Create Your Own Illustrated Book with Ruth McNally Barshaw

Wednesday April 6, 2016: 6:30 pm to 8:00 pm -- Downtown Library: Multi-Purpose Room

This event is intended for grade 4 - adult

Join Ruth McNally Barshaw, author of the popular Ellie McDoodle Diaries, for a hands-on workshop on how to make your own Ellie McDoodle or Diary of a Wimpy Kid-style illustrated book!

Comic-Drawing with Ruth McNally Barshaw

Thursday February 18, 2016: 2:00 pm to 3:00 pm -- Pittsfield Branch: Program Room

This event is intended for grades K-5

Learn the art of story creation, draw characters, and brainstorm settings, story problems, friends and enemies with Ruth McNally Barshaw, author of the popular Ellie McDoodle Diaries book series!

Books will be for sale courtesy of Literati Bookstore

John Hughes: A Life in Film

The book John Hughes: A Life in Film chronicles the film career of writer, director and producer John Hughes (1950-2009).

Hughes, born in Lansing, Michigan, is best known for his hit 80s flicks such as Pretty In Pink, Sixteen Candles, The Breakfast Club, Weird Science, National Lampoon's Vacation, Mr. Mom, Ferris Beuller’s Day Off, Planes, Trains & Automobiles, The Great Outdoors, Home Alone, and many more. His work on numerous films helped launch the careers of many actors.

This new book covers the films that Hughes worked on, features film stills and candid shots from production, as well as stories and blurbs by actors and staff working on the films.It’s really fun to go back through these films chronologically and remember how great they are!

New Books on World War I and World War II

Want to learn more about World War I or World War II? Take a look at a few of our new books!

Women Heroes of World War I: 16 Remarkable Resisters, Soldiers, Spies, and Medics and Women Heroes of World War II: 26 Stories of Espionage, Sabotage, Resistance, and Rescue tell the true stories of remarkable women in war times. With profiles of many different women, these books will keep the attention of readers as they learn about spying techniques, wartime resistance, and even primitive surgery methods!

The Great War: Stories Inspired by Items from the First World War is a unique take on World War I. Featuring the work of multiple authors, the short stories in this book each stem from an object recovered from World War I, be it a helmet, a toy solider, or a compass. This is a great book for children and adults to enjoy together.

From the new series History's Greatest Rivals comes the book Adolf Hitler vs. Winston Churchill: Foes of World War II. Featuring great graphics and short intriguing text, this is a winner for kids who want a shorter book on World War II.

For even more youth books on World War I, check out these recommendations! For books on World War II, look here!

Fabulous Fiction Firsts #542 - "Fiction and poetry are doses, medicines. What they heal is the rupture reality makes on the imagination." ~ Jeanette Winterson

What a joy it is to meander the waterways through the heart of France with The Little Paris Bookshop by Nina George, the first English translation for a bestselling German author.

Fifty year-old Monsieur Perdu watches over the other inhabitants of 27 Rue Montagnard. By day, he runs a literary apothecary on a floating barge docked along the Seine, prescribing appropriate books to (mostly willing) customers for the myriad of ailments and hardships of life. His intuition and profound knowledge of books serves him well, mending broken heart and souls, except for his own.

For twenty years he refuses to open the letter left for him by Manon, the love of his life, until the chance encounter with a new tenant stirs up emotions long buried within. Once he reads the letter, the devastating contents compel him to haul anchor, take the bookstore barge on a trip upriver to Avignon, in search of closure and forgiveness - but not before taking on an uninvited guest. His neighbor Max Jordan, a young American author with severe writer's block, is looking for fresh ideas and the perfect story, and is in need of a sanctuary from over-zealous paparazzi and adoring fans.

"The two navigate the canals of France trading books for food (The Enchanted April to a baker's daughter, and the latest John Irving to a lockkeeper's wife), engaging in adventures small and large, all against the backdrop of quaint villages and bittersweet memories."

"A charming novel that believes in the healing properties of fiction, romance, and a summer in the south of France." All aboard.

For those who enjoyed The Storied life of A. J. Fikry by Gabirelle Zevin, and The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce.

Crazy Creatures and Bizarre Beasties

Why settle for regular boring old animals when you can discover CRAZY and AMAZING facts about the biggest weirdos in the animal kingdom!? We have so many new books about strange creatures that are just trying to do their best in this wild world.

The Dictionary of Ordinary Extraordinary Animals takes the animals you thought you knew and teaches you knew and strange facts about all of them. The colorful pictures in this book pair with detailed descriptions to provide a solid introduction to over three hundred animals!

The Curious Critters series by David FitzSimmons is a fantastic group of books that boasts gorgeous close-up photographs of a whole host of animals. Each page is accompanied by a poem, song, or monologue written from the animal’s perspective. Although I like the text, it’s really the photography that sets these titles apart from other animal books.

