Ch-ch-ch-ch-changes

The song Changes by David Bowie has the lyrics “ch-ch-ch-ch changes (Turn and face the strange) ch-ch-ch-changes” and I’ve been thinking about those words a lot lately.

Life during a pandemic has been difficult and even scary. Many things have changed drastically: schools, businesses and parks are closed, work has been relegated to those who can work from home and some jobs have been flat out eliminated. People are having to stay at home, stay healthy and the changes are happening at a pace that makes my head spin.

Looking back, I regret that I wasn’t more prepared both physically and mentally for this change. When we were required to go home from our work positions at the library, I thought oh well. . . maybe we’ll be closed for a couple of weeks. Boy was I in La-La land. In a way, it was probably better that I didn’t know the extent of all that was going to happen or I wouldn’t have been able to serve the library in a professional manner.

The words I would use to describe this time in history include fear, loss, and grief but also resiliency and empathy. I made a search of the library catalog using the terms Change, Stress, Anger and Resilience to see what items would come up. Here are some of my great finds!

Emotional Agility: Get Unstuck, Embrace Change and Thrive in Work and Life by Susan David.

From the catalog summary: Emotional agility is a revolutionary, science-based approach that allows us to navigate life’s twists and turns with self-acceptance, clear-sightedness, and an open mind. Renowned psychologist Susan David developed this concept after studying emotions, happiness, and achievement for more than twenty years. She found that no matter how intelligent or creative people are, or what type of personality they have, it is how they navigate their inner world—their thoughts, feelings, and self-talk—that ultimately determines how successful they will become.

Something I have personal experience with is the cognitive behavior and freedom technique called Tapping or psychological acupressure. This therapy utilizes meridian points to restore the balance of energy and help resolve physical and emotional issues. Similar to mindfulness, it draws your attention to your body and breathing and serves as a mental distraction from issues causing anxiety or stress. You might ask if it works? Well it didn’t hurt and it gave my something new to try.

If you want to learn more, the library has the ebook The Tapping Solution: a Revolutionary System for Stress-Free Living by Nick Ortner . 

From the catalog summary: In a friendly voice, he lays out easy-to-use practices, diagrams and worksheets that will teach readers, step-by-step, how to tap on a variety of issues. With chapters covering everything from the alleviation of pain to the encouragement of weight loss to fostering better relationships, Ortner opens readers’ eyes to just how powerful this practice can be. 

A memoir that came up in my search that looks really interesting is On Being Human: a Memoir of Waking up, Living Real and Listening Hard by Jennifer Pastiloff. 

From the catalog summary: An inspirational memoir about how Jennifer Pastiloff’s years of waitressing taught her to seek out unexpected beauty, how deafness taught her to listen fiercely, how being vulnerable allowed her to find love, and how imperfections can lead to a life full of wild happiness.

A fourth digital book that came up in my search and looks worthwhile is Change Friendly Leadership: How to Transform Good Intentions into Great Performance by Rodger Dean Duncan.

From the catalog summary: In this radical new book, practitioner Rodger Dean Duncan shows that humanness, approachability, and friendliness are necessary but often overlooked elements of making change successful. Change cannot be achieved by a press release, slogan, or announcement. Effective organizational change requires the active, mindful participation of the people affect.

Things are still changing and will likely never go back to ‘how it used to be’ but together we can strive to make it less painful and frightening by being there for each other and understanding ‘we are all in the same boat.’  

Fairies vs Vampires

Hmmm, should this blog be sweet or gory?

A little while ago, I had a young reader excitedly ask for the Isadora Moon book series. She was so animated while telling me about Isadora, whose mother was a fairy and father was a vampire, and how her favorite colors were pink and black. 

The young reader was such an excellent book-talker, the first in the series made it to the top of my reading list (I believe most librarians have to-be-read lists longer their arm)! The Isadora Moon series by Harriet Muncaster is about a girl who needs to be true to herself and that means not always fitting in where others may expect her to. I love how this relatable theme is shown through the lens of fairy vs vampire.

OK, if you’ve interacted with me before, you knew this was not going to be a gory blog! Check out today’s list of cute downloadable stories, inspired by the Isadora Moon series, combining fairy and vampire characters. The book descriptions are from the Everett Public Library catalog.

