Craft for a Cause

I used to volunteer every year for a cause and it used to be my balm when things felt like too much. I rebuilt houses, fed the insecurely housed, and cared for children who had experienced trauma, abuse and neglect. The pandemic and my kiddo put all that on hold. Now more than ever though I feel this need to do more, but wasn’t sure how. A friend had reached out to me about contributing to a charity raffle to help women in need. She asked if I could donate a crocheted item – yes! yes! yes! That got me thinking about crafting as a way to give back to our community.

Here are a few books in our collection that show that idea in action:

Black Girls Sew: Projects and Patterns to Stitch and Make Your Own by Hekima Hapa and Lesley Ware

Black Girls Sew is an organization that takes sustainability very seriously, offering life skills to women and girls that trace back to the days of our indigenous ancestors.” -Eve, Brooklyn NY

The world bombards Black and Brown girls and boys daily with images and comments about what to wear, how to look, and everything in between. This book teaches the skills to claim their own style through creativity, to empower them beyond brands to be their truest selves, and declare I am here! Take a lesson from this book – from basic sewing lessons to finding our creative side to making fashion work for all of us.

Fibershed: Growing a Movement of Farmers, Fashion Activists, and Makers for a New Textile Economy by Rebecca Burgess

Most of what we need is in our own backyard we just have to connect to each other to find it. Rebecca did just that in California by creating Fibershed, a regional fiber system that gives back rather than takes away – it has now grown internationally. This book tells the story of that community and how together they are fighting climate change, soil degradation, and fast fashion!

The Pacific Northwest is home to an affiliate right here on Vashon Island.

How to Be a Craftivist: the Art of Gentle Protest by Sarah Corbett

Anger is easy, but when we stop and focus on the problem we gain understanding and empathy – for Sarah that is a craft just like anything else. As an introvert Sarah often felt depleted when she protested. Through crafting she was able to engage people in new ways that were much more welcoming and easier for justice to be heard through her Craftivist Collection and now her book, too! She shares stories, ideas, and suggestions for even the most novice craftivist!

Note: We can always make some noise, too!

Craft Activism: People, Ideas, and Projects From the New Community of Handmade and How You Can Join in by Joan Tapper

This book shows off the many ways that crafting can be a form of activism, whether it’s knit bombing or wearing a message. You’ll find projects, stories, and organizations to support with your crafting endeavors. Using that handmade power to connect and make change. And as we saw with the Women’s March – crafting has the power to bring us together for a cause!

Craft Hope: Handmade Crafts for a Cause by Jade Sim

What started out as a way to connect with women, quickly turned into a crafting community. That community coming together turned into something even bigger and Craft Hope was created! Each pattern mentioned in this book was made for a cause. Pillowcase dresses for for an orphanage in Mexico and quilts for homeless children in the United States. Each pattern lists the organizations it helped and other organizations to consider. Sewing, stamping, and beadmaking…if you craft, you can help!

On a personal note, when our family had a medical scare I received a blanket for my son from Project Linus. So I ask you all, what organizations have you crafted for or have received crafted items from? Let’s spread the word of craftivism!

~posted by Kara P.

#BookBingoNW2022: Health or Healthcare Workers

Summer Book Bingo 2022 deadline is looming! As Sept. 6 draws near, here are some suggestions for folks trying to fill their Health or healthcare workers square – two novels that imagine the lives of nurses, plus nonfiction about building healthcare infrastructure, reflections on medical advancements, and two books for common health concerns.

The Pull of the Stars by Emma Donoghue
Over three days in Dublin, Ireland during the 1918 flu epidemic, nurse Julia Power works the quarantined maternity ward in an understaffed city hospital where pregnant women with influenza prepare to give birth. (historical fiction)

Lazaretto by Diane McKinney-Whetstone
In Civil War-era Philadelphia, Sylvia works as a nurse-in-training to a local midwife at Lazaretto Hospital, which is an anchor to an African American community. On the night of President Lincoln’s assassination, Sylvia helps deliver the baby of a Black maid, Meda, an event that ties together Sylvia and Meda’s lives. (historical fiction)

Sisters of Mokama by Jyoti Thottam
The true story of six Kentucky nuns who in 1947 traveled to Bihar in northern India to build a hospital, provide necessary medical care, and open a nursing school to train local women. Thottam, of The New York Times, pulls from 20 years of research, 60+ interviews, and the story of her mother, who was one of the young Indian women taken in as a nursing student.

The Hospital: Life, Death, and Dollars in a Small American Town by Brian Alexander
A portrait of a small nonprofit hospital in Bryan, OH that sheds light on health care in America. From fall 2018 through summer 2020, journalist Alexander interviewed hospital personnel, patients, and others to get a full picture of how hospitals survive – or don’t.

