Don’t Throw That Away!

by Melleny T.

I love Earth Day, don’t you? I love that for almost 50 years we’ve set aside a day to remind us to care for this planet. I love that it happens in the spring (the best season), when the planet feels so full of hope and growth and possibility. I also love that it gives me the chance to share some books about one of my passions: taking old junk and making it into something new again! You may call it recycling, or upcycling, or found crafting, or turning trash into treasure. Whatever it is, it makes me happy.

As a crafty person, I spend hours looking in books and online for projects incorporating repurposed materials. (You should see the number of Pinterest boards I have dedicated to such craft projects.)

As a librarian, I’ve planned several craft events for teens where they make new creations out of old books, old cans, old toys, and more.

As a recovering hoarder, I pause every time I’m about to toss something in the trash or recycle bin – surely I could use that bottle cap for something, sometime, right? Right?!

So today, on this glorious Earth Day, I’m sharing a small selection of books that will give you ideas for craftily reusing that most ubiquitous of landfill fodder: cardboard. We all have it, and we get more of it every day, from product packaging to Amazon deliveries, so use some of these creative projects to turn it into something practical, beautiful, or just plain fun.

Cat Castles by Carin Oliver

Cat Castles by Carin Oliver

I adore Carin Oliver and hope she is working on craft books for all of the animals. In the meantime, don’t you think Fluffy deserves her own pirate ship, submarine, or food truck? Best of all, this great stuff can all be made from those old boxes gathering spiders in the corner of your garage.


Out of the Box by Jemma Westing

Out of the Box by Jemma Westing

If you’re more into small humans than felines, the cardboard engineering projects in this book will provide endless hours of entertainment. It’s hard to pick a favorite with all the fun games and playthings featured in this book, but I am partial to the rabbit racing game.


51 Things to Make with Cardboard Tubes by Fiona Hayes

51 Things to Make With Cardboard Tubes by Fiona Hayes

Looking for projects on a smaller scale? Save up your cardboard tubes for a couple weeks and enjoy a whirlwind of quick and clever crafts that won’t take up the whole living room. Tiny tractors, goofy eyeglasses, and awesome animals abound in this handy hardback guide. And be sure to check out the other books in the 51 Things series.

You’ll find plenty more creative cardboard crafting ideas in the full list. Now get out there and save the planet, one cat airplane at a time!

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To what purpose, April

by Lois H.

To what purpose, April, do you return again?
Beauty is not enough.
You can no longer quiet me with the redness
Of little leaves opening stickily.
I know what I know.
“Spring” by Edna St. Vincent Millay (lines 1-5)

April seems a fitting month for National Poetry Month. There’s something about the ever lightening days and the flowers blooming that sparks those powerful emotions inherent to poetry.

I have been consuming and creating poetry since I can remember. An eternal archivist, I have scraps of paper and notebooks full of my adolescent writings organized by year in a filing cabinet. For many years, I rarely shared my poetry with anyone. It wasn’t until my Grandpa, in his mid-80s, asked me to email him some of my writing. I nervously sent off my angsty teenage writing, unknowingly igniting a closeness between us that lasted until his death.

It also seems fitting that my Grandpa, a lover and writer of poetry, would be born in April, a month dedicated to celebrating the craft.

In honor of National Poetry Month, here are some collections of poetry to sample and savor:

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To Be Continued

By Isaac H.

There is a saying about the key to masterful storytelling: “Always leave the audience wanting more.” How often have you enjoyed the full run of a television show, anime series or movie and wanted to know, “what happens next?” It’s even more frustrating reaching the end of a story and wondering, “is this all?” Usually our hearts and minds are left only to wander with whatever ending we are given by the original story, hoping in vain for a sequel or follow up to be made.  Though it is not usually the case, every once in a while we do get more to the story in a format that isn’t merely a sequel.

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Graphic Novels, No Superheroes

I used to associate graphic novels with superheroes, which is why I didn’t read them. Not that I don’t like superheroes, I do. But the idea of trying to get caught up on the last 78 years of Captain America just seemed too daunting even to start.
But then I discovered the world of non-superheroic comics and fell in love. I love graphic storytelling; there are so many interesting ways to combine images and words to tell a story.
Here are a few of my favorites.

Anya’s Ghost by Vera Brosgol

Anya is a sullen teenager who’s a bit of a social outcast, so it’s nice when she meets Emily and makes a new friend. Emily is a ghost who died nearly 90 years ago, and she’s a great friend: she helps Anya cheat on tests, watches her back while she’s sneaking cigarettes, and assists her in manipulating a cute boy. Actually, you know what? Emily might be kind of evil. Anya’s Ghost is funny and spooky and very clever.