Picture Book

Moldilocks and the Three Scares: A Zombie Tale by Lynne Marie

Forget Goldilocks and the three bears—MOLDILOCKS and the THREE SCARES are here, in a delightful new version of the popular story. Papa Scare (a monster), Mama Scare (a mummy), and Baby Scare (a vampire) live in a haunted house where they eat finger sandwiches and alpha-bat soup. One night, they go out to walk their dog (a bloodhound, of course) to let their soup cool down. While they’re away, in walks the zombie Moldilocks, looking for food, a chair, and a bed that’s just right. Kids will love this hauntingly funny story with its surprise ending!

Beginning Chapter Books

Sylva and the Fairy Ball by Margaret McNamara.

With Sylva and the Fairy Ball, Margaret McNamara launches the Fairy Bell Sisters, an enchanting new chapter-book series. The books feature Tinker Bell’s little sisters and are a must-read for lovers of the Rainbow Fairies and Disney Fairies stories. Clara Bell, Golden Bell, Rosy Bell, Sylva Bell, and baby Squeak are fairy sisters who live on Sheepskerry Island. Usually Sylva and her sisters get along just fine–until the week of the Fairy Ball. Sylva has her heart set on going–she’ll get to wear magical diamond wings and walk on beautiful satin ribbons under the stars! But fairies must be at least eight years old to attend, and poor Sylva’s birthday is the day after the ball. But before the night is over, Sylva’s big sisters will need her to come to their rescue. Charming illustrations by Julia Denos bring the world of fairies to life.

Isadora Moon Goes to School by Harriet Muncaster

Meet Isadora Moon! She’s half-fairy, half-vampire and totally unique! Isadora Moon loves sunshine — and nighttime. She loves her magic wand — and her black tutu. She loves spooky bats — and Pink Rabbit. Isadora is half-fairy, half-vampire, and she’s special because she is different!

Now Isadora’s parents want her to start school, but she’s not sure where she belongs — fairy school or vampire school?

Juvenile Fiction

My Fangtastically Evil Vampire Pet by Mo O’Hara

Welcome to Camp Mwhaaa-haa-ha-a-watha! This summer is going to be epic. Epically evil, that is. ‘Cause I’m going to Evil Scientist Summer Camp! No annoying little brothers. No annoying zombie goldfish. Just me, my best friend Sanj, our notebook of evil plans, and my truly evil (and totally forbidden) vampire kitten Fang. We’ve got it all planned out. Okay, so maybe I didn’t expect for the totally not-evil Geeky Girl to show up, or for Sanj to find a new partner to work with, but there’s no way I’m going to let them ruin my summer. Evil Emperor of the Camp, here I come! Signed, The Great and Powerful Mark.

Bunnicula by Deborah Howe

THIS book is written by Harold. His full time occupation is dog. He lives with Mr. and Mrs. X (here called Monroe) and their sons Toby and Pete. Also sharing the home are a cat named Chester and a rabbit named Bunnicula. It is because of Bunnicula that Harold turned to writing. Someone had to tell the full story of what happened in the Monroe household after the rabbit arrived.

It all began when the Monroes went to see the movie Dracula At the theater Toby found something on his seat, a baby rabbit that he took home and named Bunnicula. It proved to be an apt name, at least as far as Chester was concerned. A well-read and observant cat, he soon decided that there was something odd about the newcomer. For one thing he seemed to have fangs. And the odd markings on his back looked a little like a cape. Furthermore, Bunnicula slept from sunup to sundown. He was awake only at night.

When the family started funding white vegetables, drained dry, with two fang marks in them, Chester was sure Bunnicula was a vampire. But what to do about it. None of the family seemed to grasp the trouble, and Chester’s hilarious hints were totally misunderstood.

Was Bunnicula really a vampire? Only Bunnicula knows for sure. But the story of Chester’s suspicions and their consequences makes uproarious reading.

This title is also available as downloadable audiobook!

Juvenile Non-Fiction

Monstrous: The Lore, Gore, and Science behind Your Favorite Monsters by Carlyn Beccia

Could Dr. Frankenstein’s machine ever animate a body? Why should vampires drink from veins and not arteries? What body parts are best for zombies to eat? (It’s not brains.) This fascinating encyclopedia of monsters delves into the history and science behind eight legendary creatures, from Bigfoot and the kraken to zombies and more. Find out each monster’s origin story and the real-world history that informed it, and then explore the science of each creature in fun and surprising ways. Tips and infographics—including monster anatomy, how to survive a vampire attack, and real-life giant creatures of the deep sea—make this a highly visual and fun-to-browse book.

Library Video Highlights

There is no doubt that our patrons (and staff!) miss going to our stellar buildings and accessing all the library has to offer in person. While our locations remain shuttered and quiet for now, there is actually quite a lot going on in the virtual realm here at the library. So much so that you might have missed some of the great content being created by members of the community and staff for you to enjoy.