Hidden Valley Road by Robert Kolker
Kolker weaves together a biography of the Galvin family of Colorado with the medical history of research into and treatment of schizophrenia. The Galvin’s had 12 children over the course of 20 years, with six of their sons ultimately diagnosed with schizophrenia. As the family coped with the mental illness and the stigma surrounding it, their situation provided scientists with insights into the genetic components of a poorly understood illness.

On Immunity by Eula Biss
In a collection of essays prompted by the birth of her child, Biss digs into immunizations – their development, fears both contemporary and historical, and cultural sea changes. Written in 2014, but very much in conversation with present debates.

Don’t Worry: 48 Lessons on Relieving Anxiety from a Zen Buddhist Monk by Shunmyo Masuno
A book of practical advice on simplifying life and reducing anxiety through Buddhist thought from the head priest of a Zen Buddhist temple in Japan.

How to Sleep: The New Science-based Solutions for Sleeping Through the Night by Rafael Pelayo
After breaking down the biology of sleep, including circadian rhythms and impacts of lack of sleep, Pelayo provides a series of rules to help improve one’s sleep.

Find even more suggestions with our booklist Book Bingo NW 2022: Health or Healthcare Workers

~ posted by Andrea G.

For more ideas for books to meet your Summer Book Bingo challenge, follow our Shelf Talk #BookBingoNW2022 series or check the hashtag #BookBingoNW2022 on social media. Book bingo is presented in partnership with Seattle Arts & Lectures.

New Fiction Roundup – August 2022

August is rich in new fiction options, from a spy thriller, to innovative fantasy, compelling historical fiction, and new books from bestsellers Jamie Ford, Emma Donoghue, Mohsin Hamid, Sarah Addison Allen, and Taylor Jenkins Reid.

8/2: Alias Emma by Ava Glass
For her first assignment as a British spy, Emma Makepeace is charged with protecting a Russian scientist targeted for assassination by the Russian government. Crossing London while trying to avoid all electronic surveillance, Emma realizes the danger may come from all sides. (spy thriller)

8/2: The Book Eaters by Sunyi Dean
On the Yorkshire Moors live a group of people who eat books as food, retaining the content after eating. But not everyone gets the same stories to read, and book eater Devon has been raised on a diet of fairy tales and cautionary stories, leaving her ill prepared when she gives birth to a son with a dark hunger. (fantasy)

8/2: The Devil Takes You Home by Gabino Iglesias
Driven to the edge by his daughter’s illness and medical debt, Mario takes a job as a hitman, and then a final job hijacking a Mexican cartel’s cash shipment where he is faced with monsters, both human and otherworldly. (thriller/horror)

8/2: The Last White Man by Mohsin Hamid
Anders wakes up one morning to find that his skin has turned dark, a transformation that slowly spreads across town in this parable examining race, personal identity, and the short and long-term impacts of widespread change. (general fiction) A Peak Pick!

8/2: The Many Daughters of Afong Moy by Jamie Ford
Follows seven generations of women in a Chinese family over 250 years beginning with Dorothy Moy, who uses art to make sense of her mental health struggles and seeks an effective treatment even as she worries that her daughter may suffer the effects of depression and inherited trauma. By the author of Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet. (general fiction) A Peak Pick!

8/2: Mercury Pictures Presents by Anthony Marra
After emigrating as a child from Italy, Maria works her way up in Hollywood’s Mercury Pictures International, creating a haven for European émigrés fleeing World War II, until a person from her family’s past arrives, forcing her to confront her father’s fate. (historical fiction)

8/2: Mother of Strangers by Suad Amiry
Set in Jaffa between 1947-1951, this novel based on a true story follows teenage sweethearts Subhi and Shams and their lives in the cosmopolitan city, until plans to partition the city into Arab and Jewish states leads to indiscriminate shelling, destruction, and displacement. (historical fiction)

8/2: The Rabbit Hutch by Tess Gunty
In the rundown, post-industrial town of Vacca Vale sits an apartment building on the edge of town, home to older adults and, now, four teenagers who have aged out of foster care. An American portrait, set over the course of one transformative week. (general fiction)

8/2: Shutter by Ramona Emerson
Forensic photographer Rita Todacheene has a secret – she can see crime victim’s ghosts, which point her to essential clues. It’s also an ability that leaves her drained. When the ghost of a supposed suicide forces Rita into a quest for revenge, Rita finds herself on a dangerous path. (mystery) A Peak Pick!

8/9: The Women Could Fly by Megan Giddings
In a world where witches are real and unmarried women over age 30 must register with The State, 28-year-old Josephine Thomas gets the opportunity to fulfill a last request from her mother’s will and explore a different kind of life. (fiction/science fiction)

8/16: Acting Class by Nick Drnaso
Ten strangers uneasy in their lives gather for acting lessons under John Smith, a mysterious leader whose lessons pull the students deeper into explorations of their fears and desires. (graphic novel)

8/16: Lucy Checks In by Dee Ernst
Coming off a bad breakup and disgraceful end to her career as the hotel manager of a swanky New York Hotel, Lucy needs a fresh start. She finds it in Rennes France, at the Hotel Paradis, a charming but run-down building, balancing renovation and possible romance with a local artist. (romance)

8/16: Stories from the Tenants Downstairs by Sidik Fofana
Eight interconnected stories follow the residents of a low-income Harlem high rise threatened by gentrification.

