An Audiobook for Young Harry Potter Fans

Fans of J. K. Rowling's Harry Potter series and especially fans of the audiobooks narrated by Jim Dale may be interested to learn about The Worst Witch audiobook by Jill Murphy.

Like the Harry Potter series, The Worst Witch takes place at a school for young witches (though no young wizards here), complete with broomstick lessons, potion tests and uniforms with house colors. At Miss Cackle's Academy, we meet Mildred Hubble, dubbed the worst witch at the school because of her talent for getting into trouble. What kind of trouble? How about turning a rude classmate into a pig! (She meant to turn her into a toad, you see.) It's a short but magical story -- and very funny too.

Oh, yes, and did I mention that it's narrated by Miriam Margoyles, whom you may remember as Professor Sprout in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets?

The audiobook series continues with The Worst Witch Strikes Again and The Worst Witch All at Sea.

Extra Yarn

Extra Yarn by Mac Barnett is one beautiful picture book. It has the potential of winning a Caldecott Medal, thanks to Jon Klassen's beautiful illustrations. The story features young Annabelle who comes across a box containing some yarn. But a magical thing happens! She knits and knits and knits and the yarn never seems to run out. So she knits sweaters for dogs, and people, and trees, and cars, and soon the entire monochromatic town is awash in color thanks to her handiwork. The greedy archduke decides to steal her magic box, which leaves Annabelle in a bit of stitchuation. Will she knit her way out of it?

Delightful Audiobook for Kids

Did you ever want to learn to play the piano?

That’s what ten-year-old Zoe Elias wants more than anything in the world, but when her father brings home an organ rather than an elegant baby grand, Zoe’s dreams of playing concerts at Carnegie Hall are replaced with competing in the local Perform-O-Rama organ competition. It may not be what Zoe expected, but she just might find it a crooked kind of perfect.

Linda Urban’s debut novel, set here in Michigan, is funny and poignant and hopeful as it chronicles Zoe’s musical dreams, her quirky family and her lost and found friendships. Give A Crooked Kind of Perfect a listen.

Family Science Workshop: Just Like Me?

Saturday January 12, 2013: 10:00 am to 11:00 am -- Pittsfield Branch: Program Room

What makes us different? What makes us the same?

Families will learn about the biological reasons behind skin color, hair texture and explore other inherited genetic traits like the ability to taste certain compounds. Families will also get to perform a DNA extraction.

This event is for grades K-5 with an adult.

LEGO Connection!

Sunday, January 6 | 1-2:30pm | Malletts Creek | Grades K-5 with parent

Join us for a LEGO adventure! Here’s a chance to get connected with other LEGO-minded people and build great things at the library! During this event, we’ll have a load of LEGO bricks for you to use to make something cool as you make new friends. At the end of our adventure the LEGOs will stay at the library before you head onto your next adventure. This time around we’re focusing on LEGO architecture by building buildings! Not you’re thing? No problem, you can make whatever you want. But if you are into LEGO architecture, check out the LEGO Architecture: Towering Ambition exhibit at The Henry Ford.

If you’re looking for books for some LEGO inspiration, check out AADL’s collection of great LEGO books! We’ve got books including how to build stuff, the history of LEGOs, and even stories featuring minifigs!

On This Day In History--January 4th: Jacob Grimm was born in 1785


Jacob Grimm, eldest of the famous storytelling duo The Brothers Grimm, was born on January 4th, 1785 in Hanau, Germany. He and his younger brother Wilhelm were mythologists, linguists, and authors of hundreds of folktales. They also collected and revised many traditional German folktales, believing the stories to be great expressions of German culture and literature.

Some of their most famous works include stories that are still highly popular and well-known today, like Snow White, Rapunzel, Hansel and Gretel, Cinderella, and Sleeping Beauty. Though many versions of their stories exist today, the original Grimm fairy tales contained common themes of violence and brutality. For instance, at the close of the original Snow White, the evil queen is forced into iron shoes and made to dance until she drops dead. Seen as inappropriate for children, their stories weren't very popular when they were first published, but the brothers worked to make them more child-friendly as they produced newer editions, and their popularity grew.

