A Street Cat Named Bob: And How He Saved My Life

In 2007, James Bowen was a recovering heroin addict enrolled in a methadone program, lived in sheltered housing, and busked on the streets of London for rent, utilities, and his daily bread. He had been in and out of homelessness for years, estranged from his father and geographically distant from his mother in Australia. He did what he could do to get by without falling back into the traps of his past, one day at a time.

And then one spring evening he met an orange tom cat outside of his apartment. Assuming he belonged to someone else, Bowen left him alone. But then the friendly cat was back again. And again. And eventually Bowen took him in, brought him to the vet to clean up a wounded leg, and gave him a safe place in which to recover. But even when Bowen tried to find the cat's family (no luck) or put him back on the street (the cat wouldn't have that nonsense), he relented and decided to keep Bob - named for a character in the TV show Twin Peaks - on a permanent basis.

What really surprised Bowen, and what he and Bob became best known for (featured around the world in YouTube videos) was when Bob decided to accompany Bowen on his busking rounds!

If you want to read more about this delightful duo, and learn about Bowen and Bob's close calls with police, dogs, and drunks, but also their encounters with old friends, gift-giving strangers, helpful store workers, and Bowen's monumental step toward clean living, check out A Street Cat Named Bob: And How He Saved My Life. It's a quick and fun read that is sure to warm your heart.

Love cat stories? Don't miss these other great reads!
Homer's Odyssey
Kitty Cornered
The Cat Who Came for Christmas

PreK BITS - GO TO SLEEP !

Did you ever have troubles at bedtime? Did anyone ever beg you to "Go To Sleep!" ?
Ms. Rachel told some "Go to Sleep!" stories in Preschool Storytime.
GO TO SLEEP GECKO !" is a tale from Bali about the inter-connected-ness of everything in life. "Some things you sjust have to put up with!"
PAPA, PLEASE GET The MOON For ME is the story of a little girl who asks for the moon to play with. It is written and illustrated by Eric Carle. Papa solves the problem ... with time enough for the waxing and waning of the moon's phases.

Perhaps you'd like to try some more stories:
GOOD NIGHT SLEEP TIGHT ... when the favorite babysitter is putting Bonnie and Ben to bed.
HUGLESS DOUGLAS AND The BIG SLEEPOVER ... by David MElling
LET'S SING A LULLABY WITH The BRAVE COWBOY ... by Jan Thomas
GOODNIGHT GOODNIGHT CONSTRUCTION SITE ... by Sherry Rinker

Nighty Night!

Parent’s Corner: Get Them Writing

May is Short Story Month – a time to celebrate the short story and hone those writing skills. This isn’t just for adults! Many children love listening to stories, and writing their own is the next step in the process. AADL has books on helping children with their writing, and some are located on the Parent Shelf.

The Parent Shelf is located in the downtown youth area, and on this shelf you’ll find a variety of parent-child related books on a multitude of topics- including autism, and everything from language to potty training to safety to bullying. These books are available for checkout and can be found in the catalog when searching “parent shelf.” Here are a few to jumpstart writing success:

* Your child's writing life: how to inspire confidence, creativity, and skill at every age

* 1001 writing projects for students: a paragraph a day plan for writing success

* Beyond bedtime stories: a parent's guide to promoting reading, writing, and other literacy skills from birth to 5

* Ways of writing with young kids : teaching creativity and conventions unconventionally

Speaking of short stories, congratulations to the winners of AADL's 2014 Teen Short Story Contest and good luck to those 3rd-5th graders who entered the Short Story Challenge this year!

Audiobook for Kids: Rooftoppers

As a baby, Sophie is found floating in a cello case after a shipwreck and is taken in by the man who found her, eccentric Englishman Charles Maxim who uses books for plates and toast for bookmarks! Sophie and Charles live a quiet, happy life together until Sophie’s twelfth birthday, when the authorities decide that Charles is not a fit guardian. Rather than letting Sophie be taken to an orphanage, Sophie and Charles embark on a quest to find Sophie’s mother with the cello case as their only clue. The pair travels to Paris where Sophie meets the illusive rooftoppers who agree to help her with her search for her missing mother.

The audiobook of Rooftoppers by Katherine Rundell has the feel of a classic with its gorgeous writing, gentle humor and determined young heroine, and narrator Nicola Barber gets the accents exactly right. The novel is also reminiscent of Martin Scorsese’s Hugo with its adventures through the secret world of Paris.

Fabulous Fiction Firsts #456

The darling of the 2012 Frankfurt Book Fair that inspired frenzied bidding, already a bestseller in Europe, The Truth About the Harry Quebert Affair * will soon be released in the US (translated from the French by Sam Taylor), and destined to be one of this year's hottest summer read. (Also available in the original in the World Language Collection).

Joël Dicker, the 28 year-old Geneva-based author sets this charming whodunit in an idyllic seaside village in New Hampshire, having spent his childhood summers in New England.

On August 30, 1975, Nola Kellergan 15, was reported by a neighbor fleeing through the Somerset (NH) woods never to be seen again. The narrative picks up in 2008, when Marcus Goldman, a successful young novelist suffering from extreme writer's block, seeks advice from Harry Quebert, his good friend and mentor, and one of the country's most respected writers. Snooping around in Harry's home office in Somerset, Marcus comes across material links between Harry and the missing Nola. Just days after, a landscaper finds Nola's remains in Harry's yard.

