Grace Shackman presents Ann Arbor in the 20th Century

Shackman

Grace Shackman, local historian, author, and freelance journalist, whose articles on Ann Arbor history have frequently appeared in The Ann Arbor Observer, can be viewed on Community Access Cable Channel 17 next week, as she presents a slide lecture on her book Ann Arbor in the 20th Century: A Pictorial History. The program can be viewed on Tuesday, February 21 at 3:30 p.m.; Thursday, February 23 at 1:30 p.m.; Friday, February 24 at 5:00 p.m. and Saturday, February 25 at 1:30 p.m. She is also the author of Ann Arbor in the 19th Century: A Pictorial History. Videos of talks on both books are also available for borrowing at the library.

The NBA...It's Fantastic!

The NBA's All-Star Weekend is upon us and that means we'll see plenty of incredible dunks, fancy passes, and long-range threes. And let's not forget the sloppy, playground moves and the non-existent defense!

The library has many books and videos related to the NBA, including the following:
Operation Yao Ming: The Chinese Sports Empire, American Big Business, and the Making of an NBA Superstar
Young, Black, Rich, and Famous: The Rise of the NBA, the Hip Hop Invasion, and the Transformation of American Culture
Basketball's Best Shots: The Greatest NBA Photography of the Century
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The Year of Secret Assignments

The Year of Secret Assignments by Jaclyn Moriarty was a thoroughly entertaining book to listen to and I enjoyed it to no end.
Ashbury and Brookfield are two rival high schools in New South Wales, Australia. In an effort to bridge the gap between the schools, the Year 10 students are required to write letters back and forth to a pen pal at the other school. Friendship, romance, humiliation, revenge plots, and a prank war between the schools ensue.
The story is told through letters, emails, diary and journal entries, notes, and notices. The use of different actors helps give each character a more definite personality.

Puffer Fish

Last night on Survivor, the La Mina tribe attempted to catch fish to eat, but all they could catch were poisonous puffer fish.
However, there was a close-up shot of a porcupine puffer in the water that could have been Porky's cousin.
You don't know who Porky is? He's our friendly resident porcupine puffer in the Downtown Youth Department.
Anyone else see this episode and can back me up?

Friend on Freedom River by Gloria Whelan

Louis hears a voice from the bushes. A runaway slave and her family want to cross the Detroit River to Canada where they will become free. Louis remembers what his father told him before he went up North to work for the winter. “If you don't know what to do, just do what you think I would have done.” Gloria Whelan captures the courage and determination of slaves and those who helped them travel the Underground Railroad in this excellent book for young readers.

Celebrating Poetry: Gwendolyn Brooks

Gwendolyn Brooks was named Poet Laureate of Illinois in 1968, served as Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress from 1985-86, and won the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry in 1950 for Annie Allen. She wrote over twenty books of poetry and is one of the most celebrated American poets. The Essential Gwendolyn Brooks brings her many works together and provides a complete view of her passion, versatility and genius.

Other works by Brooks include: The Bean Eaters, In Montgomery, and Other Poems, and her two-part autobiography, Report from Part One and Report From Part Two.

The Play Ground

"Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow." So the refrain goes, but it didn't play well when The Play Ground was stranded in Providence, Rhode Island during the blizzard of '06. One definite plus was getting to hear Paul Farmer speak at Brown University on Monday evening. This amazing person has proved that one man can make a difference with his medical work in Haiti, Rwanda and Russia. He is a magnetic speaker who gets things done. A medical rock star for sure. Mountains Beyond Mountains:The Quest of Dr. Paul Farmer, a Man Who Would Cure the World by Tracy Kidder reads like fiction and will inspire you.

Ballroom dancing sizzles on screen

When pre-teens from New York City schools learn and compete in ballroom dancing, the visual results are magnificent. Simply the expressions on the kids' faces make this film worthwhile, but there also are plenty of rich, human stories. On a winter night at home, this DVD could provide family entertainment for children about 8 and older. Enjoy Mad Hot Ballroom!

This children's music engages the brain

Some music created for children puts my brain right to sleep. But What kind of cat are you?! by Billy Jonas, is one of the many good ones. The title song asks questions and answers them with challenging words. Later on, the disc offers songs such as "Alien in my lungs" and "Bear to the left." If you're running low on stimulating music for your car or home CD player, this one is lively and fun.

Calling all quadrillion-dollar bills

What if a boy in Flint stumbled on a quadrillion-dollar bill, and the government wanted it back? And what if the face on that hot bill was soul father James Brown? Well, then you would have a rocking fun book for children age 9-12, a book that is so clever that you can read it aloud to the entire family. Christopher Paul Curtis also wrote The Watsons Go to Birmingham - 1963 and Bud, Not Buddy, both award winners, and both great choices for young readers.

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