2015 Booker Prize Winner: A Brief History of Seven Killings by Marlon James

Author Marlon James was awarded the 2015 Man Booker Prize for his novel A Brief History of Seven Killings on October 13 in London. The book, which tops 600 pages, is about the attempted assassination of Bob Marley in the 1970s. Its plot spans 3 decades and features 75 characters. Michael Wood, chair of the Booker Prize committee, described the book as the "most exciting" book on the shortlist, as well as being "full of surprises," "very violent," and "full of swearing".

James is the first Jamaican author to win the prize. This is only the second year that the prize has been open to all authors writing in English.

National Kale Day!

Today is National Kale Day! A day to celebrate the joy that is kale. Yes, there seems to be a "day" for everything. Kale has been a much talked about superfood the past few years, and to top it all off the veg community went a bit nuts when Beyoncé wore a kale sweatshirt in a music video.

Kale can be eaten cooked or raw in a variety of ways in place of lettuce or spinach to spice things up a bit. If you’re still skeptical, there are many varieties to choose from as far as taste goes – curly, purple, Russian, dinosaur?! Which will be on your plate today? Here are some books that feature this leafy green vegetable in a variety of recipes that will help you find out just how you like your kale.

Kale: The complete guide to the world's most powerful superfood

Kale the everyday superfood: 150 nutritious recipes to delight every kind of eater

Brassicas: Cooking the world's healthiest vegetables : kale, cauliflower, broccoli, brussels sprouts and more

Wild about greens: 125 delectable vegan recipes for kale, collards, arugula, bok choy, and other leafy veggies everyone loves

In addition to checking out books, you can also check out a kale art print from AADL’s growing art print collection! There over 700 prints in the catalog to choose from to check out! Artprize Kale is by local artist Carol Evert and would look great hanging in your house.

Do you have any favorite kale recipes!

Henning Mankell, Author of the Wallander Series, Dies at Age 67

Swedish author Henning Mankell died in Sweden this morning after a battle with cancer. Mankell was best known for his crime novels featuring Inspector Kurt Wallander, whose depression and unhealthy lifestyle made him a relatable, if dour, protagonist. The Wallander series begins with the award-winning Faceless Killers and ends with The Troubled Man, and Wallander's retirement from the police force and his slide into dementia.

Mankell was at the forefront of the Swedish crime popularity wave, combining his complicated and flawed detective with suspenseful puzzles and themes of social justice. Mankell used the murders Wallander investigated in small town Ystad to explore issues ranging from human trafficking or xenophobia. While best known for Wallander, Mankell wrote dozens of novels and plays, and was active as an artistic director in a theater in Mozambique, where he also had a home. He was extremely political, and often active in controversial causes.

Fans who miss Mankell's complex plots and thoughtful characters might explore the screen adaptations of his work. Kenneth Branagh leads an English language adaptation of the Wallander series for the BBC. There are also two Swedish adaptations, an original adaptation starring Rolf Lassgard and a later series of TV films starring Krister Henriksson.

The Little Gardener is a treat!

Oh my goodness! What a treat of a new picture book. The Little Gardener, written and illustrated by Emily Hughes, is completely charming. An unnamed miniature boy lives and works in a giant, colorful garden with his little worm friend. The two tend to the garden and get their food and shelter from it. But such little creatures working in such a big garden get tired! The tiny boy and the worm get more and more worn out and their garden starts to wilt and die. One evening, the little boy makes a tiny wish… for just a bit of help. Then he and his worm buddy fall asleep. They are so tired that they sleep all day… all week… all month! While they are sleeping a human girl sees one of the beautiful flowers that is growing in the garden and gets inspired to tend to the garden herself. She waters and weeds and makes everything healthy again! When the tiny boy wakes up, he is rejuvenated and amazed. His garden is flourishing again! He happily goes back to work at his labor of love. The beautiful illustrations and simple, carefully worded text really make this a wonderful picture book, both for young readers... and the adults reading to them!

Parent’s Corner: Are we Facebook friends?

In this day and age things are different than when we were kids. Your child is ten and wants their own iPhone. After you take a photo of your four year old with your phone, the child instantly asks “are you going to put that on Facebook?” And let’s not forget the kid who walks around “air hashtagging” when he’s not even sure what Twitter is. How do you as a parent or caregiver guide children along in this screen-driven world?

The Parent Shelf is located in the downtown youth area, and here is where you’ll find a variety of parent-child related books on a multitude of topics- including everything from food and nutrition to potty training to time-outs to homework. These books are available for checkout and can be found in the catalog when searching “parent shelf.” And there are many on the topic of the digital age and children. Here are a few to get you started:

Screen-smart parenting: How to find balance and benefit in your child's use of social media, apps, and digital devices

Reset your child's brain: A four-week plan to end meltdowns, raise grades, and boost social skills by reversing the effects of electronic screen-time

Growing up social: Raising relational kids in a screen-driven world

Talking back to Facebook: A common sense guide to raising kids in the digital age

And if you’re looking to research more on navigating cyberspace and children, there are plenty more books to choose from.

