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FROM THE SHELVES | Award-winning author coming to Port Orchard

By KATHLEEN WILSON

After a busy holiday season, we’re jumping right back into action at the library by teaming up with Eagle Harbor Books on Bainbridge Island to bring award-winning young adult author Laurie Halse Anderson to the South Kitsap High School Auditorium at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 7.

Anderson received the Margaret Edwards Award from the American Library Association in 2009 for her contributions to young adult literature. The Margaret Edwards Award is as prestigious as the more famous Caldecott and Newbery awards, and is given on an annual basis to one author per year judged to have made a significant and lasting contribution to young adult literature.

A prolific author, Anderson is perhaps best known for her novel, Speak, which centers around a young rape victim suffering from post traumatic stress disorder which renders her unable to speak, therefore unable to tell anyone what happened to her.

Anderson’s latest book, The Impossible Knife of Memory, which is being released the very same day as our event, also deals with post traumatic stress disorder and its ripple effects, this time inside a military family. High school senior Hayley lives with her father, who has returned from his tours of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan and is wrestling with the demons of PTSD. For the past several years, Hayley and her dad have been traveling the country together, as he homeschools her while working as a long-haul trucker.

The two have now settled in her father’s hometown, in an attempt to begin to cope with her father’s PTSD, and Hayley finds herself miles ahead in school in every subject but math.

In a review, Booklist says, “This is challenging material, but in Anderson's skilled hands, readers will find a light shining on the shadowy reality of living with someone who has lived through war and who is still at war with himself.”

It’s really an honor to be chosen as the sight of Anderson’s inaugural stop on her book tour. The early buzz on this book is excellent, and I’ve been told she’s an outstanding presenter. I can’t wait to meet her. Let’s get a great crowd so more big-name authors will want to stop in Port Orchard for a visit. Who knows, maybe they’ll even want to move to Cedar Cove.

This program is free and Anderson will be signing books afterward.

In other library news, we’ve been settling into our newly renovated digs and have finally stopped checking in all the books that were “checked out to help out.” Whew!

Our regular storytimes, childrens and teen activities all start back up again this month, as well as our popular adult gardening series “A Year in the Northwest Garden” with gardener Joe Machsinski set for Tuesday, Jan. 28.

I hope to see you soon at the library or at the SKHS Theater.

Kathleen Wilson is the branch manager for the Port Orchard Library.

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