Skip to main content

Great Reads from Great Places

The Idaho Center for the Book participates in the Great Reads from Great Places program as part of the annual Library of Congress National Book Festival. The Great Reads initiative celebrates the country’s literary heritage at the local level through the 56 affiliates of the Library of Congress Center for Book. Each affiliate selects two books to represent their state or territory: one book for children/young readers, and one book for adults.

The Idaho Center for the Book chose The Bright Side by Chad Otis and The Beadworkers: Stories by Beth Piatote to represent Idaho at the 2023 National Book Festival on Saturday, August 12 in Washington, D.C.2023 Idaho Great Reads

The Bright Side by Chad Otis

The Bright Side Book Cover

From the publisher (Rocky Pond Books/Penguin): This endearing picture book about making the most of any situation is also a heartfelt and meaningful portrait of houselessness that’s just right for young children. This honest, accessible, and compassionate story is based on the author’s own childhood. Its message about resourcefulness and courage will resonate with every reader.

Select praise for The Bright Side:

“An honest yet uplifting and deeply empathetic child’s-eye view of houselessness.”Kirkus

“A sensitive story infused with optimism and perseverance, this will encourage wholesome conversation with children of all socioeconomic backgrounds; it’s an essential purchase.”—SLJ

About the author:

Chad Otis Headshot

Chad Otis writes and illustrates children’s books. His recent book The Bright Side has earned rave reviews.  A Little Ferry Tale was an Amazon Editor’s Pick, and a Best Seller at Barnes & Noble. He lives on the edge of the Rocky Mountains in Idaho.

The Beadworkers: Stories by Beth Piatote

Cover for The Beadworkers

The Beadworkers: Stories (Counterpoint Press 2019) is Beth Piatote’s debut collection of mixed-genre works focusing on contemporary Native experiences in the Northwest. Her beautifully written short stories are connected through the idea of beadworking and building a larger image out of smaller pieces. This engaging, insightful, and empathetic book is suitable for high school students and adult readers.

Select praise for The Beadworkers: Stories:

“The Native experience in Idaho, like in many other places, has been characterized by the land, the spirit of the people and the coming of white settlers. The Beadworkers holds stories that encapsulate that experience, then and now, and how the Nez Perce have held onto their culture, language and bonds with both family and nature.” —NPR Books

“This stunning debut collection marks the arrival of a brilliant storyteller; Beth Piatote weaves together political, historical, and personal themes to offer new perspectives on the human condition . . . one of the most unforgettable story collections of the year.” —Kristin Iversen, NYLON

“Beth Piatote’s debut collection is smart, layered, and inventive. This is a profound and humorous meditation on Native families, language, and life. It is braided, and beaded, and true.” —Tommy Orange, author of There There

About the author:

Beth Piatote headshot

Beth Piatote is a Nez Perce poet, playwright, fiction writer, and scholar. Her book, The Beadworkers: Stories was longlisted for the PEN/Bingham Prize for Debut Short Story Collection and the Aspen Words Literary Prize, and shortlisted for the California Independent Booksellers Alliance “Golden Poppy” Prize for Fiction. Her work draws on Nez Perce language. She is an associate professor of comparative literature and Native American studies at the University of California, Berkeley. Piatote grew up on a farm in Idaho and now lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her two children.

Library of Congress Center for the Book Idaho Affiliate

Idaho Center for the Book

Great Reads: Western 1 Children

Great Reads: Western 1 Adult