Fabulous Fiction First #595 “Because the greatest part of a road trip isn’t arriving at your destination. It’s all the wild stuff that happens along the way.” ~ Emma Chase

Dodgers * * a debut by Bill Beverly (a Kalamazoo native) is "a dazzling crime novel that’s equal parts coming-of-age tale à la Salinger’s The Catcher in the Rye and travelogue à la Kerouac, that is sure to appeal to fans of Richard Price or The Wire."

15 year-old East(on) runs a crew of look-outs for a drug gang in LA. He is quiet, watchful and respected until an innocent by-stander is killed in a police raid. In the aftermath, he is sent, with three other young men (one of them his younger brother Ty), to kill a witness set to testify against the big boss.

Dressed in LA Dodgers' gear to better fit in with the surroundings, they head to Wisconsin where the witness is hiding. The journey takes East out of a city he has never left and into an America that is entirely alien to him, while calling on his cool resolve to handles problems and personalities both inside and outside the van. Eventually, this bloody journey becomes one of self-discovery and, ultimately, salvation for East.

"...a searing novel about crime, race, and coming-of-age, with characters who live, breathe, and bleed" that is surprisingly, utterly engaging.

Daredevils * * by Shawn Vestal, the winner of 2014’s PEN Robert W. Bingham Prize is an unforgettable story of desire and escape.

Set against the backdrop of Evel Knievel's famous Snake River Canyon Jump, 15 year-old Loretta, brought up in a strict Mormon household in Short Creek (AZ), is caught on one of her nocturnal trips slipping out of her bedroom window for boys and booze. Promptly married off as a "sister wife" to Dean Harder, a feed-store owner, she catches the eye of Jason, Dean’s 17 year-old nephew, a Knievel-worshiper, who longs to leave his close-minded community.

Together, they make a break for it, with Boyd, Jason's friend tagging along. Dizzy from a burst of teenage freedom, things take a decidedly dicey turn when they meet someone that might be the Daredevil himself. But greed - Loretta's for Dean's cache of “Mormon gold” might prove to be their ultimate undoing.

"(A) fascinating, wide-angle portrait of a time and place that’s both a classic coming of age tale and a plunge into the myths of America, sacred and profane."

"Vestal's narrative is punctuated with imagined monologs from Knievel, raucous addresses that at first seem random but come by the thrilling conclusion to enrich the scope of this heartfelt and finely observed debut." For those who enjoyed The 19th Wife by David Ebershoff and The Lonely Polygamist by Brady Udall.

* * = 2 starred reviews

Download of the Day: April 29

Murder on the Ballarat Train - Kerry Greenwood

Bold and beautiful detective Phryne Fisher must summon all her resourcefulness to solve the mystery of choloformed passengers, missing jewels, and a rowing team who may not be all they seem.

Looking for more great things to download? Try going to our Downloads page for music, books, videos, podcasts, even patterns! And check out the Download of the Day every day for more great recommendations from AADL!

Want to find out about next week's Download of the Day TODAY? And get a whole heap of bonus DotD points in the process? Start playing the Lowdown of the Day! Follow the clues to figure out the item ahead of time. And the first find gets the most points, so move fast!

Meet 2016 “It’s All Write!” Judge #6: Tracy Bilen!

Tracy Bilen is the YA author of What She Left Behind, the story of sixteen-year-old Sara, whose mother goes missing before they can move to a new town to escape Sara's physically abusive father. Ms. Bilen is a high school French and Spanish teacher in Michigan, where she lives with her husband and children. Tracy studied at the Sorbonne in Paris and taught Spanish at a high school ski academy. She loves biking, traveling, and red velvet cake. When asked about her favorite word, Tracy declared, “Plethora. Because it’s the first fancy word I ever learned. I don’t ever say it out loud, but I THINK it a lot.”

Want to learn more about Tracy Bilen's favorite things and get some advice on starting out as a writer? Check out her blog and stay tuned for more information about the “It’s All Write!” Teen Short Story Contest Judges!

Come see the new fairy door in the Downtown youth area!

