A Modern Fairy Tale

Hans Christian Andersen’s “The Snow Queen” had inspired many fantastic works in the last few years, including Disney’s Frozen and Anne Ursu’s Breadcrumbs. Fans of the latter will definitely want to check out the latest Snow Queen-inspired novel, Ophelia and the Marvelous Boy by Karen Foxlee.

The story takes place in a magical, labyrinth-like museum in a country where the snow never stops. While exploring the museum one day, Ophelia discovers the prison of the Marvelous Boy, a boy who never ages and who is destined to give the sword to the hero who will slay the Snow Queen. Though still grieving the death of her mother, Ophelia agrees to team up with the Marvelous Boy to help him defeat the Snow Queen and end the endless winter.

What I loved most about this novel was its careful balance of fantasy and reality. While much of the plot and the tone of the story feel like a dreamy or sometimes nightmarish fairy tale, Ophelia’s grief and its effect upon her family keep the heart of the story incredible real.

Cooking on a Budget

For those of us on a budget, making tasty, healthy meals on a regular basis can be a challenge. Good ingredients can be expensive and the most delicious recipes are often complex and call for a number of pricey items. Here at AADL we have a number of budget-friendly cookbooks that can help you eat well while not breaking the bank. Budget Bytes: over 100 delicious recipes to slash your grocery bill in half is a brand new cookbook by the creater of the hugely popular Budget Bytes blog. Caroline Wright’s Twenty-Dollar, Twenty-Minute Meals: for four people is a great cookbook for those hoping to feed small families. Her book includes healthy, tasty recipes in all forms including vegetarian and vegan recipes, pizzas and desserts.

Student cookbooks can also be a great way to find easy, inexpensive recipes. We have The Ultimate Student Cookbook, the Student’s Vegetarian Cookbook and the Student’s Go Vegan Cookbook and Young and Hungry: making the most of fresh and affordable food, as well as several others.

There are also some wonderful cookbooks in our collection for those intending to eat locally and seasonally while also remaining on a budget. Frugal Luxuries by the Seasons: celebrate the holidays with elegance and simplicity on any income is a lovely book that uses seasonally-appropriate, inexpensive recipes. There is also The Locavore’s Handbook: the busy person’s guide to eating local on a budget, which offers practical advice for using local food in easy recipes. This book is especially useful for those of us in Michigan, since author Leda Meredith’s advice is geared towards those living in colder climates!

Kid SPOTlight - NEW Fiction March 2014

SPOTTED in NEW books today... of likely interest to 3rd - 4th Grade kids.

MESMER MENACE ... a dachsund, an evil menace, and automotons, oh my!
If you like gadgets and gears and adventure, try this public list for more titles Elementary Kids - Robot Stories
The BOWLING LANE WITHOUT ANY STRIKES ... a new title in the "Field Trip Mysteries" series.
If you like Mystery series, try this public list for more titles Elementary Kids - Mystery
CATS Of TANGLEWOOD FOREST ... cats and forest creatures meet Lillian Kindred in the Tanglewood Forest. Is there magic?
If you like this type of book, explore the titles on this public list Elementary Kids - Fantasy
The SITTIN' UP ... Bean gets a lesson in how family and friends in a poor rural community deal with death.
If you are looking for more youth titles that address this important issue, explore the titles in this public list Elementary Kids - Dealing With Grief
CHARLIE BUMPERS vs. The TEACHER Of The YEAR finds it's a chore to be neat and well-behaved all the time.... or ...
FISH FINELLI: Seagulls Don't Eat Pickles ... Fish Finelli and friends set out for buried treasure ... and the Librarian gets in the mix.
If you like books about other kids, try this public list for more titles Elementary Kids - Friends and Family.

... so much Reading ... so many kids!

Comic Artists Forum: Jerzy Drozd Presents Podcasting To Reach New Audiences

Sunday March 2, 2014: 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm -- Downtown Library: 4th Floor Meeting Room

This event is intended for adults and teens grade 6 and up

You’ve spent countless hours developing your storytelling chops and designing intricate worlds and compelling characters. You’re sharing your work on the social media sites and keeping an update schedule for your webcomic. Now you just wait for the readers to show up, right? Jerzy will cover the value of leveraging audio and video to help you reach new readers, connect with peers, and build audience support by sharing your most unique value—-yourself.

Jerzy Drozd is the author/illustrator of The Front and has worked on Antarctic Press’ "Ninja High School," as well as projects for Marvel Comics and Glencoe/McGraw-Hill. He also has produced several long-running podcasts.

The Forum is for comics enthusiasts AND cartoonists—beginning and professional. Bring your drawing tools and drop in for learning, drawing and sharing.

Meet “It’s All Write!” Judge #5: Catherine Knutsson

Catherine Knutsson published her first novel, Shadows Cast by Stars, in 2012. Shadows Cast by Stars was a finalist for both the Monica Hughes Award for Science Fiction and Fantasy and the Burt Award for First Nations, Métis and Inuit Literature.

Knutsson proudly celebrates her Métis heritage, which is reflected in her writing. She also loves working with horses, photography, and singing in her free time. When asked for her best advice to new writers, she told Simon & Schuster, “Ignore trends; write the story in your heart, the story that only you can tell!”

To learn more about Catherine Knutsson, you can check out her website or her blog.

Stay tuned for the rest of the “It’s All Write!” judges in forthcoming blog posts!

