Fabulous Fiction Firsts #537 - “Sometimes even to live is an act of courage.” ~ Lucius Annaeus Seneca

Our Endless Numbered Days * * by Claire Fuller is a dark and captivating debut that you are not likely to forget for a very long time, and one that you would be tempted to re-read, immediately.

Concert pianist Ute Bischoff scandalized the music world when she married James Hillcoat, a handsome and cocky teenager eight years her junior, who stood in one night as the page-turner of her music score. They settled into a comfortable family life until their daughter Peggy was eight years old. While Ute was away on a concert tour, James, an increasingly obsessed survivalist, took her to a remote hut in the woods, telling her that the rest of the world has been destroyed. For the next nine year, they lived rough in the wilderness, marking their days by the sun and the seasons, and making a life for themselves. Then Peggy saw an unfamiliar pair of boots in the forest and began to search for their owner...

"Fuller alternates Peggy's time in the forest with chapters that take place in 1985 after she reunites with her mother, building an ever-present sense of foreboding and allowing readers to piece together well-placed clues... (her) careful pacing gradually reveals the mystery of a life that is as sympathetic as it is haunting."

A fabulous crossover for mature teens, especially those who enjoyed The White Darkness by Geraldine McCaughrean (a 2008 Printz Award Winner); Fourth of July Creek by Smith Henderson; Room by Emma Donoghue; and Stolen by Lucy Christopher, (a 2011 Printz Award Honor Book).

* * = 2 starred reviews

PreK Bits - "F" is for farm

Ms. Rachel led folks all around the farm in Preschool Storytime.
First ... GOLLY GUMP SWALLOWED A FLY. This title is out of print. A staff story copy remains. Fortunately, you can use your AADL card to borrow from another library through melcat.
Ms. Sara played the banjo today. We sang OLD Mac DONALD HAD A WOODSHOP. We used tools (including all of the sounds!) to create a play farm.
During The THREE LITTLE PIGS, the pigs left the farm to build their own homes.
Remember how to handle the wolf !!

For more classic farm fun try the following titles:
MR GUMPY’S MOTOR CAR and MR GUMPY’S OUTING both by John Burnigham.
LITTLE APPLE GOAT … a story of sewing seeds.
ROSIE’S WALK by Pat Hutchins. Rosie sets out from the coop for a walk around the barnyard. Beware of the fox.
The TOMTEN And The FOX by Astrid Lindgren. A tomten protects the hen house from the night visits of the fox.
THERE WAS AN OLD LADY WHO SWALLOED A FLY another version of the song by Simms Taback.
Here is a DVD that includes the same book.
The BIG RED BARN by Margaret Wise Brown

For more silly tales and re-tells try the following:
The THREE LITTLE PIGS by James Marshall.
The DAY JIMMY’S BOA ATE The WASH by Trinka Hakes Noble.
CLICK CLACK MOO: Cows That Type a first story of collective cow disobedience by Doreen Cronin.
BARNYARD SONG by Rhonda Gowler Greene.
The THREE LITTLE WOLVES And The BIG BAD PIG … a re-tell by Eugene Trivizas.
The TRUE STORY Of The THREE LITTLE PIGS as told from the wolf’s point of view. This is a modern classic by Jon Scieszka.
Try the 2002 Caldecott winner The THREE PIGS by David Wiesner, where the pigs escape the wolf by entering the fantasy world of nursery rhymes.

Aziz Ansari's Modern Romance

Aziz Ansari is one of this generation’s most beloved comedic voices and his new book, Modern Romance, combines his irreverent humor with in-depth social science to offer readers a funny, relevant and informative tour of the modern dating world.

Dating has definitely gotten more complicated in the past decade or two, with the invention of social media, countless new modes of communication, unusual new venues to meet people, and, perhaps the most complex (and some would argue, the most useful!) of all, emojis. Ansari himself felt overwhelmed at times trying to navigate the complexity of the present-day romantic world, as have many of the rest of us. He shares stories of his own experiences in Modern Romance, but what’s particularly interesting is the fact that he teamed up with NYU sociologist Eric Klinenberg to design and execute a massive research project conducted throughout the world with the aid of many other leading social scientists. The study includes focus groups, interviews, online message forums, and more, and the results of it are detailed in Ansari’s book.

The combination of Ansari’s own experiences and those of his friends, and the unique research results presented by him and Klinenberg make Modern Romance a truly unique—and important—read.

You can also try the audiobook version, read by Ansari himself.

Fabulous Fiction Firsts #536

One of the most anticipated debut this season is The Sunlit Night * by Rebecca Dinerstein, and it does not disappoint. In the beautiful, barren landscape of the Far North, under the ever-present midnight sun, two New Yorkers unexpectedly find love and courage to take destiny into their own hands.

