Programming For Kids

Are you looking for a fun summer hobby? How about learning how to program and/or design your very own video games? AADL partners with Gamestart to host lots of great programming and gaming events, but we also have some awesome new books and tools to help you out!

For younger learners, check out Awesome Algorithms and Creative Coding, which will give you an intro to basic coding. If you think you’re ready for a longer and more in depth look at coding, take a look at Adventures in Raspberry Pi and Adventures in Python.

If video games are your thing, you’ll want to read Video Games: From Concept to Consumer and Video Game Programming for Kids.

Want more? Check out our complete list of programming books and tools for kids.

Still waiting for The Girl on the Train? Try these readalikes!

If you’ve been on the waiting list for The Girl on the Train for what seems like months, you’re not alone! As you patiently wait, why not try out one (or more!) of these readalikes, which will certainly begin to satisfy your craving for psychological suspense:

The Secret Place, by Tana French, introduces us to eager Detective Stephen Moran, who is presented with the opportunity to get a foot in the door of Dublin’s Murder Squad when sixteen-year-old boarding school student Holly Mackey comes to him with new evidence about the year-old murder of a fellow student. Stephen’s investigation delves him deeply into the secrets of Holly’s close-knit group of friends, and their rival clique, revealing that the private underworld of teenage girls is much more mysterious and dangerous than he could possibly have imagined.

Luckiest Girl Alive, by Jessica Knoll, has been described as “Prep meets Gone Girl,” and introduces readers to Ani FaNelli who seems to have it all: an amazing job, a perfect body, a wonderful fiancé, and a beautiful New York City apartment. But, she has spent years hiding a violent, public trauma from her past that is constantly threatening to resurface while she continually reinvents herself in attempts to escape it. When a documentary producer approaches Ani and asks if she would be willing to tell her side of the story, she hopes that this is her opportunity for public vindication. But as the filming continues, Ani’s façade begins to crack until a new revelation offers her a final chance at redemption… at the cost of her picture-perfect world.

Dare Me, by Megan Abbott, kicks off with the suspicious suicide of one of the members of a high school cheerleading team. The rest of the team, along with their new, cool coach, who’s created a “golden circle” of favorite team members, are drawn into the investigation. One girl, Addy Hanlon, takes matters into her own hands and tries desperately herself to uncover the truth behind the death and discovers that, between teenagers, the bonds of love and loyalty can create danger.

The Weight of Blood, by Laura McHugh, is set in the tiny, poor Ozark Mountain town of Henbane. When one of Lucy Dane’s friends is murdered, Lucy feels a connection between this disappearance and the vanishing of her mother years ago. As Lucy begins to do some sleuthing, she discovers evidence that makes it impossible to ignore the suspicion that has been cast on her own family. As Lucy gets closer to solving the mystery herself, she must decide where her loyalties lie.

Kids Read Comics is This Weekend!

Meet Faith Erin Hicks, Raina Telgemeier, Kean Soo, Tory Woollcott, and over 40 more of your favorite cartoonists at Kids Read Comics this Friday, Saturday, and Sunday!

More than just a convention, Kids Read Comics offers over 50 free workshops and demos where you can learn more about making comics from the pros. The events are happening at the Ann Arbor District Library Downtown Branch, 826 Michigan Robot Supply & Repair Store, The Ann Arbor Art Center, and The Vault of Midnight. You can check out the full schedule of events (and download a printable PDF) here.

Friday, June 19 through Sunday, June 21, 2015 AADL is hosting the seventh annual Kids Read Comics festival, featuring 50 of your favorite cartoonists from across the continent who have come to lead free hands-on workshops and games designed to boost your creativity!

Friday, June 19

The festival starts at the University of Michigan's Duderstadt Center on North Campus with a Pre-Conference for Librarians, Educators, and Cartoonists. Register here to attend a workshop on how to make your own comics workshop, a talk on the history of comics with acclaimed comics scholar Carol Tilley, a panel discussion on comics in the classroom moderated by Colby Sharp, and a tour of the University of Michigan's Video Game Library.

Friday evening from 5:00 to 8:00 pm we'll all converge on The Vault of Midnight at 219 South Main Street for a Comics Jam Party where cartoonists, parents, and kids will be invited to contribute to a giant drawing wall facing Main Street!

