Library Lists: 10 Interactive Books for Kids

Books aren't just for reading! Awesome books like the ones on this list allow you to be inventive and engaged by using and interacting with them!

Kaleidoscope: With a built-in spinning kaleidoscope lens, every page of this book is transformed into a visual delight. Simple rhymes describe the changing seasons, making this lovely and inventive book a unique and colorful journey through a year.

Mythology: the gods, heroes, and monsters of ancient Greece: This fascinating book on Greek mythology uses newspaper clippings, letters, and photographs from the “past” to impart information about famous myths. Other great books in the series include Dinosaurology, Alienology and Pirateology.

Alphablock: What a fun way to learn the alphabet! Thick pages in this book are cut into the shape of each letter, allowing children to peek-through the letters and guess them based on both their form and words associated with them.

Press Here:This creative book encourages kids to perform actions on each page: pressing dots, shaking the book, turning it upside down, and more. The result of each action is demonstrated on the next page. Kids love “influencing” the story and seeing the effects of their actions!

Panorama: a foldout book: Simple text and beautiful illustrations invite readers to view different places around the world. Then, the pages can be folded out to see the same scenes at nighttime.

Book-o-Hats, A Wearable Book: You can become a chef, a firefighter, a pirate, and more in this book that features wearable hats with fun rhyming text. There’s more wearable books in this series too, including Book-o-Teeth, Book-o-Beards, and Book-o-Masks!

What Happens When…: This lovely book allows readers to explore what happens to things that are lost or let go through text and illustrations on fold-out pages. I love how this book—originally published in French—offers simple solutions to some of the most common questions, such as “what happens when I let my balloon go?”

Guess what?—Food: This lift-the-flap book allows young readers to see familiar foods transformed into unexpected animals! Author Yusuke Yonezu is also the author of Guess What?—Fruit, an equally cool lift-the-flap book for young ones.

Small Smaller Smallest is a great way to learn differences in sizes and quantity. Each page has a pull-tab for children to tug on to see phenomenon like a flower growing from tall to taller to tallest and snowflakes falling low… lower… lowest.

Pinwheel allows readers to spin different wheels to create colorful scenes of natural areas. Like in Kaleidoscope, Salina Yoon’s simple poetry reminds readers of the beauty around us every day.

If you want even more great interactive books for children, check out this more extensive list!

Film & Discussion: Race To Nowhere

Wednesday March 18, 2015: 6:30 pm to 9:00 pm -- Downtown Library Multi-Purpose Room

This event is intended for adults and teens grade 9 and up.

Parents today are expected to raise high-achieving children, skilled in a multitude of talents, and ready to respond to many complex challenges. Bombarded by academic standards, competition for educational opportunities, and run-away schedules, young people struggle to accommodate the intense demands. From preschool through college, children are pressured, pushed, coached, sculpted, scheduled and reviewed, running a never-ending gauntlet towards adulthood.

Race To Nowhere, rated PG-13, is a call to families, educators, experts and policy makers to examine current assumptions on how to best prepare the youth of America to become the healthy, bright, contributing and leading citizens in the 21st century.

A community discussion led by Elizabeth Koschmann, PhD, Research Investigator in the U-M Department of Psychiatry and a member of the U-M Depression Center, will follow this screening.

Library Lists: 10 Great Animal Books for Kids

Are you looking for cool facts about animals? Are you interested in seeing amazing, detailed pictures of animals and how they swim, run, climb, and eat? Here’s ten of the best designed, researched and illustrated books on animals for kids in grades K-8.

1. Bone collection: Animals: This book has detailed pictures and drawings of the skeletons of some of the world’s most fascinating animals! Study their bones to find out how they move and survive.

2. Extreme Animals: The Toughest Creatures on Earth: Many animals can survive in conditions that humans could never tolerate. Learn about these animals and their special adaptations that allow them to brave the driest deserts, the coldest poles, and other amazing locations.

3. Eye to Eye: How Animals See the World: Animals have eyes of all different shapes, colors, and seeing-capabilities. Learn why different animals have such unique eyes and how they use them to gain information about what’s around them.

4. Amazing Giant Wild Animals: This awesome book features fold out pages of some of the longest, widest, tallest and heaviest creatures on Earth, allowing you to get a feel for their true size!

5. Actual Size: Steve Jenkins’ amazing paper-cut illustrations make this amazing book even more wonderful. Each page features part of an animal or a whole animal presented in its real-life size. You can see how animal shapes and sizes compare to your own body parts and to other animals!

6. Nocturne: Creatures of the Night: Amazing photographs of nocturnal animals take readers on a journey through the animal kingdom at night. Learn about the habits and habitats of forty different night-dwelling creatures.

7. Creature Features: Some animals have strange features! In this beautiful book, the animals themselves explain why they look the way they do, and why their seemingly unusual traits actually help them survive in the wild.

8. National Wildlife Federation’s World of Birds: This colorful almanac for beginning bird watchers is filled with over a hundred species, arranged by habitat. A must-have guide for those interested in learning about the birds we see in our backyards!

