Get to know ‘The Boys in the Boat’ during Pierce County READS 2015


Submitted by Pierce County Library

“The Boys in the Boat” is the 2015 selection for Pierce County Library System’s 8th annual Pierce County READS program, presented in partnership with The News Tribune. Pierce County READS is a one-community, one-book program that encourages everyone in the county to read the same book at the same time and then come together to talk about it.

The Boys in the Boat - Book CoverPierce County READS is more than just reading the book. Extend your experience at 63 free events throughout Pierce County. Get a commemorative Boys in the Boat library card, enter to win a signed copy of the book, watch related movies, join the conversation on social media, or enter the Flash Fiction (or Not) writing contest. Cap off the journey with a visit from the author himself. Daniel James Brown will speak and sign books at the McGavick Conference Center @ Clover Park Technical College on April 24. Learn more at

About “The Boys in the Boat”
Pierce County READS titles are best-selling works by a living author that appeal to wide audiences, present relevant themes and provoke meaningful discussion. “The Boys in the Boat” meets that criteria and more. The No. 1 New York Times Best-Seller chronicles the 1936 University of Washington crew team and their epic quest for gold at the Berlin Olympics. Against the grim backdrop of the Great Depression, this nine-man crew of working class origins stormed the rowing world, transformed the sport and galvanized the attention of millions of Americans. The boys reaffirmed the American notion that hard work and merit outweighs birthright. They reminded the country of what can be done when everyone quite literally pulls together.**

Told with an approachable style and skillfully woven with a cast of endearing characters, Brown’s book has something for everyone: personal redemption, local history, sports, the beauty of Puget Sound, and the challenges in America and abroad between the World Wars. “The Boys in the Boat” earned a 2014 Washington State Book Award and was the American Booksellers Association choice for 2014 Nonfiction Book of the Year. The Weinstein Company is working on a movie adaptation.

Reserve your copy in the library catalog or consider these buying options:

  • 15% off at Tacoma’s King’s Books (the official Pierce County READS 2015 book seller)
  • 15% off at Gig Harbor’s Mostly Books
  • If using Amazon Smile, a portion of the proceeds will benefit Pierce County Library Foundation (choose the foundation when setting up an account)

63 free events
The library has put together 63 free events that cover various themes from “The Boys in the Boat” including boating, sports, the Olympics, the Depression era and more. Download the event brochure (PDF) or view on the library’s interactive calendar. Events are free and open to all ages. Non-perishable food donations for the Emergency Food Network are accepted at all locations.

This year three major events have been scheduled in addition to the author event on April 24:

  • “Triumph of the Will” | The Grand Cinema | Tacoma | March 26, 6:00 p.m.

Attend a free screening of the controversial German propaganda film “Triumph of the Will.” Expert commentary follows with UW Tacoma’s Claudia Gorbman, Ph.D. No tickets required.

  • Books & Boats | Foss Waterway Seaport | Tacoma | April 12, noon—4:00 p.m.

Enjoy free admission to the museum and partake in family activities including rowing demonstrations, stories and more. At 1 p.m. Pierce County Library Executive Director Georgia Lomax interviews Judy Willman, daughter of UW crew member Joe Rantz. No tickets required.

  • Puyallup’s Boy in the Boat | Puyallup Public Library | April 18, 10:30 a.m.

The Puyallup Historical Society presents a history of local boy and UW crew member George “Shorty” Hunt, Jr., including race memorabilia and photographs. Cameo appearance by Hunt’s daughter, Kristin Cheney. Free event. No tickets required.

  • Author Event: Daniel James Brown | McGavick Conference Center | Lakewood | April 24, 7:00 p.m. 

Author Daniel James Brown will speak and sign books during a free event at 7 p.m. on April 24 at the McGavick Conference Center at Clover Park Technical College in Lakewood. Books will be available for purchase. No tickets required.

Read & Release books
The Pierce County Library Foundation purchased 283 copies of “The Boys in the Boat” that will be distributed to Little Free Libraries, restaurants, community centers, city halls, bus stations and other public places in Pierce County. Stickers on the book instruct the finders to read and then release the book to a friend or stranger. And also to comment on the book at the library’s Facebook page—including where it was found. Use the hashtags #pcreads2015 and #boysintheboat. The books are free for the public to use and are meant to be kept circulating—even after Pierce County READS is over. If they are accidentally returned to the library, staff will place them back in the community. This is a one-year experiment designed to increase community conversation around the book.

Commemorative library card, signed copies of the book and more

  • Library card. Beginning March 1, people may pick up a limited edition Boys in the Boat library card at any Pierce County Library. The free commemorative cards are available while supplies last.
  • Win a signed copy of the book. Enter to win a signed copy of the book online or by picking up a paper entry form at your local library.
  • Booklists. Hand-picked book and DVD recommendations related to “The Boys in the Boat.”

Find more information at Pierce County READS 2015 is presented by Pierce County Library System and The News Tribune, and sponsored by KeyBank Foundation and McGavick Conference Center, along with more than 20 private and public community partners.