The Hole

The Hole is such a magical picture book! Brain Pickings describes it as an “existential meditation in simple Scandinavian illustrations and die-cut magic,” and I could not say it any better.

The Hole is written and illustrated by Øyvind Torseter, was translated from Norweigan, and features sparse dialog. Our main character moves into an apartment and discovers that there is a hole in it and he searches to find out the cause. This includes boxing up the hole and taking it to a lab for testing. The best part of this book is the illustrations and the fact that there is a pencil-sized hole going through the entire book from the chipboard covers through the pages. And the hole gets wonderfully incorporated into every illustration and scene. It’s marvelous! It really makes you think about where that hole came from. Where does it begin and end? Why is it there at all? If you’re looking for a beautiful thinker of a children’s book, here you go.

For more beautiful books published by Enchanted Lion Books be sure to check out our nice list of AADL owned titles.

Josephine Baker Biography

If Jacqueline Woodson’s award-winning memoir Brown Girl Dreaming has you craving more stories-in-verse that share the African-American experience, check out this fantastic title:

Josephine: The Dazzling Life of Josephine Baker written by Patricia Hruby Powell and illustrated by Christian Robinson is picture-book biography of dancer Josephine Baker. Beginning with her childhood in the segregated South, the book traces her life as a teenager in a traveling dance troupe, her star-making Paris debut, her work as a spy during World War II, and her adoption of twelve children of different nationalities, always highlighting her desire for racial acceptance. With its bright, bold illustrations and free-verse text that mixes quotations from Baker with energetic narration, this 100-page picture book is a perfect showcase for the dancer’s story.

Happy Birthday David Bowie!

Today marks the birthday of the man, the myth, the legend: David Bowie. What else can I say? Currently sitting unread on my coffee table at home is the 2014 bio on him: Bowie the Biography by Wendy Leigh. Have you read it? Do I need to read it? Please let me know.

As a singer, songwriter and actor Bowie has created many a masterpiece. Everything from movies, to music, to books. Ziggy Stardust! Aladdin Sane! The Labyrinth! With many personas spanning across decades Bowie has not ceased to amaze and entertain.

My random Bowie recommendation is not Bowie really, but covers. Check out The Life Aquatic Studio Sessions, featuring Bowie reworked into mellow accoustic versions and sung in Portuguese by Seu Jorge.

Happy birthday, dear sir, and thank you!

Let's Learn About Science!

If you have a little one who loves science and you haven’t checked out our New Book shelf lately, you’re missing out! We have a bundle of exciting new science books in designed just for kids.

For older kids, Hello from 2030: The Science of the Future and You, by Jan Paul Schutten, takes a look at the near feature based on current science. In the future, will we be able to easily and quickly 3D print body parts? What will climate change make the planet look like? This book also explains how predictions work and contains a section on becoming a futurologist.

In you want to learn about the amazing scientists that have brought us this far, check out the new Women in Science series, which features short but detailed biographies of physician Antonia Novello, astronaut Mae Jemison, physicist Chien-Shiung Wu, meteorologist Joanne Simpson, and biochemist Hayat Sindi.

After learning about the great scientists above, children can learn about mistakes in science from the Science Gets it Wrong Series. My personal favorite is Let’s Make Some Gold!, but you can also check out: Your Head Shape Reveals Your Personality!, That Bull is Seeing Red!, and We're the Center of the Universe!

For all of these, and lots of other books, including ones about robots, genes, ecosystems and more, check out our list New Science Books for Kids.

PreK Bits - Princesses and Pirates

Ms. Rachel told stories of Princesses and Pirates in honor of the letter "P".

PRINCESS PENELOPE's PARROT ... the Parrot and Penelope meet on her birthday.
We sang "The Pirate Song". You can find a version on the CD recording PETER PAN or see the lyrics and motions for "When I Was One" found on the website Macaroni Soup!..
PIRATE PETE's TALK LIKE A PIRATE is a requirement for being hired as crew.

For more stories of princesses and pirates, try the following titles:
PRINCESSES ARE NOT JUST PRETTY by Kate Lum.
The PRINCESS And The PEAS by Caryl Hart.
SHIVER ME LETTERS: a Pirate ABC by June Sobel
1001 PIRATE THINGS TO SPOT by Rob Lloyd Jones.
NO PIRATES ALLOWED! SAID LIBRARY LOU by Rhonda Gowler Greene.
OLIVE's PIRATE PARTY by Roberta Baker.
For more pirate songs try JAKE And The NEVERLAND PIRATES and SEVEN CLEVER PIRATES.
Sing along with Captain Bogg and the Pollywog crew on the CD recording PEGLEG TANGO.
Listen to "Ballad Of Dirty Joe" and more stories and songs, on Bill Harley's CD recording BLAH BLAH BLAH.
One of my all-time favorite stories is on this recording ... "Joey, Chloe And The Swamp Monster".
AarrrR ! ... and Enjoy!

