Want a Fun Activity to Try This Summer? How About a Scavenger Hunt!

If you’re looking for something fun to do while exploring a new city (or even your hometown), then try an Alphabet City scavenger hunt!

This scavenger hunt is inspired by Stephen T. Johnson’s Caldecott-Honor-winning picture book Alphabet City. As the author explains, “The idea for Alphabet City came to me while I was walking along a city street. I noticed an ornamental keystone that looked like the letter S. Then suddenly I saw the letter A in a construction sawhorse and the letter Z in a fire-escape. At that moment, it became clear that in urban composition I could discover the elements that form the letters of the alphabet.”

To try an Alphabet City scavenger hunt of your own, simply look around for alphabet letters made out of everyday city sights. Is there a K in that sidewalk crack? Can you spot an L in that flower bed? See if you can find all the letters from A to Z. You can even take pictures of all the letters you find. What a fun vacation souvenir!

Rubber Band Cars

Friday July 26 | 2:00 pm to 3:00 pm | Malletts Creek Branch | K - 5

Use rubber bands, cardboard, CDs and more to create your own rubber-band-powered car. You can also check out these books about recycling everyday objects into cool new projects.

This event is for grades K - 5.

Build a Better Bubble!

Friday, July 5 | 2 - 3 pm | Downtown Multi-Purpose Room | K - 5

Wondering which bubble solution makes the biggest bubble? Curious about how different bubble wands will work? Then come to our program where you will get a chance to experiment with different bubble solutions and wands to figure out how to build the very best bubble.

This program is for K - 5.

You can also check out these books for more bubble fun.

Wise and Witty Mo LoBeau, 11-Year-Old Mystery Solver

Middle grade readers who are looking for a good book for the summer, check out Three Times Lucky, by Sheila Turnage. This was a Newbery Honor book for 2013 and it is an excellent mystery story for readers in about fourth through seventh grades. It's also available as a book on CD, so if you have a car trip planned, take this one on the road.

The story stars 11-year-old Mo LoBeau, a wise and witty “rising sixth grader” who lives in Tupelo Landing, North Carolina. Mo was discovered as an infant washed ashore during a hurricane and has grown up with the Colonel, a restaurant owner with a mysterious past, and Miss Lana, hostess at the restaurant. When a murder occurs in her quiet town, Mo and her pals are on the case. While touching on a few serious issues such as family abuse and alcoholism, the novel is mostly light and highly entertaining. There are plenty of plot twists and turns to keep you reading. Mo has a wonderful quirky sense of humor, and when she talks about the people in her town, readers won’t be able to stop laughing. A sequel is planned.

A Little Book of Sloth: A great book if you startle easily

Have you ever come across something so hideous it is adorable? That is how I feel about sloths. I love them. I love everything from their quiet and reserved nature to their fabulous hair (just look here to see what I’m talking about). So, when I stumbled across A Little Book of Sloth in the AADL catalog, I immediately knew I had to get my hands on it and once I did, it did not disappoint me. This book chronicles the efforts of the Sloth Sanctuary in Costa Rica, but mainly focuses on its inhabitants and their varying personalities. Highlighting the two different species of sloths, this book contains many fun little facts about these very, very slow creatures. For example, did you know that no one really knows how long a sloth can live? Or that the sloth has extra neck vertebrae so they can turn their heads up to 270 degrees? Amazing!

The author of this book is the zoologist Lucy Cooke who has a passion for those creatures that most people would not think of as cute or lovable. You can check out some of Lucy Cooke’s older blog posts at The Amphibian Avenger, which highlight some unlovable creatures she has worked with in the past, but be advised that she is writing for an adult audience so some of the content might not be appropriate for younger readers. If you want to follow her current adventures you can check out her Facebook page.

A Dog-Gone Good Audiobook for Kids

Meet O.J., a dog like no other, in When Life Gives You O.J. by Erica S. Perl.

When Zelly Fried’s parents refuse to let her get a dog, her grandfather comes up with a crazy plan. Zelly will care for a “practice dog” to show her parents she is responsible enough to care for a dog of her own. The problem? This “practice dog” just happens to be an old orange juice container, and Zelly is terrified about what her classmates will think if they see her feeding it and taking it for walks! Will Zelly be able to stick it out long enough to earn a real live dog?

