Download of the Day: April 20


Summer Suite, Vol One - Chad Lawson

Uptempo jazz piano with just enough percussion to keep your foot tapping.

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!

The Lion and the Bird

The Lion and the Bird is a beautiful picture book written and illustrated by Marianne Dubuc and published by Enchanted Lion Books. They are creating some of the most wonderful books lately and the illustrations in this book are no exception. It’s a gorgeous book that tells the story of friendship through the seasons.

Lion is working in his garden when he hears a sound. He soon finds an injured bird that he decides to care for. Since Bird can’t fly with an injured wing he stays with Lion all winter long and they become the best of friends. Then spring arrives, and with the warm season comes more birds. Lion knows that Bird must fly off with them. As the seasons change and autumn arrives, the birds start to fly off for winter. But what about Bird? Where will he go? You can only guess.

IAW 2015 Get to Know the Judges: Dan Wells


Leading up to the It's All Write Teen Short Story Contest celebration on June 7 (mark that on your calendar!), we'll be posting information about the judges who have the difficult task of narrowing down our contestants. Our next judge is Dan Wells.

An avid reader and rabid gamer, Wells writes in a variety of genres, from dark humor to science fiction to supernatural thrillers. He grew up in the United States and spent copious amounts of time at his local library as a child. Although he didn't read much horror and didn't expect to write it, Wells somehow ended up doing just that, evidenced in his first book about teenage sociopath John Cleaver in I AM NOT A SERIAL KILLER (2009). He is also the author of the young adult dystopian science fiction series called the Partials Sequence, starting with PARTIALS(2012) and followed by and FRAGMENTS and RUINS (2014). This series follows the teenage medic-in-training Kira Walker, who lives on the ravaged eastern seaboard of the US after a war between humans and an engineered race of organic beings that look human devastates the globe. North American survivors of the war and of the weaponized virus RM have gathered on Long Island to recover, but time is running out. Immunity to the virus has not been born into the human race in over a decade, and their numbers are dwindling. Kira must take it upon herself to save her people, discovering secret connections along the way between humans and Partials. PARTIALS ultimately must ask: What does it mean to be human?

Wells co-hosts (with author Brandon Sanderson, webcomic creator Howard Tayler, and author/puppeteer Mary Robinette Kowal) a weekly podcast about writing called "Writing Excuses." A list of his favorite things includes the movie Mary Poppins, the book Perfume by Patrick Suskind, and the word "defenestrate."

Fabulous Fiction Firsts #525 - “At some point you have to stop running and turn around and face whoever wants you dead. The one thing is finding the courage to do it.” ~ Suzanne Collins

The Fire Sermon * * * by award-winning poet Francesca Haig has been billed as The Hunger Games meets The Road - a richly imagined first novel in a new post-apocalyptic trilogy, and is poised to become the next must-read hit.

Four hundred years after a catastrophic nuclear fire destroyed much of Earth and its civilization, genetic mutation dictates that each human is born with a twin. Of each pair, one (an Alpha) is physically perfect, the other (an Omega) is burdened with some form of deformity. While the Alphas are designated as the ruling class, the Omegas are branded and banished to strictly controlled colonies. For all their superiority, Alphas cannot escape one harsh fact: whenever one twin dies, so does the other.

Cass is a rare Omega, one burdened with psychic foresight. While her twin, Zach, gains power on the Alpha Council, she dares to dream the most dangerous dream of all: equality. For daring to envision a world in which Alphas and Omegas live side-by-side as equals, both the Council and the Resistance have her in their sights.

"Haig's prose is gorgeous and engaging, particularly when she describes the desolate landscape, now peppered with ruins from the Before. Fans of dystopias will appreciate this adventure-filled yet character-focused tale that offers hope and explores (in a refreshingly nuanced way) the moral complexities involved in defeating an oppressive and backward government structure."

A great addition to the recent crop of dystopian novels.

* * * = 3 starred reviews

Download of the Day: April 19


Black Beauty - Anna Sewell

A horse in nineteenth-century England recounts his experiences with both good and bad masters.

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!

Download of the Day: April 18


The Shapes That Shift Us - Brad Senne

Atmospheric, folky indie rock that sometimes recalls M. Ward, sometimes Sea Change-era Beck.

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!

Gardening with Kids

It's Spring! It's National Gardening Month! It's even almost Earth Day! Perfect time for the whole family to start or nurture a garden together! Gardening with kids is a fun, engaging activity that encourages learning and exploration, building quality relationships, and creating something rewarding. Check out these books for ideas about gardening with youngsters, from toddlers on up:

Gardening Lab for Kids: Fun and easy projects - plant seeds, plan your garden, and make things for your garden (tool totes, rain gauges, stepping stones, terrariums, and way way more!). A beautiful layout and page design makes this an extra good choice for inspiration.

