Waiting (not so) patiently for Pioneer Girl: an annotated autobiography by Laura Ingalls Wilder?

Me too! I am crazy about Laura Ingalls Wilder’s books and learning more about her life after the books and her work as a writer. Pioneer Girl was Laura’s first attempt at writing her memoirs, and unlike her beloved Little House series, this book was aimed at adults. Pamela Smith Hill and the South Dakota Historical Society have done an incredible job of filling out Laura’s story - adding details about minor characters she encounters along the way, or explaining how events in this book were later fictionalized and expanded in later works. It’s a dense read, but Laura lovers will be amazed at all the new things there are to learn about her life and times.

While you’re waiting for Pioneer Girl, try:

- William Anderson - William Anderson is a big name in Laura Ingalls Wilder scholarship. Not only has he written multiple books on her, he has helped found and secure some of the home sites and museums, such as at Rocky Ridge, Laura and Almanzo’s home and farm in Missouri. Especially check out The Little House Guidebook and Pioneer Girl: the story of Laura Ingalls Wilder. These were written for a youth audience but any Laura fan will appreciate the historic photos.

- Caddie Woodlawn by Carol Ryrie Brink - Caddie Woodlawn is a spunky eleven-year-old tomboy in 1860s Wisconsin, and these stories of her adventures in the woods are based on the stories of the author’s grandmother. This is the nearest readalike to Laura Ingalls Wilder’s own writing in my opinion, and due to episodes of friction between the Native Americans and the settlers, it’s probably shares the most with Little House on the Prairie.

- The Wilder Life by Wendy McClure - Blogger McClure travels from Laura location to Laura location - from wading in the banks of Plum Creek to sleeping in a covered wagon during a hailstorm on the South Dakota prairie - and encountering varieties of Little House fans from lookalike contest competitors to doomsday-prepping butter churners.

- Pioneer Girl by Bich Minh Nguyen - This novel tells the story of Lee Lien, whose childhood is spent crisscrossing the Midwest as her family moves from managing one Asian buffet to another. Now an adult, Lee stumbles upon a family heirloom that may connect her family to Laura Ingalls Wilder’s daughter. In tracing Wilder family history, she makes some discoveries about her own family as well.

- Nothing Daunted by Dorothy Wickenden - This biography of the author’s grandmother tells of two college friends from New York who take on an invitation to become teachers rural Northwest Colorado in 1916 - and enter a whole new world with different social conventions, students who have to ski to class on barrel staves and don’t know who the president is, and the challenge of being the only marriage prospects for miles around.

Laura Ingalls Wilder and Her Place in the World

Monday March 23, 2015: 7:00 pm to 8:30 pm -- Downtown Library: Multi-Purpose Room

This event is intended for adults and teens grades 6 and up
This event will be recorded

Interest in Laura Ingalls Wilder is at a peak – especially with the recent publication of her autobiography Pioneer Girl: The Annotated Autobiography.

At this special AADL evening, explore the world of Laura Ingalls Wilder, whose experiences traveling and homesteading with her pioneer family spawned her series of popular children's books. Author and Wilder scholar William Anderson and University of Michigan History professor Michelle McClellan lead us on a journey through Laura's life and tell the story of how the places she lived have now taken on a life of their own.

Wilder's legacy extends far beyond her Little House series; millions know her from the 1970s television show based on her books, and the locations she wrote about, including Kansas, Minnesota, South Dakota, and Missouri, have become tourist destinations for her devoted fans.

 

Author Ayelet Waldman Discusses Her Acclaimed New Novel 'Love And Treasure'

Media Player

November 11, 2014 at the Downtown Library, Multi-Purpose Room

Author Ayelet Waldman discusses the inspiration behind her latest novel, "Love and Treasure." Waldman is the author of Red Hook Road, The New York Times bestseller Bad Mother: A Chronicle of Maternal Crimes, and other popular novels.

"Love and Treasure" is a spellbinding novel of contraband masterpieces, tragic love, and the unexpected legacies of forgotten crimes, weaving a tale around the true history of the Hungarian Gold Train in World War II.

The tale begins in 1945 on the outskirts of Salzburg, when victorious American soldiers capture a train filled with unspeakable riches: piles of fine gold watches; mountains of fur coats; crates filled with wedding rings, silver picture frames, family heirlooms, and Shabbat candlesticks passed down through generations. Jack, a tough, smart New York Jew, is the officer charged with guarding this treasure—a responsibility that grows more complicated when he meets Ilona, a fierce, beautiful Hungarian who has lost everything in the ravages of the Holocaust.

Seventy years later, amid the shadowy world of art dealers who profit off the sins of previous generations, Jack gives a necklace to his granddaughter, Natalie, and charges her with searching for an unknown woman—a woman whose secret may help Natalie to understand her grandfather's guilt - and a way out of the mess she has made of her own life.

This event was cosponsored by AADL and the Jewish Community Center of Greater Ann Arbor as part of the 2014 Jewish Book Festival.

