in partnership
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A duo of bears explore the Pacific Northwest on their journey to reunite a stuffed teddy bear with his owner. (Image: Little Bigfoot)

A PNW Child's Library: Books that embrace our region

Between summer reading programs and school year reading goals I’m always on the lookout for books that will intrigue my children and further embed their love of learning. Interesting stories and engaging illustrations are just the beginning of a lifelong adventure with books. After all, children first learn to read, then they read to learn. Because of that, books are friends I aim to introduce early. And what better place to start than with books that embrace our region, the beautiful Pacific Northwest!

To simplify our library visits, I tend to introduce books in categories - we’ll learn about space and read funny books about aliens, then we’ll take a turn exploring books about castles and knights. Most recently, we’ve fallen in love with books related to the Pacific Northwest. Gotta raise those little readers to love our land from the get go! Some of the books listed below are ones we have loved and referenced for years, others are brand new favorites. We hope you find one or two or ten that will be welcome additions to your own PNW child’s library.

"1, 2, 3 Moose: A Pacific Northwest Counting Book"
Art Wolfe
Cartoon illustrations are great, but I do find that my kids gravitate towards real-life photos, especially when it comes to animals. This book covers numbers 1-20 in collaboration with photos of Pacific Northwest animals and plants.

"Eagle Boy: A Pacific Northwest Native Tale"
Richard Lee Vaughan
My oldest son adores eagles so this book about a young Native American boy and his friendship with eagles made Eagle Boy an instant favorite.

"Sea Star Wishes: Poems From the Coast"
Eric Ode
Talk about a fun way to introduce little ones to poetry! Sea Star Wishes is written by children's singer and songwriter Eric Ode and is complemented with bright, engaging illustrations by Washington State Book Award recipient Erik Brooks. We’ll probably choose a poem to memorize together soon, the cadence of each make them easy to remember.

"Larry Gets Lost In Seattle"
John Skewes and Eric Ode
Larry the dog is lost! On his way back to his boy, Pete, Larry visits a variety of Seattle landmarks including Safeco Field, the Space Needle, and more. And, if you love this story, follow it up with the it’s sequel of sorts, Seattle ABC: A Larry Gets Lost Book. From the Seattle Aquarium to the Woodland Park Zoo, kids (and Larry) explore Seattle from A-Z.

"Curious Kids Nature Guide: Exploring the Amazing Outdoors of the Pacific Northwest"
Fiona Cohen and Marnie Fylling
Released in 2017, I scooped this book up for our family’s library as soon as it hit shelves. You should too! It’s full of fun facts (who else has kids who love memorizing interesting facts to share with whoever will listen) and encourages kids to get outside and explore while learning about our region.

"Trapped!: A Whale’s Rescue"
Robert Burleigh
Growing up in the Pacific Northwest, I forget how unique it is to be so close to the ocean where whales reside. Trapped! follows the rescue of a humpback and reminds us all of our responsibility to care for one of the world’s largest animals.

"Mountain Night, Mountain Day"
Anthony D Fredericks
Washington is all about its water, but we’ve got mountains too! This beautifully illustrated book compares life in the mountains from sunrise to sunset.

"10 Little Monsters Visit Washington"
Rick Walton
If your kids like funny, they’ll giggle through this entire book. Because truly, what’s more silly that monsters exploring the Evergreen State?

"West Coast Wild: A Nature Alphabet"
Deborah Hodge
Double checked for scientific accuracy, this alphabet book is an amazing learning tool for parents and children alike. Definitely one we’ll reference again and again.

"Jo MacDonald Had a Garden"
Mary Quattlebaum and Laura J. Bryant
This book is actually part of a series that also includes "Jo MacDonald Saw a Pond" and "Jo MacDonald Hiked in the Woods". They don’t specifically mention the Pacific Northwest, but gardens, ponds, and woods are all around us so they definitely feel like home. Best of all, they’re each available in board book format for the littlest of readers.

"Three Bears of the Pacific Northwest"
Marcia K. Vaughan
A duo of bears explore the Pacific Northwest on their journey to reunite a stuffed teddy bear with his owner. Never fear, Three Bears of the Pacific Northwest is a sweet tale with a happy ending. Also available in board book format.

"Good Night Washington State"
Adam Gamble and Mark Jasper
The perfect bedtime story for little Washingtonians! This book includes stops by Point Defiance, Mount Rainier, Hoh Rainforest, and more.

"Why Do I Sing: Animal Songs of the Pacific Northwest"
Northwest animals are definitely the best category of creatures and now your children can learn their “songs” so much better than the basic woof and meow.

"Love Is All Around Washington"
Wendi Silvano
With mentions of favorites places like Pike Place Market and Lake Washington and cities like Bellingham and Spokane, Love Is All Around Washington really makes our great state come alive.