Roots, Shoots, Buckets & Boots: Ever heard of a sunflower house? And what's a pizza patch?? A bean tunnel sounds fun! This highly recommended book will help the family create inspiring, kid-friendly garden spaces and special projects! Illustrated with colorful drawings by the author.

Fairy Garden Handbook: Fairy gardens are a big hit with all ages these days. Why not get a wee one to help make one?! Those little imaginations can run wild with these fairy garden projects and tips. Beautiful photos accompany the text.

The Family Kitchen Garden: A practical guide to growing a garden with the whole family. This book is full of the info adults need to make a successful kitchen garden, while also including guidance on choosing plants, tools, and tasks that make sense for kiddos. Perfectly balanced for creating a functional garden that includes the whole family in a meaningful way.

Ready Set Grow!: Each simple, fun, and colorful spread features a different project, plant, or tip for the garden. Very easy to follow along step-by-step.

Grow It, Cook It: Bright photos for each step of growing edible plants, and then cooking with them, will engage youngsters who are ready to try something new. Recipes include cute tomato eggplant towers, mini pumpkin pies, scrumptious chocolate mint mousse, and more.

A Fine Dessert: a "treat" of a story!

What a charming and special new book! A Fine Dessert, by Emily Jenkins and Sophie Blackall, tells the story of four families in four different centuries who are all making the same delicious dessert. The ingredients for the yummy treat, blackberry fool, remain the same over the years, but the methodology for getting the materials and making the dessert changes with the times.

In the 1700s, a girl and her mother collect blackberries and then whip cream by hand from the milk from their cow. In the 1800s, a slave family in Charleston, South Carolina, picks blackberries from the plantation garden and uses a whisk made by the local blacksmith to whip the cream. In Boston in the early 1900s,a girl and her mother buy blackberries from the market and use pasteurized cream delivered by the milkman that morning. And in modern day San Francisco, a boy and his dad buy blackberries and cream at the grocery store, print a recipe from the Internet and use an electric mixer to whip the cream.

The authors do an amazing job of depicting both the similarities and differences between the families and lifestyles over time. They manage to weave in some bigger topics (slavery, gender roles) in a subtle way and provide great historical portraits of each of the time periods. And, the best news is, the recipe for blackberry fool is included at the end of the book!

Yum!

Download of the Day: April 17


Canto Y Danza - Chambure Vihuela Quartet

For authentic Spanish Renaissance polyphony, you can't do much better than this quartet.

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!

Fabulous Fiction Firsts #524 "There are cities that get by on their good looks, offer climate and scenery, views of mountains or oceans, rockbound or with palm trees; and there are cities like Detroit that have to work for a living..." ~ Elmore Leonard

Called a "powerful, timely debut" The Turner House * * by Angela Flournoy is especially poignant for readers in Southeast Michigan.

Set in Detroit's East Side, it is the story of an American family spanning five decades, from the Second Great Migration in the 1940s to the present, weathering the series of boom-and-bust associated with the auto industry and the history of the city.

Francis and Viola Turner raised all thirteen of their children in the house on Yarrow Street. Now widowed and ailing, Viola is forced to head to the suburbs and move in with Cha-Cha (Charles), her eldest. The house, once a proud symbol of working-class respectability, now stands among abandoned lots and urban plight, and is worth just a tenth of its mortgage. The Turner children must gather to decide its fate.

Narrating the family saga are Cha-Cha, who feels the full burden of being both father and brother to his 12 siblings; Troy, a former vet and a disillusioned policeman, wants to illegally short sell the house; and Lelah, the youngest daughter whose gambling addiction has cause her her job, her apartment, maybe even her family, finds it necessary to squat in the Yarrow Street house unbeknownst to her siblings.

"The Turner House brings us a colorful, complicated brood full of love and pride, sacrifice and unlikely inheritances. It's a striking examination of the price we pay for our dreams and futures, and the ways in which our families bring us home."

"Flournoy's writing is precise and sharp..., the novel draws readers to the Turner family almost magnetically. A talent to watch."

The author, a graduate of the Iowa Writers' Workshop and a former librarian, grew up on the west coast but spent time throughout her childhood at her grandparents' home on Detroit's East Side. She will be at the Chelsea District Library on Saturday, April 25th as part of the Midwest Literary Walk. Click here for details and other near-by opportunities to meet the author.

* * = 2 starred reviews

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