Fantastic Children's Non-Fiction

When Planet Earth Was New - by James Gladstone & Katherine Diemert -
This starkly beautiful picture book introduces very young readers to the geological history of planet Earth. Beginning with the very early development of the solar system, billions and billions of years ago, 'When Planet Earth Was New' shows the earth as it passes through various geological epochs, through the beginnings and the evolution of organic life, and into the human-dominated present. You'll find a great appendix at the end, giving a wealth of additional details. This little gem is a great way to show your child the basics of geological and biological history, years before they will first learn it in the classroom.

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Pocket Full of Colors: the magical world of Mary Blair, Disney artist extraordinaire -by Amy Guglielmo & Jacqueline Tourville-
The authors chart the course of the life of Mary Blair, the creative talent behind Disney classics like Cinderella and Alice in Wonderland. Mary's creative instincts and professional ambitions collide with gender discrimination in the highly male-dominated work-spaces of mid-century America. Mary perseveres though, and single-handedly drags the Disney Studios from it's black and white past, and into the lush colors of it's storied golden age.

While there is much to love in this slender book, as and adult, my favorite part of 'A Pocket Full of Colors' is how carefully the illustrator captured the various incarnations of Mary's personal style, from Betty Page bangs, to late 50's June Cleaver pearls, and finally into ultra-trendy 60's Mod. This beautifully illustrated, audaciously colorful picture book is a great way to introduce your little one to biographies.

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Yum! MmMm! Qué rico! : Americas' sproutings - by Pat Mora -
Featuring vibrant, warm colors and a playful style, Pat Mora manages to pack an enormous amount of quality content into a tiny little picture book. 'Written as a series of haiku, Yum! MmMm! Qué rico!' teaches kids about the history of many of the great foods that originated in the Americas (chocolate, corn, peanuts, potatoes, and many more). Be sure to check out the fun and informative histories of each food item, always in small print on the left-hand side of every page. Your child will be both educated and entertained.

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Poison : deadly deeds, perilous professions, and murderous medicines - by Sarah Albee -
Written for more advanced readers, this book is sure to satisfy kids with a passion for chemistry, history, spy-craft, or maybe just anything morbid. While the author is careful to state that 'Poison' is not an exhaustive index of poisonous materials, at nearly 200 pages, Sarah Albee manages to cover an enormous amount of ground. Your child will learn about how humans have wrangled with chemistry throughout history, focusing on the where, when, and why of how people have come into contact with dangerous chemical compounds. Be sure to check it out!

New TV Shows @ AADL

The library is always acquiring additional TV shows and new seasons of them, be they popular, new, or classics. Here are some new-to-AADL series that you might want on your list:

Westworld, Season 1
A dark odyssey about the dawn of artificial consciousness and the evolution of sin. Set at the intersection of the near future and the reimagined past, it explores a world in which every human appetite, not matter how noble or depraved, can be indulged. No rules, no laws, no judgment. Live without limits. Based on the film by Michael Crichton. Starring Evan Rachel Wood, Anthony Hopkins, Jeffrey Wright and Ed Harris.

24: Legacy, Season 1
An adrenaline-fueled race against the clock to stop a devastating terrorist attack on United States soil, in the same real-time format that propelled the original genre-defining series.

The Good Place, Season 1
The show follows Eleanor Shellstrop, an ordinary woman who enters the afterlife and, thanks to some kind of error, is sent to the Good Place instead of the Bad Place, which is definitely where she belongs. While hiding in plain sight from Michael, the wise architect of the Good Place who doesn't know he's made a mistake, she's determined to shed her old way of living and discover the awesome, or at least the pretty good, person within. Starring Kristen Bell andTed Danson.

Dark Matter, Seasons 1 & 2
Buried in the black murk of space, a stowed-away crew suddenly awakens from stasis aboard the castaway space ship known as the "Raza". With no memory of their pasts or why they are onboard in the first place, this rag-tag crew has no choice but to roam the frontiers of the galaxy searching for answers. On their voyage they encounter rebel space armies, a zombiefied ship crew, derelict androids, and intergalactic bounty hunters, all attempting to pull the team further from the truth.

