Youth Stuff: When You Reach Me, by Rebecca Stead

When You Reach MeWhen You Reach Me

When You Reach Me is Rebecca Stead’s follow up to the acclaimed First Light, and it’s a good one, worthy of the Newbery Medal Award buzz that surrounds it. Miranda is a 6th grader living in New York City in 1979 with her mother. Her best friend Sal stops talking to her one day, and then she starts receiving mysterious notes predicting the future. So on top of day to day city living, being a latch key kid of a single mom (who is trying out for The $20,000 Pyramid), squabbling with other girls in her class, and having a slight crush on a boy, she has to figure out who is sending these notes and why. She finds it soothing to carry around a beat up copy of A Wrinkle in Time, and eventually has a rather interesting conversation on time travel with the new kid on the block. In the end Miranda figures it all out.

I liked the nostalgia in this book. I liked the setting, a few of the characters, the laughing man, the bit of time travel involved. I do wonder about the idea of having A Wrinkle in Time play such an important role in the book, but at the same time I love how young Miranda finds a book so fantastic she has to read it over and over and carry it around with her.

Goodbye Reading Rainbow

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I am so saddened to hear the news that Reading Rainbow, the PBS show that has fostered a love of reading in children for the past 26 years, has come to an end. According to the NPR story, Reading Rainbow is the third longest-running children's show in PBS history — outlasted only by Sesame Street and Mister Rogers. Fortunately, the AADL is well stocked with Reading Rainbow DVDs, as well as many of the books featured on the show, which means you can still see LeVar Burton sharing wonderful stories and hear those magic words, "Take a look, it's in a book".

Classic Kids Books

Today my hold on Charlotte's Web came in. Having never read the book before nor seen any movies based on it I have only a vague idea of the plot. Something about farm animals talking to spiders. Since deciding to read it several people have warned me that it is possibly the saddest book ever written, but it seems like a shame to never experience reading such a classic. Are there any children's novels you may have missed out on? It's never too late to cross another entry off your list of books to read. Take a look at the lists for Newbery and Caldecott award winners and reserve all the titles you may have missed.

New Fantasy Novels for Youth

Do your children devour books of magic and fantasy? Never fear--the library has plenty more for their consumption! Check out some of our new novels:

Lost, the sequel to the Magic Thief by Sarah Prineas. Conn is a wizard's apprentice. The only problem is he cannot perform magic anymore because his magic locus was destroyed. While Conn desperately searches for another way to perform magic, he uncovers a terrible plot by an evil sorceror-king, and he is the only one who can stop it!

Or:

PaleoJoe Comes to Ann Arbor!

Let's hunt some dinosaurs! PaleoJoe, the author the Dinosaur Detective Club books, will come to Ann Arbor next week to talk about real dinosaur hunts. He'll describe how dinosaurs lived and died and how fossils tell us everything we know about the great beasts. He will be at the Pittsfield Branch on Thursday, July 9th at 1:00 p.m. and at the Downtown Library at 7:00 p.m. the same day.

Dinosaur Detective Club books will be on sale at the events.

Solar S'mores: Science at its most delicious!

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Make a solar s'more oven using a cardboard pizza box, some aluminum foil, and a few other basic materials. If the weather permits, we will go outside, test the oven, then eat some delicious s'mores (no campfire required)! This is science at its most delicious.

Thursday July 2, 2009 | 1:00 pm to 2:00 pm | Pittsfield Branch | Grade 4 thru Adult

Here Puppy Puppy

Thinking of adding a new friend to the family? The library can help if you decide to get the dog of your dreams. We carry DVDs on pet training! Check out our Dvds Your Pup Trained Solid, and Fun to Know Dog Training. These videos offer effective ways to train your dog on behaviors of obedience, pottying, jumping on guests, and other behaviors. These are wonderful videos that will make the training transition period for you and your new pet much smoother and enjoyable for everyone.

Two poets

Today, May 24 is the birthday of two poets, different in origins and influences, but both renowned. Joseph Brodsky was born in St. Petersburg, Russia in 1940. His father was kicked out of the army for being Jewish and the family fell into poverty. Brodsky started writing poetry at the age of 15. In his twenties, his poetry began attracting a large audience. The Soviet government eventually sent him to a labor camp for five years but because of protest, his sentence was commuted. He came to the U.S. and taught at several universities including the University of Michigan. The writer of not only poems but also plays and essays, Brodsky received the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1987 and became the Poet Laureate of the U.S. in 1991.

Bob Dylan, nee Robert Zimmerman, was born in 1941 in Duluth, Minnesota. His first musical influence was his parents who listened to the Grand Ole Opry but after hearing Little Richard on the radio, he wanted to play rock and roll. He was in a band through high school but when he went to the University of Minnesota and began hearing the traditional folk music of people like Odetta, he traded in his electric guitar for an acoustic one.

Dylan's influence on music and popular culture has been profound, spawning a golden age of social protest songs and a love for the clever, seemingly contorted Chagall-like word images he created. Dylan's move from acoustic protest to electronic, to country and blues also reflected the changing faces of American music. The Library has many of his recordings and his newest, Together Through Life, is on order. Who can forget, once hearing them, the first few lines of "Subterranean Homesick Blues" and not smile at Dylan's universal empathy for the human condition?

Johnny's in the basement
Mixing up the medicine
I'm on the pavement
Thinking about the government...
Look out kid
It's somethin' you did
God knows when
But you're doin' it again..

Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince: Audiobook

Want to brush up on Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince before the long awaited movie comes out in July? Why not try the audiobook? Jim Dale gives his usual stellar performance of the Harry Potter cast. I will admit I feel the music at the beginning did not feel dark enough for the story. They used the same music up to the Deathly Hallows audiobook where they finally changed it to something darker. And I've never liked Dale's voices for Narcissa and Bellatrix. He makes them both sound vaguely French, and both of them are just supposed to be British. Otherwise, though, this audiobook is just as excellent as the rest of the series.

"Wimpy Kid" - the books, the BOCDs, the movie

Recently a teacher asked about Diary of a Wimpy Kid. Well, these books are hugely popular, and clever, and seem to appeal to "reluctant readers." Millions have been sold, and for particularly reluctant readers, they're on BOCD. If you know someone who's into this series, maybe someone slight but brave on stage, The Washington Post reports there's an audtion for kids age 10-13 to play main character Greg Heffley. Learn more here.

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