Ages 5-11

Ghost Stories

If your kids are anything like mine they’re already planning for Halloween. It just can’t be helped with the feel of fall in the air and the local stores already stocking spooky decorations and treats. The Ann Arbor District Library has a plethora of books to help feed your ghostly appetite and really get the hairs on the back of your neck to stand on end. The books Ghosts of the Alamo, Ghosts of Alcatraz, Ghosts of Gettysburg, and Bachelor’s Grove Cemetery will send readers on trips through different parts of the United States that claim to have ghostly inhabitants. Each book has eerie pictures and real life accounts of ghostly sightings and spooky encounters. You'll visit the sights of haunted hotels, creepy caves, ghastly graveyards and more. The series isn't too scary for the timid, but eerie enough that ghost-lovers will want to read the whole set!

A Princess and a Pig Switch Places...

What would happen if a princess and a pig switched places? If you guessed a lot of laughs, you’re right! Check out Jonathan Emmett’s hilarious picture book The Princess and the Pig to find out exactly what happens when a princess is raised by pig farmers and a pig is raised… as a princess! Perfect for fans of Robert Munsch’s classic picture book The Paper Bag Princess, and my favorite picture book discovery this year.

A Southern Charmer for Children

You’ve heard of Bigfoot, but have your heard of his cousin, the Sugar Man? Well, in Kathi Appelt’s The True Blue Scouts of Sugar Man Swamp, you can learn all about the illusive Sugar Man and the creatures who call his Texas swamp their home.

As the story opens, raccoon brothers Bingo and J’miah have been charged with waking the Sugar Man if the swamp comes under danger. And of course, danger arrives right on schedule. But before it does, readers are treated to two richly interwoven stories – one about a pair of young raccoons trying to prove their merit as Swamp Scouts and another about a twelve-year-old boy trying to save his family’s restaurant after his grandfather’s death. Filled with fantastic turns-of-phrase, if you enjoy books with a strong Southern voice, then you’ll love this one. Plus, the audiobook is narrated by native Texan Lyle Lovett who adds a wonderful Southern charm to this story.

Furry Friends at the Tot Table

Check out all the furry forest friends at the tot table in the youth area of the Downtown Library. Possums dangle from the big tree and fawns curl up in their hidey hole. Raccoon chases squirrel through the log tunnel and watch out for those skunks! For real wildlife adventures make sure to visit Leslie Science Center or The Creature Conservancy or take a walk through Saginaw Forest while the beautiful weather holds!Youth animal toys 3Youth animal toys 3

The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making

If you are looking for an Alice in Wonderland or Wizard of Oz read alike with a fairy twist you should certainly give Catherynne Valente's The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making a try.

The story begins with a 12 year old girl named September. September is an ordinary girl from Omaha, Nebraska who longs to play a special part in an adventure. After a character from Fairyland called The Green Wind steals her away one night, she finally gets her chance to experience some excitement. She meets many fantastical characters and makes some good friends along the way, including A-Through-L, a wyvern who believes his father to have been a library and therefore considers himself a "Wyverary."

The writing is superb and Valente does an excellent job of painting vivid pictures of fantastical scenes and situations with her words. If you enjoy The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making don't miss the sequel The Girl Who Fell Beneath Fairyland and Led the Revels There where September returns to Fairyland for a brand new adventure.

Wonderful Youth Poetry Books

The summer may be starting to wind down, but there's still plenty of time to read! One often-forgotten genre in the world of kid's books is poetry. There is a ton of great youth poetry out there beyond Shel Silverstein and Jack Prelutsky (beloved as they are) and it's often short, sweet, and funny. Poetry can sometimes seem intimidating to get into, but the books below are anything but! With the summertime left to us, why not try out some of this awesome genre?

Mirror Mirror: A book of reversible verse and Follow Follow: a book of reverso verse, both by Marilyn Singer, are retellings of fairy tales with a twist: they tell one point of view read top to bottom, and another point of view when read bottom to top. Figuring out which fairy tale each story is telling is a lot of fun, plus the illustrations are gorgeous.

