He was an advocate for babies and peace

Today, May 2 is the birthday of Dr. Benjamin Spock, pediatrician and crusader in the field of child care, later active in the peace movement during the Vietnam War. Spock was born in 1906, the eldest of six children and so from an early age had taken care of young children. After the publication of the first aedition of what was to become Dr. Spock's Baby and Child Care, Spock was surprised at its success, being the second largest selling book in the world after the Bible. His philosophy of child care revolutionized the way parents thought about their children, giving them permission to use their instincts, not always adhere to a strict feeding schedule, to comfort crying babies and to actually enjoy parenting. His love and concern for children was also manifested in his work in the peace movement as he watched young men risking their lives in what he considered an unnecessary war. Spock died in 1998 at the age of 94.

Wild Swan Performs Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night

I’m personally wild about Ann Arbor’s Wild Swan Theater so I’m hoping to take my 10-year-old son to their performance of Twelfth Night this Thursday, Friday, Saturday or Sunday (May 3-6) at WCC Towsley Auditorium. You’ll be glad to know AADL has plenty of good Shakespeare books for young people, such as The Riverside Shakespeare, which includes the play Twelfth Night.

Fabulous Fiction Firsts #62

In Summer People, Nathan, a midwestern college dropout/aspiring graphic novelist, is hired as a "caretaker" for Ellen Broderick who summers at Brightonfield Cove, an exclusive coastal community in Maine.

Not everyone in town is civil, let alone welcoming to Nathan except for Edwin Lowell, an Episcopalian pastor and his feisty, dark-eyed beauty of a nanny, Leah, who quickly peeks Nathan’s interest.

Apart from the rounds of evening cocktails, tennis matches at the Golf and Tennis Club, and midnight picnics with Leah, Nathan finds his caretaker’s responsibilities increasingly demanding and Ellen’s behavior unnerving. Ellen's colorful past, and the secrets of this insular town might just be more than Nathan could do to keep them both safe.

A promising debut for Brian Groh and a solid good read.

In the Break...

Okay, I confess I am a huge fan of surfing stories - movies, books, TV shows - I love them all! Fans of surfing will enjoy In the Break by Jack Lopez, but a love of surfing is not required. In the Break follows the story of 15 year old best friends, Juan and Jamie. They live and breath surfing and love the freedom that comes with being in the water. Unfortunately, life outside the water isn't so ideal. After an argument between Jamie and his abusive step-father comes to blows Jamie needs to get out of town - fast. Together (along with Jamie's sister, Amber) they head for Mexico - with surfboards stowed in the back. Unfortunately for Juan, Jamie and Amber things will never be the same again..

K-12 Educators: Get a classroom ePal

Looking for a safe and educational online environment for kids? Want to introduce your students to other cultures, the fundamentals of letter writing, and the joys of friendship? Why not get a pen pan? Wait, make that an e-Pal. ePals is the largest online classroom community. It provides a safe way for students to email other children around the world. Currently there are 191 countries, 7 million students and 123,851 classrooms trading short stories, practicing language and literacy skills and swapping classroom videos. Classrooms must register as a group. Join in!

If you prefer more traditional modes of correspondence, check out our books on letter writing for kids.

Messages in the Mailbox: How to Write a Letter
Putting it in Writing
Sincerely Yours: How to Write Great Letters
The Young Writer’s Handbook

Charles Baxter's "Soul Thief" Coming Out Next Year

Former Ann Arborite and U-M creative writing teacher Charles Baxter has a short novel coming out next year, “Soul Thief,” about a person who slips into someone else’s personality. And a film based on Baxter’s novel The Feast of Love is due to be released in September, according to StarTribune.com. The article says Baxter, who lives in Minneapolis, is turning 60 next week. Happy birthday!

En Espanol/In Spanish: Chronicles of Narnia Books!

The library recently purchased Spanish translations of the popular "Chronicles of Narnia" series by C.S. Lewis. There will be copies of "The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe/El Leon, la Bruja y el Ropero" at all branches and copies of all other titles at the Downtown Branch on both the Adult and Youth Foreign Language Collection shelves. Ask a staff member if you have trouble locating these areas. You can also put a HOLD on any of these books via your account in the online catalog. Follow the links below to see the records and call numbers for each book.

El Sobrino del Mago por C.S. Lewis
El Leon, la Bruja y el Ropero por C.S. Lewis
El Caballo y el Muchacho por C.S. Lewis
El Principe Caspian por C.S. Lewis
La Traversia del Viajero del Alba por C.S. Lewis
La Silla de Plata por C.S. Lewis
La Ultima Batalla por C.S. Lewis

See a Moon Rock in Michigan!

Soyuz TMA-3Soyuz TMA-3

On Saturday, June 9, the Kalamazoo Air Zoo will be opening its new Michigan Space Science Center. You can visit Ann Arbor astronaut Jack Lousma’s space suit (he spent 59 days in space on the crew of Skylab 3 and was spacecraft commander on STS-3. Russian Cosmonaut Alexandr Kalri's suit will also be on display, along with a Moon Rock, a full-size replica of a Gemini space capsule, a Gemini crew-training simulator, F1 rocket engine, J-2 rocket engine (both from a Saturn V rocket), plus a bunch of interactive exhibits.

Artist remembered

Today, April 30, is the birthday of African-American artist, Ellis Wilson. Wilson was born in Mayfield, Kentucky in 1899. He moved north to Chicago in the early 1920's where he attended the Art Institute of Chicago. He later moved to New York where he participated in the WPA art programs. Awarded with a Guggenheim fellowship, Wilson traveled to South Carolina and painted African-Americans harvesting crops and selling goods at the open air markets in Charleston. He also was inspired during his time in Haiti where he painted peasants at work. He is probably best known for his painting, "Funeral Procession" which was displayed in the living room of the popular TV sit-com, the Bill Cosby Show.

2007 Edgar Award - Best Youth Mystery

When the 2007 Edgar Awards were announced last week, veteran author Andrew Clements walked away with the prize for best mystery for young readers.
Room One: a Mystery or Two is the story of a budding detective who lives in a very small town in Nebraska. One day the sixth grader sees a girl standing in the window of an abandoned farmhouse. Why is the girl there and what can our young detective do about it?
This mystery, recommended for 9 - 12 year olds, covers an intriguing story as well as a few current social issues. Clements is a master of combining serious issues with humor and warmth. Illustrated by Chris Blair, this book is a winner.
This title is also available in CD format.

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