Hooked by the end of the first paragraph...

It is amazing how the honest language and direct approach of certain authors grabs you immediately. Alabama Moon by Watt Key is a first novel and a great ride. Ten year old Moon has lived in the forest with his government-hating father his whole life. When he is forced into civilization and encounters jail, bullies and other troubling experiences, he survives by using the instinct and intelligence that helped him in his former life. Moon is a spitfire and this is a fun and moving adventure read for teenagers.

And the winner is...

ISSISS

Today NASA announced Harmony as the name of the new module of the International Space Station. The name was chosen from an academic competition involving thousands of students in kindergarten through high school which required students to learn about the International Space Station, build a scale model of the module, and write an essay explaining their proposed name.

Harmony is a pressurized module that will act as a connecting port and passageway to additional international science labs and supply spacecraft. It also will be a work platform for the station's robotic arm. Find out more at NASA's website.

Kiran Desai's The Inheritance of Loss wins its second monster award

Kiran Desai is having a fantastic year with her 2006 novel, The Inheritance of Loss, a brilliant novel of a retired reclusive judge living in northeast India in the 1980s with his orphaned, granddaughter, as the Nepalese revolution gathers on the horizon. First it won the 2006 Man Booker Prize. And now she has scooped up the 2006 National Book Critics Circle fiction prize.

For a full list of the the NBCC winners, go to their website.

Probuditi! by Chris Van Allsburg

For Calvin’s birthday Mama gave him two tickets to see Lomax the Magnificent. Calvin asks his best friend Rodney to come along. The boys are amazed at the hypnotic skills of Lomax and try it out on Calvin’s little sister. With a clever twist at the end, awarding winning author, Chris Van Allsburg, weaves a fun and interesting tale in Probuditi. The brown hues and lifelike illustrations give the book an old fashioned feel.

It's all sewn up.

Besides the wearin' of the green, try a range of colors on March 17, National Quilting Day. Quilts have been used as navigation tools for African Americans fleeing slavery, to warm wounded soldiers, and to express the cultural traditions of many countries. This day represents a grass roots effort to unite quilters around the world. Organizations, groups and individuals are encouraged to join NQA and to promote quilting in their communities.

Quilting is alive and strong in the Ann Arbor area. In fact, this weekend, the Greater Ann Arbor Quilt Guild will be presenting a talk, "Treasures in the Trunk," followed by a showing and sale of quilts by members. For more information, call 878-6396.

New Fiction on the New York Times Best Sellers List (3/11/07)

There is just one new entry on the List this week. Nora Roberts is back with her latest bestseller. While it seems as if she has written a gazillion books, the last time I checked it was hovering around 124. (You can view a complete list on her web site.) Since 1999 most of them, if not all, have been on bestseller lists. Even the ones writtten under her pseudonym of J.D. Robb.

Innocent Blood is #24 in her futuristic cop series featuring Lt. Eve Dallas and her billionaire husband Roarke. While Eve spends her days investigating a murder at a posh private school, Roarke spends his time with an old flame.

While many prolific authors start to coast or have hirelings write their new material, Roberts has maintained her winning ways and stayed on top.

Kid Bits - "Easy" chapter books

Like Goosebumps? Like Chillers? Like Bailey School Kids? Do you know about Ghostville Elementary? You better try one, or else!! The first two are Ghost Class and Ghost Game.

Kid Bits - "easy" chapter books

Are you in Elementary School? Do you read books like Junie B. Jones, Unicorn Secrets, Zack Files, and Animal Ark? Then you can read books like Ruby Lu Empress Of Everything by Lenore Look; Boo's Dinosaur by Betsy Byars; Gloria Rising by Ann Cameron; and Akimbo And The Elephants by Alexander McCall Smith.

Kid Bits - NEW "easy" chapter books

NEW books for kids who are reading "thin" chapter books are always coming in. I see the following NEW titles by Kate DiCamillo on the shelf, Mercy Watson Goes For A Ride and Mercy Watson Fights Crime. Mercy Watson joins Babe, and Wilbur in delightful pig literature. If you already found Mercy Watson To The Rescue you will like these additions. You can also find them in audio-book for car rides. =)

National Pi Day: March 14 (Also Einstein's Birthday, Born in 1879)

Daniel Tammet, author of Born on a Blue Day: Inside the Extraordinary Mind of an Autistic Savant: a Memoir, in 2004 “raised money for an epilepsy charity by memorizing and publicly reciting the number pi to 22, 514 digits – a new European record” (New York Times, February 15, 2007, page F1).

The article continues:

“His decision to memorize and recite the digits of pi was an important turning point. Racked by nervousness the night before the recitation, he fell into a deep sleep and dreamed that he was walking through the landscape of pi -- that he was actually deep inside the number, enveloped by its sights and colors and textures.

The recitation took place at the Museum of the History of Science in Oxford, lasted five hours and nine minutes and was monitored by students from the department of mathematical sciences at Oxford Brookes University. Mr. Tammet made no mistakes.

''I wanted to go as far into the other place as I could go,'' he said, speaking of the world of numbers. ''Having reached that point, I felt I felt a kind of release because I could look back and in my mind's eye I could see all the numbers -- all 22,000 numbers in my head -- and I actually turned around in my head and waved them good-bye, because I knew that I wasn't going to see them again, I wasn't going to do something like that again.”

Read a recent book on mathematics to celebrate Pi Day:

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