Saturday, June 20

The main event kicks off at 11:00 am in the Multi-Purpose Room at AADL's Downtown Branch. Special Guests Kean Soo and Tory Woollcott will lead a presentation on making graphic novels.
Artist Alley opens at noon on the 1st floor of the Downtown Library and runs until 6:00 pm and workshops will be happening throughout the day at the Library, the Ann Arbor Art Center, the Robot Supply & Repair Store, and the Vault of Midnight!

Sunday, June 21

Artist Alley opens at 12:30 pm and runs through 6:00 pm. Get ready for another fun filled day of workshops at the Library, the Ann Arbor Art Center, the Robot Supply & Repair Store, and the Vault of Midnight!

You can check out the full events list here

Summer Reading - It's Elementary

Maggi Idzikowski, School Media Specialist with Bryant Elementary School and Pittsfield Elementary School has published an excellent packet for elementary summer reading

Of course, Ann Arbor District Library and Ann Arbor Public Schools support reading all year 'round.
When school is out for summer, there's lots of time to enjoy.
Get 'em reading and keep on reading.

Pick up your AADL Summer Reading Cards at any Library Location after June 12, 2015.
Find kid-centered Library events at the official AADL JUMP children's website
Join AADL concerts during Summer Festival. The first Kids Rock @ Top will be the TRUMMYTONES.
Continue exciting web activities at the official AADL Summer Games website.

Try it.
You'll ALL like it!

PreK Bits - "E" is for elephants

Ms. Rachel brought Elephants to storytime.
SEVEN BLIND MICE is a classic folktale from India retold by Ed Young.
The song sung in the story is the same tune as “One Elephant” on the CD GREAT BIG HITS! by Sharon, Lois and Bram
Ms. Sara sang and played guitar to “Put Your Finger In The Air” ... while Ms. Rachel led the actions. There is a version of this song on the CD HONK HISS TWEET GGggg by Tom Glazer.
Then Elephant & Piggy told the story I AM INVITED TO A PARTY! by Mo Willems.

For more great elephant stories, try the following:
5 ELEPHANTS by Rob Laidlaw. 5 stories of famous “real” elephants.
ELLA by Bill Peet.
ELMER by David McKee.
17 KINGS And 42 ELEPHANTS by Margaret Mahy.
The BABY SWAP by Jan Ormerod
ELEPHANTASTIC! by Michael Engler.
NANCY KNOWS by Cybele Young.
The LAST KING Of ANGKOR WAT by Graeme Base, a master of search-and-find illustrations.
OLIVER’S TREE by Kit Chase.
For elephant silliness try ELEPHANTASTIC: a trunkful of unforgettable jokes … if you like jokes and riddles.
For an informational journey of elephants in the wild .... watch together BORN To Be WILD 2011.
For pure enjoyment of language and great storytelling try the Rabbit Ears edition of Rudyard Kipling’s jungle stories on DVD … HOW THE RHINOCEROUS GOT HIS SKIN and The ELEPHANT’S CHILD.

Fabulous Fiction Firsts #535 - “Some day you will be old enough to start reading fairy tales again.” ~ C.S. Lewis

The Royal We * * by Heather Cocks and Jessica Morgan, (co-creators of one of the wittiest celebrity fashion blog, Go Fug Yourself and 2 teen novels - Spoiled and Messy), are charming readers with this modern-day Cinderella tale for adults.

Des Moines native Rebecca "Bex" Porter unlike her twin Lacey, is never one for fairy tales. As an exchange (Cornell) student at Oxford, she looks forward to "art, antiquities and history" and thus pays no attention to the "sandy-haired guy" who answers the porter's bell and who happens to be the heir to the British throne, Prince Nicholas. And when Bex can't resist falling for Nick, the person behind the prince, it propels her into a world she did not expect to inhabit, under a spotlight she is not prepared to face.

The novel opens on the eve of the most talked-about wedding of the century, Bex reflects on what she's sacrificed for love -- and exactly whose heart she may yet have to break.

"Parallels to the love story of Prince William and Kate Middleton are obvious, but the authors create their own unique and endearing characters with Bex and Nick along with an entertaining cast of characters including lovable rogue Prince Freddie, Nick's younger brother; Bex's twin, Lacey; and a bunch of colorful school chums. Royal watchers and chick-lit fans alike will delight in this sparkling tale. Pure fun." If you enjoy this debut, I bet you won't be disappointed with (the latest in the Princess Diaries series) Meg Cabot's Royal Wedding.