Length: 
00:49:39
Rights Held By: 
Ann Arbor District Library

Alison Bechdel, author of Fun Home, is coming to Ann Arbor

Hugely popular graphic novelist Alison Bechdel, author of Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic, Are You My Mother? A Comic Drama, and many other graphic novels, will be coming to the Michigan Theater on January 22, 2015. Bechdel's work intertwines political and personal spheres. She uses stories of her father's life before gay rights and her mother's life prior to the women's rights movement to portray intimate images of oppression. In Fun Home, her most popular work, Bechdel shares her personal tales of coming-of-age and coming out in the 1950s and 1960s, under the shadow of her parents' unhappy marriage and nation-wide homophobia.

Bechdel's talk at the Michigan Theater will begin at 5:10pm. The event is free and open to the public. You can read more about Bechdel and the event itself here.

Fabulous Fiction Firsts #507 -“In the end these things matter most: How well did you love? How fully did you live? How deeply did you let go?” ~ Gautama Buddha

Before I Go * by Colleen Oakley, given the premise, could have been a sentimental tearjerker but instead, yes, it is heart-wrenching of course, but surprisingly upbeat and life-affirming.

27 year old grad. student Daisy Richmond beat cancer once but on her third "Cancerversary", the cancer is back - Stage IV, aggressive and inoperable. She knows she won't be around for husband Jack's graduation from vet school - something they have worked, sacrificed and delayed their life-plans (kids and vacations) for. What terrifies Daisy most is not dying, but leaving brilliant, domestically-challenged, absent-minded Jack on his own. So instead of planning some "make-a-wish" grown-up getaway for her last days, she is going to find Jack a wife with the time she has left.

With the help of her best friend Kayleigh, Daisy systematically scouts out dog parks (must love dogs) coffee shops and online dating sites looking for the perfect match for Jack. But when it looks like she is way too successful in her quest, Daisy has a change of heart.

Debut novelist Oakley "expertly tugs at the heartstrings with well-rounded characters and a liberal dose of gallows humor."

For readers who enjoyed Hello Goodbye by Emily Chenoweth (a FFF); P.S. I love you by Cecelia Ahern that has been adapted into film; Hannah's List by Debbie Macomber; and Promises to Keep by Jane Green - novels that deal with difficult issues of illnesses and grief, holding on and letting go of the ones we love.

* = starred review

The Boy Who Cried Fabulous!

"When Roger started out for school, his mother set a simple rule. She said, "Now Roger, you go straight-- straight to class and don't be late!" Roger tried hard to obey, he knew that he should not delay. He shouldn't wander or explore, but then he came upon a store..."

In The Boy Who Cried Fabulous by Leslea Newman, Roger is a quirky boy who has trouble going to and from school. The reason? He can't help but become side-tracked by all of the fabulous things he sees! When Roger finds himself late for school (again!), his parents ban him from saying the word 'fabulous' anymore. What will Roger do when he can no longer explore "a world too wondrous to ignore"?

The Boy Who Cried Fabulous is a funny rhyming story about curiosity and accepting others differences. The illustrations are vibrant and bright, and become more and more outlandish as the story continues. Other fabulous titles from Leslea Newman include Donovan's Big Day, Just Like Mama, and Dogs, Dogs, Dogs!

PreK Bits - Q is for Quilt

Ms. Rachel's storytime was brought to you by the letter "Q" this week.

A FAR-FETCHED STORY ends with a "far-fetched story quilt" to keep the family "warm as folklore" through the winter.
"Five Plum Buns In The Bakery Shoppe" is a rhythmic counting poem about disappearing buns in the bakery shoppe.
Each customer enters the shoppe to buy a bun "with a quarter in their hand".
The rhyme is traditional and has been passed down orally. A recorded version was not found in the library.
OWL AT HOME tells of the night there are "Strange Bumps" under Owl's quilt, when he is trying to go to sleep.
Children left with a stamp on their hand of a "quarter moon" smiling at them ....

Here are more stories featuring quilts, since quilts are full of family stories about each patch.
MOOSHKA A QUILT STORY by Julie Paschkis, and The KEEPING QUILT by Patricia Polacco, are Jewish immigrant quilt stories.
PAPA And The PIONEER QUILT by Jean Van Leeuwen, an historical story from the American westward pioneer era.
SHOW WAY by Jaqueline Woodson, an historical story of how quilts led slaves north to freedom.
LUKA'S QUILT by Georgia Guback, an Hawaiian quilt story.
The QUILT by Ann Jonas, of warm memories playing under the quilt.
SAM JOHNSON And The BLUE RIBBON QUILT by Lisa Campbell Ernst, a story of Sam the Farmer who found he enjoys sewing. Now he wishes to join his wife's quilting circle.
So then ... save your favorite scraps and make a quilt that tells YOUR stories.

