Library celebrates publication of teen poetry anthology with a public reading and reception.

The Youth Services department of the Whatcom County Library System (WCLS) is celebrating the publication of A Forest of Words: 2019 Whatcom County Teen Poetry Anthology with a public reading and reception on Saturday, May 4 from 2:00 p.m. until 3:30 p.m. at the Ferndale Library.

A Forest of Words is an annual publication that includes poems from teens in 6th through 12th grades from throughout the county. WCLS invites students to submit their poetry to their local library or online from January through mid-March each year. Poems are then selected by WCLS staff based on their strength, content and originality.

The collection features work from 54 teen poets representing 10 libraries from throughout the county including Blaine, Deming, Everson, Ferndale, Lynden, North Fork, Point Roberts and all three branches of the Bellingham Public Library.

The poems address a wide range of topics including life at school, nature, relationships, body image, nationality, history, family and humor. Here are two examples from the collection. The first, by Katherine Johnson (Deming Library):

Summer Senses

Smell the crisp, fresh, evening air;
Hear the kids playing truth or dare;
Taste the late night carnival sweets;
Touch the car’s hot leather seats;
See the big crackling campfire;
Smell the fries cooking in the fryer;
Hear the beat in your favorite song;
Taste the sunshine all day long;
Touch the cool, soft grass;
See the lit up church stained glass.

This second poem is by Myla Harmon (Bellingham Public Library):

Body Image

I stand
Above everyone else.
Tripping over my feet,
I walk
Looking down at everything.
People mock
People tease
People laugh.
All at me,
At my body.
When I sit down
I feel more at peace.
No longer tallest.
I am tall.
And I care
Why do I care?
Why should anyone care?
I am beautiful
The way that I am.

This is the ninth year that WCLS has published A Forest of Words and the anthology is getting a new look. Teen artist Jessa LaFeen’s artwork, The Bloom of Spring, was chosen for the cover of the anthology. The artwork was originally published in the WCLS Youth Service’s teen art publication, Whatcomics (2018).

A Forest of Words will be printed and perfect-bound in a volume. Each contributing poet will receive a copy of the anthology and additional copies will be available to the public through the collection at all of WCLS branches.

All are welcome to attend the reading and reception, which will provide the published poets the opportunity to share their work out loud with the community. The event will also include refreshments and music provided by members of the Bellingham Youth Chamber Players, a youth engagement program of the Whatcom Symphony Orchestra. It is a great opportunity to show your support for these talented young writers and performers.

The Ferndale Library is located at 2125 Main Street in Ferndale, Washington, (360) 384-3647.

Mary Vermillion, Community Relations Manager
(360) 305-3645,

About the Whatcom County Library System

For 75 years, Whatcom County Library System (WCLS) has been sharing stories and connecting residents with information, ideas, and community.  WCLS circulates more than 2 million items annually through 10 branches, the bookmobile, and a Library Express location on Northwest Drive.  Residents have access to WCLS’s rich and curated collection of books in print and digital formats, music and movies, online digital services, fun events for every age, and public meeting spaces. Visit in person or online at