The Snowman

Every winter, when I was little, I would get out one of my favorite books, The Snowman by Raymond Briggs. But I would not read this book – because there are no words – only pictures. These pictures tell a magical, yet simple story of a young boy who builds a snowman, only to wake up in the middle of the night and find that the snowman has come alive. The boy and his snowman get into all sorts of mischief during the night, from trying on his dad’s clothes to flying across the big night sky. This cozy story is ingrained in my memory to this day, and carries with it so much nostalgia!

This classic picture book is available in the AADL collection, not only in its traditional format, but now also in the reader format and as well as a movie on DVD.

The Best of 2013 and Holiday Picks

Need some ideas?

You can always count on the New York Times for an inspired and thorough job in its annual Holiday Gift Guide, whether it be books, music, movies or games. And just released is the list of The 10 Best Books of 2013.

The LA Times has its finger on the pulse when it comes to great holiday book gifts. This year's list is chuck-full of smart and winsome picks for every genre, taste and demographics. Narrowing down your choices might be the biggest problem.

NPR Best Books 2013 is a list of 200 standout titles selected by NPR staff and critics.

Confounded by too many choices? Take a look at USA Today Critics' pick Top 10 must-read books of 2013. Every one a sure bet.

Library Journal's Top Ten is a solid mix of fiction and nonfiction chosen by the review editors. Don't miss out on the rest of the Best of 2013, as well as the Best in Genre Fiction and Core Nonfiction. I am delighted with their choices for the Best YA Lit for Adults and Graphic Novels for the hard-to-please on my list.

The Historical House Series

If you have a young reader in your life who loves historical fiction, check out The Historical House Series. Written by Adèle Geras, Ann Turnbull and Linda Newbery, this unique series follows the lives and times of young women who live in the same house in London over a period of 200 years. Follow along as the young women meet famous people the likes of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, join in the fight with suffragettes to allow women the right to vote and watch the first moon landing! Each book is written from the perspective of the young girls and captures the enchanting stories of their dreams and determination, all while set in the colorful world of London.
Polly’s March by Linda Newbery
Lizzie’s Wish by Adèle Geras
Mary Ann & Miss Mozart by Ann Turnball
Andie’s Moon by Linda Newbery

Pope Francis, the first Pope from the Americas, is Time Magazine's Person of the Year

Pope Francis, one of the Catholic Church's most popular pope's, was named Time Magazine's Person of the Year this morning on NBC's Today Show..

Pope Francis, born Jorge Mario Bergoglio in Argentina almost 77 years ago (December 17th is the Pontiff's birthday), was elected Bishop of Rome and absolute sovereign of Vatican City on March 13th of this year. He is a Pope of many firsts, including he is the first Jesuit priest to become a Pope and the first one born in the Americas.

In his nine short months as the 266th Pope (the anti-Popes are excluded), he has rocked the globe with his humility and his rejection of the opulent trappings of the papacy (from garments to living quarters to transportation). But it his public walking of the talk of the Gospels that has galvanized peoples of all faiths and nationalities. Pope Francis focuses a light on the need to help the poor, feed the hunger, and heal the sick through social action. He urges the Church to be pragmatic in its priorities -- he views the intense focus on gay marriage, abortion, and the "tyranny of unfettered capitalism" as impediments to the important work that needs to be done to restore compassion worldwide and renewed efforts to bridge differences that block the way to world peace.

Social media went into overdrive this summer when it was reported that Pope Francis said even atheists can go to heaven. That's not exactly what he said in response to an open letter written by a well-respected atheist and published in La Repubblica. This translation gets close to the heart of the matter: "First of all, you ask if the God of the Christians forgives those who do not believe and do not seek faith. Given that—and this is fundamental—God's mercy has no limits if he who asks for mercy does so in contrition and with a sincere heart -- the issue for those who do not believe in God is in obeying their own conscience."

Pope Francis has enchanted the world by his embrace of social media. In addition to being a presence on Facebook, the Pope can be found on Twitter at @Pontifex. At last count, he was up to 3,349,929 followers.

To learn more about his approach to life and religion, read his latest book, published earlier this year -- On Heaven and Earth: Pope Francis on Faith, Family, and the Church in the 21st Century.