Following up the fairy tale theme, Forgive Me, I Meant to Do It: false apology poems by Gail Carson Levine is full of fairy tale characters who aren't REALLY sorry for their misbehavior and use poems to falsely apologize a la William Carlo William's poem "This is Just to Say."

Last, but not least, we have This Is Just to Say: poems of apology and forgiveness by Joyce Sidman. This book features a (fictional) class of sixth graders writing poems asking for forgiveness for various infractions, both serious and less so, with a corresponding second half in which the poem recipients write their own poems in response. If you like your poetry to have a little narrative to it, this one is for you.

Go forth and explore poetry!

Get an Inside Look at the White House...When Audrey Met Alice

Ever wonder what life is like for a kid in the White House? Then check out When Audrey Met Alice by Rebecca Behrens.

Thirteen-year-old Audrey Rhodes became the First Daughter when her mother was elected the first female President of the United States. Sadly, life in the White House is far more frustrating than fun. After her last hope of making friends at her new school is ruined by a security breach, Audrey feels alone and miserable. Then she discovers the diary of Alice Roosevelt, eldest child of Theodore Roosevelt and a former First Daughter herself. Alice seems to understand exactly how Audrey is feeling, and while reading about the lively and rebellious Alice – whose antics included taking her pet garter snake, Emily Spinach, to dinner parties and sneaking a boy into the White House by dressing him up like a girl – Audrey decides to try out a little of Alice’s rebellious spirit. By channeling Alice, Audrey is eventually able to stand up for a cause both she and Alice believe in – marriage equality.

I have been a big fan of Alice Roosevelt ever since reading the wonderful picture-book biography What To Do About Alice? by Barbara Kerley, and so I loved getting to learn more about Alice and her White House adventures. Readers who enjoy spunky female characters and kids who stand up for what they believe in will definitely enjoy meeting Alice for themselves.

'Show Off' This Summer!

Are you bored? Need something fun to do this summer that doesn't involve sleeping? Then check out Show Off: How to Do Absolutely Everything One Step at a Time by Sarah Hines Stephensand Bethany Mann! Both kids and adults will find something to love in this book of explosive fun. Inside you will find stunts, tricks, pranks, experiments, projects, recipes, games, and more! Maybe you've always wanted to spin a basketball on your fingertip, astounding your friends. Or perhaps you wish you could move on the dance floor like a worm, baffling your enemies into silence. Your bucket list will be cheering you on as you cross off item by item! Many of the activities in this book suggest grown up supervision, but you can rest assured that you can definitely "try this at home!" Check out this book. Your ego will thank you.

Kid Bits - I CAN PLAY IT SAFE

Ann Arbor Rec & Ed is running SAFETY TOWN CAMP 2014 for all children entering Kindergarten in the Fall.

Here is a LIBRARY LIST of titles to teach safety with elementary school children.
The following topics are especially included:
BICYCLE SAFETY
Stranger Safety SAY NO And GO: Stranger Safety
Animal Safety MAY I PET YOUR DOG?
Getting Lost I LOST MY DAD
Fire Safety IF THERE IS A FIRE
Personal Boundaries BECAUSE IT'S MY BODY

3rd-5th Grade Short Story Challenge- All Submissions 2014

2014 submissions were accepted for 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade. The following are all the students and the work they submitted for this year's Short Story Challenge. The winning stories can be viewed here.

Third Grade

Hiraku Aso, "Planetarium"
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Abby Bowers, "Harry on the High Seas"
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Caitlyn Cupitt, "My Ordinary Day"
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Connor Fischer, "Captain Pickel Pants and the Time Machine"
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Jadon Fischer, "Niko de Angelo's Adventure"
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Madeline Hendriksma, "Suri Story"
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Joe Hickman, "Ghost in the House"
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Anniyah Hinton, "Girls Night"
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Salsabeel Hodge, "Three Kids Three Different Lives"
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Michael Howard, "Without a Sun"
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Emily Jiao, "The Magic Rug"
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Joe Juarez, "Quacky Duck"
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Thomas Kaechele, "Mystery of River Creek"
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Brigit Keiter, "Vampire Girl"
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Sophie Kriz, "The Original Adventures of Emily"
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Amy Lei, "The Story of Nancy Silk"
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Emma Li, "Dragon Friends!"
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Peyton Manning, "Sled Ride"
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Shannon McKay, "My Birthday"
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Julia Mei, "The Start of Skating"
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Sydney Richardson, "Mackinac Island"
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Jane Ryu, "Benjamin"
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Alexandra Salazar-Esquivel, "My Turtle"
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Kureha Shibuya, "My Trip to Japan"
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Mica Sims, "The Surprise"
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Niko Stamadianos, "Ted"
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Justin Su, "The Land Nobody Knew"
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Meena J. Suresh, "The Ghost of the West"
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Kaden Thornton, "The Magical Book"
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Eliza Ann VanEe, "Save the Slaves!"
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Jack Vlasak, "Snow Boarding"
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Tyler Waller, "The Day I Got My Horse"
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Fourth Grade:

Rokaya Benloucif, "My Diary"
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Georgie Branch, "Pop"
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Anna Clingenpeel, "The Best and Worst Times of Life"
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Suri Doepfer, "Untitled"
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Becca Kingham, "The Epic of King's Adventure"
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Fionnuala MacKercher, "The White Wolf"
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Alma Moga, "Lupa and the Pie"
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Mandy Pritts, "The Mystery of the Missing Cookies"
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Jennifer Shim, "I'm Always Here for You"
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Kendall Spink, "Princess"
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Karinne Tennenbaum, "One Thought After Another"
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Katrina Walbridge, "My Marvelous Friend"
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Amy Xiu, "The Dangers of Pollution"
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Eric Huayi Zhang, "The Gum Story"
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Fifth Grade:

Ahmed Adudiab, "The Winter of 2014"
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Zaina Al Habash, "Two Giraffes, One Big Story"
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Zakariya Alem, "Zomz"
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Luna Alkassem, "That Jaguar"
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Huda Al-Regib, "The Man in the Woods"
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Romaissa Ameziane, "The Amulet of Vadla"
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Nina Ang, "Bram's Quest"
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Abigail Anne Tejero Babila, "Carol the Hero"
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Samuel Bechar, "Traveling Through Time"
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Kira Brehob, "King of the Clouds"
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Evelyn Carroll, "Ivy and the Brain Wave Scooter"
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Myra Davis, "Nicole's Mermaid Adventure"
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Abby Dobson, "The Penguin Who Wanted to Fly"
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Nathaniel Dodge, "Resc-alcon"
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Rachel Amanda Eglinton, "The Impossible"
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Muneer Elshaikh, "Monday Midnight"
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Noor Elshaikh, "Iris"
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Niv Fisher-Pinsker, "Stuck in Time"
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Grace Franklin, "Josephine's Canyon"
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Aarush Goel, "WhiteJill"
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Lirit Green, "The Worst Day of My Life"
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Shoshana Green, "Mystery at Midnight"
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Gracie Greenberg, "Be Careful What You Wish For"
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Nadra Harbali, "The Demon Dragon and the Gem"
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Makayla Harris, "Hutch McLaw: The Case of the Sparkling Torch"
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Luka Hecht, "Misplaced"
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Hajawr Khan, "The Magic Mirror"
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Max Klarman, "Falling"­­
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Sarah Larson, "Lenny the Leprechaun"
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Ari Leflein, "The Door to Happiness or Despair"
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Aishah Mahmood, "The Cipher Competition"
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Asieh Mohammed-Azizi, "The Lightning Girl"
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Aafaf Moustafa, "The Magic of Magena"
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Zach Newpol, "The House in the Woods"
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Adi Orlyanchik, "Kwiko the Dragon"
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Evan Rago, "I am a Deity"
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Marisa Redding, "The Meadow Song"
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Saphira Samuels, "A Tale of Two Sisters"
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Jessica Schwalb, "The Squirrels"
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Laibah Siddiqui, "The Journey"
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Nathan Strauss, "Falling from an Airplane"
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Joann Sun, "The Stolen Glasses"
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Brendan Sutton, "Mission Possibility"
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Zayd Tanbour, "The Broken Arm"
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Aakarsh Verma, "Mines of Ashland"
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Kinneret Weiss, "Jake the Handyman"
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Layla Youssef, "The Postcard"
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