Director’s Blog: May 2024

Tacoma Reads is one of my favorite programs, as it utilizes the power of literature to bring people together to talk about issues around a theme, and also through its programs, showcases our strong network of community partnerships. Tacoma Reads is itself a longstanding partnership of Tacoma Public Library and the City of Tacoma Mayor's Office and in the past has presented authors such as Roxane Gay, Tommy Orange, Marcello Hernandez Castillo, Isabel Wilkerson, Julia Alvarez, and David Ambroz. 

On May 4, Mayor Victoria Woodards and our Public Information Officer announced the themes and titles for Tacoma Reads 2024 on TV Tacoma's CityLine

To recap, the theme is Rhythms of Resilience (based on some musical references in our title selections and James McBride's career as a musician). The books chosen for 2024 speak to the themes of community solidarity and resilience, and Tacoma Public Library was happy to partner with Mayor Victoria Woodards on the following selections: 

Tacoma Reads 2024 selections

Check out the book selections in print, ebook, or audiobook.

Adult title:

New York Times runaway bestseller | Winner of the National Book Award

The Heaven and Earth Grocery Store, opens a new window by James McBride

In 1972, when workers in Pottstown, Pennsylvania, were digging the foundations for a new development, the last thing they expected to find was a skeleton at the bottom of a well. Who the skeleton was and how it got there were two of the long-held secrets kept by the residents of Chicken Hill, the dilapidated neighborhood where immigrant Jews and African Americans lived side by side and shared ambitions and sorrows.

Funny, tender, knockabout, gritty, and suspenseful, McBride's microcosmic, socially critiquing, and empathic novel dynamically celebrates difference, kindness, ingenuity, and the force that compels us to move heaven and earth to help each other.

Young adult title:

Harbor Me by Jacqueline Woodson

When six students are chosen to participate in a weekly talk with no adults allowed, they discover that when they're together, it's safe to share the hopes and fears they have to hide from the rest of the world.

“Woodson celebrates all that is essential and good for humanity—compassion, understanding, security, and freedom—in this touching novel…Woodson’s skills as poet and master storyteller shine brightly here as she economically uses language to express emotion and delve into the hearts of her characters. Showing how America’s political and social issues affect children on a daily basis, this novel will leave an indelible mark on readers’ minds.”—Publishers Weekly, starred review

Kids and family title:

Change Sings by Amanda Gorman

As a young girl leads a cast of characters on a musical journey, they learn that they have the power to make changes—big or small—in the world, in their communities, and in most importantly, in themselves.

"The positive messaging speaks to building bridges rather than walls and embracing differences, and with each new child encountered, the girl hands them an instrument, inviting them to take up the song. A lovely and loving call to action and kindness." -Booklist

We intentionally chose books, as we have for the past few years, that are for readers of all ages. We invite you to join in reading the books and for events and programs at your libraries and throughout the city this fall! Please follow for updates on events this fall at

I look forward to reading with you.

Kate Larsen, Director