Audiobook for Kids: Spunky Girl Detective

Have you ever wanted to solve a mystery?

Well, in Sammy Keyes and the Hotel Thief by Wendelin Van Draanen, thirteen-year-old Sammy has no intention of becoming a detective until she happens to see a theft at the hotel across the street… and the thief sees her too. And she thought starting seventh grade was her biggest worry! Now Sammy is dodging the police, trying to outsmart a thief and hiding out from a suspicious neighbor, all while navigating the treacherous world of junior high.

This excellent audiobook series continues with Sammy Keyes and the Skeleton Man, Sammy Keyes and the Sisters of Mercy, Sammy Keyes and the Runaway Elf, Sammy Keyes and the Curse of Mustache Mary, Sammy Keyes and the Hollywood Mummy, Sammy Keyes and the Search for Snake Eyes, Sammy Keyes and the Art of Deception, Sammy Keyes and the Psycho Kitty Queen and Sammy Keyes and the Dead Giveaways.

Fans of spunky, modern girl detectives may also wish to check out these audiobooks: Gilda Joyce: Psychic Investigator by Jennifer Allison, Down the Rabbit Hole by Peter Abrahams and Shakespeare’s Secret by Elise Broach.

Voyage to Kazohinia


Finally seeing a wider publication, Voyage to Kazohinia by Sandor Szathmari, should be a highly revered classic but has never received its well-deserved due (at least in the English language) until now. It was originally published in Hungary in 1941, then in Esperanto in 1958, and had a very small, limited release in an English translation in the 1970s. But New Europe Books has given it a 4th life and a wider distribution, which I hope brings it more readers. Often compared to Gulliver’s Travels meets Brave New World with a touch of 1984 to boot, Voyage is the story of one, Gulliver, stranded on an island populated by two very different societies. The one he initially finds himself amongst are the Hins who, on the outset, seem to live in a utopia: no politics, no war, no starvation, and no disease. They enjoy a high standard of living for all, and no need for money since production is based on need. But there is a flip side: no art, no casual conversations (they only talk about rational needs), no sense of history (everything is about the here and now), no love, and no individuality (everyone wears the same style of dress for instance). It becomes unbearable as lack of conversation and loneliness take hold, so Gulliver decides to live with the Behins, who he has heard have feelings, in their walled off community. The Hins refer to them as “madmen” and he will soon discover why. This is satirical writing at its best. It will make you think about all the odd societal conventions as well as the political institutions that civilization hath wrought.

The 41st Annual Dance for Mother Earth Powwow is this Saturday & Sunday

This weekend, April 6th & 7th, the 41st Annual Dance for Mother Earth Powwow will be held in Ann Arbor at the Crisler Center. The event is hosted by the Native American Student Association at the University of Michigan, and will feature an amazing display of singers, dancers, drummers, artisans, and food vendors.

I had the opportunity to attend this massive Powwow last year, and was blown away by the the turnout; The Mother Earth Powwow attracts people from all over the country, and is the largest Powwow held in the Midwest. The drum circles, dancing, and beautiful traditional dress created a wonderfully energetic atmosphere. In addition, the food was delicious; I tried the buffalo burger on the Native American staple, fry bread. You can’t go wrong there.

Powwows are commonly known as large gatherings that “Native American people use as a place to meet, dance, sing and otherwise renew and strengthen their rich culture. The Ann Arbor Powwow is one of the largest university-run pow wows in the country, with more than 1,000 of North America's greatest singers, dancers, artists and craftspeople.” For more information about what Powwows are all about, check out this fabulous information page on the U of M’s website, or read about Powwow’s and Native American History in the AADL’s catalog. In addition, if you’d like to sample some of the music you might hear at the Mother Earth Powwow, the AADL also has a large collection of Native American Music.

This is an event that only happens once a year, and is not to be missed! Doors will open at 10:30am and grand entries will be at 12pm on both Saturday & Sunday. Admission ranges from $10 for adults, with discounts for students, seniors, families, and children. For more information be sure to check out the official information page, as well as the event schedule. See you there!

