Sisters Nancy and Julia Glen started a new adventure a few years ago.
Julia Glen was a volunteer working with English-language learners at a school in Oceanside, California. “She wanted a book for them about their immediate city,” Nancy Glen said.
Julia is an artist, and Nancy is a teacher. So Julia asked Nancy to work with her on the project, which became “Oceanside Adventures.”
“We surprised ourselves,” Nancy Glen said. “Our first attempt, we won the San Diego Book Award, and it was a great success. We sold a lot.”
They wrote two more about Southern California cities before moving north. They started with Tacoma, where they grew up – and Nancy still lives – adding Puyallup, Olympia and Seattle.
Now, they’re releasing “Spokane Adventures,” and the sisters will be at Wishing Tree Books in the South Perry neighborhood for a book signing from 2-4 p.m. Wednesday.
In the book, Evan helps introduce a new neighbor, Sam, to the city. They visit places like Mobius Discovery Center, Frank’s Diner, the Northwest Museum of Arts and Culture and Manito and Riverfront parks.
“All of the books cover different themes, like inclusion and acceptance and it’s OK to be different,” Glen said. In this one, Evan is a koala, and he worries that Sam, who’s a skunk, will be stinky.
The books also offer history of the city, “like a civics lesson for students,” she said. Along with the story, many pages feature facts about the city and the places being visited. At the end of the book, there’s a curriculum page with vocabulary, comprehension questions and writing prompts.
The sisters have settled into a rhythm for creating the books, Glen said, with Nancy responsible for the words and Julia for the art.
“Julie as an artist works so well with me, she picks up on what I’m writing and trying to convey. It’s been a really good creative process for the two of us,” she said.
“We both work full time, so it’s tough,” Glen said. Sometimes, there are tense phone calls, “But we’ve worked it out, and I think our books have done amazingly well.”
Because of the pandemic, most of the research for the Spokane book happened online or by phone – and they received input from a cousin who lives in town.
Glen said she’s looking forward to exploring the city this week while the sisters are here for the book signing. They plan to visit a lot of the places in the book, and she’s looking forward to walking in the parks and eating at the restaurants. “And, I want to get some sunshine, I can’t lie.”
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