8/23: Afterlives by Abdulrazak Gurnah
2021 Nobel Prize in Literature winner Gurnah returns with a multi-generational saga of displacement, loss, and love set against the colonization of East Africa. (historical fiction)

8/23: Babel by R.F. Kuang
Robin, a Chinese orphan raised in Britain, achieves his goal of training at the prestigious Royal institute of Translation in Oxford, where he learns translation and magic through silver working. When he realizes his skills will be used to advance Britain’s colonial empire in China, Robin’s loyalties are conflicted. (historical fantasy).

8/23: The Undertaking of Hart and Mercy by Megan Bannen
Hart is a marshal who patrols the magical wilds of Tanria; Mercy is an undertaker barely keeping her family business afloat. When Hart writes an anonymous letter addressed simply to “a friend” it gets delivered to Mercy, and soon the two sworn enemies are exchanging letters and falling for one another, just as danger draws near Tanria. (romance).

8/23: Haven by Emma Donoghue
In 7th century Ireland, a priest and two monks found a new monastery on a steep, bare island populated by tens of thousands of birds, where they struggle with harsh living conditions and the nature of faith. By the author of Room. (historical fiction)

8/23: Love on the Brain by Ali Hazelwood
Two scientist archenemies share a lab, collaborate on a project, and discover that their animosity may actually be explosive personal chemistry. (romance)

8/23: My Government Means to Kill Me by Rasheed Newson
Coming of age as a young gay Black man in 1980s new York City, Earl “Trey” Singleton becomes part of a vibrant community creating strong relationships and grappling with the AIDS crisis through community care and activism. (general fiction)

8/30: Carrie Soto Is Back by Taylor Jenkins Reid
Carrie Soto retired as the best tennis player the world had ever seen. Six years later, and Nicki Chan is ruthlessly toppling her records. At 37 years old, Carrie decides to come out of retirement in an effort to reclaim her record in one final, epic season. (general fiction) A Peak Pick!

8/30: Daisy Darker by Alice Feeney
A family reunion in the gothic ancestral house on a tiny island isolated daily by the incoming tide leads to murder. (thriller)

8/30: The House of Fortune by Jessie Burton
In 1705 Amsterdam, 18 year old Thea has an affair with the chief set-painter to Amsterdam’s playhouses, even as her family tries to arrange an advantageous marriage while keeping vital family secrets hidden from Thea herself. A companion novel to Burton’s bestselling The Miniaturist. (historical fiction)

8/30: Murder in Westminster by Vanessa Riley
When Lady Abigail Worthing discovers the dead body of her next door neighbor on her property, she is worried suspicion will fall on her due to her mixed race and her family’s notorious history. She teams up with the other likely suspect, her neighbor’s husband, to investigate. (historical mystery)

8/30: Other Birds by Sarah Addison Allen
Zoey Hennessey travels to the small coastal town of Mallow Island, South Carolina to clean out her deceased mother’s apartment at The Dellawisp. As she meets the quirky neighbors and investigates a long-standing mystery, Zoey discovers the magic around her. (general fiction)

~ posted by Andrea G.

New Picture Book Format Allows Children to Read Along

Our children’s picture book kits have long been a popular way to listen to a book while you read it, but CD players are getting harder to come by for many families. We are excited to introduce a new format, the Read-Along, into our children’s kits collection. These are hardback picture books with an attached MP3 player on the inside front cover that reads the book aloud to you!

You can choose to listen to the books out loud or through your own headphones using the standard headphone plug on the side. These books should be fully charged at check out, but you can also charge them at home with any standard micro USB cable. Continue reading “New Picture Book Format Allows Children to Read Along”

Hit the Reading Trail with 3 Magnolia StoryWalks in August

Follow the signs outside the Magnolia Branch to find the StoryWalk
Follow the signs outside the Magnolia Branch to find the StoryWalk®

With (somewhat) cooler temperatures this week, it’s the perfect time to explore Seattle’s wonderful parks with the young people in your life. In Seattle’s Magnolia neighborhood, rotating StoryWalks® in three locations will be up through August, which means that you can get outside while reading amazing picture books installed along a trail. All featured books are by Native American authors.

If you’re not familiar with StoryWalks®, get ready to experience reading in a new and active way. A StoryWalk® encourages reading, imagination, fitness and exploring your community. Here are the three locations for the StoryWalks®. Continue reading “Hit the Reading Trail with 3 Magnolia StoryWalks in August”