Hildegard of Bingen

IlluminationsIlluminations

Illuminations, A Novel of Hildegard von Bingen, by Mary Sharratt, is a radiant and absorbing book, providing a deeply moving portrayal of the life of Hildegard of Bingen, the 12th century German mystic. Because she was the 10th child in her family and, perhaps more importantly, because even as a very young child she was visited by visions and her parents did not know what to do with her, she was “tithed” to the church. Yes, given away. At the age of eight, she and a young noblewomen for whom Hildegard served as a companion were locked away in the anchorage of a monastery. For the next 30 years Hildegard never left that small, bricked-up enclosure. You have to read the story to understand how and why this could possibly have happened.

The isolation, cruel as it was, allowed her several advantages. She learned to read and was supplied with all the books from the monastery’s library, even on subjects normally restricted to girls. She learned to play the psaltery and began to compose stirring vocal and instrumental music. She learned herbal medicine and kept herbs and flowers in pots in the small courtyard of the anchorage and made salves and remedies used in the monastery’s infirmary. She developed a fierce, independent spirit, chafing against the suffering of her young years, which in later life gave her the courage to rebuke the church for its practices. Still experiencing her visions, in the long hours of her seclusion, she “saw” the great power and love at the center of creation, with the holy Mother soothing her lonely soul.

After being released from her confinement, she continued her spiritual seeking, founding a community of nuns and becoming the abbess. She was tireless in her devotion to her “daughters” and her work as a healer, writer, teacher, composer and visionary. She produced a tremendous flowering of artistic and intellectual accomplishment and innovation. Although she was often at odds with church authority she also enjoyed the support of several popes and archbishops, as well as the king of Germany, and she kept up prodigious correspondences with them and other dignitaries. But perhaps she would most want to be remembered for the spiritual truths she envisioned, of Caritas, Divine Love, which came to her as a living light.

We own several works of fiction and non-fiction about Hildegard as well as a sampling of her own writings on an array of subjects. Two dvds tell her story as well. Mostly she has left behind her music, of which we have a generous representation in our collection.

A "Dystology": the Unwind series

I have to start this entry with a shout out to the kid at Mallett's Creek who informed me that this was, in fact, a series. (I was pretty excited.) Thanks, kid, wherever you are. *high five* I'm passing on your knowledge.

For fans of dystopian novels, if you haven't checked this out, it might be a good fit for you. The first book, Unwind, was written as a self-contained story that was satisfying within itself, but the sequels do not disappoint. It's a disturbingly unique take on the dystopian genre that's been taking over the world lately.

The series follows several different teens through their struggle to survive in a world of extremes. With a devastating moral war behind them, abortion has become illegal for any reason, but in the law's wake comes a startling counter-measure: teens who are unruly or unwanted can be "unwound", put into in a "divided state" with all of their parts going to other individuals in need. Parents get to decide their children's fate.

Connor, Risa and Lev have all been signed over to be unwound. But will they make it through? And at what cost? As the series goes along, author Neal Shusterman explores the some serious morals and ethics as well as what makes a human being human and individual.

Sadly, we'll all have to wait to find out how things end, because the conclusion to the series, Undivided, is not due out until this summer. But with the demand on this series already, surely the AADL is on the watch for it!

Now Available Through AADL: 20 Knitting Patterns to Make Your Favorite Mochimochi Land pals!

Mochimochi Land was launched in 2007 as a place where knitted toys and people can live together in a spirit of tolerance. Now, thanks to a partnership between Mochimochi Land and AADL you can access a collection of delightful knitting patterns to create your own friends!

AADL is overjoyed to partner with Anna Hrachovec, to offer 20 DRM-free Downloads of Mochimochi Land Knitting Patterns to all AADL Cardholders. All you need is to have an AADL library card. Then, login with your linked AADL online account, and all of these patterns are yours for the knitting!

The characters that inhabit Mochimochi Land are original designs by Anna Hrachovec, a knitter who lives in Chicago. Anna finds inspiration in Hello Kitty, Pee-Wee’s Playhouse, and illustrators like Dr. Seuss and Mary Blair. Anna’s knitted toys have been featured on The Martha Stewart Show, all around the web, and in print.

Controlled Burns in Ann Arbor's Natural Areas

Tuesday Feb. 25th | Traverwood | 7:00-8:30 PM | adults and teens (grade 6 and up)

Forest fires are usually a bad thing -- when they aren't meant to happen! However, many Natural Area Preservation organizations around the country use a method called controlled burning to actually help the land. Prescribed or controlled burning is sometimes used in forest management, farming, or prairie restoration and stimulates the germination of some desirable forest trees, thus renewing the forest.

The Natural Area Preservation of Ann Arbor will visit the Traverwood branch of the AADL to further explain what controlled burns are and why they are used in natural areas. This event is for anyone interested in helping with the burns or those who just want to learn more about them.

To learn more about the forests of Michigan, check out these great books in the AADL collection:
- Trees of Michigan: field guide
- Roadside guide to Michigan plants, trees, and flowers: an ecological approach
- Trees of Michigan, including tall shrubs
- Trees of Michigan and the Upper Great Lakes
- Michigan trees: a guide to the trees of the Great Lakes Region

Click Magazine: At the Library

The new February issue of Click Magazine for kids has a ton of fascinating information about libraries and books! Read the text of an interview with David Shannon, author of No, David! and Alice the Fairy, learn about the history of books and making paper, and how to ask a librarian for help. You can also see photos of different libraries around the world, including biblioburros, bookmobiles, portable libraries on elephants and trailers, and even libraries hidden inside telephone booths. You can learn how to make your own book (even one with flaps and pockets!) and photocopy and use the story starter game in the back. Feeling too snowed in to come to the library?

Visit the Click Magazine website to hear audio recordings of magazine features, watch a video on block printing, or play a Sort the Books game.

Click here to find more magazines for kids at AADL!

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