Winter Solstice Craft Program

December 21st is the shortest day of the year and the first day of winter vacation for Ann Arbor's schoolchildren. It's also a good day to finish up making your holiday decorations.

Come to the Traverwood Branch on Monday, December 21st from 2 - 3 p.m. We will be making some festive winter crafts to brighten up this otherwise gray and gloomy day.
For ages preschool through 5th grade. All supplies will be provided.

Youth Music Notes -- Lullabies

Sleeping ChildSleeping Child

Lullbies are truly a universal form of music, existing all over the world in every language. My own mother was fond of the Gartan Mother's Lullaby, and I still hum it to myself in the evening, even though I have forgotten all the words. For those of you who would like to expand your own lullaby repertoire, the Youth Department has plenty of CD's for every taste.

Priscilla Herdman's Star Dreamer provides both "nightsongs" and lullabies, with soothing guitar accompaniments. Interestingly, many of her songs involve bears.

Lullabies of Latin America by Maria Del Rey provides traditional lullabies from all over the Spanish-speaking world. In the second half of the CD, the songs are all sung again, in English. A bilingual bonus!

Prolific children's musician Susie Tallman brings us another CD for fans of multicultural music. Lullabies For Sleepy Eyes includes Irish, French, German and American lullabies -- as well as the enigmatic Aussie favorite "Waltzing Matilda".

Live from Ann Arbor, It's . . . Santa Claus!

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That's right, Santa himself will be taking questions and wishes LIVE from the North Pole on CTN Channel 17 on Thursday, Dec. 10, 6 - 8 p.m. He'll be ready for your questions and your wish lists, so set you speed dial to 734.794.6155 and talk directly to Mr. Claus. Ho! Ho! Ho!

Give a Gift of Reading

It's that gift giving time of year. Books make great gifts for children. They are inexpensive, they are very wrappable and portable, they don't require batteries, and there's a perfect one for every child on your list. Youth Services has come up with a list of titles that are good for gift giving. There are five categories: babies, picture books, children's non-fiction, J Fiction and Y Fiction. All the titles have been tagged in our catalog. To get the titles all in one list, click here.

Winter Adventures -- Youth Magazine Update

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There's no denying it, winter has definitely arrived -- and with snow predicted for some time this week, it's time to plan how to keep yourself entertained when the weather turns icy.

If you're an outdoorsy type, Boy's Life Magazine has all the information you will ever need, with articles on ice fishing, making emergency shelters out of snow, and ice climbing -- on frozen grain silos. (Strange, but true.)

For those of us who prefer to stay indoors with a hot cup of cocoa, Nintendo Power Magazine provides the latest information on the best new games -- like Legend of Zelda Spirit Tracks, the first Legend of Zelda game where Zelda gets to go adventuring herself! My personal favorite, for the name alone, is Zombie Panic in Wonderland in which your favorite fairy tale characters fight...you guessed it ...zombies.

Bridging the gap between outdoor adventure and vegging out is National Geographic Kids, with an article on the return of the lynx to Colorado, and a review of upcoming Disney original The Princess and the Frog.Owl Magazine and its sister publication ChickaDee get in on the act with articles on arctic animals, gifts you can make yourself, and, in ChickaDee, an up-close look at Quebec's Hotel de Glace, a hotel made entirely of ice.

Youth Music Notes -- Wizard Rock

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The Ann Arbor District Library has been fortunate enough to host wizard rock bands Tonks and the Aurors and The Remus Lupins, but did you know that we also have a collection of wizard rock on CD -- that fans of all things Harry Potter can listen to whenever we want?

Harry and the Potters bring us the "good" side of wizard rock, their several CD's chock full of inspiring music to fight the Dark Lord by. Exactly what we expect from the co-founders of the Harry Potter Alliance. Have I mentioned that they also have a special Christmas CD? How...seasonally appropriate.

Representing the often overlooked Slytherin perspective, we have evil wizard rock band Draco and the Malfoys, with a collection of twelve heart-wrenching tunes to remind us that evil wizards are people too.

And, of course, for purists, we also have many authorized CD's of the Harry Potter movie soundtracks.

In the words of Harry and the Potters, "It's never too loud to read," so turn up the CD player and get ready to sing along to some quality wizard rock.

Looking For a Bedtime Story?


If you are in search of a good bedtime story with a thoughtful message and dreamy illustrations, be sure to check out Go to Sleep, Gecko! A Balinese Folktale by Margaret Read MacDonald. This twist on a traditional Balinese tale tells of Gecko and how the fireflies outside his window keep him awake with their blinking. When this grumpy gecko goes to complain to the the head of the village, Elephant, he sets off a chain reaction that teaches him a lesson about the natural cycle of life. The humor in this tale (including buffalo poop!) will appeal to the young listener, and the luminescent night scenes help make this an extra special read-aloud.

Ancient Food and Extreme Science -- Youth Magazine Update

Eric GuilbertEric Guilbert

From history to travel, interviews to fiction -- this month's youth magazines sure have a lot of interesting stories to share!

Dig Magazine starts the party with an issue focusing entirely on the history of food. Learn about Ancient Egyptian bread baking and the history of the tortilla, as well as how to roast a whole pig. Even more fun than McDonald's!

Jack and Jill travels the world, with a look at winter holiday celebrations and life in Mongolia's Gobi Desert, as well as an interview with 16-year-old figure skater and Olympic hopeful Mirai Nagasu.

Ever heard of scientists who brave dense jungles and hang from trees to study rare insects? Ranger Rick Magazine has the whole story, along with cool pictures of animal sculptures made entirely from tin cans.

If this makes you feel like exploring the world, come on down! The library is always the best place to start.

Youth Music Notes -- A Celebration of Silliness

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As the famous commercial says, sometimes you feel like a nut, and sometimes you don't. Fortunately for those times you do feel like a nut, the youth department has a great collection of goofy, zany and downright hilarious music.

Disney's Silly Classical Songs is great place to begin the journey of silliness. All your favorite Disney characters sing along to famous pieces of classical music. You'll never hear Beethoven's Fifth the same way again. A great CD for future fans of classical music humorist P. D. Q. Bach.

Singin' In the Bathtub lets you hear comedian and author John Lithgow sing his favorite silly songs, including "At the Codfish Ball" and "From the Indies to the Andes In His Undies". These are classics of silliness, folks.

Anytime you feel your family could use more humor -- long car trips for instance -- come in and pick up a little lighthearted fun. Happy listening!

Al's Book Club for Kids: Where the Mountain Meets the Moon

On Friday morning Al Roker, the beloved weather man of NBC's The Today Show, announced his latest pick for Al's Book Club for Kids: Where the Mountain Meets the Moon by Grace Lin.
"In the valley of Fruitless Mountain, a young girl named Minli lives in a ramshackle hut with her parents. In the evenings, her father regales her with old folktales of the Jade Dragon and the Old Man on the Moon, who knows the answers to all of life's questions. Inspired by these stories, Minli sets off on an extraordinary journey to find the Old Man on the Moon to ask him how she can change her family's fortune. She encounters an assorted cast of characters and magical creatures along the way, including a dragon who accompanies her on her quest."
Not only is this story a beautiful blend of traditional Chinese folklore themes and characters (keep an eye out for the fabulous talking fish!), it is also a physically beautiful book. Grace Lin's full-color illustrations throughout this tale are intricate and dazzling, and the use of multiple type faces make this journey all the more enchanting. Adult readers will appreciate Lin's author note at the end of the book, where she explains her Asian-American roots and the folktales from her childhood that continue to resonate with her today.
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