December 28, 2023

Mary Vermillion

Whatcom READS Announces 16th Season's Community Programs and Author Events

Read the book. Join the conversation. Whatcom READS announces community programs and conversations that explore 2024 book selection, Red Paint by Sasha taqʷšəblu LaPointe

Library staff and booksellers who organize and present Whatcom READS have announced the literary program’s 2024 schedule of community and author events, celebrating Red Paint: The Ancestral Autobiography of a Coast Salish Punk by Sasha taqʷšəblu LaPointe. Winner of the Washington State Book Award for creative nonfiction, Red Paint traces LaPointe’s personal story of trauma, healing and the search for home. The book presents a wide range of discussion and event opportunities leading up to the March 14-16, 2024, in-person author events.  

Visit to learn more about upcoming programs that enrich the reading experience. All events are free except for the Chuckanut Radio Hour. Some require registration to attend.  

The region’s premier annual literary event, Whatcom READS celebrates reading, readers and strong communities through the shared experience of one book. Whatcom READS is presented by all the public and academic libraries in Bellingham and Whatcom County and community partner Village Books.  

Borrow Red Paint as a book, eBook, or audiobook from the Bellingham Public Library or Whatcom County Library System. Or purchase a copy from Village Books, which donates 10 percent of each sale to Whatcom READS.  

Community events inspired by Whatcom READS selection, Red Paint: The Ancestral Autobiography of a Coast Salish Punk by Sasha taqʷšəblu LaPointe 

All programs are free except where noted. Pre-registration is required for some events. Find more information and register to attend at  

Lead-Up Programs That Explore Themes in the Book 


How to Write a Family Portrait 

Essayist and novelist Kristen Millares Young will use guided prompts and discussion to help you plan, write and revise your family stories. Sponsored by Humanities Washington.  

Thursday, Jan. 18, 6-7 p.m. 

Whatcom Community College, 237 W. Kellogg Road (Classroom location will be emailed to registered participants.) 
Space is limited; registration is required. 


LifeSong Project Workshop  

In this three-hour workshop, Havilah Rand will help you translate your life story to song through lyricism and music. Rand is an award-winning singer-songwriter and educator.  

Saturday, Jan. 27, 1-4 p.m.   

Lynden Library, 216 4th St., Lynden 

Space is limited; registration is required.  


Family’s Legacy! Art Class: Antiqued Mixed-Media Painting with Ms. Rachel Simpson 

Create a work of art that you can enter in the Whatcom READS Art Challenge. In this exciting art class, art teacher Ms. Rachel Simpson will share a wide variety of art techniques, materials and textures. You’ll make a painting of your own that reflects your family’s legacy. See online event listing for more information.  

Friday, Feb. 9, 1-4 p.m. 

Allied Arts Thrift Store, 1418 Cornwall Ave., Bellingham 

Space is limited; registration is required. 


What Is a Chief? How Native Values Can Teach Resilience 

John Halliday shares his personal story and presents Washington state history from a Native American perspective. Halliday is an artist of Muckleshoot, Duwamish, Yakama and Warm Springs Indian descent. Sponsored by Humanities Washington.  

Saturday, Feb. 17, 2-3 p.m. 

Everson Library, 104 Kirsch Drive, Everson 


Whatcom WRITES 

Listen (and applaud) as local writers read from their work selected for the 2024 Whatcom WRITES anthology.  

Sunday, Feb. 18, 2-3 p.m. 

Village Books in Fairhaven, 1200 11th St., Bellingham 

Sunday, Feb. 25, 2-3 p.m. 

Village Books in Lynden, 430 Front St., Lynden 


Cedar Weaving 

Weave a cedar headband in this class with Lummi artists Lee Plaster and Toshi Simmonds. Space is limited; registration is required. Two sessions are available. Register online or call the participating library branch. 

Saturday, Feb. 24, 2-4 p.m. 

Sumas Library, 461 2nd St., Sumas 

Saturday, March 2, 11 a.m.-1 p.m. 

Lynden Library, 216 4th St., Lynden 


Homelessness and the Meaning of Home 

Often thought of as only an urban problem, homelessness also occurs in suburban and rural areas throughout Washington state. Author and University of Washington Professor Josephine Ensign will share her research on the history of homelessness and discuss what these stories can teach us about the contemporary crisis of homelessness. Sponsored by Humanities Washington.  

Saturday, Feb. 24, noon-1 p.m. 

Ferndale Library, 2125 Main St., Ferndale 

Saturday, March 9, 1-2 p.m. 

Blaine Library, 610 3rd St., Blaine  


Allied Arts Art Challenge 

Explore your own personal legacy in original artwork for display at the Allied Arts Gallery in Bellingham. See submission guidelines at  


EXHIBITION: March 1-31 


Janet Yoder presents Where the Language Lives: Vi Hilbert and the Gift of Lushootseed 

Where the Language Lives draws from interviews conducted over author Janet Yoder’s 30-year friendship with Skagit tribal elder Vi Hilbert, who helped breathe life into her language and culture. Hilbert is Sasha taqʷšəblu LaPointe’s great-grandmother.   

Saturday, March 2, 6-7 p.m. 