Restless, Parts 1 & 2
A young woman finds out that her mother worked as a spy for the British Secret Service during World War II and has been on the run ever since.

American Gods, Season 1
When Shadow Moon is released from prison, he meets the mysterious Mr. Wednesday and a storm begins to brew. Little does Shadow know, this storm will change the course of his entire life. Left adrift by the recent, tragic death of his wife, Shadow is hired as Mr. Wednesday's bodyguard. He finds himself in a hidden world where magic is real, where the Old Gods fear irrelevance and the growing power of the New Gods, and where Mr. Wednesday is building an army to reclaim his lost glory. Starring Crispin Glover and Gillian Anderson.

Marcella, Season 1
An emotionally damaged ex-police detective goes back on the job after her seemingly happy marriage falls apart to investigate a serial killer.

Last Man Standing, Seasons 1-4
Mike Baxter, world voyager and one daredevil of a marketing director ... is about to face his greatest challenge yet-- his family. After Mike's wife, Vanessa ..., receives a promotion at work, Mike must spend more time in his female-dominated household. With years of advice and guidance from their nurturing mother, Mike's three daughters are not prepared for their old-fashioned, hotheaded father to take over. Starring Tim Allen, Nancy Travis.

Fore more TV shows, be sure to check out AADL’s lists for HOT TV shows, as well as NEW TV shows.

2017 Man Booker Prize Winner is also a worthy listen

Narrated by George Saunders, Nick Offerman, David Sedaris and various others
7 Hours and 30 Minutes

Lincoln in the Bardo has just been awarded the 2017 Man Booker Prize. George Saunders is the second US author to receive this honor, and his first novel garnered much publicity and praise upon publication. But have you considered listening to the audio version? Even if you aren’t normally drawn to books on CD, this one is more theatrical production than novel. Read by a cast of some 166 people, many famous voices among them, George Saunders’ story brings to mind Our Town, A Christmas Carol, and As I Lay Dying. The cast does a stellar job in delivering a beautifully read, moving, intelligent, and highly entertaining performance.

Two main plot lines run through Lincoln in the Bardo. Both are suffused with sadness, though there is much humor in the narrations of certain characters from beyond the grave. Many of the voices in this book are residents of The Oak Hill Cemetery, where President Lincoln has interred his son, Willie. They reside in a kind of limbo, “the bardo,” with unfinished business on earth, unaware that they are dead. The chapters alternate between the “action” in the bardo, and the story of the what is happening on the night of Willie Lincoln’s death, as told by Hans Vollman (Nick Offerman), Roger Bevins III (David Sedaris), and the Reverend Everly Thomas (George Saunders). Interspersed with their escapades are chapters focused on the raw grief of a father and his newly departed son. This most poignant story of a man struggling to say goodbye, and his son’s difficulty in letting go of the earth, is particularly moving. Listeners get an inside point of view from Abraham Lincoln himself, burdened with his country’s present agony as well as his own personal bereavement, as "narrated by hans vollman in the body of a. lincoln...
He is just one.
And the weight of it is about to kill me.
Have exported this grief. Some three thousand times. So far. To date. A mountain. Of boys. Someone’s boys. Must keep on with it. May not have the heart for it. One thing to pull the lever when blind to the result. But here lies one dear example of what I accomplish by the orders I …
What to do. Call a halt? Toss down the loss-hole those three thousand? Sue for peace? Become great course-reversing fool, king of indecision, laughing-stock for ages, waffling hick, slim Mr. Turnabout?
...What am I doing.
What am I doing here.
Lord, what is this? All of this walking about, trying, smiling, bowing, joking? This sitting-down-at-table, pressing-of-shirts, tying-of-ties, shining-of-shoes, planning-of-trips, singing-of-songs-in-the-bath?
When he is to be left out here?
Is a person to nod, dance, reason, walk, discuss?
As before?...
Was he dear or not?
Then let me be happy no more."

