotti’s recent post, How Smart is your Public Library?  In it she states, “As we prepared to leave our life on our beautiful island over a year ago, I knew I would miss our library. What I didn’t know is that it would continue to comfort us and connect us in remote corners of Europe.”

We at Kitsap Regional Library want to thank the Mariotti’s for their kind words.  They inspire us to continue to bring the best possible customer service to all of you no matter where you are in the world.  Safe travels to the Mariotti’s and to all our library users.

Borrow eBooks – From KRL’s Online Catalog!

If you’ve checked out any ebooks or eaudiobooks from the library, or have any on hold, the next time you look at your account you may notice a overdrive-app resizedblue and white icon with the letter ‘O’ next to those titles. That’s an ‘O’ for ‘OverDrive,’ the library’s main ebook and eaudiobook distributor.

OverDrive ebooks and eaudiobooks are now available to checkout and place holds on from our ‘regular’ catalog.  That’s right! You can check out OverDrive items, place holds on OverDrive items right from the KRL catalog, see them in your account and receive courtesy pre-due email notices 3 days before they are to expire.

Why are we so excited about this?

If you’re anxious to read that book your librarian just suggested, you only need to go to one place to see if it’s available in print, CD, ebook, or eaudio formats. Is the ebook available?  Just click ‘Check Out,’ choose a format and it’s yours!

ivan doig p

After check out, click the link ‘Log into OverDrive account to download’.  You’ll be taken to the OverDrive catalog where you can sign into your account and download.

Have questions?  Please ask us!

Several branches offer classes where we introduce KRL’s downloadable collection, provide hands-on instruction and review tips and tricks for using the OverDrive collection.

The integration of downloadables to KRL’s ‘regular’ catalog applies only to OverDrive ebooks and audiobooks.  Digital Zinio magazines, OneClickdigital audiobooks, and Freegal music selections are not visible in the catalog. To see those items, click on Download from our home page and choose the appropriate link.

Why is coding so important for children to learn?

All of this week will hold its yearly hour of code event. To date, almost 50 million youth around the world have participated in this event, learning the basics of computer programming and logical thinking. Using familiar characters such as Elsa (from Frozen) and the Angry Birds, children can learn to navigate the site through basic programming. So why is this important for children?

Logical thinking is an important part of everyday living. We use it to debate, to assess situations and resolve problems in our personal and professional lives. Early development of this important way of processing information is a vital tool for all developing youth. Logical thinking in the form of computer programming is how we make machines run. In the future, many career paths will require a deep understanding of these logical thinking and problem solving methods.

Like any other language, computer languages have a core structure for defining and processing information. The earlier kids learn this language, the easier it is for them to retain, understand and apply it. As technology grows around us, it is important to know how this technology operates. In the future, children will live in a world where technology is the universal language in which everyone interacts on a grand scale. Learning how to navigate and harness this technology will be a fundamental part of these children’s lives.

If you, or children you know, are interested in taking part in the hour of code, Kitsap Regional Library is happy to announce that it will be hosting 4 events during the week of December 9-13.

This year KRL is partnering with the West Sound Technology Association to co-host these events at a Kitsap Library near you:

Tuesday, December 9: Poulsbo Branch 3:30pm-5:00pm
Wednesday, December 10: Sylvan Way Branch 2:00pm-5:00pm
Friday, December 12: Sylvan Way Branch 3:30pm-5:00pm
Saturday, December 13: Port Orchard Branch 2:00pm-5:00pm

Raffle Prize! One lucky participant at each event will win a free tablet. For ages 18 and under.

Exploring Difficult Subjects with Children’s Literature

There are some conversations that can be just plain difficult to have with children. Conversations about divorce, death, and homelessness are just a few of the challenges that a significant number of today’s youth face. These conversations can be tough not because children are incapable of understanding large-scale concepts, but because it’s often a natural reaction to want to protect children from some of the ‘harder issues’ in the world. The reality is, however, that many children have to face these issues at an early age and may not know how or where to begin exploring their feelings and thoughts.

So, how do we approach these topics in a way that allow children to feel free to ask questions and make connections with these topics in their own way and in their own time? While there is no answer to this question that will fit the needs of every child in each unique situation, books are a great tool for children to explore, relate personal experiences, and gain perspective on some of these sensitive topics.


oneIn the bestselling picture book One, author Kathryn Otoshi uses numbers, counting and primary colors to teach a very important lesson: everyone deserves to be treated with respect.

Also try: Never Say a Mean Word Again or The Smallest Girl in the Smallest Grade.
For older kids: The Bully Book or Middle School, the Worst Years Of My Life.

Overcoming Adversity

junkIn The Junkyard Wonders, by Patricia Polacco, a class of special-needs students, inspired by a teacher who believes each of them has a beautiful gift, invents something that could convince the whole school there is much more to them than meets the eye.


Also try: It’s Okay To Be Different  or Henry’s Freedom Box .
For older kids: Counting By 7’s  or Brown Girl Dreaming.

Non-traditional Family Life

stellaStella’s Starliner, by Rosemary Wells, follows a brave young girl who is proud to live in her family’s trailer despite taunts from her peers.



Also tryMy Brother Charlie or The Family Book.
For older kids: Schooled or Zebra Forest.


byeAuthor, Deborah Underwood, uses a simple approach to address the topic of moving in Bad Bye, Good Bye. The shift from sadness, to hesitation, and finally acceptance is captured wonderfully in the illustrations done  by Jonathan Bean.

Also try: Half a World Away or I Want To Go Home.
For older kids: Anna Was Here or Piper Reed, Navy Brat.

Not seeing what you are looking for on this list? Wanting more suggestions? That’s okay; your local librarians are here to help! Visit or call us or send us an email, we are ready to assist. In addition, booklists are available on the kid’s page of the KRL website.  These lists address other delicate subjects such as death, diverse families, and deployment.

Feltboard Fun On the Road

During the holiday seasons, folks spend a lot of time in their vehicles, which can turn the most even-tempered child—of any age—into an unhappy passenger.  Playing books on CD and music are wonderful ways to soothe the savage beast, but what about fidgety fingers that need something to do?  A portable feltboard or flannelboard can keep a child happy and occupied for a long time and they are easy to make.  All you need is a piece of cardboard, some felt or flannel, tape, and a plastic bag or other container in which to keep your board and felt pieces.

Take a piece of cardboard–I cut up old cardboard boxes, but use whatever you like.  Remember that you want the feltboard to fit easily into a closeable plastic bag or other container for travel and storage.


Cover your board with felt or flannel, wrapping it the way you would a gift.  I used duct tape here, but masking tape works very well.

Feltboard3   Feltboard4   Feltboard5

Feltboard10   Feltboard7

Gluing the felt or flannel to the board works well and doesn’t leave the taped  seam, but can be messy and requires more time.  Hence, the low-tech approach shown above.

Cut basic shapes out of felt—it’s nice to have shapes in different colors, but not necessary.

Feltboard8    Feltboard9

Pop everything into a plastic bag and you’re ready to go!*

Ed Emberley’s Picture Pie shows how to use the pieces of a basic circle to draw birds, animals, and many other objects and designs.

Here are a couple more fun books for exploring what you can make with shapes.

Color Farm     wednesday

(*Do NOT allow young children to play with  this without supervision.  This could present a choking hazard to children under 3 years of age.)


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