Book Buzz Episode 8 – A Little Bit of Land & Song for a Whale

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Air date: July 30, 2023

Check Out The Books

A Little Bit of Land

Song for A Whale

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HOST: Hi, this is Jessica Russell. I’m the Assistant Director of Collection Services at Sno-Isle Libraries. And welcome to Book Buzz.

Today's reading recommendations are a farming memoir set in the Pacific Northwest and a middle grade book about unexpected connections.

First, we’re going to hear from Ruth, librarian at the Mountlake Terrace Library, who will introduce us to a local farmer and author. Go ahead, Ruth.


Jessica Gigot, author of “A Little Bit of Land,” is a transplant from the east coast suburbs, a poet and biology major who discovers she loves farming. In her memoir, she goes on to intern at specialty farms in the Pacific Northwest, providing free back-breaking labor in exchange for experience in the field. Eventually she purchases her own farm in the Skagit Valley.

I’m descended from Skagit Valley farmers, but I grew up in the suburbs and have always wondered what it’s like to farm in the soil that’s been called the best in the world for raising crops.

Gigot’s writing is so engaging and evocative that I feel like I’m there with her, gathering artisanal herbs, trying to milk cows, dealing with crop failure. As she writes, she weaves in fascinating insights about topics like the lives of seasonal migrant workers, and sustainable agriculture, and Wendell Berry’s writings on our disconnection from land and dismantling of small farm economies by agribusiness.

"A Little Bit of Land” is a healing journey of self-discovery, a story that strikes at the core of what it means to have a home and a place where we truly belong.

The book is told in a conversation tone and at 148 pages is a quick and easy read. I loved it!

JESSICA: Thanks, Ruth. There are lots of veterinarians in my family and I grew up visiting farms. I bet I would love this book!

Next, let’s hear from Jayanne, librarian at the Freeland and Langley Libraries, for a story with a determined young protagonist. Over to you, Jayanne.


Get ready for a story full of heart, “Song for a Whale” is by Lynne Kelly, who is a sign language interpreter.

Iris, a twelve-year-old technology whiz, excels in everything from fixing the class computer to tinkering with old radios. However, as the sole deaf student in her school, she often finds herself underestimated and treated as less intelligent. Anyone who has felt overlooked or ignored can relate to this struggle.

When Iris discovers Blue 55, a unique whale unable to communicate with its own kind, she feels a deep connection to his solitude. This sparks a novel idea in her: she could create a means to 'sing' to this solitary creature! The challenge? Blue 55 is three thousand miles away, making it an enormous task to relay her song.

“Song for a Whale” was one of the books I read with my Online Middle Readers Book Group. The kids enjoyed the book and the story has really stayed with me. It's realistic fiction with a bit of adventure for older elementary and middle school students.

This touching narrative is filled with warmth and depth. It demonstrates how persistence and courage can create significant ripples of change.

HOST: Thanks, Jayanne. This sounds like a perfect summer title for Puget Sound readers.

Our recommendations this week are: “A Little Bit of Land” by Jessica Gee-go and “Song for a Whale” by Lynne Kelly.

Join us next time, when we’ll explore more great reading recommendations – interesting books you can find at your favorite local bookstore or at your local library.

Until then, I’m Jessica Russell from Sno-Isle Libraries.

Thanks for joining us for Book Buzz on KSER.

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