Children and War

All experts agree that the best way to get children to read is to make the material relevant for them. This year there have been many books published about American children whose lives are impacted by war. War is a reality for many children today. In these books it doesn't seem to matter if the war in question is World War II, Vietnam, Korea or Iraq, the stories are very much the same.

Don't Talk to Me About the War by David M. Adler tells the story of a young Jewish boy growing up in Broolyn in 1940. He doesn't like to listen to all the war talk going on.
When the Sergeant Came Marching Home by Don Lemna. When Dad comes home from the war in 1946 he tends to run the family as he did his troops.
Shooting the Moon by Frances O'Roark Dowell. When twelve-year-old Jaime's beloved older brother chooses the Army instead of college and gets sent to Vietnam, her world is turned upside down.
Keeping Score by Linda Sue Park. A young girl's best baseball friend goes off to fight in the Korean Conflict.
100 Days and 99 Nights by Alan Madison. Seven-year-old Esme must survive 100 days and 99 nights (one tour of duty) without her beloved father.

Suburban Wildlife with a South American Twist

When school ended, the 10-year-old classroom degu (South American rat) came home with us. The teacher told us that Cedar, named for her reddish fur, might not survive the summer, given her advanced age, in which case we should freeze her (near the cool-pops?) until fall, when she would get a proper school funeral. I did not fall immediately in love with this creature, despite her being cute, caged, fairly clean, and friendly. Instead, I clicked into the Oxford English Dictionary, to learn that a degu is “a rat-like animal, rather smaller than the Water Vole, the head and body measuring from seven and a half to eight inches in length.” A definition often makes me fonder. Now I like Cedar, sort of, and having her around has made me curious about the new book Central Park in the Dark: More mysteries of urban wildlife. Who knows, maybe Cedar has dozens of cousins in New York City.

Human biology for kids (and adults who like gross stuff)

Look on our New Books shelf in the Youth department and you might find a copy of what The Seattle Times referred to as a book "For kids who like their science with a dash of grossness". Ouch! : how your body makes it through a very bad day is a graphic introduction to many basic functions of the human body. Inside you'll find detailed images and explanations of things like pimples, sneezing, sleeping, vomiting, pathogens and parasites, and the ever-popular bathroom break. To add to the visual detail of the book, a CD-ROM is included which offers viewers an animated view of a few everyday bodily functions. Science lovers will enjoy the meticulous detail and elaborate glossary (I learned what Epithelial Tissue is!) and parents will appreciate the numerous health facts for kids (like "Feces can consist of up to 50 percent bacteria, hence the need to wash hands after going to the bathroom"). Yuck! Enjoy!

Creativity Camp Theme of the Week: Sculpture

Every week the AADL has been creating displays for the Ann Arbor Art Center Creativity Camp's theme of the week on the back of the new books shelf in the Youth Department. These books are for anyone interested in the theme to check out. This week's theme is sculpture. Do you know who created the sculpture on the cover of the book pictured here? It's a favorite of mine. Come find out at the library!

New Knits on the Block

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Let me make a confession: I don’t know how to knit. And working at the library with a slew of fabulous, fun and new knitting books, well, I feel a bit guilty. I was recently searching for the movie The Goonies in our catalog and a wonderful book came up in the search instead: New Knits on the Block. A book that features knitting projects inspired by costumes, toys and decorations. What does that have to do with The Goonies, you ask? There is a knitting project called Goonie’s Treasure Bath Set, Which consists of a Jolly Roger wash cloth, a stuffed parrot, eye patch, and head scarf- all stitched up for bath time play. The fun doesn’t stop there. The book also has directions to knit the following: a St. Elmo’s Fire firefighter hat, Labyrinth felted wizard and princess hats, a Schneider tool set and pouch (my personal fave), The Tooth is Out There alien tooth fairy pillows, a Benetar guitar pillow, and even The Last Unicorn dress up headpiece. I could go on and on with the pop culture titled, magically adorable crafty projects. If I could knit I would make these treats for every kid I know, and possibly a few for myself.

The author, Vicki Howell, is the host of DIY’s Knitty Gritty, and is well respected in the knitting world for her funky, hip edgy designs. (I know it’s summer and folks don’t want to knit scarves in the summer, but these are toys! And toys are needed year round.)

Preschool Storytime at the Ann Arbor District Library

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Preschool Story Time kicked off for the summer today and was it ever entertaining. The audience loved every minute of it.
Despite a rainy day, lots of children appeared in really cute raingear to watch Meaghan, the Storytime Librarian, perform her outstanding repertoire.
The Pig’s Picnic by Keiko Kasza was a hit as was the "Ants Go Marching" song. The concluding activity was Jim Gill's song "Crazy Dance Freeze" available on his cd Jim Gill Sings the Sneezing Song and Other Contagious Tunes. The crowd went wild as everyone had so much fun freezing in crazy positions. What a great free event to bring your little ones to!!! Check out the schedule here: Storytimes at the AADL

Benny and Penny: Just Pretend

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Benny and Penny: Just Pretend, by best-selling children's book author Geoffrey Hayes, is an adorably illustrated graphic novel that features a day in the life of a sister and brother mouse duo. Benny is having fun playing pirates and Penny wants to join the fun. But big brother Benny will not be found playing with his pesky little sister. He tries to make her hide so good in hide and seek that she won’t find him again and then he’ll get to play all by himself. He soon finds out that maybe playing with someone, even your annoying crybaby little sister, is more fun than playing pretend by yourself. Hayes learned a similar lesson in his youth thanks to his tag-along little brother.

Send Me to Summer Camp

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It's FREE! Really, mom. Washtenaw County's Summer Camp for Kids has camps in Football, Track, Golf, Wrestling, Basketball, Cheerleading and Tennis for kids ages 8 to 15. The camps are offered this summer from June 16 through July 31. Just print off the Registration Flyer and send it back to Washtenaw County Trial Court - Juvenile Division 2270 Platt Road, Ann Arbor, MI 48104. Need more info? Call (734) 222-6900.

Edible Architecture

Can you build a skyscraper out of lasagna noodles? A house out of marshmallow cereal treats? What about the Taj Mahal out of graham crackers? Come hang out at Mallets Creek Friday, April 11 from 2-3 pm for Edible Architecture.

Poetic Picture Books

The Childrens Picture book The Wizard can only be described as "An illustrated, rhyming tale of a wicked wizard and his evil deeds, as he uses 'elemental sorcery' to change a bullfrog into a series of objects, from a flea to a flame." The author of the the book, Jack Prelutsky, was named the first Children's Poet Laureate by the Poetry Foundation in 2006. His verse along with the enchanting illustrations by Brandon Dorman, make The Wizard a truly delightful find. Other interesting books of his include Dragons are Singing Tonight, Gargoyle on the Roof, and Wild Witches Ball.

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