Nooksack Community Building Mí sq’ eq’ ó 
2515 Sulwhanon Drive, Everson 


A Conversation on Language with George Adams and Joshua Olsen 

Join us for a discussion between Nooksack tribal elder George Adams and his apprentice Joshua Olsen as they talk about their individual journeys to becoming preservers of the Nooksack Language, Lhéchalosem.  

Saturday, March 9, 3-4 p.m. 

Everson Library, 104 Kirsch Drive, Everson 


Book Club Discussions 

Read the book. Then join a community discussion.  


Foothills Book Club   

Tuesday, Jan. 16, 7-8:15 p.m. 

Deming Library, 5044 Mt. Baker Highway 


Friends of the Birch Bay Library Book Club   

Wednesday, Jan. 17, 4-5:30 p.m.  

7948 Birch Bay Drive, future home of the Birch Bay Vogt Library Express 


VB Reads Motherhood by the Book 

Sunday, Feb. 11, 2-3 p.m. 

Village Books, 1200 11th St., Fairhaven 


VB Reads Afternoon Book Chat  

Wednesday, Feb. 14, 1-2 p.m. 

Village Books, 1200 11th St., Fairhaven 


Bellingham Reads   

Tuesday, Feb. 27, Noon-1 p.m.    

Bellingham Central Library, 210 Central Ave., Bellingham 

Or Tuesday, Feb. 27, 6:30 -7:30 p.m., online. To register for the virtual program, email or call (360) 778-7236. 


Author Events with Sasha taqʷšəblu LaPointe 


Book Discussion with Sasha taqʷšəblu LaPointe 

Attend this lively book discussion with author Sasha taqʷšəblu LaPointe.  

Thursday, March 14, 11 a.m.-Noon 

Deming Library, 5044 Mt. Baker Highway 

Space is limited; registration is required. 


Village Books’ Chuckanut Radio Hour 

Join us for an evening of live music, poetry, comedy and an interview with Whatcom READS featured author, Sasha taqʷšəblu LaPointe. Tickets to this event are $5. Your ticket can be used as a $5 voucher on any purchase that evening. 

Thursday, March 14, 7-8:30 p.m. Doors open at 6:30 p.m.  

Crystal Ballroom, Hotel Leo, 1224 Cornwall Ave., Bellingham 

Ticket required. Tickets will be available via in January 2024.  


Art and Craft of Writing 

Sasha taqʷšəblu LaPointe shares her writing practice and tips to inspire your own writing.  

Friday, March 15, 11 a.m.-12:30 p.m. 

Log Building on the campus of Northwest Indian College, 2522 Kwina Road 

Space is limited; registration is required.  


An Evening with Sasha taqʷšəblu LaPointe 

Join us at the beautiful Mount Baker Theatre for our premiere event. Following her lecture, Sasha LaPointe will answer audience questions and sign books. We'll also announce our 2024 Whatcom READS selection.  

Friday, March 15, 7-8:30 p.m. 

Mount Baker Theatre, 104 N. Commercial St., Bellingham 

This event is free; however, tickets are required. 


Kristen Millares Young in Conversation with Sasha taqʷšəblu LaPointe 

This year's author events close with a virtual conversation between Sasha taqʷšəblu LaPointe and fellow author, Kristen Millares Young, who is the 2023 Distinguished Visiting Writer for Seattle University and the University of Washington Bothell MFA. 

Saturday, March 16, 11 a.m.-Noon 

Registration is required.  

About Whatcom READS: Northwest Washington's premier annual literary event, Whatcom READS celebrates reading, readers and strong communities through the shared experience of one book. Entering its 16th year, Whatcom READS is presented by all the public and academic libraries in Bellingham and Whatcom County – Bellingham Public Library, Bellingham Technical College, Northwest Indian College, Western Washington University, Whatcom Community College and Whatcom County Library System. Village Books is Whatcom READS’ community partner. Learn more at

About Sasha taqʷšəblu LaPointe: Sasha taqʷšəblu LaPointe is from the Upper Skagit and Nooksack Indian Tribe. Native to the Pacific Northwest, she draws inspiration from her coastal heritage as well as her life in the city. She writes with a focus on trauma and resilience, ranging topics from PTSD, sexual violence, the work her great grandmother did for the Lushootseed language revitalization, to loud basement punk shows and what it means to grow up mixed heritage. With strange obsessions revolving around Twin Peaks, the Seattle music scene, and Coast Salish Salmon Ceremonies, Sasha explores her own truth of indigenous identity in the Coast Salish territory. Her memoir Red Paint: The Ancestral Autobiography of a Coast Salish Punk was published by Counterpoint Press in March 2022. It won a Pacific Northwest Book Award and the Washington State Book Award for Creative Nonfiction/Memoir. Her collection of poetry, Rose Quartz, was published by Milkweed in spring 2023. Counterpoint Press will publish Lapointe’s Thunder Song: Essays in March 2024. 

        We acknowledge that Whatcom County is located on the unceded territory of the Coast Salish Peoples. They cared for the lands that included what we’d call the Puget Sound region, Vancouver Island and British Columbia since time immemorial. This gives us the great obligation and opportunity to learn how to care for our surrounding areas and all the natural and human resources we require to live. We express our deepest respect and gratitude for our indigenous neighbors, the Lummi Nation and Nooksack Tribe, for their enduring care and protection of our shared lands and waterways.
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