The Lion and the Bird

The Lion and the Bird is a beautiful picture book written and illustrated by Marianne Dubuc and published by Enchanted Lion Books. They are creating some of the most wonderful books lately and the illustrations in this book are no exception. It’s a gorgeous book that tells the story of friendship through the seasons.

Lion is working in his garden when he hears a sound. He soon finds an injured bird that he decides to care for. Since Bird can’t fly with an injured wing he stays with Lion all winter long and they become the best of friends. Then spring arrives, and with the warm season comes more birds. Lion knows that Bird must fly off with them. As the seasons change and autumn arrives, the birds start to fly off for winter. But what about Bird? Where will he go? You can only guess.

IAW 2015 Get to Know the Judges: Dan Wells


Leading up to the It's All Write Teen Short Story Contest celebration on June 7 (mark that on your calendar!), we'll be posting information about the judges who have the difficult task of narrowing down our contestants. Our next judge is Dan Wells.

An avid reader and rabid gamer, Wells writes in a variety of genres, from dark humor to science fiction to supernatural thrillers. He grew up in the United States and spent copious amounts of time at his local library as a child. Although he didn't read much horror and didn't expect to write it, Wells somehow ended up doing just that, evidenced in his first book about teenage sociopath John Cleaver in I AM NOT A SERIAL KILLER (2009). He is also the author of the young adult dystopian science fiction series called the Partials Sequence, starting with PARTIALS(2012) and followed by and FRAGMENTS and RUINS (2014). This series follows the teenage medic-in-training Kira Walker, who lives on the ravaged eastern seaboard of the US after a war between humans and an engineered race of organic beings that look human devastates the globe. North American survivors of the war and of the weaponized virus RM have gathered on Long Island to recover, but time is running out. Immunity to the virus has not been born into the human race in over a decade, and their numbers are dwindling. Kira must take it upon herself to save her people, discovering secret connections along the way between humans and Partials. PARTIALS ultimately must ask: What does it mean to be human?

Wells co-hosts (with author Brandon Sanderson, webcomic creator Howard Tayler, and author/puppeteer Mary Robinette Kowal) a weekly podcast about writing called "Writing Excuses." A list of his favorite things includes the movie Mary Poppins, the book Perfume by Patrick Suskind, and the word "defenestrate."

A Fine Dessert: a "treat" of a story!

What a charming and special new book! A Fine Dessert, by Emily Jenkins and Sophie Blackall, tells the story of four families in four different centuries who are all making the same delicious dessert. The ingredients for the yummy treat, blackberry fool, remain the same over the years, but the methodology for getting the materials and making the dessert changes with the times.

In the 1700s, a girl and her mother collect blackberries and then whip cream by hand from the milk from their cow. In the 1800s, a slave family in Charleston, South Carolina, picks blackberries from the plantation garden and uses a whisk made by the local blacksmith to whip the cream. In Boston in the early 1900s,a girl and her mother buy blackberries from the market and use pasteurized cream delivered by the milkman that morning. And in modern day San Francisco, a boy and his dad buy blackberries and cream at the grocery store, print a recipe from the Internet and use an electric mixer to whip the cream.

The authors do an amazing job of depicting both the similarities and differences between the families and lifestyles over time. They manage to weave in some bigger topics (slavery, gender roles) in a subtle way and provide great historical portraits of each of the time periods. And, the best news is, the recipe for blackberry fool is included at the end of the book!

Yum!

2015 Michigan Notable Books Announced

Each year, the Library of Michigan selects a list of titles for recognition as Michigan Notable Books. These have been singled out as exceptional titles published in the previous year that highlight Michigan people, places, and events.

In addition to drawing attention to books with a Great Lakes region focus, "...the list continues to offer something for everyone. The 2015 list represents fiction, short story collections, history, children's picture books, mysteries, poetry and memoirs," says State Librarian Randy Riley. This 2015 list includes a range of diverse offerings, from dystopian fiction bestseller Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel to Derek Jeter's YA novel The Contract, from a history of Detroit's crucial supply role during WWII in A.J. Baime's The Arsenal of Democracy to Josh Greenberg's River of Sand guidebook to fly fishing in the waterways of the Great Lakes region.

Ready to explore the books for yourself? Here's a Michigan Notable Books|list of this year's honored titles in the AADL catalog.

Behind the scenes at Saturday Night Live

Saturday Night Live is one of the longest-running television programs in the country, and is certainly one of the most beloved. Featuring live comedy sketches and variety performances as well as popular bands and musical guests every week since it first aired in 1975, SNL celebrated its 40th anniversary earlier this year. Fans of SNL will absolutely love Saturday Night Live: The Book, published this year in honor of the show’s 40th year. The large, brightly colored book is filled with facts and never before seen, behind-the-scenes photographs from every season of the show. Also included are interviews with Lorne Michaels, cast members, and other contributors to the show, and fun, goofy details about some of the more famous skits.

As a huge SNL fan myself, I even liked the portion of this book that shows photos of every host the show has had, and lists the air date, host and musical guest for all 784 episodes of the show. It was amazing to see the hundreds of various people that have hosted over the years!

The AADL also has lots of great SNL episodes on video, including the Best of Steve Martin, the Best of Will Ferrell and the Best of Amy Poehler collections, and many complete seasons. If you’re interested in reading more about the show, try Live From New York: the complete, uncensored history of Saturday Night Live as told by its stars, writers and guests.

Live from New York it’s Saturday niiiiiiiight!