There are stand-out performances by many, most notably, David Sedaris, Nick Offerman, Julianne Moore as Jane Ellis, Kirby Heyborne as Willie Lincoln, Bill Hader as Eddie Baron and Megan Mullally as Betsy Baron
See more at: Penguin Random House Audio.

After two full run throughs, I had to return Lincoln in the Bardo for the next listener’s wonderment, but I miss the voices of Hans Vollman, Roger Bevins III, the Reverend Thomas Everly, and 163 others.

i carry your heart with me

E.E. Cummings, (Edward Estlin, for those wondering) beloved American poet, was born on this day in 1894. Cummings is most well known for his unique style of poetry, recognizable by his sparing use of words, and his experimentation with form, grammar, and spelling. Often he wrote about love, and arguably his most well known poem is i carry your heart with me. Cummings started writing at a young age, and was quite prolific, having written thousands of poems. For a quick intro, here are 100 selected poems to give you a taste of his distinguished work. For a deeper dive, be sure to check out a copy of the Complete Collected poems. In addition to writing poetry, Cummings wrote multiple non-fiction books including The Enormous Room and Fairytales, as well as a handful of plays, which are available for check out here.

Fabulous Fiction Firsts #656, Women's Fiction Debuts

Something Like Happy is UK novelist Eva Wood's North American debut.

Annie Hebden could really use a break. Thirty-five, divorced, flat-sharing with a messy roommate who parties all night, feeling isolated at a boring desk job and now, she is dealing with her mother Maureen's early-onset dementia. Then, she meets Polly Leonard.

Witnessing Annie's meltdown with the bureaucratic hospital administrator over her mother's care, the bubbly, outlandishly-dressed Polly is determined to take Annie in hand, never mind she has precious little time left with terminal brain cancer. At first reluctant, Annie allows Polly to talk her into joining her mission - instead of counting the days, they will make the next 100 days count.

"Delightful page-turning awaits readers, even with Polly’s inevitable finale. Polly is a wonderful character with a positively infectious attitude—memorable and magnetic, with a healthy dose of gallows humor... Jojo Moyes meets Emily Giffin in this poignant, uplifting tale of the power of friendship and the importance of making the most of each day." (Publishers Weekly)

How to Find Love in a Bookshop by former scriptwriter Veronica Henry is set in the fictional village of Peasebrook, nestled in the Cotswolds.

Emilia Nightingale had no idea what she was in for when she promised her father Julius at his deathbed that she would keep Nightingale Books open. A beloved fixture of the community, Julius was no businessman and it appeared that Nightingale Books has been operating in the red for quite some time. Selling to the eager property developers might be Emilia's only option.

As she struggles with financial woes and tries to find new ways to revitalize the business, Emilia also sees how integral the bookshop is in facilitating relationships throughout the town. Six different love stories emerge - Sarah, owner of the stately Peasebrook Manor uses the book shop as an escape and to meet her secret lover; shy Thomasina, who runs a pop-up restaurant has a crush on a man she met in the cookbook section; a single-father is trying to connect with his son through reading; and Emilia finds herself attracted to the unavailable Marlowe as she takes her father's place in the town’s string quartet.

"A light romantic comedy well-suited for bibliophiles and Anglophiles alike... (that) explores deeper questions of personal choice and the different forms in which love manifests. " (Kirkus Reviews)

For fans of Katie Fforde; Marian Keyes; and Jill Mansell.

TV Spotlight: This Is Us

This Is Us is now airing its second season on NBC, but you might want to start with season one. I have thoroughly enjoyed this show much more than I thought I would, and the buzz around the show is fully warranted. I recommend reading as little about it as you can, and then just dive in. Not knowing much about the premise or the set-up will pay off in the end. So, with that in mind, here's the gist.

The show is about family, relationships, and life. But it's done in such a creative, thoughtful way that interweaves lives and timelines as the season progress. The characters are so lovable, you can't help but root for them as life's challenges come their way. Every episode had me both smiling and crying. The show recently picked up two Emmy Awards for acting and casting, because wow, these actors do an amazing job and there is such chemistry among them on screen.