Visitors to the Downtown Library in recent months might have noticed that the fairy door area was “under construction.” Just this week we installed a BRAND NEW fairy door and fairy door fans of all ages will definitely want to come check it out! Located in the same spot as the old fairy door, in the Downtown Youth Department, this new door is super special. You can peek inside to see an adorable scene with a tiny desk, fairy-sized chairs and pillows and little books. There’s even a cute hanging plant—in a thimble, of course! And, this fairy door has a special light that allows you to really see the details that make it so special. Each time you look inside, you’ll notice things that you hadn’t before—like how the walls are papered with dozens of images from old books. The new fairy door is really a treat—come see for yourself!

Sizzlin' Craftin' With Sizzix

Maybe you’ve checked out the Sizzix Big Shot machines from the circulating tools collection at the library, and are looking to explore more. These books have some great ideas!

Upcycle With Sizzix offers techniques and ideas for using the die-cutting and embossing machines to repurpose and reuse just about anything, and offers oodles inspiration. Cards That Wow With Sizzix shares creative ways to cut, fold, and embellish your handmade greeting cards. Time to get making! And be sure to look into the Sizzix machines that you can check out with your library card!

PreK Bits - "L" is for little (and LARGE)

Ms. Rachel and Ms. Allison brought stories about little creatures you may never see.
BIG little is a sorting activity to show size differences.
A BED JUST SO has a "Hudgin" who won’t let the Tailor sleep.
“The Goblin Story” is one story in the beginning Reader LITTLE BEAR’S VISIT.

For more stories of teeny tiny very little creatures try these favorites (note: where there is something little, there is also something LARGE):
The HINKY PINK ... a different version of the "Hudgin story" above.
TEENY TINY by Jill Bennett.
DIG IN! … for little things you find when you dig down in the ground.
HORTON HEARS A WHO by Dr. Seuss ... after all ... a Who needs to be heard too.
IMAGINE YOU’RE A FAIRY ... don't forget your wings!
HOME SWEET HOME: a little book of fairy dwellings that have been made by people.
The ELVES And The SHOEMAKER ... when you need a bit of magic.
LITTLE HOUSES: a counting book by Helen Musselwhite.
SUCH A LITTLE MOUSE by Alice Schertle.

Asked and Answered Tips for Feeding Baby

If you have a little one, infant through toddler, AADL has an awesome new resource for you to check out! The Pediatrician's Guide To Feeding Babies & Toddlers is hip, comprehensive, and super approachable. Breaking your child's age into three month segments, each chapter addresses developmental milestones, nutrition guidelines, expected growth, and medical concerns in an easy to follow Q & A format. It answers all the questions you never thought to ask.

Topics are as diverse as how to raise your baby as a vegetarian, and spend time addressing numerous allergies. For the do-it-from-scratch mom, there are tips on preparing your own baby food. On debatable topics (such as when to introduce solids) multiple sides are presented, giving you all the facts you need to make your own decision. With easy to follow charts, and "Real Life Parenting" stories about the struggles all moms share, this read is not only informational, but fun. My favorite part is the age-appropriate recipes at the end of each chapter that will pass the bar for the most health-conscious mother, and the most taste-conscious little one. Dairy Free Sweet Potato Pudding anyone?

Click here for more great AADL resources on feeding baby.

New adult fiction for Adriana Trigiani fans: Rare Objects

Kathleen Tessaro, bestselling author of 2013’s The Perfume Collector, presents readers with a compelling new novel in a fascinating setting: Depression-era Boston. In Rare Objects, first generation Irish immigrant Maeve Fanning is determined to better herself despite the hardships that surround her due to the Great Depression. She’s smart, curious and imaginative, but also has a fondness for strange men and bootleg alcohol, vices which ultimately lead her to a stint in a psychiatric hospital. While there, she strikes up a friendship with a woman who—like Maeve—cannot quell her desire for unladylike freedom.

When Maeve is released from the hospital, she starts over again in Boston, working at an antique shop patronized by the city’s wealthiest and most unusual citizens. One of these customers is none other than Diana, the woman that Maeve befriended at the hospital. Reunited, Maeve becomes increasingly entwined in the life of Diana and her family, and she is drawn into a world of deceit and moral ambiguity. How far is she really willing to go to “better” herself?