To help keep you up to date, here are few recent video highlights that you just might want to check out.

If you are feeling crafty, Elizabeth is here to help you create funky figures for all to enjoy.

Fred Cruger, a volunteer at the Granite Falls Historical Museum, gives an interactive demo of the Snohomish County Historic Register Map. A big “thank you” to Fred for sharing his expertise!

We are all about telling stories here at the library. Enjoy a few from our ever expanding selection of stories for children of all ages, read by a diverse cast of characters.

Miss Andrea entertains with an enthusiastic Toddler Storytime all about shapes.

In this Baby Storytime, Miss Emily, her cat Celia and stuffed turkey read Barnyard Dance by Sandra Boynton.

Guest storyteller Officer Vander Lei reads about a Horrible Bear on a police motorcycle no less.

Not to be outdone, fireman Barry Pomeroy tells the story of Fire Truck vs Dragons from the inside of an actual fire truck.

If you want to access more of our video content (and why wouldn’t you?) visit the Everett Public Library YouTube Channel or Facebook video feed. Happy viewing and stay tuned for more!

Feeling Lonely?

Stuck at home and lonely. That’s where a lot of us are right now! Let’s be sure not to confuse alone with lonely. Some people are perfectly happy to be alone to work on what they want. Many avoid being lonely by talking to friends on the phone or through Facebook, Zoom or whichever technology they may be using. Sone others, however, can be in a houseful of people and still feel socially isolated and desperate for human interactions that are outside of their family circle.

Hopefully, you are not alone and have family in the house with you and the ability to “be” with your friends.

Of course, being stuck indoors with family can also be annoying! I think everyone should have their own private space set aside where they can take time out from the world. Perhaps your bedroom with the door shut or even hang out in the laundry room or bathroom. Now may also be the time to institute a ‘quiet hour’ where everyone either naps or sits individually with a book or craft.

I have been looking at Creativebug, which is in our online resources, and have seen a lot of family friendly crafts that are easy to do with stuff you have lying around the house. There was an especially easy weaving project where all you need is some leftover bits of yarn and a piece of thin cardboard from the recycling bin to get you started.

Perhaps you have a yard you can sit in and enjoy. Why not have fun with your family and start a small vegetable or flower garden? Ask Ciscoe: Your Gardening Questions Answered by Ciscoe Morris is a great resource to get you started, and Small Garden Style by Jennifer Blaise Kramer will give you great ideas for making use of the smallest garden spaces such as patios or your deck. Early spring is the perfect time to start a garden. You may also want to see if there is a community garden in your neighborhood or a vacant lot that could become one.

While you may not be able to take a vacation right now, you can enjoy planning a trip. We have many Lonely Planet Travel Guides in ebook format to explore. Pretend you are going to Fiji, the South Pacific, Paris or Berlin! Or you can watch a show on Kanopy and take a virtual trip. On the tab ‘sciences’ under ‘zoology’ there are a number of shows about animals from all over the world. And of course, you won’t need a travel guide if you are sitting in your living room!

No matter what you find to do, it is good to remember that this is all temporary. You may even look back on it eventually and say “remember when we were all stuck at home? I kind of miss that.” Stay safe and healthy!

Loud Music as a Curative

According to 4 out of 5 doctors, isolation can be intensely mind-numbing. Particles called “brain plaque” break free from the grey matter and travel to the eustachian tubes where they lodge securely, literally numbing the brain! The only known remedy is listening to loud, aggressive music. Today’s featured cure? The Woods by Sleater-Kinney.

Emerging from the primordial mists of riot-grrrl-fueled rock and roll, Sleater-Kinney’s members had already shown a penchant (as the kids say) for the louder things in life. In 2005’s The Woods, the band brought a full frontal assault to their fans. And a cure for the isolation blues.

As soon as the needle hits the grooves, the album’s first track, The Fox, attempts to disconnect your medulla oblongata with a nod to classic rock. Titanic, intense (at times screamed) vocals, Moon-esque drums and a generally yuge sound conspire to cure your ills. The brain plaque begins to stir!

Lest we get overstimulated, song #2, Wilderness, starts delicately and grows into itself. The dizzying heights of The Fox are never reached, but a spectre of the late 60s remains with a wild and warped guitar solo (perhaps processed to sound backwards?) and intricate drums. The plaque regains its self-composure.

But tune #3, What’s Mine Is Yours, seals the deal with raw energy, aggressive vocals, psychedelic guitar and an absolutely wild drum solo. Now we see brain plaque on the run!

