The Washington Center for the Book (WCB) has selected the locally-produced "A Ticket to the Pennant: A Tale of Baseball in Seattle" by Mark Holtzen, illustrated by John Skewes, to represent Washington at the 2018 National Book Festival.

Each year, during the National Book Festival in Washington D.C, the Library of Congress’ Center for the Book distributes a list of books representing the literary heritage of the 50 states, the District of Columbia, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. This year's festival, sponsored by the Library of Congress, takes place Sept. 1. The festival's Washington state booth will feature "A Ticket to the Pennant," and the book will be included in the festival's 52 Great Reads brochure.


Travel back in time to 1955, when the Seattle Rainiers faced the Los Angeles Angels for the Pacific Coast League pennant. "A Ticket to the Pennant" follows Huey, a young baseball fan, as he retraces his footsteps through South Seattle, trying to find his missing ticket to the big game. Meet Huey's neighbors – grown-ups and kids from different backgrounds and cultures, all united by their love of baseball and the Seattle Rainiers.

Holtzen weaves adventure, history and sports into a charming and timeless tale. Skewes' retro-style illustrations incorporate mementos from Seattle baseball history in this story of regional pride, community and the love of the game.  

"I was raised in the Northwest and my kids are growing up here, too. Many landmarks are being torn down, which is the nature of life, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t something lost," said Holtzen.  "When I wrote 'A Ticket to the Pennant,' I thought that highlighting longtime, local businesses could be a concrete way to celebrate the soul of our community and a way to tie past to present - a way to make history relatable for kids. The book has turned out to be a conduit for older generations to pass down their stories, too."

Linda Johns, coordinator for Washington Center for the Book, talked about how the book was selected. "'A Ticket to the Pennant' gives young readers a snapshot into a different era while also showing a neighborhood that is as vibrant and diverse today as it was decades ago. We selected it to represent Washington because it’s the perfect balance of a regional book that has universal appeal. Huey is a character that any reader would love to get to know and follow."


Holtzen and his family live in Seattle. He taught third grade for sixteen years and loves to create children’s books.

Skewes is a professional illustrator living in Seattle. As the creator and illustrator of the award-winning "Larry Gets Lost" children's book series, Skewes has followed Larry from the southern tip of Texas to tiny Nome, Alaska. He has been lost several times himself.


WCB is a partnership of the Washington State Library and The Seattle Public Library. It is a state affiliate of the Center for the Book at the Library of Congress. WCB promotes literacy and a love of books, reading and libraries throughout the state, celebrating Washington’s robust literary heritage.