While the hilarious “practice dog” plot is sure to hook listeners, there is also much more to this heartfelt story. It takes on timely kid issues like being the new kid, feeling like an outsider, dealing with the death of a grandparent and worrying about losing a best friend. This book is also a 2012 Sydney Taylor Notable Book for Older Readers, awarded for its authentic portrayal of the Jewish experience.

If you enjoy realistic stories with just the right blend of humor and heart, you should definitely check out When Life Gives Your O.J. You'll find it on our NEW shelf.

An Old-Fashioned Audiobook for Kids

Fans of audiobooks like Frances Hodgson Burnett’s A Little Princess or Joan Aiken’s The Wolves of Willoughby Chase may want to check out The Star of Kazan by Eva Ibbotson, narrated by Patricia Conelly.

Abandoned by her mother as a baby, Annika grows up as a “kitchen child” in the home of three eccentric professors, and even though she loves her guardians – the professors’ cook Ellie and housemaid Sigrid – she cannot help dreaming of her long-lost mother. When an elegant mother finally does arrive and sweeps her away to a crumbling German castle, Annika’s dream-come-true is plagued by homesickness for her warm Viennese kitchen and troubling hints that all is not right with her newfound family.

Ibbotson herself grew up in early 20th-century Vienna, and her descriptions of life in the city – the aging emperor, performances of the Lipizzaner stallions, rides on the giant ferris wheel – make the world of the story truly come to life. If you love stories of the vivid past, love old-fashioned tales of kind heroines and dastardly villains, then give this audiobook a listen.

Summer Game Kick-Off Concert @ TOP: Ice Cream Vendors

Sunday June 16, 2013: 7:00 pm to 8:00 pm -- Top of the Park

Kids Rock@Top Concerts return!! Kick off the 2013 AADL Summer Game at this family-friendly concert with Ice Cream Vendors on the Rackham stage!

Chicago's unique musical institution-Ice Cream Vendors-are not just a musical duo but a mysterious life force! Songs about beta data, bacon men, and sharing eyeglasses will have you smiling and geeking out right alongside them!

Sign up for the AADL Summer Game at the concert, and be one of the leaders for great summer game prizes.

In the Mood for Magic? Try Magyk!

If you enjoy children's fantasies with ghosts, princesses, evil wizards and plenty of good wizards too, then give Magyk by Angie Sage a listen. It will take you to a magical world where young wizards’ eyes turn green when they learn magic and where magic spells may be written on a piece of breakfast toast!

Excellently narrated by Allan Corduner, this story begins on the day that the wizard Silas Heap discovers a baby girl in the snow and his own newborn son, Septimus Heap, is supposed to have died. But ten years later, the Heaps learn that everything is not as it appeared. Their daughter is really a princess who must now outwit the assassins who killed her mother, the queen, a decade before, and their son…well, you’ll just have to check out the audiobook to learn what happened to him.

The series continues with Flyte, Physik, Queste, Syren, Darke and Fyre.

Bernard Waber, creator of the beloved Lyle the Crocodile picture books, has died

Bernard Waber, who turned his commercial graphic arts training into a successful career as a children's book author and illustrator, died May 16th.

Waber, a World War II veteran and devoted movie buff, first introduced Lyle the lovable crocodile in his 1962 book, The House on East 88th Street. In this fanciful, gentle, funny story, the Primm family discovers Lyle hanging out in the bathtub of their Upper East Side brownstone. Lyle made several more appearances, including in Lyle Finds His Mother (1974) and Lyle, Lyle, Crocodile (1965). His final Lyle book, Lyle Walks the Dog: A Counting Book (2010), was a collaboration with his daughter Paulis Waber.

While most of Waber's books involved whimsical illustrations of animals -- The Mouse that Snored and the delightful A Lion Named Shirley Williamson (1996) -- Waber also had a gift for using human subjects to zero in on and allay common childhood anxieties. In Ira Sleeps Over (1972), little Ira frets about whether or not he can bring his teddy bear to a sleepover. In 2002, Waber published Courage in response to September 11th. He had started it before the attacks, but added firemen and police officers to his examples of people, both ordinary and extraordinary, who exhibit courage every day.

Waber forever endeared himself to book and movie lovers when he said that the way he endured frequent relocations as a child was to seek reassurance from his parents that wherever they moved, a library and movie theater would be close by. "...The Library and cinema were life-giving urgencies, a survival kit for any new neighborhood."

Waber, who was 91, died at his home in Long Island.

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