Minnow * *, the 2014 South Carolina First Novel Prize winner, by James McTeer II is "a memorable coming-of-age story brimming with unexpected encounters with man, beast, and nature, and some magic thrown in for good measure."

Young Minnow's father is dying of a mysterious illness. The local pharmacist points him to a local hoodoo healer Dr. Crow, thus launching him on an increasingly strange and dangerous quest that will take him deep into the South Carolina Sea Islands. There Minnow is to take soil from the grave of Sorry George, an infamous practitioner of black magic, as payment for a cure.

This compellingly dark debut full of Southern mystery and lore is inspired by the author's (a school librarian) grandfather - a sheriff of the Low Country for decades as well as a local witch doctor. A captivating crossover for teens and especially for fans of Karen Russell's beloved Ava Bigtree in Swamplandia!

* * = 2 starred reviews

New Blexbolex: PEOPLE

Enigmatic French artist and designer Blexbolex won numerous awards for his 2010 book Seasons. His latest book, People, features his signature style of illustrations, and depicts all sorts of people, real, imaginary, historical and legendary. Each illustration of an individual features a single descriptive phrase above it, such as PLUMBER, HIGH DIVER or MARIONETTE. As readers peruse through Blexbolex’s amazing images, they’ll enjoy discovering the connections between his different people. The breath of a shivering man crosses the page to become the smoke from a smoker’s cigarette. A painter, a graffiti artist, a poster hanger and an abstract artist are all depicted in succession and the differences and similarities in their tasks are made subtly clear. I just love how simple and clever Blexbolex’s work is, and how his diverse renderings of people break down preconceived notions of what a traditional WARRIOR or CYCLIST or MAGICIAN might look like. People is a great household book and is enjoyable for every age.

She Blinded Me With Science

A few new fact books in the same series have hit the shelves in the youth department that immediately caught my eye. With bright, colorful photographs and diagrams, along with easy to read small blurbs of factual information, it’s a winner for the curious of all ages.

Extraordinary: Facts from the everyday to the exceptional answers questions about the biggest, smallest, slowest, coldest, etc., on a variety of topics such as space, human body, history, plants, and places. Why don’t haircuts hurt? How do mushrooms grow so fast? What game do 250 million people play? Can a car run on chocolate?

Weird Or What: A cornucopia of curious questions and answers delves into topics such as earth, history, nature, transportation, and society and culture. How big is a swarm? Why is an octopus spineless? Who decides what’s fashion? Which animals lived in the ice age?

If you’re into books such as the Guiness Book of World Records these are right up your alley.

World Wide Knit in Public Day!

Today is World Wide Knit in Public Day! The mission is "better living through stitching together." 56 countries are participating and 882 knit-in-public events are taking place, and I hear that is record participation! Are you knitting in public today?!

The AADL is chock full of amazing knitting books, whether you’re a novice or a pro, and whether it’s summer or winter. And let’s face it, knitting outside is much more enjoyable in the summer than in the winter. So if you’re out and about today and see someone knitting in public, give them a thumbs up!

2015 Summer Reading Lists

Let's start with The New York Times Cool Books for Hot Summer Days.

Female Literati Pick Summer's Best Books, 11 top women novelists share their favorite warm-weather reading choices, among them : Nell Freudenberger, Meg Wolitzer, Lily King, Miranda July, Adelle Waldman, and Maggie Shipstead. If you recognize these names, you like Women's Fiction. Well, here is The Huffington Post's recommendations to get you started for the summer.

And for the Romance reader: Romance for the Real Girl.

Speaking of style... Vogue's Megan O'Grady shares This Summer's Best Beach Reads.

Want to know what I'll be packing in my beach bag? 17 Of The Best Books Of Summer 2015.. Don't want to miss out? Hurry and put reserves on these early summer releases.

And finally, the 2015 edition of the UC Berkeley Summer Reading List for New Students. It offers a potluck of great suggestions from the faculty. "Is this required reading? Absolutely not. Do we hope you'll find something on this list that appeals to you? Absolutely yes."

And you know Summer Game 2015 is HERE, don't you?

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