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Washington Reads (Summer 2005) - Courage

Washingtonians have a rich and proud history of independence. Our first settlers as well as those who make their homes here today embrace adventure, challenges and excitement. Inspired by Bold Spirit, I have chosen selections that focus on courage and exemplify the willingness to take on challenges and overcome fear.

Image of a book entitled Bold Spirit Hunt, Linda. Bold Spirit: Helga Estby’s Forgotten Walk across Victorian America

In 1896, a Norwegian immigrant and mother of eight, walked across America in the hopes of winning $10,000 from a mysterious sponsor. Behind in taxes and mortgage, Helga Estby and her family needed this money to save their farm, located near Spokane, from foreclosure. Helga and her daughter, Clara, undertook the inspirational journey. The consequences of the trip silenced the remarkable story for nearly a century. This extraordinary and unforgettable book is truly rewarding for the reader.

Image of a book entitled: Honey, Baby, Sweetheart Caletti, Deb. Honey, Baby, Sweetheart

Ruby McQueen is a “quiet girl”, transformed by the summer events at Nine Mile Falls in Washington. Ruby discovers passion and adventure from rich boy and thief, Travis Becker. Eventually she learns to trust herself and insist on a love that means more than being someone’s “honey, baby, sweetheart,” a phrase from the Casserole Queens, the senior reading club at the Nine Mile Falls Library. The Casserole Queens, Ruby, and her librarian mother kidnap a companion from the nursing home and reunite her with her true love. This is a story about life choices filled with humor and adventure.

HONEY, BABY, SWEETHEART written by Deb Caletti, cover by Alain Daussin. Copyright © 2004. Used with permission of Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, an imprint of Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing.

Image of a book entitled: Stotan Crutcher, Chris. Stotan!

Set in Spokane, Stotan Week challenges a small swim team to a nonstop test of physical and emotional stamina; a Stotan is a cross between a Stoic and a Spartan. This novel weaves a coming of age tale, with lessons of heroism, responsibility, and life for young adults. Realistic characters, difficult issues, and humor are wrapped into an inspirational story. Crutcher’s Staying Fat for Sarah Byrnes is also an exceptional story of courage.

Image of a book entitled: Our Only May Amelia Holm, Jennifer. Our Only May Amelia

May Amelia is a twelve year old girl living with her parents and seven brothers in Washington State in 1899. May Amelia, an unforgettable, headstrong, adventurous heroine, is being pressured into becoming a proper young lady. The book’s old fashioned language and capital letters can be distracting, but this historical novel tells a warm story of a young girl growing up at the turn of the century. It is based on a true story of the author’s Finnish grandaunt.

Image of a book entitled: Davys Dream Lewis, Paul Owen. Davy’s Dream

Davy follows his dream to sail among the orca whales, despite nay-sayers in his life. The striking illustrations, with predominate blues and black and white of the orcas, capture the essence of nature in Washington waters. Some remarkable pages are pictures that carry on the story. Children will love to follow their dreams as Davy does. (Ages 4-8)

Reproduced with permission from Davy’s Dream by Paul Owen Lewis. Copyright © 2004. Tricycle Press, P.O. Box 7123, Berkeley, CA, 94707. Available from your local bookseller or call 800-841-2665. Or visit us at

Image of a book entitled: Lootas, Little Wave Eater Meeker, Clare Hodgson. Lootas, Little Wave Eater: Adopting an Orphaned Sea Otter. Photographs by C.J. Casson.

This is a story of an orphaned sea otter’s rescue and her successful adoption by the Seattle Aquarium, accompanied by clear color photos and sidebars. The brave sea otter is demanding and charming, and finally adapts to her new home. (Ages 9-12)