Tessaro paints an enticing and accurate picture of 1930s Boston, and her characters are vivid and alluring. Fans of Anita Diamant’s The Boston Girl and Adriana Trigiani’s The Shoemaker’s Wife won’t want to miss Rare Objects.

Carrots! Rabbits!

Today at storytime Ms. Amanda told the story of Carrot Soup! It’s a favorite to tell. And if you give a storyteller some carrots, chances are she’ll think of rabbits and other rabbit stories. Here are a few new gems!

Too Many Carrots features more carrots than you’ve ever seen in a picture book. But the rabbit in the story LOVED carrots, so much in fact, that they took over his house and he couldn’t fit in! He called on some friends to help and things end up in a heap up of trouble that's taller than the carrots. It’s a cute story about friends and sharing with lovely pictures and LOTS of carrots that kids will enjoy reading.

Another sweet new picture book is The Wonderful Habits of Rabbits. This one is a bit gentler, with a rhyming story all about rabbit’s favorite things to do. Like seeing the sunrise, smelling flowers, swimming, hopping, eating carrots, and more. It’s purely delightful with delicate images to match the words.

Fabulous Fiction First #594 “The true cost of war can't be measured in dollars, infrastructure, or body counts. It is tomorrows, wrung out of hope by yesterdays that refuse to retreat, vanish into the smoke of memory.” ~ Ellen Hopkins

The Translation of Love * * * by Lynne Kutsukake is a story of loyalty and identity, family and friendship, love and loss set in American occupied Japan at the end of World War II.

Bitter over their internment at a Canadian internment camp, 13 year-old Aya Shimamura and her widowed father chose to allow the government to "deport" them to Japan once they learned that they would be barred from returning home to Vancouver. They were however, ill-prepared for what awaited them in war-devastated Tokyo.

While her father struggles to find work, Aya, the "repat girl" is bullied at school for being foreign and unable to speak Japanese. Her chief tormentor, a willful girl named Fumi Tanaka relents once she realizes Aya, being fluent in English, could be enlisted to help find her missing older sister Sumiko by writing to General MacArthur. It doesn’t take long before the two develop a tenuous friendship.

Aya's letter lands in the reluctant hands of Corporal Matt Matsumoto, a Japanese American whose job is to translate the thousands of letters the General receives each week. Meanwhile, the girls' English teacher Mr. Kondo moonlights in "Love Letter Alley" where he writes and translates letters between the Ginza bar girls and their GI boyfriends. After fruitlessly waiting for results for some weeks, Fumi and Aya decide to take matters into their own hands, venturing into the dark and dangerous underside of Tokyo’s Ginza district, where the interlocking storylines and the search of Sumiko converge.

"The Translation of Love mines this turbulent period to show how war irrevocably shapes the lives of people on both sides—and yet the novel also allows for a poignant spark of resilience, friendship, and love that translates across cultures and borders to stunning effect." An excellent choice for readers who loved Jamie Ford's The Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet, and When the Emperor Was Divine by Julie Otsuka.

Meticulously researched, Lilac Girls * by Martha Hall Kelly is based on the true story of three women affected by the horrors of Ravensbruck, Hitler's all-female concentration camp.

Manhattan, 1939. Caroline Ferriday, a former debutante and a Broadway actress volunteers at the French consulate in New York, assisting refugees, raising funds while, against her better judgment, getting involved with Paul, a charming (and married) French actor. Across the Atlantic, as Hitler invades her hometown of Lublin, Kasia Kuzmerick (loosely based on Nina Iwanska), a Catholic teenager joins the resistance until she is captured and sent to Ravensbruck. There, she encounters Herta Oberheuser, a Nazi doctor assigned to help execute inmates and perform medical experiments on prisoners, including Kasia. These women, many permanently maimed become known as the “Rabbits.”

Caroline, tasked with keeping track of the concentration camp network for the consulate, learns about the "Rabbits" and travels to Europe after the war to strive to bring justice to those whom history has forgotten.

"(Kelly) vividly evokes not only the horrors of the gruesome experiments but also the painful realities of trying to survive them and the difficult search for justice and closure afterward." Will appeal strongly to historical fiction readers who enjoyed Kristin Hannah The Nightingale and Anthony Doerr's All the Lights We Cannot See.

* * * = 3 starred reviews
* = starred review

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