It's Banned Books Week! Sept. 27 - Oct. 3

Banned Books Week 2015 posterBanned Books Week 2015 poster

What is Banned Books Week, you may ask? It's an event put on by the American Library Association every year to celebrate the freedom to read! The ALA does not believe in censorship, and celebrating banned or challenged books draws attention to the harm potentially caused when access is restricted. If you haven't already, come check out our Banned Books Week display in the Downtown Youth Department and take a peek at the books we've chosen to highlight - some of them may surprise you!

What does it mean if a book is challenged or banned? Well, it simply means that someone doesn't like it! It could be a parent who doesn't agree with their child's assigned reading list for school, or a teacher who doesn't believe a particular title should be allowed in his/her district's curriculum. Books are challenged with the best intentions - to protect others, most commonly children, from difficult ideas and information. However, banning a book goes far beyond simply expressing a point of view or exercising beliefs. Removing material from a school's curriculum or the public library restricts the access of others who may not hold those same beliefs.

If you've had a chance to look at the display or check out the list of titles that are in it, you're probably wondering why some great books have been challenged or banned. Well, hold onto your hats and find some pearls to clutch, because we're about to tell you!

Parent’s Corner: Brains!

The Parent Shelf is located in the downtown youth area, and here is where you’ll find a variety of parent-child related books on a multitude of topics- including everything from food and nutrition to potty training to time-outs to homework. These books are available for checkout and can be found in the catalog when searching “parent shelf.” There are many books on cognition in child development. Here are a few to take a look at:

Thirty million words: Building a child's brain: Tune in, talk more, take turns

Smart parenting, smarter kids: The one brain book you need to help your child grow brighter, healthier, and happier

No mind left behind: Understanding and fostering executive control-- the eight essential brain skills every child needs to thrive

Book to Film: The Scorch Trials

Now in theaters is The Scorch Trials, based on the book of the same name by James Dashner. This is the 2nd of 5 books in the popular dystopian science fiction Maze Runner series, and this new movie looks like another adrenaline rusher!

In The Maze Runner 16 year old Thomas wakes up with no memory in the middle of a maze and he realizes he must work with those around him in order to stay alive and escape. Now in The Scorch Trials he and several others face even more obstacles as they struggle to fight for their lives in the Scorch.

Euphoria: a slim novel jam-packed with action and feeling

Many of us have heard of the fascinating 2014 Kirkus Prize winning novel Euphoria, by Lily King. The bright cover caught my eye almost a year ago, but I finally found the chance to read it just this past week. King’s novel is told from several perspectives, and tells the story of three young and gifted anthropologists studying the tibes of New Guinea in the early 1930s. Husband and wife team Nell and Fen have just finished studying the violent and superstitious Mumbanyo tribe, and their relationship and sanity are both on thin ice. When they encounter fellow anthropologist Bankson, he leads them to the peaceful, female-dominated Tam tribe to study and recover. However, an ensuing love triangle, and the misdeed’s of Nell’s husband Fen threaten their careers, their friendship, and their lives. This book is both a fascinating portrait of intimate relationships, and an accurate and shocking tale of what some of the first anthropologists encountered when they ventured out into the field.

It’s particularly interesting to note that King based the character of Nell Stone on real events in the life of revolutionary anthropologist Margaret Mead. Mead’s Coming of Age in Samoa is her psychological study of tribal youth, and documents her travels to Samoa at age twenty-three, where she conducted her first fieldwork. It has been compared to Darwin's Origin of Species for its scientific relevance as well as its readability. You can also read Jane Howard’s biography of Margaret Mead, titled Margaret Mead: A Life, to find out even more about the amazing woman that inspired King to write Euphoria.

Revving Up for the Reads

Ann Arbor Reads Logo: Ann Arbor Reads LogoAnn Arbor Reads Logo: Ann Arbor Reads LogoThe finalists for this year’s Ann Arbor/Ypsilanti Reads have been chosen! They are The Book of Unknown Americans by Cristina Henriquez, a work of fiction, and Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption by Bryan Stevenson, a work of non-fiction. More information about the books is available on the finalists page of the Reads website.

For more than 10 years, the Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti communities have come together to share the same book during Ann Arbor/Ypsilanti Reads. This year’s theme is “A Very Good Read,” and may be a work of fiction or non-fiction. A panel of local individuals will read both books and determine which one will be the official Read for 2016, which will take place in January and February. If you’d like to participate now, you can read both books, available in stores and at your local library, and leave your comments on the books’ pages at aaypsireads.org.

Ann Arbor/Ypsilanti Reads is a community initiative to promote reading and civic dialogue through the shared experience of reading a book. It was launched in 2003 by the University of Michigan Life Sciences, Values, and Society Program, and was modeled after a program started by the Seattle Public Library. Now, the Reads program is co-sponsored by the Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti District Libraries and supported by interested civic groups, the University of Michigan School of LS&A, the Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti Public Schools, local bookstores, Eastern Michigan University Libraries and Washtenaw Community College.

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