9. Animalium: Take a journey to the museum with this stunning book! Invertebrates, fish, amphibians, reptiles, birds, and mammals are all featured in gorgeous illustrations in this virtual museum with exhibits open 365 days a year!

10. The Animal Book: This “collection of the fastest, fiercest, toughest, cleverest, shyest--and most surprising--animals on Earth” features over 300 types of animals and offers an easily comprehensible history of life on Earth. My personal favorite animal book for kids!

Still want more? Check out this more extensive list of great, kid-friendly books on animals!

New Non-Fiction for Kids: Inventions that could have changed the world... but didn't!

Over the course of history, a lot of people have changed the world. Of course, even more people have also WANTED to change the world… but it hasn’t quite worked out. The brand new book Inventions That Could Have Changed the World… But Didn’t! describes some of the toys, games, household and office aids, and general contraptions that have been thought up but didn’t quite succeed in actuality. From a combination pogo stick/helicopter to Toaster Bacon, this fun book is filled with goofy and fascinating inventions from the ages. Inventions That Could Have Changed the World also has interesting and easy-to-understand information about patents and tips for getting your OWN invention to succeed.

Interested in other books about inventions and inventing? Try 100 Inventions That Made History, The Story of Inventions, or Girls Think of Everything: Stories of Ingenious Inventions by Women.

Homeschool Helps -- An Artist Study

Have you done an artist study in your home school? Artist studies (or “picture studies”) have been popular with Charlotte Mason style home schoolers but they can be valuable for any style of homechool. Studies could use one picture or a few pictures of art done by a particular artist.

At the downtown library we have large art books located on the third floor and art prints on the second floor. The Art Prints are ideal for a group to view while art books (a.k.a. coffee table books) are good to view a variety of works by the same artist or during a particular era.

For example use Lighthouse and building; Portland Head and Automat to spur discussions of how the artist (Edward Hopper) uses light, shadow, settings, focus, and mood to communicate to the viewer. Is there a story being told?

An overview of the Edward Hopper’s other paintings and a little about his life can be found in the book The complete oil paintings of Edward Hopper or a in book for children like Edward Hopper.

Heading to a museum? The Fandex family field guides : Painters might be the perfect guide to take along to provide some background from many Western artists.

You don't homeschool? This would be a great snowy/rainy day activity for any family!!

Homeschool Help: A Body of Knoweldge

For most homeschooling families, library visits are a regular part of the routine.
But are you aware of some of our other resources to encourage learning in your homeschool?

Our Science Tools are great for supplementing curriculum or focusing on a particular science topic. We have models of different human anatomy components.

What is in our heads? The MRI Head, Brain, and Sinuses can give your students hands on answers! How do the sound get from the Ear to the brain? How are our Teeth attached into our mouths?

How are the chambers of the heart connected? How does the blood get from our lungs to our heart?
Check out our Lungs and Heart.

Is the foot bone really connected to the leg bone? The Skeleton will show you from head to toe!

Many of our "parts of the body" Science Tools models are painted by artists and are signed by the artist!
Included with each model are resource books relating to the subject as well as a guide to the model parts with the scientific name for each part. The models are appropriate for many ages and grade levels.

So the gathering of the materials is done! Just check out the model, take it home and have fun learning together.

High School Options in Washtenaw County

Monday January 5, 2015: 7:00 pm to 8:30 pm -- Downtown Library: Multi-Purpose Room

This event is intended for adults and teens (grade 8 and up)

Do you have a child starting high school next year? Are you new to the area?

Join us for an informational open house about high school options in Washtenaw County. Representatives from area high schools and related organizations will be on hand to answer your questions to help you and your students make an informed choice.

Schools and organizations include:

A2 Virtual+
Aim High School
Ann Arbor Academy
Ann Arbor Public Schools
Central Academy
Clonlara School
Early College Alliance
Greenhills School
Life Learning Community
Little Lake Learning Community
Michigan Islamic Academy
Rudolf Steiner High School
Washtenaw Alliance for Virtual Education
Washtenaw Christian Academy
Washtenaw International High School
WAY (Widening Advancements for Youth)

Great Teen Non-Fiction: "Go: A Kidd's Guide to Graphic Design"

If you or a young person in your life is interested in graphic design, be sure to check out Go: A Kidd's Guide to Graphic Design by Chip Kidd. The book was a finalist for this year's Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA) Award for Excellence in Nonfiction for young people ages 12-18. From YALSA: "This innovative book offers an introduction to the history and basic concepts of graphic design from one of the most successful designers working today. Using real world examples and rich visual aids, Kidd teaches readers how effective design can communicate ideas and messages, and he suggests ways to think critically about the design elements that infuse the media around us. Kidd invites readers to experiment with design themselves by ending the book with a series of 10 design challenges and offers a venue to share their work online."

Marvelous Monet

Tuesday May 19, 2015: 7:00 pm to 8:30 pm -- Pittsfield Branch: Program Room

This event is intended for grades 3-8

Learn about Impressionism, the style of Claude Monet’s art, and see prints of his famous work.

Then, create a painting in the style of Monet!

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