DIY Instruments

Friday, April 5 | 1 - 2 pm | Downtown Library | Grade 3 - 8

Learn how to make musical instruments out of household items, such as a Bee Buzzer out of popsicle sticks and rubber bands and a Brazilian Laughing Cup (aka Cuica) out of a paper cup and a paper clip. Also try making a didgeridoo, a sound sandwich, and a straw oboe!

There will be several items from the AADL's new Music Tools collection available for playing as well as for checkout.

This event is for grades 3 - 8.

Tunes 'n' Tales By Tricia

Monday, April 1 | 10 - 11 am | Malletts Creek | Preschool - Grade 3

Tricia Kjolhede is an amazing entertainer with years of classroom experience and knowledge of child development. She doesn't perform FOR kids; she performs WITH kids! Tricia brings music and movement, allowing for differing learning styles, many opportunities for self expression, and a chance for all to develop self confidence. She uses songs that make playtime learning time too.

Explore the fun of musical expression with Tricia at Tunes 'n' Tales!

High-Seas Audiobook Adventure for Teens

One of the best things about listening to an audiobook is hearing the story in the character’s voice. In L. A. Meyer’s Bloody Jack: Being an Account of the Curious Adventures of Mary “Jacky” Faber, Ship’s Boy, narrator Katherine Kellgren reads with a strong Cockney accent that brings the heroine dramatically to life.

After she is reduced to begging on the streets of London, teenager Mary Faber takes a chance at a new life by disguising herself as a boy, Jacky, and joining a British warship on the hunt for pirates. Things become even more complicated when she falls in love with fellow ship’s boy Jaimy and becomes the target of unwanted advances from another sailor. There’s plenty of adventure, romance and scares in this award-winning audiobook.

The audiobook series continues with Curse of the Blue Tattoo, Under the Jolly Roger, In the Belly of the Bloodhound, Mississippi Jack, My Bonny Light Horseman, Rapture of the Deep, and The Wake of the Lorelei Lee.

LISTEN!! Digital Music News: Chill Out, Revisit the 80s, Love Some Lute, Win A Blue Ribbon

YOU can access almost 1,000 digital music albums directly through our AADL.org catalog. Stream or download as much as you like, DRM free, on any device you choose. No waiting for a copy. No due dates. Hooray!

JAZZ / FUNK
Made of Wood: Chillout Funk
"The Chill Funk Trip" is an album of groove-laden chilled out sounds, with influences from electronica, chillout lounge and funk. It's spacey, dreamy, eclectic and atmospheric. Inspirations for the sounds are wide-ranging: from Thievery Corporation and Massive Attack, to the Meters, Parliament Funkadelic, Radiohead and Air.

POP / ELECTRONIC
Kyven: 80s Pop with Modern Chops
"Hands Down" is an album of irresistible anthemic pop. With strong male vocals swimming in a sea of synthesizers, Kyven channels old dance favorites like New Order, Pet Shop Boys and Duran Duran.

CLASSICAL / CHAMBER MUSIC
Galatea - Paul Beier: Solo Lute of the Italian Renaissance
The 17th-century singer Barbara Strozzi is known as one of the finest women composers of the Italian Baroque. The works recorded here, by soprano Emanuella Galli and Galatea, come from her seventh publication of 1659 entitled Diporti di Euterpe, or "The Pleasures of Euterpe." In this work, Strozzi, at the height of her artistic powers, collaborated with some of the most important poets of the period to create works which are musically innovative, dramatically expressive, and exceedingly beautiful.

FOLK / ROCK
William Brooks: Songs From a Native Oklahoman
A great album for driving, "Blue Ribbon" features the very best of down-to-earth singer-songwriter William Brooks, whose blues-tinged, narrative folk-rock is appealingly world weary. Standout tracks include the down and dirty "Justified" and the tender, string infused "Grace."

Golden Age of Rap: BDP, Gang Starr, Run-DMC, Erik B & Rakim, more

The AADL recently added more than two dozen albums from the 'golden age' of rap to its music collection. The golden age refers to rap and hip hop music from the late '80s and early '90s, which Rolling Stone magazine describes as a period when "it seemed that every new single reinvented the genre."