The remainder of the album features stark contrasts, powerful vocals, complex drum beats, impenetrable walls of sound, crunchiness and pastoral melodies until the final song, Night Light, permanently cures those isolation blues.

I know many of you are thinking, “Steve (which is not my name), how can I get ahold of this fine wax cylinder?” Firstly, let me tell you that certain cylinders have been turned into a series of numbers, or “digitized”, so that you can borrow them from your very own isolation cell. Simply go to the Hoopla app and look through the musical offerings. If you search for Sleater-Kinney you’ll discover that a goldurned plethora of titles are available for checkout.

So hop to it and clear away the brain plaque. In the immortal words of Mr. Guy Lomardo, “A one and-a two…”

Hiking: Real and Virtual

April felt like a very long month. I’m skeptical of my calendar saying it was only thirty days; I think an extra week or two might have been snuck in this year. As essential as it has been to stay home and stay indoors whenever possible, it has been a mental struggle for some (okay, at least for me). With the spring weather showing up my mind kept wandering to the outdoors and what hiking trails I’d like to explore before I remembered that outdoor recreation sites – like so many things – were closed to keep us safe.

Rejoice, though! Starting on May 5th the restrictions on some outdoor activities that can be done safely were relaxed, opening up state lands to hikers – with the expectation that those partaking in recreation activities follow safe social distancing procedures.

So why not check out some of the hiking ebooks we offer to get you ready for your next outdoor adventure?

One of the provisions in the new outdoor recreation guidelines is the request that those who wish to hike try to stay as close to their home area as possible to help reduce the risk of accidental spread of covid-19.

To help you with that, one great book is Take a Walk : 110 Walks within 30 Minutes of Seattle and the Greater Puget Sound. Sorted by city and full of information on nearby trails, parks and nature preserves, this guide has something for everyone who wants some ideas on where to take in some fresh air.

Another great series of trail guides are the Day Hike! books published by Sasquatch Publishing. Each title covers a specific region, such as the Olympic Peninsula, Columbia River Gorge, or probably the most relevant to readers of this blog, the North Cascades. Each hike listed can be done in a day, perfect for a quick getaway without needing to pack a tent (which is good, because camping is still prohibited).

For those seeking a more leisurely stroll instead of something more strenuous, The Creaky Knees Guide, Washington: the 100 Best Easy Hikes offers plentiful suggestions for trails suitable for all ages (including children) and athletic abilities.

Always be sure to check for the latest information before planning a trip to municipal, county, state or federal areas as restrictions may vary.

That said, maybe it’s just best to stay home, relax, and let someone else do the hiking. One of my favorite books is Bill Bryson’s A Walk in the Woods, his humorous memoir of trying to tackle America’s famed Appalachian Trail. Spanning over two thousand miles, there’s plenty of room for eccentric characters and beautiful landscapes, all brought to life by Bryson’s signature wit and keen observations. It’s an enjoyable read and you won’t even need to risk blistered feet, bug bites, or unexpected wildlife encounters to get a laugh.

We also offer a few outdoor related digital magazine titles as well. On Libby you can access issues of Backpacker Magazine, full of trail highlights from around the world, gear reviews, and other articles focusing on trail life, as well as Field & Stream magazine for content more focused on hunting, fishing and outdoorsmanship.

Who Knew?

You may have seen this wonderful viral picture on social media about owls and their long legs. Who knew that’s what was under all those feathers! There are so many things to learn about owls. Did you know that in the Harry Potter series, Harry’s owl Hedwig is a female Snowy Owl. All the owls that played her part in the movies were male.

From the book Snowy Owl Invasion, I learned about a 2013 Snowy Owl irruption, a sudden increase in an animal’s population. Due to the larger number of owls in unusual places, scientists studying these owls found that they flew faster, higher, and further than they thought possible. Sounds like the perfect mail carrying owl for Harry Potter!

Below I have included a list of fantastic owl books, including the non-fiction book Snowy Owl Invasion, and Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. Through the end of May, Pottermore Publishing and Overdrive has given libraries unlimited access to Book 1 in the Harry Potter Series, in downloadable book and audio versions! All book descriptions are taken from the library’s catalog.