If you just want to skip right to weird facts, take a look at When Lunch Fights Back: Wickedly Clever Animal Defenses. This book is packed with facts about the tactics prey animals use to defend themselves. My favorite fact? The Horned Lizard shoots blood out of its eyes to scare off predators!

For even more books about crazy animals, check out these recommendations!

Notable New Memoir: Sally Mann's Hold Still

Renowned photographer Sally Mann’s new memoir, Hold Still, is a breath of fresh, Southern air. Stories of her family—past and present—as well as anecdotes about her deep love of the southern United States and her photography sojourns are interspersed with her beautiful photographs.

Mann generated controversy in the 1990s for her photo collection “Immediate Family,” which featured many pictures of her children, some in the nude. No matter how you feel about these photographs, its undeniable that they are striking, and the work of someone deeply talented. Her other work is equally breathtaking, particularly her haunting landscapes, many of which are taken at and near the farm where she was raised and continues to live, in Virginia.

Hold Still is written at an almost soothing pace. Mann spins out stories of generations of family troubles, and analyzes deeply who she is today. Excerpts from years of letters and diary entries compliment her stories, and add unique details and perspectives to situations whose outcomes have been altered by the passing of time. She writes at length about her beloved South and the deep-seated sense of place that she has found during her lifetime there. I loved becoming more familiar with Mann’s work while also reading this fascinating account of a memorable life.

For more of Mann’s photography, check out Deep South and What Remains.

Kerrytown BookFest Exhibit Reception

Friday September 11, 2015: 7:00 pm to 8:00 pm -- Downtown Library: 3rd Floor Open Area

Join us for a pre-BookFest reception for the upcoming 13th annual Kerrytown BookFest!

The reception will feature the grand opening of The Art Of The Book, Kerrytown BookFest’s Exhibit at the Library which showcases entries from the BookFest’s 8th annual Book Cover Design contest for high school students. The contest, open to all Michigan High School students, asks the students to reimagine a cover for a chosen book and give a visual interpretation to the written word. The contest winners will be announced at the reception. This year’s book is My Last Kiss, a young adult novel by Bethany Neal. Over 100 entries were judged by Bethany Neal, author; Paula Newcombe, graphic designer for the University of Michigan Press; and Melissa Weisberg, Macmillan Publishing Company representative.

Robin Agnew, Kerrytown BookFest President and owner of Aunt Agatha’s bookstore, who will present an overview of the exhibit and the book design contest. Deborah Gabrion will play the harp to accompany the celebration, and refreshments will be served.

The Kerrytown BookFest, which will be held on Sunday, September 13, is an event celebrating those who create books and those who read them. The primary goal is to highlight the area’s rich heritage in the book and printing arts while showcasing local and regional individuals, businesses, and organizations. Since 2003, the BookFest has been growing, sharing, and discovering more and more about the rich book culture in this region.

To Kill or Not to Kill, That is the Question!

Whether you love it or you hate it, everyone knows about William Shakespeare and his plays: Romeo and Juliet, Macbeth, Othello, Hamlet, the list goes on.

Regardless of your feelings towards the great bard, this comic is definitely worth a look! Kill Shakespeare starts out in the play Hamlet, where the Prince of Denmark has just accidentally killed the nobleman Polonius and is sent away to England. In the original play, we don't really know what happens to Hamlet during this time and he eventually returns to Denmark. Well now is your chance to see what happened in between! At least according to Anthony Del Col and Conor McCreery. Hamlet is lost at sea, and rescued by King Richard III (the name of another Shakespeare play), who tells him of a great destiny in which he is called the Shadow King, a title Hamlet has recently been called in his visions by three crones (from Shakespeare's Macbeth!)

But what is the destiny of the Shadow King? Why, to kill a man who is said to be a god or a wizard. A man who holds a powerful quill and has accumulated a great following of people in King Richard's kingdom. A man named William Shakespeare.

Surrealism At Its Most Hilarious!

OH MAN. You guys have to read this book! It’s so weird and beautiful and hilarious. I first discovered the author, Lisa Hanawalt, through her Maximum Fun podcast with comedian Emily Heller, Baby Geniuses. Since I started listening to the podcast, I’ve been trying to convince everyone else I know to listen to it too, and I am so thrilled to do the same with Hanawalt’s book!

My Dirty Dumb Eyes, by Lisa Hanawalt, is an adult graphic novel with a series of comics on strange subjects. Topics range from “What do Dogs Want??” (one answer: a tennis-ball bride) to “The Secret Lives of Chefs” (“Christina Tosi employs a child think tank to come up with recipes for Milk Bar”) to “North American Wildlife and Hats,” which features images such as an elk in a “New Jersey turnpike hat”, and a desert hare sporting a “lazy susan hat with hotdog and pancake condiments.”

The drawings in this book are just as surreal and gorgeous as you could hope for. The book is full of bright, bold colors and meticulous details. It contains very mature themes and drawings, so it is not for young folks. But all you grown ups out there, check out My Dirty Dumb Eyes now!

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