Allmusic goes further to say the golden age "witnessed the best recordings from some of the biggest rappers in the genre's history....Overwhelmingly based in New York City, golden age rap is characterized by skeletal beats, samples cribbed from hard rock or soul tracks, and tough dis raps...rhymers like PE's Chuck D, Big Daddy Kane, KRS-One, Rakim, and LL Cool J basically invented the complex wordplay and lyrical kung-fu of later hip-hop."

Some highlights from the new additions:

Gang Starr -- Daily Operation (Released in 1992)
DJ Premier's crackling breakbeats and Guru's laid back delivery complement each other perfectly on Daily Operation -- whether Guru is rapping about relationships on "Ex Girl to the Next Girl" or breaking down the perpetuation of violence on "Soliloquy of Chaos", they had a way of accentuating each other's strengths like few other duos in music history.

Boogie Down Productions -- Criminal Minded (Released in 1987)
Criminal Minded is the first record from BDP, with KRS-One on the mic and DJ Scott La Rock laying down his signature sparse-yet-punchy beats. This is the KRS who can use one line to draw you into a scene, another to build the tension, and hit you right in the gut by the third.

Erik B & Rakim -- Paid in Full (Released in 1987)
It's still incredible how Rakim came up with his style back in 1987. There was no one as introspective, complex, and in the pocket at the time, and people are still trying to sound like him today. Erik B's innovative use of samples had everyone digging through dusty crates of James Brown LPs to find the next B-esque drum break to use. No doubt, this is a classic album.

A Timeless Audiobook For Kids

The Melendys are ready for adventure! Are you?

In The Saturdays by Elizabeth Enright, siblings Mona, Rush, Randy (short for Miranda) and Oliver decide to pool their allowances so one sibling at a time can go on an adventure each Saturday – and so the Independent Saturday Afternoon Adventure Club (I.S.A.A.C.) is born. You’ll be swept right along with Melendys to art museums, circuses, tea parties and more. Pamela Dillman’s excellent narration, complete with some fantastic accents, really brings the Melendys’ world to life.

The series continues with The Four-Story Mistake, Then There Were Five and Spiderweb For Two: A Melendy Maze.

Fabulous Fiction Firsts #385

Professional cellist Edward Kelsey Moore, whose short story "Grandma and the Elusive Fifth Crucifix" was selected as an audience favorite on NPR's Stories on Stage series just published his first novel. He lives in Chicago (website).

I sincerely hope you are not expecting The Supremes at Earl's All-You-Can-Eat * being Florence Ballard, Mary Wilson, and Diana Ross, - the sensation from Detroit's Brewster-Douglass public housing project that helped put Motown Records on the map in the 1960s. But seriously, you won't be too disappointed once you've met Odette, Clarice, and Barbara Jean.

Dubbed "The Supremes" since their high school days, these Plainsview (IN) mavens have weathered life's storms together arm-in-arm. Dutiful, proud, and talented Clarice must struggle to keep up appearances as she deals with her husband's infidelities. Beautiful, fragile Barbara Jean must try to live with a youthful mistake that continues to haunt her. Fearless Odette engages in the most terrifying battle of her life while entertaining visitations from her (dead) pot-smoking mother and an inebriated Eleanor Roosevelt. For four decades, what sustain these strong, funny women through marriages, children, happiness, and disappointments, is their Sunday table at Earl's Diner, the first black-own business in this racially divided town, where they can count on good food, gossip, occasional tears, uproarious banter and each other.

"With wit and love, style and sublime talent, Edward Kelsey Moore brings together four intertwined love stories, three devoted allies, and two sprightly earthbound spirits in a big-hearted debut novel that embraces the lives of people you will never forget."

Poised to give Waiting to Exhale, Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood and Steel Magnolias a run for their money. Readers might also enjoy works by Pearl Cleage, and April Sinclair, or other novels on women's friendship.

* = starred review

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