Book Bingo: An Illustrated Board

Summer Book Bingo is a partnership with The Seattle Public Library and Seattle Arts & Lectures to provide free summer reading fun for adults. Swing by your local Seattle library branch or any one of SAL’s partner bookstores to grab a Bingo Card, then spend your summer reading great books—you can win fabulous prizes!

In this post, Heather Kelley—a tremendous friend of SAL, and the only book bingo participant whose beautifully illustrated board we framed last year—has generously given us a look into her bingo process, as well as a sneak peek at her latest bingo drawings.


By Heather Kelley

Reading about books is almost as much fun as reading books. Pouring over book lists and reviews, browsing staff recommendations on bookstore shelves, adding titles to my robust “to read” list – these diversions can occupy me for hours. When this year’s Summer Book Bingo card was revealed, I surveyed the categories and began mapping out my summer reading journey.

To kick-off my research, I enlisted expert help by emailing a list of books that I love to the Seattle Public Library’s Next 5 Books service. Within a day or two, I received a list of five books recommended for my tastes and interests. Based on my fondness for To Kill a Mockingbird and Just Mercy, my new librarian friend Shadee suggested On the Run. This is the true account of a sociology student who moves into a lower-income black neighborhood in Philadelphia and chronicles the lives of a cast of young African American men trying to survive a life of poverty, limited choices and assumed criminality. Thanks to Shadee, I know just how I’ll fill in the Recommended by a Librarian square. (Side note: If you haven’t read Just Mercy and/or heard Bryan Stevenson speak in person, get your tickets now for his March 28, 2017 appearance with SAL. He is a passionate advocate for social justice and his talks are powerful, thought-provoking and inspiring.)

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Heather’s bingo board from 2015.

#We Need Diverse Books was one of my favorite categories from last year’s Book Bingo. It introduced me to Jacqueline Woodson’s brown girl dreaming which was one of my best-loved books from last year. I was happy to see a repeat of this category. I returned to the We Need Diverse Books website and spent a happy hour reading the synopses of the books listed. I am vacillating between reading Black Boy, White School and If I Ever Get Out of Here.

For the Prize-Winner square, I originally put Ghost Road on my list, hoping to finally complete Pat Barker’s Regeneration trilogy. In the end, I chose a Pulitzer Prize for fiction winner as I have been crossing books off that list sporadically over the last several years. The Orphan Master’s Son is the 2013 Pulitzer Prize winner and is set in North Korea “the most glorious nation in the world.”

Sherman Alexie is one of my favorite local authors, so picking one of his books for the Local Author square was a no-brainer for me. I had just finished The Toughest Indian in the World when I read that SAL is introducing a new series this year titled Sherman Alexie Loves. Sherman Alexie partnered with Seattle Arts & Lectures – what a fantastic combination! I quickly snagged tickets for this three-part series which includes the wildly inventive and brilliant author Karen Russell.

As I’ve scoured the latest “must-read” book lists and repeatedly knocked over my piles of books to be read teetering next to my bed, I’ve created short lists for nearly all the Book Bingo squares, leaving a few blank and open to possibilities. With a basic framework in place, I’ve started my reading and I’ve been filling in my board with illustrations based on the covers of the books I’ve read. Researching books and spending time sketching the covers stretches out the fun of Summer Book Bingo for me.


Thank you, Heather! We can’t wait to see your completed board!

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