Three brilliant wordsmiths

As presented in delightfully rendered, craftily composed biographies of wordsmiths for children (of all ages).

Edward Estlin Cummings was born on October 14, 1894 and was raised in Cambridge, Massachusetts by two supportive and creative parents, who introduced Estlin to the wonderful world of words and provided him with the space to use them magically. Estlin’s love of words was illuminated by his passion for drawing and painting, so that the poems he created used words for language and illustration. This very unique style of poetry is well known to any who are familiar with the works of e.e. cummings. In enormous smallness : a story of e.e. cummings, Matthew Burgess details cummings’ childhood and his journey to becoming a poetry pioneer. Kris Di Giamomo’s illustrations are the perfect match to both Burgess’s and cummings’ words. Words appear as pictorial representations of leaves on trees, clouds, the night sky.

cummings was greatly inspired by the outside world that he noticed as a child. So was William Carlos Williams, born in 1883 in Rutherford, New Jersey. Jen Bryant gives us Williams’ story in A river of words: the story of William Carlos Williams. As Williams grew older and had less time for outdoor pursuits, he realized that poetry instilled in him the same feeling as the sounds of the natural world. Unlike cummings, Williams did not find the poetry bursting out of him. He first tried his hand at writing like the famous English poets he had read in school, but found that this style could not convey the images he was seeing in his mind. He put aside rhyme and rhythm and “let each poem find its own special shape on the page.” Williams became a doctor to pay the bills, but often used his prescription pads for jotting down the lines in his head. After each day of work, he wrote to create the poems that are so well known and well loved today, poems about plums and wheelbarrows. Like Di Giamomo, illustrator Melissa Sweet demonstrates that pictures can be made with words.

Bryant and Sweet team up again in The right word : Roget and his thesaurus to give us the story of another great wordsmith. Born in London in 1779, Peter Mark Roget was a collector of words, and because of his accumulation, we have one of the most amazing, breathtaking books there is. The Greek translation of thesaurus is “treasure house,” and there is not a better word within it to describe it. As a child, Roget didn’t have many friends, but he had books, and reading them inspired him to make his own. He organized his words differently from cummings and Williams: he created lists. As he grew older he realized that there was always an ideal word to describe anything and that if those perfect words could all be found in one place, a book sure to provide the best word, than the world would be improved for it. Like Williams, Roget also became a doctor, but it was ultimately his wondrous compendium of words, the “Collections of English Synonyms Classified and Arranged,” that created his legacy. Bryant tells Roget's story in way that exhibits her own admiration for the thesaurus, and Sweet has once again used words as active, cheerful illustrations to show how letters can convey meaning on many levels.

The stories of these three scribes will appeal to word-lovers of any age, even help to create some new ones. And yes, I used a thesaurus to write this. I always do, regularly, repeatedly, and evermore.

Grasping for that grassy green cover...

But then, lo and behold, there was ANOTHER time at the library...with that book you saw on a shelf, with a GREEN cover, that drew you in - but, of course, you had to pass it by in that moment for some unbeknownst reason. Now, if you should find yourself green with envy for that grassy-colored cover, I may have the book for you! I've recently created a list of books that have, or have had, green covers - whether or not their most recent editions have that gorgeous emerald hue, they did at some point! Plus, this list is welcome to all kinds of green covered books...

Whether it be a marshy green of the novel The Marsh King's Daughter, a gawky bright green like The Awkward Age, or perhaps the olive green of Behind the Mask, all green covers are welcome on this compilation list. But this list isn't just for the adults! There's also a wide age range available for the younger reader greedy for the green...

Whether it's from the teen section like Fablehaven, maybe Gary Paulsen's The River, or even Insurgent from Veronica Roth's best-selling Divergent series, this list has a generous collection of green covered pages that you might have left on the shelf. Even the youth may have glazed over a glorious green book resting on it's display, such as The Secret Garden or Evermore Dragon. This list also gives a gateway to the many genres that glisten with glittering green covers at the library...