A year in Japan after college graduation is no longer an option for Frances when her boyfriend calls it quits and unceremoniously drops her off at a bus stop. At the postage-sized Manhattan apartment she shares with her parents and sister Sarah, there is more bad news. The painting apprenticeship at a Norwegian artist colony which she turns down earlier now seems like a godsend, never mind that there is only one artist living there - Nils, enigmatic and middle-aged, who paints only with the color yellow.

17 year-old Yasha, raised in the Russian enclave of Brighton Beach, sees his mother for the first time in a decade outside the family bakery's window, only to recognize a selfish and unreliable parent. The real heartache is losing his beloved father to heart failure on a home-coming trip to Moscow, but he is determined to carry out his father's last wish to be buried "at the top of the world".

And so Frances and Yasha meet at the Viking Museum in Lofoten, a string of islands ninety-five miles above the Arctic Circle. Their unlikely connection and growing romance fortifies them, and teaches them that to be alone is not always to be lonely, and that love and independence are not mutually exclusive.

"Funny, dark, warm, and as knowing of place as any travel book or memoir." ~ Jonathan Safran Foer

"...(a) luminous story about love, family, and the bewilderment of being young. Enchanting in every way." ~ Maggie Shipstead

* = starred review

Graphic novels that are great for young and old.

Crossover books are great, they offer something for the young, old and everyone in between and in graphic novels there seems to be a lot of these texts. I'm going to highlight just a couple of wonderful crossover graphic novels.

For teens and adults Neil Gaiman's Sandman is a great crossover graphic novel. Sandman follows a being named Morpheus or Dream who is one of the seven endless, entities who fulfill certain roles in reality. The 10 volume series (and subsequent prequels) deals with lots of great issues and the reader is invited to question preconceptions about the world within the graphic novel.

For children, teens and adults My Little Pony Friendship is Magic has really captured the imagination of people of all ages, the subculture that has grown up around it encompasses all genders, ages and nationalities. It follows a group of six ponies who are best friends and the adventures that they have. One of the reasons that it has become so wildly popular is because of how it deals with everyday life issues, plus it helps that they throw in lots of references to other pop-culture icons (such as Dr. Who or should I say Dr. Hooves).

The third crossover graphic novel(s) is great for teens and adults alike. Scott Chantler creates a fantasy world that is both fast and interesting in theThree Thieves series. If you are a fan of the fantasy graphic novel genre these books are worth reading!

Programming For Kids

Are you looking for a fun summer hobby? How about learning how to program and/or design your very own video games? AADL partners with Gamestart to host lots of great programming and gaming events, but we also have some awesome new books and tools to help you out!

For younger learners, check out Awesome Algorithms and Creative Coding, which will give you an intro to basic coding. If you think you’re ready for a longer and more in depth look at coding, take a look at Adventures in Raspberry Pi and Adventures in Python.

If video games are your thing, you’ll want to read Video Games: From Concept to Consumer and Video Game Programming for Kids.

Want more? Check out our complete list of programming books and tools for kids.

Still waiting for The Girl on the Train? Try these readalikes!

If you’ve been on the waiting list for The Girl on the Train for what seems like months, you’re not alone! As you patiently wait, why not try out one (or more!) of these readalikes, which will certainly begin to satisfy your craving for psychological suspense:

The Secret Place, by Tana French, introduces us to eager Detective Stephen Moran, who is presented with the opportunity to get a foot in the door of Dublin’s Murder Squad when sixteen-year-old boarding school student Holly Mackey comes to him with new evidence about the year-old murder of a fellow student. Stephen’s investigation delves him deeply into the secrets of Holly’s close-knit group of friends, and their rival clique, revealing that the private underworld of teenage girls is much more mysterious and dangerous than he could possibly have imagined.

Luckiest Girl Alive, by Jessica Knoll, has been described as “Prep meets Gone Girl,” and introduces readers to Ani FaNelli who seems to have it all: an amazing job, a perfect body, a wonderful fiancé, and a beautiful New York City apartment. But, she has spent years hiding a violent, public trauma from her past that is constantly threatening to resurface while she continually reinvents herself in attempts to escape it. When a documentary producer approaches Ani and asks if she would be willing to tell her side of the story, she hopes that this is her opportunity for public vindication. But as the filming continues, Ani’s façade begins to crack until a new revelation offers her a final chance at redemption… at the cost of her picture-perfect world.

Dare Me, by Megan Abbott, kicks off with the suspicious suicide of one of the members of a high school cheerleading team. The rest of the team, along with their new, cool coach, who’s created a “golden circle” of favorite team members, are drawn into the investigation. One girl, Addy Hanlon, takes matters into her own hands and tries desperately herself to uncover the truth behind the death and discovers that, between teenagers, the bonds of love and loyalty can create danger.