Picture Books

Hoot and Peep by Lita Judge
In the night skies above Paris, an adorable young owl teaches her older brother about the power of imagination—and the unconditional love between siblings 

Little Owl’s Night by Divya Srinivasan
It’s evening in the forest and Little Owl wakes up from his day-long sleep to watch his friends enjoying the night. Hedgehog sniffs for mushrooms, Skunk nibbles at berries, Frog croaks, and Cricket sings. A full moon rises and Little Owl can’t understand why anyone would want to miss it. Could the daytime be nearly as wonderful? Mama Owl begins to describe it to him, but as the sun comes up, Little Owl falls fast asleep.

Owl Babies by Martin Waddell
Features an audio read-along! When three baby owls awake one night to find their mother gone, they can’t help but wonder where she is. Stunning illustrations capture the owls as they worry about their mother: What is she doing? When will she be back? Not surprisingly, a joyous flapping and dancing and bouncing greets her return, lending a celebratory tone to the ending of this comforting tale.

Beginning Readers

Rocket Writes a Story a Story by Tad Hills
Rocket loves books and he wants to make his own, but he can’t think of a story. Encouraged by the little yellow bird to look closely at the world around him for inspiration, Rocket sets out on a journey. Along the way he discovers small details that he has never noticed before, a timid baby owl who becomes his friend, and an idea for a story.

National Geographic Readers: Owls by Laura Marsh
In this level 1 reader, young readers will explore the feathery world of adorable owls. Follow these curious-looking creatures through their wooded habitats, and learn how owls raise their young, hunt, and protect themselves. Beautiful photos and carefully leveled text make this book perfect for reading aloud or for independent reading.

Favorite Stories from Cowgirl Kate and Cocoa by Erica Silverman
It’s springtime on the ranch. Cowgirl Kate is excited about the arrival of all the baby animals: a newborn calf, a frisky puppy, and a nest of little barn owls. Her best friend Cocoa the horse is not so excited. Babies are a lot of work! But they are also sweet, as Cocoa and beginning readers will discover in this delightful addition to Green Light Readers. Short sentences and simple dialogue keep newly independent readers engaged and confident.

Beginning Chapter Book

Owl Diaries by Rebecca Elliot
Eva Wingdale gets in over her head when she offers to organize a spring festival at school. Even with her best friend Lucy’s help, there is NO way she will get everything done in time. Will Eva have to ask Sue (a.k.a. Meanie McMeanerson) for help? Or will the festival have to be cancelled? This book is written as Eva’s diary — with Rebecca Elliott’s owl-dorable full-color illustrations throughout!

Juvenile Non-Fiction

Origami Papertainment: Samurai, Owls, Ninja Stars, and More! By Christopher Harbo
From samurai and owls to ninja stars and dragonflies, exciting traditional and original paper folding projects await young origami artists. Organized from easy to challenging, each project includes clear, step by step, photo illustrated instructions that make developing paper folding skills fun. All projects also include creative tips for using and displaying models to impress friends and family.

Snowy Owl Invasion! Tracking an Unusual Migration by Sandra Markle
Late in 2013, snowy owls started showing up in places no one expected to find them—including Florida. What had caused so many of these majestic birds to leave their Arctic home and fly to southern Canada and the United States? Scientists quickly began working to find out. Author Sandra Markle brings together firsthand reports from the scientists involved along with stunning photographs of the owls to explain this rare event, known as an irruption. Follow along as scientists figure out why snowy owls took part in this unusual migration and discover what they learned from the unexpected opportunity to study them up close.

Middle Grade Fiction

Hoot by Carl Hiaasen
Roy, who is new to his small Florida community, becomes involved in another boy’s attempt to save a colony of burrowing owls from a proposed construction site. Unfortunately, Roy’s first acquaintance in Florida is Dana Matherson, a well-known bully. Then again, if Dana hadn’t been sinking his thumbs into Roy’s temples and mashing his face against the school-bus window, Roy might never have spotted the running boy. And the running boy is intriguing: he was running away from the school bus, carried no books, and–here’s the odd part–wore no shoes. Sensing a mystery, Roy sets himself on the boy’s trail. The chase introduces him to potty-trained alligators, a fake-fart champion, some burrowing owls, a renegade eco-avenger, and several extremely poisonous snakes with unnaturally sparkling tails.

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling
Harry Potter has no idea how famous he is. That’s because he’s being raised by his miserable aunt and uncle who are terrified Harry will learn that he’s really a wizard, just as his parents were. But everything changes when Harry is summoned to attend an infamous school for wizards, and he begins to discover some clues about his illustrious birthright. From the surprising way he is greeted by a lovable giant, to the unique curriculum and colorful faculty at his unusual school, Harry finds himself drawn deep inside a mystical world he never knew existed and closer to his own noble destiny.