Good Dream, Bad Dream

New to the shelves are several picture books relating to common childhood fears, specifically fear of the dark and of the unknown. In Good Dream, Bad Dream (Sueño Bueno, Sueño Malo) by Juan Calle and Serena Valentino, little Julio is afraid of the monsters under his bed. Julio's father reminds him that "for every bad dream, you can have a good dream to help defeat your fears", and Julio explores the different heroes who could rescue him from a variety of monsters. This exciting story features monsters and heroes from many different cultures presented in action-packed comic-style illustrations. Additionally, this bilingual book is written in both English and Spanish, making it accessible for speakers of either language.

Also new is The Problem with Not Being Scared of Monsters by Dan Richards. In this tale, the main character finds that he is not afraid of monsters at all! In fact, his monster friends may be getting just a little too comfortable. This funny book uses wacky illustrations and a non-traditional plot line to tackle common childhood fears. For additional stories on this subject, consider Light's Out by Arthur Geisert or Floop in the Dark by Carole Tremblay.

"It's All Write!" Contest Guidelines are now posted!

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Teen writers interested in entering the "It's All Write!" Teen Short Story Contest may now view the 2015 Guidelines! The guidelines have all of the most important information about submitting to the contest.

The "It's All Write!" Teen Short Story Contest has now been running for 23 years! Last year received the largest number of submissions at 358 stories. Teens all over Ann Arbor, Michigan, and even across the world choose to participate each year.

"It's All Write!" will begin accepting submissions on Tuesday, January 27. For more information about the contest, please visit the contest homepage: http://www.aadl.org/events/itsallwrite

Happy writing!

Glory O’Brien’s History of the Future

“We form. We shine. We burn. Kapow.”

Printz Honor author A.S. King has done it again. Glory O’Brien’s History of the Future is superbly written and features a unique premise.

Glory is seventeen. Her mother commited suicide when Glory was just four years old. Her father is depressed and works from home on the couch. Her boy-obsessed best friend Ellie lives across the street in a hippie commune. She is about to graduate high school and our story begins at the end of her childhood.

One night something happens that allows Glory and Ellie to see a person's infinite past and future simply by looking at them. In this future there is a second civil war, women’s rights disappear, there’s a new tyrannical leader, a new army, and young girls vanish daily. Glory takes meticulous notes on what she sees hoping it will make a difference.

Glory is a fantasticlly written teen character. She is the odd-girl-out, a loner with no need for friends. She has her camera and the newly unlocked darkroom of her dead mother. And with the discovery of her mother’s old notebooks Glory learns mountains about herself and her family and how it all came to be, and it allows her to see a better future for herself.

Hilary Mantel’s Wolf Hall Comes to TV

Hilary Mantel’s Thomas Cromwell trilogy has been a historical fiction powerhouse - with both entries, Wolf Hall and Bring Up the Bodies becoming bestsellers and Booker Prize winners. The final book in the trilogy is underway, with no official release date at this time, although Mantel has shared details readers can expect to encounter in The Mirror and the Light.

Now Mantel’s epic is coming to TV. After assisting with the stage adaptation of her work by the Royal Shakespeare Company, Mantel signed off on a BBC adaptation, with the caveat that the show avoid historical errors and any ”nonsense” added for drama.

The six-part series will air on BBC2 in Britain later this year, with an PBS Masterpiece American release to follow. Fans of the Showtime series Homeland will be interested to see Damian Lewis (Nicholas Brody) in the meaty role of Henry VIII as part of the star-studded cast. An official trailer was just released, so fans can enjoy a quick peek to tide them over.

Fabulous Fiction Firsts #504 - "This being human is a guest house... Be grateful for whatever comes, because each has been sent as a guide from beyond." ~ Rumi

Award-winning filmmaker/artist Miranda July brings "(her) characteristic humor, frankness and emotional ruthlessness" to her debut novel The First Bad Man * * *. (Check out her short stories in No One Belongs Here More Than You that reviewers called "simultaneously bizarre and achingly familiar.")

Fortysomething Cheryl Glickman, managing director of Open Palm, a women's non-profit works from home at her bosses' suggestion. Tightly-wound and incredibly regimented, she lives alone and suffers from debilitating globus hystericus. Cheryl has been secretly in love with Phillip, one of her board members and fantasizes a sexual relationship. At times, she has reasons to hold out hope, until Phillip's tearful confessions.

When Cheryl's bosses ask if their 21 year-old daughter, Clee, can move into her house for a little while, Cheryl's eccentrically ordered world explodes. Gradually, Cheryl and Clee work out a bizarre arrangement in that they act out the staged scenarios in a series of women's self-defense videos, with Clee playing the part of the "bad man". Ultimately, it is the selfish and cruel Clee who bullies Cheryl into reality and, unexpectedly, provides her the love of a lifetime.

"Told in Cheryl's own confiding, unfiltered voice, the novel slides easily between plot and imagination, luring the reader so deeply into Cheryl's interior reality that the ridiculous inventions of her life become progressively more and more convincing."

Called "dazzling, disorienting, and unforgettable", The First Bad Man is a "spectacular debut novel that is so heartbreaking, so dirty, so tender, so funny...that readers will be blown away."

For open-minded readers ready for something new and unusual.

* * * = 3 starred reviews

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