Once Upon An Alphabet

If words make up stories, and letters make up words, then stories are made of letters.
In this menagerie we have stories, made of words, made FOR all the letters.

Once Upon An Alphabet: Short Stories For All the Letters is written and illustrated by the amazing Oliver Jeffers. The picture book has a (cute or charming or funny or silly or weird or dark) short story for each letter of the alphabet, accompanied by quirky and beautiful illustrations. The stories feature some great vocabulary that dances off the page. This book is a real treat for both adults and children who aren't afraid of dark humor. (All the letters have great stories, but I recommend W. Since W is for Whiraffe!)

The Wild Truth; the untold story behind Into the Wild

Many of us are familiar with the fascinating story of Chris McCandless, told so fantastically by Jon Krakauer in 1996’s Into the Wild. Krakauer reports the true story of Chris’s desertion of his wealthy family, abandonment of his car and other possessions, donation of the $25,000 he had to his name to charity and ensuing adventures hitchhiking to Alaska and his life completely off the grid there. Months after his departure, his emaciated body was found in the Alaskan wilderness by a moose hunter.

Chris’s story was a controversial one, as many readers wondered how he could justify deserting his family and friends, leaving them to worry and wonder for months, and ultimately mourn his death. Other readers admired and often envied him for his courage and dedication to following his own path. The book enjoyed a resurgence in popularity in the late 2000s, when it was made into a movie by the same title.

Now, Chris’s beloved sister Carine McCandless has written a revealing new book about her brother and about their childhood that offers vast amounts of insight into the reasoning behind Chris’s decision to leave his loved ones. In The Wild Truth: The Untold Story of Sibling Survival, Carine describes in vivid detail the realities of McCandless family life when she and Chris were growing up. “Carine was Chris's best friend, the person with whom he had the closest bond, and who witnessed firsthand the dysfunctional and violent family dynamic that made Chris willing to embrace the harsh wilderness of Alaska,” reads the book jacket. “In the many years since the tragedy of Chris's death, Carine has searched for some kind of redemption. In this touching and deeply personal memoir, she reveals how she has learned that real redemption can only come from speaking the truth.” Fans of Into the Wild will surely be interested in reading this insightful look into the nuances of Chris’s story.

Parent’s Corner: Top Picks

The Parent Shelf is located in the downtown youth area, and on this shelf you’ll find a variety of parent-child related books on a multitude of topics- including everything from homework to potty training to time-outs to bullying. These books are available for checkout and can be found in the catalog when searching “parent shelf.” Here are a few stand-out titles worth a peek:

Making grateful kids: The science of building character

How to be the parent you always wanted to be

For additional parent resources check out the long list of titles in the catalog and located on the Parent Shelf!

Images of America: Downtown Ann Arbor

Wednesday December 17, 2014: 7:00 pm to 8:30 pm -- Downtown Library: Multi-Purpose Room

Author Patti Smith will share stories and a slideshow of images from her new book, Images of America: Downtown Ann Arbor, which was released in early November. The book looks at the remarkable people and businesses who have helped build our town. Its images show a town with mud streets, wooden sidewalks, liveries, tanneries and telegraph offices. It also features businesspeople, merchants, and citizens who lived and worked in our downtown. Described as a "love letter to a beloved city", Images of America: Downtown Ann Arbor provides a look at the past and the people who helped to make Ann Arbor what it is today.

Author Patti Smith wanted to move to Ann Arbor since she was five years old, and is very grateful to live near downtown. She teaches special education and has recently finished writing a YA book. In addition to local history, Patti enjoys storytelling, social media, boxing, writing, and brewing beer. She lives in the Kerrytown area with her fiance, Ken, and their two cats.

Books will be available for sale and signing.

New Fiction by Anita Diamant: The Boston Girl

Anita Diamant, author of The Red Tent, Day After Night and The Last Days of Dogtown, has written a new novel to be published in 2015. Titled The Boston Girl, the book tells the story of Addie, a young Jewish woman growing up in Boston in the early twentieth century. Addie’s parents are suspicious of the changing world around them and want nothing more than to keep her and her two sisters close to home until they can marry suitably and begin families of their own. Addie’s curiosity and intelligence draw her outward, however, and she dreams of going to college and marrying for love, not convenience. As she ventures out into the world of short skirts, movie theaters, dancing, and opportunity, she experiences more than she would have ever dreamed possible. The premise of this lovely book is the question, “What made you the woman you are today?” asked of eighty-five-year-old Addie by her young granddaughter, which leads Addie to share her remarkable memories and experiences. “The Boston Girl is a moving portrait of one woman’s complicated life in twentieth century America,” reads the book jacket, “and a fascinating look at a generation of women finding their places in a changing world.”