IAW 2015 Get to Know the Judges: Elizabeth Wein

Leading up to the It's All Write Teen Short Story Contest celebration on June 7 (mark that on your calendar!), we'll be posting information about the judges who have the difficult task of narrowing down our contestants. Our next judge is Elizabeth Wein.

Wein's name may be familiar to you, or at least her big hit CODE NAME VERITY (2012) might be. An Edgar Award winner and a Printz Honor Book, CODE NAME VERITY is about a WWII-era spy codenamed "Verity," whose plane crashes in Nazi-occupied France, where she is captured by the Gestapo. To save herself from a grisly end, she agrees to confess her mission, and draws out her life story and the deep friendship with the pilot Maddie that led her to this point. The second book in the series is ROSE UNDER FIRE (2013), and the third book, out later this year, is BLACK DOVE, WHITE RAVEN (2015). In BLACK DOVE, 1920's stunt pilots Rhoda and Delia perform masterful feats in the air together but face mounting prejudice, as one of them is black and the other is white. When Delia dies, Rhoda takes her own child, Em, and Delia's child, Teo, to Ethiopia in an attempt to live a normal life. When Italy threatens an invasion of Ethiopia, the emperor calls on the famous pilot for help, and the children find themselves swept up in the crisis. Wein has also written a series of books (available now as ebooks) called THE LION HUNTERS, which draws on Arthurian legend and the historical Ethiopian kingdom of Aksum.

Wein has lived in New York, England, Jamaica, Pennsylvania, and most recently in Scotland. She is intensely interested in flying (a theme you may pick up from her books) and has a private pilot's license. She also has a PhD in Folklore and has published several papers on the topic.

Code Babies Academy

The Code Babies Academy series is written by John C. Vanden-Heuvel and includes computer programming baby board books for the tiniest of hands. The books available in the series are HTML For Babies, CSS For Babies, and Web Design For Babies. Perhaps these baby board books will help turn your toddlers into computer programmers? The books are odd and adorable.

Library Lists: Beautiful Bird Books for Spring!

Spring has sprung and lots of birds are out and about! If you love the beautiful birds in your backyard, bird-watching, listening to bird calls, or learning about some of the more exotic birds in other parts of the world, check out some of the wonderful bird-related books on this list!

The Thing With Feathers: An enlightening look into the capabilities of different birds, and into how the intelligence of birds relates to that of humans.

Beautiful Birds: A wonderfully illustrated alphabet book that introduces young readers to some of the world’s most beautiful birds with the aid of easy-flowing poetry.

Birds: Nature’s Magnificent Flying Machines: An easy-to-read introduction the science and logistics of flying, accompanied by detailed illustrations.

Extreme Birds: Birds come in all shapes, colors, and sizes, and some have some pretty unique adaptations to help them survive. Extreme Birds highlights the world’s most extraordinary and bizarre birds.

Gardening for the Birds: Planting a bird-friendly garden is easy to do with the help of this useful book. Those wishing to attract more birds to their backyard will find great tips and suggestions for plants and garden layout here.

The Verb “To Bird”: Sightings of an Avid Birder: Long-time bird watcher Peter Cashwell channels Aldo Leopold in this lovely book, making readers feel as though they are wandering the woods with him as he shares his experiences and the joy he gleans from birding.

Bird, Egg, Feather, Nest: In watercolor images and handwritten text, author Maryjo Koch shares with readers facts about bird s from all over the world.

Why do birds’ feathers have such vastly different patterning and coloration? Find out in National Geographic Bird Coloration, a wonderfully informational book about birds’ feathers, accompanied in typical NatGeo fashion by stunning photographs.

Feathers: Poems About Birds: A lovely little poetry book for bird-lovers. Birds of all kinds are described in lyrical poems, accompanied by playful illustrations.

The Boy Who Drew Birds: John James Audubon is famous for his love of birds and his amazing illustrations of birds that he did throughout his life. This biography, geared towards young readers, tells of how Audubon pioneered a technique for researching birds that is still used today and captures his early passion for something he loved.

For more books on birds for all ages and interest levels, check out this even more extensive list!

Bo and Co. are winners the second time around

I loved Bo at Ballard Creek last year and was excited to revisit Bo, her papas, her little brother, and the world of post-Gold Rush Alaska in Bo at Iditarod Creek by Kirkpatrick Hill a few weeks ago. But I was also worried: would it live up to the wonderful nature of the first book? I'm pleased to say that it did. With a new cast of characters, an expanding worldview for Bo (she moves from a town of 200 people to 500 people, for example, and learns that there are different Native Alaskan tribes throughout the state), and the same gentle humor as the first it's a worthy follow up.

If you enjoy reading or reading aloud the episodic adventures of The Little House on the Prairie or The Birchbark House series by Louise Erdrich, you might be as charmed by Bo as I am. The book is also a fascinating, if oblique, view into the world of backcountry Alaska in the 1930s, when mail arrived via airplane and amenities available to the rest of the country hadn't caught up yet, so if you enjoy historical fiction you might enjoy Bo and Co. as well.

Air Plants!

Air Plants: The Curious World of Tillandsias is all about the ever so popular air plants! Are you super into them and want to learn more? Are you baffled at why your friend has these on her coffee table and hanging from art on the wall? Wondering how these unplanted plants survive? If so, then this book might suit your fancy.

It talks all about designing and living with these odd and beautiful plants. The book discusses different types of air plants, how to care for them, and how to arrange and display them in magical ways throughout your house. These plants are so versatile, and pretty easy to care for. If you don't know what they are and are curious, here's a peek at the book's beautiful contents, or just check out the lush book preview in the AADL catalog. Happy "planting"!

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