Plug in to a good book | Darcy Brixey

I have one e-reader and two kids, which can be a problem. We all want to read, but our books are sometimes trapped on one device.

And, while we have an amazing amount of hard copy books, there is something about the e-reader that makes the kids come running when they see it. My daughter loves the read aloud feature on some e-books and my son likes the combination of stories and gadgets. I suspect he’s also playing Angry Birds between chapters, but I share it anyway. Sometimes, when the bickering gets to be too much, I can send them to the databases.

King County Library System has a great collection of anytime reading databases for kids. To find them, visit www.kcls.org/databases and click on the subject heading marked “kids” then log on with your KCLS card number and PIN. BookFlix and Tumblebooks are household favorites because they feature children’s books and an accompanying video. These are also a sure hit for a quick activity when I’m trying to get dinner on the table.

When they are logged in to the database, I don’t have to worry about advertising or stumbling upon inappropriate content. Tumblebooks lets you search separately for videos, books, and even puzzles and games. The books have a read aloud feature for emerging or struggling readers which can be turned on or off. Content can be searched by title or subject, or by reading level.

Each book also contains a lesson plan, a quiz and the option to create a book report or certificate of completion. The videos are short, often under five minutes, and cover nonfiction topics such as geography, animals and science. The database also has a feature that allows you to create a playlist so videos or books can run one after the other.

Bookflix has a different approach. Fiction storybook videos are paired with a nonfiction book and are arranged by subjects such as alphabet, people and places or adventures.

One example is a Curious George storybook video and a nonfiction book about monkeys. You may recognize the Weston Woods videos from Reading Rainbow, which are always fun to revisit. In the search box, you can search by grade level, language, and even running time of the video storybook.

As winter approaches and those long nights set in, it’s great to curl up with a good book. We sit in front of the fireplace with our e-readers and laptops immersed in stories. I’m sure it’s not quite the picture that Norman Rockwell would have painted, but we are still enjoying good books. That’s when everybody wins.


Darcy Brixey is the teen services librarian at the Bellevue Library. She’d like to tell you she loves to read, but it’s an expectation of the job.

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