The Weight of Blood, by Laura McHugh, is set in the tiny, poor Ozark Mountain town of Henbane. When one of Lucy Dane’s friends is murdered, Lucy feels a connection between this disappearance and the vanishing of her mother years ago. As Lucy begins to do some sleuthing, she discovers evidence that makes it impossible to ignore the suspicion that has been cast on her own family. As Lucy gets closer to solving the mystery herself, she must decide where her loyalties lie.

Kids Read Comics is This Weekend!

Meet Faith Erin Hicks, Raina Telgemeier, Kean Soo, Tory Woollcott, and over 40 more of your favorite cartoonists at Kids Read Comics this Friday, Saturday, and Sunday!

More than just a convention, Kids Read Comics offers over 50 free workshops and demos where you can learn more about making comics from the pros. The events are happening at the Ann Arbor District Library Downtown Branch, 826 Michigan Robot Supply & Repair Store, The Ann Arbor Art Center, and The Vault of Midnight. You can check out the full schedule of events (and download a printable PDF) here.

Friday, June 19 through Sunday, June 21, 2015 AADL is hosting the seventh annual Kids Read Comics festival, featuring 50 of your favorite cartoonists from across the continent who have come to lead free hands-on workshops and games designed to boost your creativity!

Friday, June 19

The festival starts at the University of Michigan's Duderstadt Center on North Campus with a Pre-Conference for Librarians, Educators, and Cartoonists. Register here to attend a workshop on how to make your own comics workshop, a talk on the history of comics with acclaimed comics scholar Carol Tilley, a panel discussion on comics in the classroom moderated by Colby Sharp, and a tour of the University of Michigan's Video Game Library.

Friday evening from 5:00 to 8:00 pm we'll all converge on The Vault of Midnight at 219 South Main Street for a Comics Jam Party where cartoonists, parents, and kids will be invited to contribute to a giant drawing wall facing Main Street!

Saturday, June 20

The main event kicks off at 11:00 am in the Multi-Purpose Room at AADL's Downtown Branch. Special Guests Kean Soo and Tory Woollcott will lead a presentation on making graphic novels.
Artist Alley opens at noon on the 1st floor of the Downtown Library and runs until 6:00 pm and workshops will be happening throughout the day at the Library, the Ann Arbor Art Center, the Robot Supply & Repair Store, and the Vault of Midnight!

Sunday, June 21

Artist Alley opens at 12:30 pm and runs through 6:00 pm. Get ready for another fun filled day of workshops at the Library, the Ann Arbor Art Center, the Robot Supply & Repair Store, and the Vault of Midnight!

You can check out the full events list here

Summer Reading - It's Elementary

Maggi Idzikowski, School Media Specialist with Bryant Elementary School and Pittsfield Elementary School has published an excellent packet for elementary summer reading

Of course, Ann Arbor District Library and Ann Arbor Public Schools support reading all year 'round.
When school is out for summer, there's lots of time to enjoy.
Get 'em reading and keep on reading.

Pick up your AADL Summer Reading Cards at any Library Location after June 12, 2015.
Find kid-centered Library events at the official AADL JUMP children's website
Join AADL concerts during Summer Festival. The first Kids Rock @ Top will be the TRUMMYTONES.
Continue exciting web activities at the official AADL Summer Games website.

Try it.
You'll ALL like it!

PreK Bits - "E" is for elephants

Ms. Rachel brought Elephants to storytime.
SEVEN BLIND MICE is a classic folktale from India retold by Ed Young.
The song sung in the story is the same tune as “One Elephant” on the CD GREAT BIG HITS! by Sharon, Lois and Bram
Ms. Sara sang and played guitar to “Put Your Finger In The Air” ... while Ms. Rachel led the actions. There is a version of this song on the CD HONK HISS TWEET GGggg by Tom Glazer.
Then Elephant & Piggy told the story I AM INVITED TO A PARTY! by Mo Willems.

For more great elephant stories, try the following:
5 ELEPHANTS by Rob Laidlaw. 5 stories of famous “real” elephants.
ELLA by Bill Peet.
ELMER by David McKee.
17 KINGS And 42 ELEPHANTS by Margaret Mahy.
The BABY SWAP by Jan Ormerod
ELEPHANTASTIC! by Michael Engler.
NANCY KNOWS by Cybele Young.
The LAST KING Of ANGKOR WAT by Graeme Base, a master of search-and-find illustrations.
OLIVER’S TREE by Kit Chase.
For elephant silliness try ELEPHANTASTIC: a trunkful of unforgettable jokes … if you like jokes and riddles.
For an informational journey of elephants in the wild .... watch together BORN To Be WILD 2011.
For pure enjoyment of language and great storytelling try the Rabbit Ears edition of Rudyard Kipling’s jungle stories on DVD … HOW THE RHINOCEROUS GOT HIS SKIN and The ELEPHANT’S CHILD.

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