Baby Bits - FOR 0-24 months!

Bundle Up those Babies and Bring them to PlayGroups. We Sing and do HandPlays and Tell Stories. We also Play and meet other babies. The next PlayGroup Program Series begins in two weeks.

Heavenly Houdini

Houdini fans will delight in the rush of biographies about the fascinating daredevil/ghost chaser/magician. My personal favorite is Escape!: the story of the Great Houdini by Fleischman,Sid, award winning author, who was enchanted with magic as a child and became a friend of Houdini’s widow. She gave him the never before seen photos for this book. Other new biographies of the infamous magician are Houdini: world's greatest mystery man and escape king by Kathleen Krull and Harry Houdini: a magical life by Elizabeth MacLeod

The Play Ground

The Play GroundThe Play Ground

Oh man, The Chieftains are back in Ann Arbor after 5 long years of having to make due with just their CDs. They have been playing together for 43 years and have greatly contibuted to the wide appeal of Celtic music. They have received six Grammy Awards and this program will feature some of the group's greatest hits. As usual, there will be special guests appearing with them in concert. Hill Auditorium, Sunday January 21, 4pm.

“I am not so bad a person once you get to know me . . .”

Iggy gets kicked out of high school and there’s no one at home for him to tell. His mother has been gone for days, his father is stoned on the couch and the phone’s been disconnected, so even his social worker can’t get through.

Walking away from his public housing, Iggy sets out to make something of his life. Not an easy task when he has no skills and his only friend is mixed up with the dealer who got his mom hooked.

Iggy’s got problems galore, but Iggy also has the kind of wisdom that lets him see what no one else can. Try Saint Iggy.

Great stuff I have been reading...

I read a lot of great graphic novels and manga this past year and some of the titles that really left lasting impressions on me include: Abandon the Old in Tokyo by Yoshihrio Tatsumi, the seminal gekiga style mangaka. The manga series One Piece by Eiichiro Oda - wacked out and super fun pirate tales jammed with memorable characters, places and stories. Another is Ellen Forney's I Love Led Zeppelin - yet another wild ride celebrating alternative lifestyles and musings on memories. Rounding out the list are Alison Bechdel's Fun Home: a family Tragicomic - yes, it's as good as they say it is! Be sure to check out her Dykes to Watch Out For collections too...

”It’s easy to become anything you wish…”

“…so long as you’re willing to forfeit your soul.”

Gene Luen Yang’s graphic novel, American Born Chinese, follows three separate stories: the Monkey King who wants to be seen as a god; Jin Yang, the only Chinese-American attending a predominantly white suburban school; and Danny, a white adolescent trying to maintain a social standing while being visited yearly by his boorish Chinese cousin, Chin-Kee. Yang skillfully weaves the three stories into one (with the help of an Herbalist’s wife and Transformers) while exploring self-image, acceptance, and pride.
Yang’s humor and simplified drawing style highlight his talent for storytelling. It’s no wonder this book was a 2006 finalist for the National Book Award in the category of Young People’s Literature—a first for a graphic novel.

Of Mice and Rats

Are you looking for a good book to listen to with your family on your next car trip? I suggest Redwall by Brian Jacques. The story is about a young mouse Matthias, who becomes the hero of Redwall Abbey when it is attacked by Cluny the Scourge.

Time's 2006 Book of the Year

This year, a comic book holds the number one place on Time Magazine’s 10 Best Books of the year—Alison Bechdel’s memoir in comics form, Fun Home.
Bechdel beautifully tells the story of her life, and her father’s life. After her father’s death (believed to be suicide), Bechdel retraces her formative years by contemplating the similarities and distance between two people living in the same house.

Post Offices Closed January 2, 2007

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Mail service will be suspended Tuesday, January 2nd, 2007, the U.S. Postal Service announced. President Bush has ordered federal agencies to close that day out of respect for the memory of former President Gerald R. Ford. There will be no regular mail deliveries or retail service at offices. Normal mail service will resume Wednesday, Jan. 3.

A memoir on the love of art

Patricia Hampl, author of A Romantic Education has written a new memoir, Blue Arabesque: A Search for the Sublime. The book starts with a trip to the Art Institute of Chicago where she encounters a painting by Matisse titled "Woman Before an Aquarium." The painting sets off a series of meditations on the act of introspection and its effect on art. In the process, Hampl discusses the artists Delacroix and Ingres and the journals of Katherine Mansfield. She also describes the career of Jerome Hill, a documentary filmaker from her hometown of St. Paul. A starred review in Booklist states, "Hampl does with words what Matisse does with line and color, that is, reaches to the essence of perception, 'not simply what was seen, but how seeing was experienced.'"

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