Lake Forest Park

Latest Staff Picks

The perfect picturebook for quarantine, In a Jar is a heartwarming story about Llewellyn and his friend Evelyn. The two collect all sorts of things to put in jars--both physical and abstract--so they remember all the things they do together. When Evelyn moves away, Llewellyn starts sending her portions of their collections by mail. Marcero's mixed media artwork uses texture and color in exciting and surprising ways throughout the story, and readers will have fun trying to count how many jars they can find on each page. A good reminder for readers of all ages of the simple ways we can connect, despite distance and its accompanying hardships.

Picked by Niki

I'm a sucker for a retelling, especially one inspired by the Greek myth of Orpheus and Eurydice. In this fresh remix, Liliam Rivera deftly combines original details with contemporary Afro-Latinx life in the Bronx: from the flirty bounce of bachata to the weight of Hurricane Maria and its impact on island communities & diaspora. I love how this character-driven romance humanizes Pheus and Eury--they are accessible, complex teens distinctly of our time who face an ancient and destructive threat with equal parts assuredness and trepidation. A satisfyingly feminist ending rounds out this myth retextured for our modern moment. Immersive and intense, Never Look Back will make you want Lilliam Rivera to retell all of your favorite classics. 

Picked by Niki
Staff Pick Badge
Lift Cover Image
By Minh Lê, Dan Santat (Illustrator)
$17.99

If you don't already know this duo, please check out Drawn Together, another personal favorite. But with this second collaboration, Lê (pronounced "lay") and Santat really knock it out of the park. Lift is hilarious, cheeky, and perfectly pinpoints the annoyances of having a younger sibling. The book also has a very intriguing sci-fi plot twist that readers may even predict if they're paying attention to the many playful visual hints that Santat includes.

Picked by Niki

I call picturebooks portable museums sometimes, and I think it especially applies here, not only because of Michaela Goade’s exquisite artwork but also because of the ancestral and historical importance of protecting water in many indigenous nations across North America. This book is a thank you note and a call to action, and it’s perfectly digestable for young readers to learn about pipeline protests.

Picked by Niki

Donte and Trey are brothers. Trey is popular, athletic, and most importantly, light-skinned. Donte's skin is darker, and, as one of the few visibly Black students at his private school, he finds himself facing casual racism from teachers and overt bullying from Alan, a star fencer. Donte starts taking fencing lessons from a Black former Olympic fencer to face off against Alan in a tournament, but he discovers that fencing is less externally competitive and more of an interior sport. Another unmissable book from master storyteller Jewell Parker Rhodes. 

Picked by Niki

Who doesn't love a grouchy bear? This book is oh-so funny, extremely relatable, and such fun to read aloud. Extra great for residents of the drizzly PNW, who know all too well about the relentless rain and its accompanying emotional drain.

P.S. Take a peek under the dust jacket but only AFTER you've finished reading (if you want to avoid spoilers!)

Picked by Niki

Pure poetry perfection, this picturebook practically begs to be read aloud. I love all of the expansive descriptions of the different types of brown and the personal connection that the narrator makes to each shade. Warm-toned illustrations make the story and its characters feel simultaneously timeless and cozy, while minute details and intricate patterns keep the book firmly in the present moment. As its subtitle notes, this whole book is a celebration of the power, history, and beauty of the color brown. 

Picked by Niki

Pitch perfect, sweet-as-pie YA contemporary about Skye, a fat, bisexual Korean-American teen trying to win a k-pop competition in LA with her dual singing & dancing skills. This novel features a very supportive dad (who diligently tries to make up for a strained mother-daughter relationship), an international, Instagram-famous hottie, fat acceptance highs & lows, and so much good friendship. Just enough romance & plenty of actual k-pop idol references for current & to-be fans. Do yourself a favor and hit shuffle on the "K-Pop Daebak" Spotify playlist and bop along to this girl power anthem of a book.

Picked by Niki

A space odyssey, a class and gender struggle, and subtle eco-criticisms are brilliantly melded together in Drayden's latest work. I laughed at weird new phrases and...sticky situations; I cried with each broken heart, abused body, and stolen future; I cheered for certain shifts in power and moves for societal change. More than anything, I want to delve back into these confounding yet relatable characters, and learn as much as I can about the world within this captivating opera (which can probably teach us some much needed information about our own). Plus, I think this book's readability has finally turned me into a budding fan of the sci-fi genre, so yay!

Picked by Katelynn