Many of their stories can be found in AADL’s Fairytales and Folklore collection, including ones that have been re-written, re-told, or re-interpreted by other cultures. Some, like Snow White, Cinderella, and Rapunzel have been made into popular movies, as well as operas and ballets. The Grimm Brothers and their lives were the subjects of a fantasy film in 2005.

Related Posts:
200th Anniversary of Grimm's Fairy Tales
Two Tales "Dark and Grimm"

Audiobook for Teens

One of the best things about audiobooks is finding a voice that makes the character come alive, a voice that makes you feel as if the character herself is speaking to you. I found such a voice in Catherine Gilbert Murdock’s Dairy Queen.

Fifteen-year-old D. J. Schwenk has always done what was expected of her, taking on the brunt of running her family’s small Wisconsin dairy farm when her father injured his hip. When a family friend sends Brian Nelson, the quarterback from her high school’s rival football team, to help out on the Schwenks’ farm that summer, D. J. decides to do something unexpected and try out for her high school’s own football team.

Narrator Natalie Moore’s perfect Wisconsin accent brings this hilarious story to life, and whether you’re a football fan or not, you’ll find yourself cheering D. J. on in her quest to try something unexpected. The series continues with The Off Season and Front and Center.

The Magic of Hearing a Story Aloud

There is no denying the magic of a story read aloud. If you’re looking for a little extra magic in your audiobooks, then these fairy-tale titles may just do the trick:

The Frog Princess by E. D. Baker; read by Kathleen Kellgren (5 hours, 30 minutes)
After reluctantly kissing a frog, an awkward, fourteen-year-old princess suddenly finds herself turned into a frog, too, and sets off with the prince to seek the means – and self-confidence – to become human again. A hilarious fractured fairy tale.

The Sisters Grimm: The Fairy Tale Detectives by Michael Buckley; read by L. J. Ganser (6 hours,15 minutes)
Orphans Sabrina and Daphne Grimm are sent to live with an eccentric grandmother that they have always believed to be dead. The first in the series of fairy-tale inspired mysteries.

The Goose Girl by Shannon Hale; read by Cynthia Bishop and the Full Cast Family (10 hours)
Princess Anidori, on her way to marry a prince she has never met, is betrayed by her guards and her lady-in-waiting and must become a goose girl to survive until she can reveal her true identity and reclaim the crown that is rightfully hers. Adapted from the Grimms’ fairy tale.

Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine; read by Eden Riegel (5 hours, 42 minutes)
In this novel based on the story of Cinderella, Ella struggles against the childhood curse that forces her to obey any order given to her. Winner of the 1998 Newbery Honor medal.

Jan. 21: Youth Will Celebrate Martin Luther King, Jr. Day at U-M

Mark your calendar for Monday, Jan. 21, when the MLK 2013 Children and Youth Program at U-M will happen from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the U-M Modern Languages Building, 812 E. Washington Street. The program, which is turning 15, will celebrate and commemorate the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.. Over the years the program has drawn a total of more than 8,000 K-12 students from schools around southeast Michigan, offering them entertainment, fun, creativity and dialogue through storytelling, discussions, group projects, skits, rap poetry, and music. To register for this year's event, click here.

Wonderful New Picture Book: 'Waking Dragons'

When illustrator-author Derek Anderson visited the Malletts Creek Branch of the AADL in October, I watched as Ann Arbor children and adults fell under his spell. Sketching shapes looked like such fun! Anderson even talked a bit about his life and career. Afterwards I was drawn to buy his book, Waking Dragons and to have it signed for my son. I took the book home, read it, and stole it back for myself.

This picture book, written by master storyteller Jane Yolen, is beautiful and magical, and brought to life by Anderson's gold-washed paintings. After the dragons "bumble" and "tumble" out of bed, the determined boy-knight who is in charge of them prepares a delicious breakfast of waffles -- served from a catapult -- in time for the dragons to fly the boy off to Knight School. As you read the rhymes, don't miss the humor, such as the sign on the fire extinguisher, "In Case of Dragon Breath."

Anderson probably is best known for his Little Quack books, but I'm also a fan of Gladys Goes Out to Lunch. For more good reading for adults, go to Derek's web page, and read "In the Studio: A Creative Journal." Fascinating.

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