Atlas of Adventures: A Collection of Natural Wonders, Exciting Experiences and Fun Festivities from the Four Corners of the Globe

Atlas of Adventures is an exciting new book that invites children to learn a little more about the world around us. The book consists of a collection of intricately illustrated maps (including world, continental and regional varieties). There are labeled map pages for each of the continents, as well as several unique landmark pages within each continent. Each of these specialized regional pages showcase different notable activities and landmarks-- for example, the Europe pages take a look at the Louvre, the Moscow Metro, and a Venetian gondola ride (among many others). With Atlas of Adventures, you can explore the Amazon rainforest, dog sled with huskies in Alaka, go on a canoe safari down the Zambezi River, or set the world aglow at Hong Kong's Lantern Festival. Additionally, there is also a "Where's Waldo" inspired game throughout the book's pages, adding an extra level of fun and whimsy to this amazing collection. This highly recommended book is a great way to inspire a love of geography and travel in children of all ages.

A 1000-Mile Great Lakes Island Adventure

Saturday July 18, 2015: 3:00 pm to 4:30 pm -- Downtown Library: Multi-Purpose Room

This event is intended for adults and teens grade 6 and up

In 2009, Loreen Niewenhuis walked the perimeter of Lake Michigan and wrote the bestselling book, A 1000-Mile Walk On the Beach.

In 2012, she took another long journey, covering 1000 miles of shoreline touching all five Great Lakes. The book about this adventure, A 1000-Mile Great Lakes Walk, explores the entire Great Lakes system.

Finally, in 2014, she launched off of the shoreline to visit many of the islands of the Great Lakes. In 2015 her book A 1000-Mile Great Lakes Island Adventure was released.

In this presentation, she will take you to islands in each of the five Great Lakes and their connecting waters. In words, photos, and video, you’ll explore the geology of the largest system of fresh water lakes in the world and why there are tens of thousands of islands in the Great Lakes basin. She’ll reveal how these islands are diverse in both geological underpinnings and in the life forms existing on the islands.

She will also take you along with her to explore some of the scientific research on the islands that she assisted with during her island odyssey. From the wolf-moose study on Isle Royale to the conservation of the endangered piping plover on the Manitou Islands, Niewenhuis will open her audience’s eyes and minds to the complexity of life on our Great Lakes islands.

Niewenhuis speaks with the authority of an expert as she has a M.S. degree in the biological sciences. She raises important questions about preserving our wild places and protecting the fragile ecosystems on which we all depend.

USA Travel on a Budget

Tuesday May 12, 2015: 7:00 pm to 8:30 pm -- Downtown Library: Multi-Purpose Room

U.S. travel is exciting and diverse. Where to go? Where to stay? How to get there? How to save money? Hostelling International USA Volunteer, Margaret Flannery, will share tips for making the most out of your journey.

Long Distance Hiking: Tales from the Trail

Wednesday March 18, 2015: 7:00 pm to 8:30 pm -- Pittsfield Branch: Program Room

This event is intended for adults and teens grades 9 and up.
This event will be recorded

Long distance hiker Chris Hillier earned his "Triple Crown" title by completing the Pacific Crest Trail, the Continental Divide Trail, and the Appalachian Trail, covering a total distance of about 7,900 miles. He was also the first to hike Michigan's 924-mile trail that reaches from Belle Isle to Ironwood. Chris will share his love for hiking through photos and stories, and pass along some of the lessons he has learned firsthand on the trail.

Around The World With Jeff Price

Monday December 1, 2014: 7:00 pm to 8:30 pm -- Downtown Library: Multi-Purpose Room

This event will be recorded

Join world traveler Jeff Price as he shares the story of how he said goodbye to his job, sold all his possessions and embarked on a journey that took him around the world. His route included stops in Hawaii, Fiji, Malta, Italy and Portugal, to name a few. As part of his journey he completed the 500 mile pilgrimage of the Camino de Santiago through Spain and France where he met fellow travelers from all over the world and forged bonds of friendship that will last a lifetime. Jeff will share stories, pictures and answer questions about his life as a modern day nomad.

Walking Distance: Extraordinary Hikes for Ordinary People

“The sum of the whole is this: walk and be happy; walk and be healthy. The best way to lengthen out our days is to walk steadily and with a purpose”. – Charles Dickens

There are people who like to go for a walk and then there are…walkers. Famously, John Muir, Henry Thoreau, Charles Dickens and Ralph Waldo Emerson, among many others, were known for their love of long-distance walking. Add to that list Robert and Martha Manning, who have written Walking Distance: Extraordinary Hikes for Ordinary People.

