Photo provided by Kurt Batdorf
                                Laurie Frankel is an award-winning author whose book was chosen for this year’s Whidbey Reads.

Photo provided by Kurt Batdorf Laurie Frankel is an award-winning author whose book was chosen for this year’s Whidbey Reads.

Whidbey Reads 2020 book focuses on gender identity

  • Friday, January 24, 2020 3:21pm
  • Life

Don’t fret if you’re not ready for Whidbey Reads 2020. All five Sno-Isle Libraries community libraries on Whidbey Island are, and so is featured author Laurie Frankel of Seattle.

“I am honored and delighted to be the featured author for Whidbey Reads 2020,” Frankel said in a press release. “Whidbey Reads is such a great program, and Whidbey Island is such a wonderful community. I’m thrilled to be a part of it. Is there anything better than a library program with engaged readers on a gorgeous island? There is not. I can’t wait.”

Since 2003, Whidbey Reads has brought Whidbey Island residents together annually to read and talk about a book that often has a thought-provoking concept.

For 2020, the Whidbey Reads Committee picked Frankel’s 2017 novel, “This Is How It Always Is.” It was a Pacific Northwest Book Award finalist and won the Washington State Book Award.

“This Is How It Always Is” is the fictional story of how a mother and father support their youngest child who dreams that he can be a princess and a girl when he grows up.

Frankel has firsthand knowledge with childhood gender identity issues. The book’s plot is inspired by her family’s ongoing experience with their transgender child. She wrote about it in 2016 for The New York Times column “Modern Love.”

“We, as a family, decided to be open and honest about it, too, celebrating her story instead of hiding it,” she wrote.

Whidbey Reads is a collaborative effort between Sno-Isle Libraries, Whidbey Island Friends of the Library groups, and volunteers from each community on Whidbey Island. Other partners include The Book Rack, Kingfisher Books, Moonraker Books and the Sno-Isle Libraries Foundation.

A series of events and discussions in April will focus on themes related to “This Is How It Always Is,” serving as a springboard to explore commonalities and differences. Events will include book discussions, programs on gender identity and diversity, creative writing, cultural values and even Thai cooking.

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