Ages 5-11

Monsieur Marceau

Born Marcel Mangel, Marcel Marceau lived an interesting life. He was shaped by World War II, during which he lost his father to Auschwitz. It was during the war, when Germany occupied France that he and his younger brother adopted the name Marceau.

When he was five, Marceau had seen a Charlie Chaplin movie which ignited an aspiration to become a mime. Eventually, his passion would lead him to travel all around the world and make him famous.

Monsieur Marceau tells his story, presenting information about the work he did during the war risking his own life in order to save others. Then, the book moves on to the career that made him a world-known name.

"Write On!" Short Story Contest for Grades 3-5

The 3rd Annual "Write On!" Short Story Contest for Grades 3-5 accepts story entries each spring (dates are included in each year's guidelines). All writers, their friends, and families are invited to the Story Celebration, featuring a published children's author, once the contest ends. The top three stories from each grade will be recognized and each writer will receive a certificate of participation. Since its start in 2013, the contest has received about 200 submissions from Ann Arbor and abroad!

1. Check out the CONTEST GUIDELINES!
2. Write your story! (Need some help? Here are some WRITING RESOURCES.
3. Submit your story by e-mail or in person at the Downtown Branch Youth Desk!
4. Attend the Story Celebration once the contest is done to eat some snacks, meet other kids, and hear our featured guest speaker- a published children's author!
Questions about the contest may be directed to Kayla at or at the Youth desk: 734-327-8301.

2015 "Write On!" Short Story Contest

The 2015 "Write On!" Contest received a record number of 138 submissions! Below are the winners from this year.

3rd Grade Winners:

1st Yotam Chopra "The Kids Who Saved the World"
2nd Graham Baker "Sam the Talented Dolphin"
3rd Selene Freudenberg "How Hair Pot Er Met Innygay Easlyway"

4th Grade Winners:

1st Elijah Hatcher-Kay "Lost and Found"
2nd Finnian Cook "Believe"
3rd Caroline Robinson "Going Through Time"

5th Grade Winners:

1st Camille Hu "The Girl"
2nd Fionnuala MacKercher "Grey"
3rd Madeleine Rodgers "Nelson and Ariana's Nako Odyssey"

2014 Short Story Challenge

Around 100 young writers turned in stories for the 2014 3-5th Grade Short Story Challenge! Below is a list of the 2014 winners. To read all entries of the 2014 contest, click here.

3rd Grade Winners:

1st Kaden Thornton "The Magical Book" PDF Text-Only Version
2nd Eliza Ann Van Ee "Save the Slaves!" PDF Text-Only Version
3rd Emma Li "Dragon Friends!" PDF Text-Only Version

4th Grade Winners:

1st Georgie Branch "Pop" PDF Text-Only Version
2nd Karinne Tennenbaum "One Thought after Another" PDF Text-Only Version
3rd Fionnuala MacKercher "The White Wolf" PDF Text-Only Version

5th Grade Winners:

1st Marisa Redding "The Meadow Song" PDF Text-Only Version
2nd Makayla Harris "Hutch McLaw: The Case of the Sparkling Torch" PDF Text-Only Version
3rd Rachel Amanda Eglinton "The Impossible" PDF Text- Only Version

2013 Short Story Writing Contest

Around 100 young writers turned in stories for the 2013 Short Story Writing Contest! Below is a list of the 2013 winners.

3rd Grade Winners:

1st Emma Crownover "My Secret"
2nd Alma Moga "The Story of the Talking Hamster"
3rd Mohammed Hamoud "Allians-A True Story"

4th Grade Winners:

1st Arjun Purohit "A Weird Day at the Science Museum"
2nd Abby Dobson "Winston and His Ears"
3rd Anabellee Jones "Blueberry Girl"

5th Grade Winners:

1st Ashlee Freeman "Pastel's Journey"
2nd Krishna Davis "The Boulder Block"
3rd Jenna Allman "Sallie Sweetwater and the Nebraska Disaster"

Play Connection for Families with Children on the Autism Spectrum

Play with toys, pet gentle dogs and chat with Dr. Rick Solomon, from the Play Project on Sunday, February 2nd at the Downtown Library from 2:00 – 4:00 pm. We have a fun space for construction toys and a quiet space for relaxing. For this third Play Connection event we have the awesome Therapy Dogs from Therapaws joining us just for fun!

