A Musical Fairy-Tale Audiobook for Kids

If you enjoy music with your audiobooks, then try Fairest by Gail Carson Levine (author of the Newbery-Honor-winning Ella Enchanted).

In this loose adaptation of Snow White and the Seven Dwarves, pale-skinned Aza feels like she will never fit in, not at home in her adopted parent’s inn nor at the royal court. Her unusual coloring and ungainly size make her stand out wherever she goes. Fortunately, Aza is also gifted with a beautiful singing voice, but when the new queen asks Aza to use her voice to help her deceive the kingdom, Aza learns important lessons about loyalty, love and beauty.

What makes this audiobook experience unique, however, is its music. Every song is set to an original tune, and lots of dialogue is sung as well, so the whole listening experience is rather like listening to a full-cast musical. Musical fans and fairy-tale fans alike will want to check out this audiobook.

World Hobbit Day Celebration!

Saturday, September 21 | 2:00-3:30pm | DTN-MPR | All Ages

September 22 is the birthday of Frodo and Bilbo, hobbits from J.R.R. Tolkein’s famous fantasies The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings. World Hobbit Day has been celebrated by fans all over the world since 1978, and this year AADL is getting in on the game, and we’re celebrating a day early.

Join us for a wonderful celebration of these fantastic books and movies. (The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug is in theaters on December 13th!) In our Shire-for-a-day there will be Hobbit-themed games such as a Lord of the Ring toss, craft projects such as dragons and beards, and special snacks such as lembas bread.

Feel free to dress up as your favorite Middle Earth character to get into the spirit of things! (Note: Even hobbits have to wear shoes while in the library.)

Ready or not, it's time to head back to school!

Just in time, jump.aadl.org is here for parents looking for everything that AADL has to offer kids of all ages. Recommended reading lists, the details on the best upcoming events, homework help, and even guidance on planning your visit to AADL -- jump.aadl.org has it all.

JUMP's is divided into four basic sections:

Recommended Stuff helps you find some of the best books, materials and kits by age or grade, reading level, and topic. Library staff have also compiled handy lists of award winners and favorites.

Plan Your Visit is a section that guides you through the various features in our five locations, gives you links to explore to all sorts of library collections, events and exhibits, and provides tailored information for visiting with various age children and patrons with special needs.

Storytime and Events is your spot for a master list of all of our programs for parents and children.

Homework Help offers direct links to online resources for research and reports, as well as Brainfuse's on-demand/online homework help and information on other in-person fee-free tutoring offered at the Library and in the community.

Whether you're a seasoned library user or new to town, jump.aadl.org gives you the scoop on what's happening for kids at the Library. Take a peek, start exploring, and let us know what you think!

The Boy Who Could Fly

In 1986, the film The Boy Who Could Fly came out to decent reviews, although it didn’t make much of a splash. But over the years, it has become one of those movies that people remember and want to see again.

Milly and her family move next door to Eric after the recent, tragic suicide of her father. She quickly notices something unusual next door, from something flying by her window to Eric spending lots of time on the roof. Milly becomes intrigued and eventually befriends Eric, who is autistic and lives with his alcoholic uncle. Eric’s parents died in a plane crash, and Eric as been obsessed with flying since the tragedy.

The actors who play Milly and Eric give nuanced and effecting performances. Fred Savage is delightful as a kid whose strategy for coping with his father's death is both grim and comically engaging. The adults in The Boy Who Could Fly add breadth and depth to the story: Bonnie Bedelia as the frazzled mother; Colleen Dewhurst as the understanding Mrs. Sherman; and Fred Gwynne as Uncle Hugo, a loving guardian who is battling his own demons.

Whether Eric can really fly is open to discussion, but this heartwarming and delightful film tells a great story.

Introducing a Charming New Youth Heroine

Anna Branford has created a wonderful heroine in seven-year-old Violet Mackerel. This clever little girl is quieter than another popular youth protagonist, Junie B. Jones, but every bit as fun and engaging.

As Violet Mackerel's Brilliant Plot begins, we learn that "Violet Mackerel is quite a small girl, but she has a theory . . . Her theory is that when you are having a very important and brilliant idea, what generally happens is that you find something small and special on the ground." Who can resist this out-of-the-box thinker?

Violet's skills are challenged on a weekly trip to the market with her mother, sister, and brother, where her mother displays knitted wares. Violet is strongly drawn to a blue china bird figurine that she would love to own but doesn't have money to buy. The story that unfolds is gentle, thoughtful, and entirely entertaining.

Branford wrote this book for children in grades 1-3. A good choice for independent readers, It also would work well read aloud. To learn more, check out the author's website.

Fantastic Fantasy Audiobook

Do you love classic fantasies, like Alice's Adventures in Wonderland or The Wizard of Oz, where a bored young heroine travels out of our world and into a world of magic and mayhem? If so, then you should definitely check out Catherynne M. Valente’s The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making.

With its rich, old-fashioned language, this audiobook will carry you to Fairyland where you will follow twelve-year-old September through a series of wonderous strange adventures. You will befriend a wyverary (part-wyvern, part-library) and a shy, blue-skinned boy called Saturday. You will ride amidst a herd of wild bicycles. You will even follow September as she confronts the wicked Marquess, who may not be as wicked as September supposes.

Fans will also want to check out its sequel The Girl Who Fell Beneath Fairyland and Led the Revels There, in which September journeys to shadow kingdom below Fairyland.