The Less Than Epic Adventures of TJ and Amal by E.K. Weaver

I was hooked on this adult-themed graphic from the first page. It’s the story of two young men, essentially strangers to one another, on a cross-country road trip. Along the way they talk about plenty of serious topics – like queerness, drug use, and abusive relationships – but the story is told with lots of humor and sweetness and even a little romance.

Assassination Classroom by Yusei Matsui

Okay, hear me out: you’re a middle school student. Your new teacher is a terrifying grinning tentacled alien who has destroyed the moon. Your job is to kill him. Also, he’s the best teacher you’ve ever had. Nothing about this manga series isn’t insane, and I was laughing on every page.


Giant Days by John Allison

Ah, college – the first time most of us are away from home: asserting our independence, making our own decisions. So many unwise, poorly-thought-out decisions. Giant Days follows college students Daisy, Esther, and Susan, as they navigate studies, politics, relationships, money and friendships.

But wait, there’s more! Check out these other great comics:


Hey, did you know that you can borrow comics from Sno-Isle Libraries and read them online? Use our streaming service Hoopla to borrow comics and read them on your computer, tablet, or other device.
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Feast by Foraging

by Marina M.

My family went camping a lot when I was a kid. And, you know, a lot of it was for just being out in nature and roasting marshmallows over the open fire. Definitely not for the opportunity to experience a forest bathroom, though. Mainly, it was because, for as long as I can remember, my family has been mushroom hunters. With an Eastern European background, it just seems natural.
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A Conversation with Author Matthew Sullivan

by Marie B.

Whidbey is smack dab in the middle of Whidbey Reads, where the community reads one book and Whidbey community libraries host a wide range of programs related to the book’s themes.  The 2019 selection is Midnight at the Bright Ideas Bookstore by Matthew Sullivan.  You’ll have a chance to meet Sullivan at any of three events in April.

In the meantime, I had a chance to chat with Matt about his book and the writing process.  Whidbey readers had questions!  He had answers! Continue reading »

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Beyond Bestsellers: Historical Fiction

by Denise D.

Welcome back!

Happy April, Readers! We hope you enjoyed the Prose Bowl hiatus and had fun voting for your favorite books of 2018. Now, it’s time to put away the ballots and get back to making lists for Beyond Bestsellers. Speaking of time, April’s theme is all about times past — historical fiction.

Beyond Bestsellers: Historical Fiction

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Prose Bowl 2019 – The Winner Is…

by Marie B

Four weeks of fierce competition has brought us to this glorious day.  In case you missed it, here’s a recap.  Round 1 presented readers with the challenge of selecting their favorites from among 60 titles across six genres.  Many worthy opponents fell at the first hurdleRound 2 gave the top two from each genre one more chance to come out on top in their field. Round 3 pitted genre against genre in a slightly unfair fight.  The Final Round was a battle for the ages, with Speculative Fiction duking it out with Nonfiction/Biography and Crime Fiction.  Talk about a tough decision!

And, boy, did you vote.  Over the entire contest, 3,115 votes were cast, 815 of them in the final round.  The battle was epic, but there can be only one.

And the winner is… Continue reading »

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On Inspiration and Margaret Atwood

By Kristi S.

Margaret Atwood is one of my favorite authors. I have a vivid memory of finishing the last page of The Handmaid’s Tale and taking that deep breath that comes when you set down a book and you know it will stay with you forever. The next morning, I showed up at the library searching for more. She is one of the few authors whom I have read completely. Some books I loved, some books I hated, but all of them left a strong impression. In anticipation of the third season of The Handmaid’s Tale hitting Hulu on June 5, I’m rereading my favorites and branching out with novels from authors she’s inspired. Continue reading »

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Flying High: Fearless Female Aviators

by Melleny T.

When I was in the seventh grade, I chose to be Amelia Earhart for Night of the Notables. Earhart’s entire story fascinated me – her courage, the obstacles she encountered, and the mystery surrounding her disappearance.

I may or may not have worn that aviator cap more often than was strictly necessary.

Even now, I love coming across stories that include pioneers in the field of aviation, particularly those women who broke through boundaries and defied stereotypes to make their mark in such a dangerous field. So, in honor of Women’s History Month, I’m sharing some great books that include fearless female fliers of the past, both real and fictional. Continue reading »

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