Living & Entertainment

This Tacoma raccoon will give you a history lesson instead of begging for food

Two successful children’s book sister-authors have turned their sights on their hometown.

“Tacoma Adventures” is the result.

Nancy and Julia Glen grew up in a large, 4th generation Tacoma family. Nancy is a teacher at Emerald Ridge High School in Puyallup and Julia is an artist in Oceanside, Calif.

In the just-published book, Stuart the raccoon takes a tour around the City of Destiny, visiting its landmarks, restaurants and parks.

Several years ago, the Glen sisters began collaborating on children’s books based on Southern California communities. Nancy, 61, wrote the stories while Julia, 56, produced the art.

“We talked to residents, visited schools and asked what (the kids) loved about their community,” Nancy said. “We came up with a simple story.”

The third grade reading level books were a hit and won a San Diego book award.

Each book has a theme. An animal character leads the narrative.

The books also have a diversity element. One character uses a wheelchair, another is raised by a grandparent.

“It’s about inclusion and acceptance and it’s OK to be different,” Nancy said.

In “Tacoma Adventures,” Stuart the raccoon has to write a report about Tacoma.

“I got boring Tacoma,” he complains to his grandfather. “We all live here. There is nothing to tell.”

So begins a whirlwind weekend tour around Tacoma with visits to the Proctor Farmers’ Market, the Museum of Glass, Frisko Freeze, W.W. Seymour Conservatory, Stadium High School, the new Eastside Community Center and other landmarks.

The spots are all kid favorites and ones local youth have probably visited, she said.

“If they don’t know about them, hopefully they’ll learn about them,” Nancy said.

History is gently introduced in the book, including Tacoma’s darker side. Stuart visits the Chinese Reconciliation Park which commemorates the forced expulsion of Tacoma’s Chinese population in 1885.

By book’s end, Stuart learns, “Tacoma is an amazing city.”

The 35-page book is selling for about $16.50 in various locations around Tacoma, including the Pacific Northwest Shop and the UW Tacoma bookstore. Locations can be found at

A portion of the book’s proceeds is being donated to local literacy programs.

Future books will cover Puyallup and Olympia, Nancy said.

Craig Sailor has worked for The News Tribune for 20 years as a reporter, editor and photographer. He previously worked at The Olympian and at other newspapers in Nevada and California.