The Transformative Power of Paper

by Ellery Adams

Whenever someone mentions summer craft activities, I remember my days as a camp counselor. I taught art classes for several summers to kids of all ages, and one of the challenges each year was getting my hands on cost-effective materials. I soon discovered that paper, in all its forms, is versatile and inexpensive, making it the perfect summer craft material.

In Paper Cuts, a Secret, Book, and Scone Society mystery, I describe a fictional young boy with a penchant for origami. The main character, bookstore owner Nora Pennington, recommends a few origami books to fan the boy’s passion. Here’s a list of titles:

Books for Young Origami Lovers

The Origami Yoda Series by Tom Angleberger

Origami for Kids by Mila Montevecchi

Easy Dollar Bill Origami (and many more titles from the Dover Origami Papercraft series)

My First Origami Kit by Joel Stern

Origami is a great craft for a rainy summer day. Origami projects can be very simple or extremely complex. Folding paper is one way to transform it into something new and different, but why stop there?

A run-of-the mill paper boat can be elevated by adding colorful paper sails to a twig raft. A paper plate and popsicle stick can be turned into a fan. Cut a piece of cardboard into a house shape and cover it with peanut butter and birdseed. Hang these on a tree to attract the local birds. Use four craft sticks and pieces of bright tissue paper to make a suncatcher.

Paper can be cut into summery shapes like bugs, fruit, or ice cream cones and hung from strings to make a mobile. Patterned paper makes a pretty pinwheel. Toilet paper rolls can be transformed into dragonflies, butterflies, or a pair of binoculars.

Adults can use paper as creative expression too. How about creating your own coloring book or an illustrated storybook to read aloud to your favorite child? Cut cardstock into even strips, decorate, and laminate. Just like that, you’ve made a set of bookmarks.

Maybe this is the summer you start journaling. Or maybe you bind recipes together into a family cookbook to hand out at a reunion or get-together. You might even make red, white, and blue paper chains to decorate for an Independence Day party. 

No matter what you decide to do, just remember that you have the power to transform paper into so many beautiful things. So, pour a big glass of lemonade and get ready to relax, revive, and let your inner artist shine like the summer sun.

Miracle Springs, North Carolina, is famed for its healing springs. But bookstore owner Nora Pennington has a tendency to land in a different kind of hot water. Though she loves to practice bibliotherapy by finding the perfect books for her customers while listening to their secrets, she also likes to bury her nose in the occasional local crime . . .

Nora escaped her past a decade ago. So it feels like a visit from another world when Kelly Walsh—the woman her ex-husband left her for—walks through the door of Miracle Books along with her son. Kelly hasn’t come to gloat, though. As it turns out, she’s been dumped too. She’s also terribly ill, and all she wants from Nora is forgiveness.

Shockingly, however, this woman who’s been the victim of so much misfortune is about to become a murder victim. Who would do such a thing? Certainly not Nora, but that doesn’t stop the gossip and suspicion—especially after Kelly’s brother claims that he saw the two women arguing.

In seeking justice for Kelly, The Secret, Book, and Scone Society joins forces with the sheriff’s department, but they’ve barely begun their probe when life throws another wrench. After serving a twenty-year sentence, Estella’s father returns to Miracle Springs. And when his past comes back to haunt him, it might be more than the four friends can handle.