As the national media convicts Harry, Marcus launches his own investigation, following a trail of clues literary and tangible, teasing out sordid small-town secrets in an attempt to save Harry, his own writing career, and eventually maybe himself.

The winner of three French literary prizes, including the Grand Prix du Roman from the Académie Française, and was a finalist for the Prix Goncourt, The Truth About the Harry Quebert Affair is a "fast-paced, tightly plotted, cinematic literary thriller".

Film rights sold to Warner Bros. Variety reports that Ron Howard will direct.

* = starred review

Meet the "It's All Write!" Guest Speaker: K.A. Barson!

Kelly ‘K.A.’ Barson published her first novel, 45 Pounds (More or Less) in July 2013. She has always loved reading and writing, and even teaches writing at Spring Arbor University. According to Me, My Shelf, and I, Barson loves spearmint Chapstick, wears sweatpants while writing, and likes to dye her hair all different colors. She is also a local author hailing from Jackson, MI!

If you’re near the Downtown branch this Saturday, May 10, be sure to stop by the “It’s All Write!” Teen Short Story Contest Awards Ceremony! Barson will discuss her thoughts on writing, sign copies of her book, and award the top nine writers of the contest!

To learn more about K.A. Barson, check out her website and blog.

Stay tuned to find out the Winners of the “It’s All Write!” Teen Short Story Contest!

Fabulous Fiction Firsts #455

Violet Kupersmith, still in her early 20s, offers "(a)n extraordinarily compelling debut of ghost stories, written as an undergraduate (Mount Holyoke) that grapple with the legacy of the Vietnam War".

Praised by fellow writers as "surgically precise and feverishly imaginative" (Tea Obreht), "...teem(ing) with sensuous and exuberant life" (Valerie Martin), "...deftly funny and yet so deadly serious" (Yiyun Li), The Frangipani Hotel * * will not disappoint.

The titular L'Hotel Frangipane, "swanky name, shitty place", located in the Old Quarter of Hanoi, is a 1/2-star, seven-story death trap, run haphazardly by an extended family where a beautiful young woman, floating fully dressed in an overflowing bathtub in an unoccupied room, seduces an American businessman into a moonlight swim with dark intent.

In "Skin and Bones", in need of losing a few pounds, an overweight Houston teenager is shipped off to spend the summer with her grandmother in Ho Chi Minh City, only to discover the delicious Bánh mì, offered by a curiously-friendly street vendor as the city naps in the sultry afternoons.

Based on traditional ghost stories told to her by the author's Vietnamese grandmother, "each of the stories is replete with characters both fabulous and ordinary, stories out of this world and firmly rooted in it. Each is meticulously told by a storyteller talented and wise beyond her years." Highly recommended for literary fiction fans.

* * = 2 starred reviews

May is Gardening for Wildlife Month

Isn't it great to see the daffodils and tulips finally blooming? And the bunnies bouncing around? And to hear the multitude of birds singing and chirping in the trees? I don't know about you, but I'm ecstatic that spring is finally here!

If you want to fully embrace spring, there's no better way than by celebrating Gardening for Wildlife Month! Make your yard a welcoming place for urban or rural fauna (depending on where you live). We've got books in our catalog on how to make your yard attractive to various wildlife species. Try the following titles:

Attracting Birds, Butterflies and Other Backyard Wildlife
The National Wildlife Federation's Guide to Gardening for Wildlife
Your Backyard Wildlife Garden: How to Attract and Identify Wildlife in Your Yard
Attracting Backyard Wildlife : A Guide for Nature-Lovers

Good luck on creating your backyard wildlife wonderland!

May 14 John Corey Whaley Event Cancelled

Due to unforeseen circumstances, the author visit on May 14 with John Corey Whaley has been cancelled. AADL is sorry that this event couldn't happen, as is Mr. Whaley himself.

However, there will be several other author events in the coming months, including the"It's All Write!" Contest Awards Ceremony with K.A. Barson and two Emerging Writers workshops with Lara Zielin and Margaret Yang.

Looking for other educational teen events for the coming months? Learn basic HTML and web design on May 11 from EMU computer scientists, join local scientists on May 31 at the 3rd Annual Scientists Fair, or learn about the culinary arts with Michelle Krell Kydd on June 11.

Meet “It’s All Write!” Judge #11: Ben Stroud

Are you ready to hear about the last author to round out the entire team of this year’s judges? Introducing: Ben Stroud!

Ben Stroud recently published his first book, Byzantium, in 2013. He is best known for writing literary short stories, as featured in several anthologies, Harper’s Magazine, Boston Review, and The Literary Review. He has lived in Texas and Ann Arbor, and currently teaches creative writing at the University of Toledo. In an interview with One Story, he gave the following advice to other writers: “There’s so much we can’t control as writers, no matter what stage we’re at…We can sit down, we can work, we can write our stories. If we remember that, and remember why we started doing this in the first place—not for all those other things but for that magical feeling of stringing words together into a story—then the rest will take care of itself.”

Stay tuned for more information about the “It’s All Write!” Teen Short Story Contest and the upcoming Awards Ceremony on Saturday, May 10!

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