This book highlights 30 hikes on every continent which can be taken by “ordinary people”. They range from the 11 mile Cinque Terre trail in Italy, to the Camino de Santiago at 480 miles (which does not sound ordinary to me). Most qualify as only low to moderately challenging and the average length is more like 100 miles. The many color pictures attest to the fact that they are all beautiful, taking the intrepid walker through some of the most lovely terrain imaginable.

The Mannings tell you everything you need to know about each walk, including over-night accommodation possibilities along the way, where to hang out when you are not walking, what to bring, what the food is like, where the pubs are, a little bit of the history of the trail and, briefly, some of their own experiences on each trail, for they have walked them all. Partly a how-to guide but, more importantly, a why-to guide, they place long walks in the “must do” and "can do" categories of lifetime adventures.

So, where to begin? I have no immediate plans to take a long, long walk in Europe, but one can dream. That is what this book is really good for: inspiring the latent long-distance walker to imagine the possibilities. In the meantime, there are lovely walks all over Ann Arbor and we have books to guide you in that adventure, much closer to home.

July is National Parks and Recreation Month

Have you been enjoying visiting Ann Arbor's many parks to get the Park Explorer badges offered in our Summer Reading Game? I sure hope so, and this is a great time to do it - July is National Parks and Recreation Month!

Even if you're not playing along with the SRG, you can still have lots of fun at the parks around the town, county, and state. If you like taking long walks or hikes, don't miss Five-Star Trails: Ann Arbor and Detroit, which gives you some good trails to try like the Gallup Park Loop and several in the Pinckney State Park. More into cycling? Try Washtenaw County Bike Rides or Best Bike Rides Detroit and Ann Arbor, the latter of which includes road, bike path, and trail routes. Can't get enough of the outdoors? Want to spend DAYS and DAYS out in nature and never have to look at a computer screen or the back bumper of the guy in front of you in a traffic jam? Check out Michigan's Best Campgrounds and REALLY get to know your state's parks!

Those of you who'd prefer to stay indoors, now would be a good time to give the hilarious NBC comedy Parks and Recreation a try!

Adventure + Spirituality = Steps Out of Time

Several months back, Kate Soper gave me her book with this note tucked inside: "...I'm not sure what you'll think about this book! But my experience on the Camino meant a lot to me and I'd like to share it with you so here goes!" Full disclosure: I am a friend of Kate. That said, I also very much admire her book, Steps Out of Time: One Woman's Journey on the Camino.

Her spirited memoir is an account of a month-long, 500-mile hike across northern Spain to Santiago de Compostela. The narrative sparkles with natural beauty, camaraderie, memorable food, and the author’s personal determination to accomplish something magnificent. When she completed the hike, Kate was a changed woman.

Lots of research was done for this book, allowing Kate to offer practical advice including "12 Essential Tips for Santiago Pilgrims:" 1) Pack only lightweight, quick-drying clothing that you can layer. 2) Take well-fitting, well-used, and well-loved footwear, including good-quality, high-performance socks. 3) Your fully-loaded pack should weigh the lesser of 8 kg (17.6 lbs) or 10 percent of your body weight. (This includes a liter of water and the weight of the pack.). 4) Leave your phone at home. Ditto all other nonessentials. 5) Never leave in the morning without filling your water bottle and always carry food in your pack. 6) Wear a hat; keep your legs and arms covered or use sunscreen. 7) Bring a mechanical pencil and a lightweight journal (tearing off the cover will save a few ounces); write in it every day. 8) Unless you can sleep through noise equivalent to a freight train, bring ear plugs (snorers abound). 9) Be prepared to be humbled. 10) Remain determined to be open-minded. 11) Stop often to look and listen. 12) Try to be present in every moment.

This book is a great read and would well in a book group. Kate is retired and lives in Ann Arbor with her husband. She has worked as a lawyer, language professor, and U-M administator, among other jobs.

Take a family adventure with Larry & Pete!

With summer fast approaching, the whole family can share in the fun of vacation planning with the help of the Larry Gets Lost Series!
These fantastic books have brightly colored, retro-like illustrations and great rhymes that take your family on a journey with Larry and Pete through the streets of Seattle, New York and Chicago, to name a few. In every book Larry the dog lets the tasty smell of local foods lure him away from his good pal Pete and spends the day exploring a new city in his quest to be reunited with his boy. The stories combine fun verse, geography and history to create a wonderful travel guide for children and adults alike!

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