Diamant’s books are notable for their focus on women in often-forgotten places and times in history. The Red Tent tells the story of the Biblical figure Dinah, a woman who’s life is only hinted at in the book of Genesis as the daughter of Jacob. Day After Night is a fascinating portrait of four female World War II concentration camp survivors who have escaped to Israel but are still trying to determine where they will fit in. Check these books and Diamant’s other works out at the AADL!

Fall fun!

This week at storytime Ms Amanda featured fall themed picture books and stories! Not Halloween, but FALL! We saw some animals swapping items in The Scarecrow’s Hat, we shook our heads at Anansi the spider as he played tricks on the animals in Anansi and the Talking Melon (I turned it into a talking PUMPKIN for this story!). We also had fun checking out GIANT pumpkins in How Big Could Your Pumpkin Grow. And for the cuteness factor we met up with Penguin and Pumpkin on a fall adventure.

The library has all sorts of fun and beautiful fall picture books to suit your fancy. They sure are fun to share with little ones this time of year!

Audiobook for Kids: The Fourteenth Goldfish

The Fourteenth Goldfish by Jennifer L. Holm offers a fresh, funny, and surprisingly thoughtful take on a classic science fiction premise: a potion to make you young again.

Sixth-grader Ellie’s life with her colorful drama-teacher mom is turned upside-down when her old-fashioned, opinionated grandfather moves in with them. The twist? Her grandfather is a scientist who has uncovered the secret to anti-aging and is now a thirteen-year-old boy! While trying to help her grandfather recover the anti-aging potion from his lab, Ellie finds new friends, develops a growing love for science and a greater understanding of her unconventional family.

I found the audiobook to be a particular treat, with a narrator who not only sounds like a middle-school girl but also delivers lines with such perfect comic timing that I found myself laughing out loud again and again.

Fans of The Water Castle or other science-centered books for girls will definitely want to check it out.

Literati: Violin Monster Concert and Storytime

A human dressed up as "Violin Monster" will be at Literati bookstore at 7pm Thursday Oct. 30, the evening before Halloween. Literati is located at 124 E. Washington in downtown Ann Arbor. From their web page: "Violin Monster will play some music, read some stories, share some of his spookiest, scariest memories... and he may even need some help from the audience remembering them! Join us for this fun, spooky event for all ages. AAAAWWWOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!" At the library we have lots of books for young people about Halloween.

Once Upon An Alphabet

Once Upon an Alphabet is the brand new book by popular children’s author Oliver Jeffers. He’s famous for illustrating last year’s The Day the Crayons Quit, and for writing and illustrating The Hueys books, and The Heart and the Bottle, as well as many other kids’ books written and illustrated in his signature style.

Once Upon an Alphabet is particularly special because it offers up a short story for each letter… and all these stories feature interconnected characters and situations throughout the book. The letter A tells the tale of an astronaut who’s afraid of heights, B is a bridge burned between friends, and C is the story of a cup longing to escape its cupboard of captivity. Jeffers’ gorgeous illustrations and use of color turn Once Upon an Alphabet into a whimsical art book as well as a literary learning experience!

The School Library Journal calls Once Upon an Alphabet “an altogether stimulating, surprising and satisfying reading experience.” Don’t miss it!

Chillers Author Johnathan Rand to visit AADL!

Join us Sunday, October 26 from 2-3pm downtown for a visit from local author Johnathan Rand! Rand is the author of the popular children’s chapter book series Michigan Chillers and American Chillers, with titles such as Poltergeists Of Petoskey, Dinosaurs Destroy Detroit and Great Lakes Ghost Ship.

He will talk about how he became a writer and how reading and writing are necessary in life. Books will be will for sale and he’ll be signing books after the event! Come give him a high five and ask him why he writes the books he does.

If you head up north, I recommend a visit to Chillermania! in Indian River. It’s the world headquarters for Rand’s books and a spookyish book store chock full of Rand’s books! It’s a feast for the eyes. I walked in this past spring and had a ton of fun.

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