Maybe you were gleefully grasping through science fiction and found The Best of Ian McDonald or David Hutchinson's Acadie? Could you have gone gallivanting through the Express Shelf and seen My Absolute Darling or found The Essex Serpent? What about the non-fiction readers, who may have glanced through the graceful stacks, gazing at gripping covers glorifying goodly grub for the growing kids or great grammatical rhymes?

This list has ALL THE THINGS (or would like to have) and is growing each day! Please feel free to take a gander, and graciously grumble or gab about other green-covered books you think others may be searching for, so the list gets gargantuan. Just think: someone out there could be looking for a leafy-green book jacket that you've read before - maybe you've got the answer they've been grieving for as they search the grand volumes we have here at AADL. Or perhaps you yourself have getting grumpy in the search, and the book is in this list already!!! Only one way to find out...

We were eight years in power : an American tragedy

Released earlier this week is a new book by Ta-Nehisi Coates entitled We were eight years in power : an American tragedy

Ta-Nehisi Coates is an American author, journalist, comic book writer, and educator. Coates is a national correspondent for The Atlantic where he writes about cultural, social and political issues, particularly as they regard African-Americans. Since his first published book in 2008, Mr. Coates is now considered one of the most influential black intellectuals of his generation. Many will be familiar with his bestseller, Between the World and Me, which won the National Book Awards' top prize for nonfiction in 2015.

His most recent book is a memoir based within a collection of eight essays written during the time of the Obama administration. Mr. Coates weaves a personal history touching on the influence of hip-hop, books he read, and the blog he maintained. Interspersed within the collection of articles are autobiographical essays reflecting on his approach at the time of writing and the optimism felt when Obama began his presidency. New introductions lend insight to his process of writing and further reviewing those ideas once shared with the rest of the world.

The selections include "The Case for Reparations" and "The Black Family in the Age of Mass Incarceration,” an article which further established Coates as a leading writer on the topic of race in America. While the essays draw from a certain period of time, Coates has broadened these ideas with added reflection and insight. Hindsight lends an introspection to where his ideas were coming from and have since grown.

Audio versions of his work are available. Between the World and Me is especially enjoyable as read by the author. His new book is read by Bennett Beresford, narrator of many audiobooks of varied genres, actor of the stage and screen, and is also an award-winning screenwriter.

Fabulous Fiction Firsts #655

One of Entertainment Weekly's 20 Must-Read Books of the Fall and a New York Times Book Review Editors' Choice, The World of Tomorrow * * * * by Brendan Mathews will not disappoint.

Set against the backdrop of the World's Fair, conceived to lift the spirit of city (and the country) out of the gloom of the Depression and promised a peaceful, prosperous "World of Tomorrow," is a sweeping, intricate, and ambitious debut about family, honor, love and betrayal, over the course of one whirlwind week in 1939.

Posing as a Scottish laird, escaped Dublin convict Francis Dempsey and his shell-shocked brother, Michael, are bound for New York on the RMS Britannic, having stolen a small fortune from the IRA. Francis's title and aristocratic bearing impresses his fellow passengers enough that they eagerly welcome him into their rarefied circle once they've reached Manhattan.

Meanwhile, Tom Cronin, a retired assassin living a quiet family life in a farm upstate, is pressed into service one last time - to track the Dempsey brothers down. During the week that follows, the lives of these characters collide spectacularly with big-band jazz musicians, a talented but fragile heiress, a Jewish street photographer facing a return to Nazi-occupied Prague, a vengeful mob boss, and the ghosts of their own family's revolutionary past.

"From the smoky jazz joints of Harlem to the opulent Plaza Hotel, from the garrets of vagabonds and artists in the Bowery to the backroom warrens and shadowy warehouses of mobsters in Hell's Kitchen, Brendan Mathews brings the prewar metropolis to vivid, pulsing life." (Library Journal)

"With the wit of a ’30s screwball comedy and the depth of a thoroughly researched historical novel, this one grabs the reader from the beginning to its suspenseful climax." (Publishers' Weekly)

Fans of Brooklyn by Colm Toibin; Rules of Civility by Amor Towles; and Netherland by Joseph O'Neill would not want to miss this.

* * * * = 4 starred reviews

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