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The Hood River Reads 2024 selection is



Hood River Reads: Beloved Beasts


In the late nineteenth century, humans came to a devastating realization: their rapidly industrializing and globalizing societies were driving scores of animal species to extinction. Beloved Beasts: Fighting for Life in an Age of Extinction tells the story of the movement to protect and conserve forms of life from early battles to save charismatic species such as the American bison and bald eagle to today’s global effort to defend life on a larger scale.

The book describes the vital role of scientists and activists such as Aldo Leopold and Rachel Carson, reveals the origins of organizations like the Audubon Society and the World Wildlife Fund, explores current efforts to protect species such as the whooping crane and the black rhinoceros, and confronts the darker side of modern conservation, long shadowed by racism and colonialism. As the destruction of species continues and the effects of climate change wreak havoc on our world, Beloved Beasts charts the ways conservation is becoming a movement for the protection of all species, including our own.

“At once thoughtful and thought-provoking…a crucial addition to the literature of our troubled time”  

~ Elizabeth Kolbert, author of The Sixth Extinction

Your book and all events are free.

Michelle Nijhuis


Journalist Michelle Nijhuis, author of Beloved Beasts, writes about conservation and climate change for publications including National Geographic, The New York Times Magazine, The New Yorker, and The Atlantic. She is a regular contributor to The New York Review of Books and a longtime contributing editor of High Country News. Michelle is also the co-editor of The Science Writers’ Handbook: Everything You Need to Know to Pitch, Publish and Prosper in the Digital Age, and the author of The Science Writers’ Essay Handbook: How to Craft Compelling True Stories in Any Medium.

Her work has won national honors, including two AAAS/Kavli Science Journalism Awards and inclusion in four Best American anthologies. She is the winner of the Sierra Club’s 2021 Rachel Carson Award and Beloved Beasts was named one of the Best Books of 2021 by the Chicago Tribune, Booklist, Smithsonian Magazine, and other publications.

Michelle and her family live in White Salmon, Washington, where her husband Jackson Perrin directs Gorge MakerSpace.

Hood River Reads

Hood River County Reads is an annual, county-wide project sponsored by the Friends of the Library. Our goal is to encourage readers of all ages to read and discuss books. We choose books and authors that reflect the diversity of our community and that will be shared widely with our county’s individuals and families.

Hood River Reads also sponsors several events for adults and students, including talks and workshops by the visiting authors.



Hood River Reads Kick Off


March 2 – Saturday

Hood River Library – 2 pm for program

Parkdale and Cascade Locks Libraries – 10 am – 2 pm for book distribution.

HRR: Wildlife Photography

Wildlife Photography with Linda Steider

March 9 – Saturday @ 2 pm 

Hood River Library Reading Room

HRR: American Buffalo

“American Buffalo”

March 13 – Wednesday @ 6 pm  with Michelle Nijhuis and Ken Burns’ documentary clips.

Hood River Library Reading Room

HRR: All Gorge Creatures Great and Small

All Gorge Creatures Great and Small

March 16 – Saturday @ 2 – 4 pm 

Cascade Carnivore: Jocelyn Akins, Salmon/CRITFC: Elaine Harvey (Yakama), Monarch Monarch Butterflies: Michelle Nijhuis; with Bill Weiler and Laurie Macdonald, plus local conservation groups.

Hood River Library Reading Room

HRR: Wildlife Field Trip

Where the Wild Things Are: Field Trip

April 6 – Saturday @ 10 am – 2 pm  with Bill Weiler, wildlife biologist

More information coming soon…

Sign up here

HRR 2024 Book Club

Hood River Library Book Club: Beloved Beasts

April 10 – Wednesday @ 12:30 pm

Hood River Library Meeting Room 

Zoom Meeting

HRR 2024 Writing Workshop

Writing Workshop with Michelle Nijhuis

April 13 – Saturday @ 10 am – Noon 

Hood River Library Meeting Room

Sign up here

HRR 2024 Animal Masks

Making Animal Masks

April 13 – Saturday @ 1 – 4 pm with Lacey Spray

For 11 years and older. 

Sign up here

HRR 2024 Final Author Presentation

FINALE: Presentation by author Michelle Nijhuis

April 14 – Sunday @ 2 pm

Hood River Library Reading Room

We Couldn’t Do It Without You!

Thank You to Our Supporters:
Many Volunteers!
Waucoma Books
Hood River County Teachers
Weatherly Printing 
Middle and High School Artists
Local environmental organizations 

Special Thanks To Our Sponsors:

Hood River County Library Foundation
Starseed Foundation
Hood River County Education Foundation
Friends of the Hood River County Library
Hood River Valley Leos
Hood River Cultural Trust
Gorge Community Foundation’s
      Pat Hazlehurst Endowment Fund
Leighton Hazlehurst

for their continuing support of the Hood River County Reads literacy project.

Looking Back:  Past Hood River Reads Books

Our program began in 2006 and we have been very fortunate that the authors (or, in one case, the author’s son) have been able to come to Hood River to interact with members of the community and to work with students at the schools.

We encourage you to read and discuss all of the Hood River Reads books!


2006: Bat 6 by Virginia Euwer Wolff

2007: Gonzales and Daughter Trucking Company by Maria Amparo Escandon and Esperanza Rising by Pam Munoz Ryan

2008: River Song by Craig Lesley

2009: Stubborn Twig by Lauren Kessler

2010: The Hearts of Horses by Molly Gloss

2012: The Circuit/Cajas de carton by Francisco Jimenez

2013: Ricochet River by Robin Cody and Something to Hold by Katherine Schlick Noe

2014: Ask Me: 100 Essential Poems by William Stafford

2015: Into the Beautiful North by Luis Alberto Urrea and Becoming Naomi Leon by Pam Munoz Ryan

2016: Martin Marten by Brian Doyle

2017: Ordinary Grace by William Kent Krueger and Mockingbird by Kathryn Erskine

2018: Moreno. Prieto. Brown by Alejandro Jimenez and Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson

2019: Temperance Creek by Pamela Royes

2020/2021: The Highest Tide by Jim Lynch

2022: A Fire Story by Brian Fies

2023: rough house by Tina Ontiveros

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