So just remember, if you're feeling bored this summer, there's no better cure for boredom than a trip to Fairyland!

Parent’s Corner: Art Attack

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 potty training to homework. These books are available for checkout, and can be found in the catalog when searching “parent shelf,” if you’d like to have one sent to a branch of your choice.

Many children enjoy drawing or sculpting with Play-Doh. Their little hands and minds are ever creative and always imagining. AADL has some books that may help in facilitating their enjoyment of the arts with ideas on how to nurture this interest and enjoy art together. Check out Creative art & activities: fun with art!, Picture books plus: 100 extension activities in art, drama, music, math, and science, as well as Young at art : teaching toddlers self-expression, problem-solving skills, and an appreciation for art.

For more Parent Shelf finds on other topics see here.

One Zany Audiobook for Kids

How much mayhem can one fake mustache wreak? A whole lot, it turns out. If you need proof, just check out Tom Angleberger’s Fake Mustache, Or How Jodie O’Rodeo and Her Wonder Horse (and Some Nerdy Kid) Saved the U.S. Presidential Election from a Mad Genius Criminal Mastermind. (The title really says it all.)

When nerdy seventh grader Lenny Flem Jr. lends his best friend Casper ten dollars to buy a fake mustache, he has no idea what hair-raising adventures will follow. First, someone robs the local bank, and Lenny seems to be the only one who realizes it’s Casper in disguise! As Casper’s crazy criminal plan unfolds, Lenny is determined to stop him, even teaming up with teen rodeo queen and former TV star Jodie O’Rodeo to get the job done.

This very silly story, narrated by Jonathan Todd Ross and Jessica Almasy, will appeal to listeners who enjoy slapstick action, gross-out humor and just a little bit of yodeling.

Giddy Read-aloud Picture Book: 'Dozens of Cousins'

This is my favorite book yet by Shutta Crum, the librarian, author, poet, and speaker who lives in Ann Arbor and has delighted so many readers with her writing. Dozens of Cousins, Shutta's latest picture book, is rhythmic, lyrical, warm, and hilarious.

As the annual family reunion approaches, the cozy chaos of cousins begins. "We are wild and fierce. We do not wait for invitations. We run through front doors, arms extended, slap dirty feet on cool linoleum, grab from plates thrust out at us -- and holler for more." Some wiggle their fannies toward distracted adults, in the cutest possible way. Splashy, rip-roaring illustrations are by David Catrow, editorial cartoonist and illustrator of more than 70 books for children.

Initial reviews are glowing, including one in The New York Times. Looks like another hit for the author, a former AADL youth librarian and storyteller. Check out Shutta's books and accomplishments on her website.

Best Children's Audiobook of 2013

Summer is a great time for audiobooks, whether listening to them on a family road trip or at home. If you're looking for some youth audiobooks to listen to this summer, then why not try a title from the American Library Associate's list of 2013 Notable Children's Recordings.

Artemis Fowl: The Last Guardian. 7.5hr. Grades 5 to 9.
Listeners will be immersed in a world populated with fairies, trolls, and Opal Koboi—Artemis Fowl’s archenemy. Nathaniel Parker’s energetic performance conveys the rollicking adventures listeners have come to expect from Artemis Fowl.

The Cheshire Cheese Cat: A Dickens of a Tale. 4hr. Grades 4 to 7.
Katherine Kellgren gives vivid personalities to the many voices in this lively cat and mouse tale of Dickensian England.

The False Prince. 8hr. Grades 5 to 8.
Charlie McWade makes each unique voice stand out as Sage, an orphan, competes to impersonate a prince in a subversive plot.

The Fire Chronicle. 12.5hr. Grades 4 to 8.
In this sequel to The Emerald Atlas, Jim Dale expertly narrates Michael's and Emma’s hunt for a missing legendary book while their sister Kate is stranded a hundred years in the past.

Ghost Knight. 5hr. Grades 4 to 6.
As 11-year-old Jon Whitcroft and his new friend Ella seek to solve a century-old mystery, danger threatens their every move. Elliot Hill’s narration ably balances the real and ghostly worlds.

The Great Cake Mystery: Precious Ramotswe's Very First Case. 1hr. Grades 2 to 4.
Precious Ramotswe, a clever, thoughtful girl, has all it takes to be a No. 1 detective! Adjoa Andoh reads with enthusiasm and creativity, giving this story great appeal.

The Mighty Miss Malone. 8hr. Grades 4 to 7.
The hardships and courage of Deza Malone and her family during the Great Depression are read passionately by Bahni Turpin.

The Notorious Benedict Arnold. 7hr. Grades 6 to 8.
The story of Benedict Arnold, America’s first traitor, is narrated with suspense and intrigue by Mark Bramhall.

One Year in Coal Harbor, 5.5hr. Grades 4 to 7.
With a great deal of wit and charm, Kathleen McInerney voices Primrose Squarp's continuing story in Coal Harbor as she plays matchmaker and supports an effort to stop logging on the town mountain.

Titanic: Voices from the Disaster. 5hr. Grades 4 to 8.
With the use of multiple narrators, the story of this disaster is told from the viewpoints of a number of survivors.

Wonder, 8hr. Grades 4 to 7.
Diana Steele, Nick Podehl, and Kate Rudd recount the story of Auggie, a fifth-grade boy born with severe facial abnormalities, and the challenges and triumphs of his first year at school.

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