New TV Shows @ AADL

The library is always acquiring additional TV shows and new seasons of them, be they hot and new, or oldies but goodies. For these new ones you can now get the entire season in one check-out. Hello, binge watching! All the discs are in one case with an extended check-out period. Here are some new series on their way to AADL for the first time:

The Fall, Series 1
DSI Stella Gibson (Gillian Anderson) is a steely detective on the trail of a serial killer stalking the streets of Belfast.

Misfits, Seasons 1-3
Kelly, Nathan, Curtis, Alisha and Simon are five unruly teenagers forced to do community service as payback for their crimes. But when a freak electrical storm hits their town, strange things begin to happen to them that are way out of their control. In fact, they have no idea that they've actually turned into superheroes, each with a power they didn't choose or want. They must save their town from the evil that has descended upon it.

Popular, Seasons 1 & 2
Inside the walls of Kennedy High, there's a war being waged for the most elusive prize of all ... popularity. Samantha MacPherson is an unpopular brainiac. Brooke McQueen is the popular head cheerleader. The two are sworn enemies until Brooke's dad proposes to Sam's mom and the two families begin living together. Sam and Brooke then join forces to break their parents up.

Satisfaction, Season 1
A provocative drama that explores modern marriage at its midpoint. Through the lens of one couple, investment advisor, Neil Truman and his wife, Grace, this series answers the question, 'What do you do when having it all is not enough?' by delving into their shocking and unconventional choices.

Family Tree, Season 1
The story of the 30-year-old Tom Chadwick, an Englishman who has few roots, little family, and an unsure sense of his purpose in life. Tom inherits a mysterious box of belongings from a great-aunt he never met, triggering a passion to investigate his family lineage. As Tom's interest in genealogy grows, his life evolves in unexpected directions, as he uncovers a world of unusual stories and characters in the U.K. and the U.S., as well as a growing sense of who he is and who his real family is.

Republic of Doyle, Seasons 1 & 2
The Canadian mystery features a father and son sleuthing team based in the province of Newfoundland.

Tyrant, Season 1
Al-Fayeed "Barry", the son of a war-torn country's controversial dictator, returns to his homeland after a self-imposed exile in the U.S. But the lives of Barry and his American family are suddenly upended when Barry's volatile brother, Jamal, ascends to the throne. Barry's western views are pitted against Jamal's wife, Leila, who wants her husband to rule with an iron fist. Barry finds himself torn between the seductive lure of power and the sympathy for his country's freedom fighters.

Silicon Valley, Season 1
Partially inspired by co-creator Mike Judge's experiences as a Silicon Valley engineer in the 1980s, this comedy series follows the misadventures of introverted computer programmer Richard and his brainy friends as they attempt to strike it rich in a high-tech gold rush.

The Thick of It, Seasons 1-4
Chronicles the blunders of the fictitious Department of Social Affairs and Citizenship, a government department barely registering on the national radar. In this Ministry, every announcement is followed by a whirlwind of u-turns, every policy is a scramble and every mishap is met with abuse from the Prime Minister's policy enforcer.

Fore more TV shows, be sure to check out AADL’s lists for HOT TV shows, as well as NEW TV shows.

Cartwheeling in Thunderstorms

Katherine Rundell, author of Rooftoppers, has done it again. Her newest children’s fiction novel, Cartwheeling In Thunderstorms is a fantastic treat of words and imagery.

Young Wilhelmina Silver, better known as Will, Cartwheel, or Wildcat, lives half-wild in Africa on a farm with her English born father and best animal friends. She spends time running the plains with her best friend Simon, and the monkeys and hyenas she’s grown to love and care for. Will is as feisty as can be and the boys are no match for her wit and spunk. Whip-smart, spontaneous, and ever a dreamer, Will’s happy and magical world gets ripped apart when the family farm is sold and she is sent to a boarding school in London, where she sticks out like dirty thumb.

It’s a charming story with an irresistable voice in Will Silver.

Golden Globe Award Winners

Last night the 72nd Golden Globes announced winners in top categories for motion pictures and television for the year. There is a lot of good stuff to get caught up on!

Best Motion Picture - Drama went to Boyhood (also winning Best Director for Richard Linklater and Best Supporting Actress for Patricia Arquette), Best Motion Picture - Comedy went to The Grand Budapest Hotel, Best Mini-Series or Motion Picture for Television went to Fargo (also wining Best Actor in a Mini-Series or Motion Picture for Television for Billy Bob Thornton), Best Animated Film went to How to Train Your Dragon 2, Best Foreign Film went to Russia’s Leviathan, Best Television Series - Comedy went to Amazon’s Transparent (also winning Best Actor, Comedy Series for Jeffrey Tambor), and Best Television Series - Drama went to The Affair (also winning Best Actress, Television Series - Drama for Ruth Wilson).

See here for a full list of all winners.

Next up in screen awards is the Academy Awards which will be held on February 22nd, with nominees being announced on January 15th.

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