Pirate Stories

Ahoy there, me hearties! Arrrrrgh! Perhaps you visited a preschool storytime recently where pirates stories were featured and are looking for more swashbuckling fun? AADL has a slew of picture books featuring pirates on grand adventures. Here are a few to set sail with:

Pirate Nap by Danna Smith
Shiver Me Letters by June Sobel
Pirates Don’t Take Baths by John Segal

Let it Snow!

Snow is on its way, and with it comes plenty of cold-whether fun. From building snowmen to sledding down giant hills, there are lots of great winter activities that can only be done while snow is on the ground. Since the season of snow is almost upon us, I was very excited to stumble upon this book, Snow Play: How to Make Forts & Slides & Winter Campfires, Plus the Coolest Loch Ness Monster and 23 Other Brrrilliant Projects in the Snow by Birgitta Ralston.

If you’re looking for some creative new ways to play in the snow this winter, then this is the book for you. Learn how to make snow ghosts with glowing eyes, marble runs made out of snow, glisten ice charms, and much more. While some of the projects will work great with young children, others require lots of time and special techniques to complete. Fortunately, each project comes with a description of the project’s time frame, difficulty, the type of snow required (fresh, sticky, deep, compressed), the types of tools required, and the number of people needed to complete it.

Great Library Collections At Your Fingertips!

If you've always been curious about the treasures hidden deep inside the Vatican Library or the University of Oxford's Bodleian Library, wonder no more! The two libraries are in the midst of a four-year project to digitize many of their most important works, including various Hebrew and Greek manuscripts and Gutenberg Bibles. Accessing the digitized content can be done by visiting http://bav.bodleian.ox.ac.uk/.

And if you've always wanted to check out the Vatican and Bodleian Libraries in person but just can't find the time, you're in luck! From DVDs about the collections, to Books about the buildings, to Audiobooks about the people who have shaped them, AADL has you covered!

The Hobbit Returns

December 13th is the big day! The day where Lord of the Rings fans put on beards and march their furry feet over to the nearest theater to check out The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, the second in the film trilogy based on J.R.R. Tolkien’s book The Hobbit: Or, There and Back Again.

The book and films tell the story of a hobbit named Bilbo Baggins who heads off on an epic quest to reclaim Lonely Mountain and its treasure from the dragon Smaug. Along the way is high adventure and many encounters with other creatures, namely the band of dwarves that he travels with. It is on this journey that Bilbo meets the creature Gollum, and where he first lays hands on “the one ring” that changes his life, and that of Middle Earth, for all time.

Perhaps you’ve caught the trailer before a recent new film, or have watched it online. SMAUG! To get yourself in gear, why not check out the first film, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, to see just where things left off. It's available on DVD, Blu-ray, and a special 2-disc DVD set.

It might also be worth checking out some of the new books related to the new film! AADL has The Hobbit : The Desolation of Smaug Official Movie Guide and The Hobbit : the desolation of Smaug : visual companion for your viewing and reading pleasure. See you at the theater!

Parent’s Corner: Ready To Read

The Downtown library has a shelf in the Youth Department known as the Parent Shelf. On this shelf you’ll find a variety of parent-child related books on a multitude of topics- including everything from language to tantrums to safety to homework. These books are available for checkout and can be found in the catalog when searching “parent shelf.”

There are some great books in the collection that focus on books and reading, including choosing what to read and help with encouraging children to read. To get you going, check out these titles:

*Book love: developing depth, stamina, and passion in adolescent readers
*Get those guys reading!: fiction and series books that boys will love
*Picture books for children: fiction, folktales, and poetry
*Read with me: best books for preschoolers

And for more see this great list of related titles.

The Long, Long Line, by Tomoko Ohmura

The Long, Long Line is such a charming picture book! Fifty animals line up for an adventure, literally. You’ve got a line that includes a frog, a rabbit, a sloth, a beaver, a hyena, and even a skunk. These fifty impatient critters wait and wait and wait in line. And complain. And get bored. “It stinks,” says one. Another asks “what’s the line for?,” while another furry creature decides to start a word game they can all can play. What are they in line for?! Something giant and fantastic. This cute story features colorful illustrations and a whopper of an ending. It’s a great lap book that teaches the art of waiting.

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