Play ProjectPlay Project

Owl's Winter

If you love the charm of Arnold Lobel’s stories mixed with the magic of Wild Swan Theater, treat yourself to Owl’s Winter at the Towsley Auditorium this week! The whimsical tales from Owl at Home will warm you up! For an extra treat, grown-ups should check out Wild Swan’s Chocolate Crush which is right around the corner!Wild SwanWild Swan

EASY READER Collections - How Do I Choose?

If your child is beginning to read, ... You want to match books to their reading skills.
There are many systems, and no system is perfect.

ANN ARBOR PUBLIC SCHOOLS use an Alphabet System to identify reading levels.
The Alphabet System can be searched in the Ann Arbor District Library catalog.
Choose the letter that matches your child's school reading level.
The Ann Arbor Public Schools PARENT HANDBOOK describes in simple detail the Alphabet System levels.

The ANN ARBOR DISTRICT LIBRARY uses Colored Dots on the Beginning Reader books.
You can search by Colored Reading Levels in the Library Catalog as follows:
Red Reading Level is the easiest reading level. It roughly matches levels A-D in the schools.
Yellow Reading Level roughly matches levels E-H in the schools.
Blue Reading Level roughly matches levels I-J in the schools.
Green Reading Level is the hardest level in the Beginning Reader collections. It roughly matches levels K-L in the schools. Green Reading Level matches many easy chapter books.

Follow Your Money

Follow Your Money: Who Gets It, Who Spends It, Where Does It Go? is a brand new informative book for kids! The introduction explains what money really is and how we started using it (can you imagine buying a rug by trading a camel for it?). The book monetizes everything from your breakfast to making movies, and breaks down the numbers in an approachable way. Cool graphics show the components of a cell phone and the process of making a shoe. It also answers tricky questions like why a hamburger costs more than the ingredients do and how a sale in a clothing store works.

This is sure to be a hit for those interested in how things work and those who haven't found that inspiring math topic yet!

AADL has other great books on money for kids too, such as Money Games: the Business of Sports, Show Me the Money, and The Secret Life of Money: A Kid's Guide to Cash.

For more fun with math, check out the Sum Story Fun events in February: The Lion's Share, Snowflake Bentley, and Pigs on a Blanket.

Family Science Workshop

Are you a dinosaur lover?

Then join us for Dining on Dinos: Long Necks, Sharp Teeth, Club Tails, Killer Claws on Saturday, January 18 from 10-11 AM at the Pittsfield Branch. This Family Science Workshop from the University of Michigan Museum of Natural History will introduce young dinosaur lovers to what fossils can teach us about dinosaurs. The event is intended for children K-5 accompanied by an adult.

You can learn more about dinosaur fossils by checking out these dinosaur fossil books. Be sure to also check out our Science Tools, some of which include models of dinosaur fossils.

See all of our upcoming Family Science Workshops here.

Citizen Science

Science is everywhere. This gives scientists a lot of work to do, and many questions to work toward solving. Because of this, scientists also have much data to collect. Enter citizen science!

Citizen science is scientific research conducted entirely or in part by amateurs.

Citizen Scientists: Be a Part of Scientific Discovery from Your Own Backyard encourages kids to try four different activities, one for each season. The team behind this book aim to promote science as a rewarding hands-on activity.

If this sounds like a good book, you might also like The Hive Detectives: A Chronicle of a Bee Catastrophe, also by Loree Griffin Burns.

Audiobook: Scientists and Spies

Sometimes, the truth is even more exciting than fiction. At least it is in Bomb: The Race to Build and Steal the World's Most Dangerous Weapon by Steve Sheinkin. This non-fiction account of the scientists and spies involved in the development of the first atomic bomb is an amazing story, full of gentle humor, suspense and thoughtful insights into the cost of developing atomic weaponry. While written for youth, this book will appeal to science and spy lovers of all ages. Parents should note, however, that descriptions of the atomic bombings and their horrific aftermath are included.

The book was awarded a Newbery Honor medal in 2013.

Gemini is Back!

Friends in Song and StoryFriends in Song and StoryWe had too much fun at this concert last year so we are bringing back this song/story stew for young children on Sunday, January 19 at 2:00 pm at the Downtown Library. Giant books like Where is the Green Sheep? and Silly Sally, in call and response style, as well as traditional Shake-It-Up Tales, won’t leave anybody sitting still for long. I am thrilled to join Gemini for this musical event!Friends in Song and StoryFriends in Song and Story

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