Ages 5-11

Birding by Ear and Beyond

The Environmental Interpretive Center is partnering with the Cornell Lab of Ornithology to "Celebrate Urban Birds." On the morning of May 17, at 10am, they will be meeting at Gallup Park Canoe Livery in Ann Arbor. The day will be filled with birding along the shore of the Huron River and for an extra opportunity to hear waterfowl they will be canoeing on the river. Lunch will be provided in the park while celebrating urban birds through art and song until 2pm. This free event is sponsored by the Center's "Birding by Ear and Beyond" program, which offers an auditory experience for blind and visually impaired individuals. All are welcome to join. For further information contact Donna Posont at (313) 220-8140 or dposont@umich.edu.

The 3rd-5th Grade Short Story Challenge 2014 has officially begun!

Look! It's a bird... it's a plane... no wait, it's a SHORT STORY SUPERHERO participating in the second annual 3rd-5th Grade Short Story Challenge!

Do you have the grit to become a Short Story Superhero? Astound all your friends and teachers... they'll never see it coming! Vanquish the winter blues with powerful prose and punchy plot!

Here's how to become a Short Story Superhero:
1) Write a story of up to 5 pages (double-spaced) or 1000 words
2) Type it in a Word document, with the story title on top
3) Attach the file to an email and include your personal information OR print it out with an information cover sheet (what information, you ask? check out the guidelines)
4) Send it to youngwrite@aadl.org or bring it to the Youth Desk at the Downtown branch by Monday, May 5!

Use your x-ray vision on our Jump! brochure to keep an eye out for the final celebration featuring guest author Lisa Wheeler, on June 3!

Please e-mail youngwrite@aadl.org or call the Youth Desk at 734-327-8301 with any questions, and happy (super) writing!

Audiobook for Broadway Lovers: Better Nate Than Ever

Read by the author (who happens to have been on Broadway himself), Better Nate Than Ever by Tim Federle offers an insider’s look into the world of Broadway auditions from a kid’s point of view. Thirteen-year-old Nate Foster is tired of being bullied and misunderstood in his hometown so, with the help of his best friend Libby, this Broadway-musical lover concocts a plan to run away to New York City and audition for E.T the Musical (inspired by Steven Spielberg’s E.T., of course). The adventure that follows is both hilarious and heartbreaking, and the narration is spot on through every emotional twist and turn.

The audiobook was a 2014 Odyssey Award Honor, an award given to the best audiobooks for children and teens.

Its sequel Five, Six, Seven, Nate! is also available in print.

Coming Soon: 3rd-5th Grade Short Story Challenge!

It's almost time for the second annual 3rd-5th Grade Short Story Challenge! Starting April 14, young writers will be able to submit a typed short story of five pages or less to either to the Downtown Youth Desk or by e-mail to youngwrite@aadl.org. Make sure you check the guidelines before you submit your story! Stories will be accepted from Monday, April 14 until Monday, May 5.

Need help writing a story or finding ideas? Check out this list of books for kids on writing at AADL. You can also visit these recommended websites for writing.

Keep an eye out for the final celebration on Tuesday, June 3 honoring all writers, featuring Lisa Wheeler as the guest speaker!

Please e-mail youngwrite@aadl.org or call the Youth Desk at 734-327-8301 with any questions, and happy writing!

PreK SPOTlight - NEW Picture Books April 2014

... So I'm looking at the "Hot Fiction" list this week and these NEW PICTURE Books captured me!

Mo Willems' Pigeon tells a NEW story....
PIGEON NEEDS A BATH: I Do Not! ... yes you dooo ...

More NEW books for Preschool kids:
The GREAT DAY ... about Harry who is first UP, first OUT the door, first AT the table, and first ... TO bed!
MOONBEAR'S SUNRISE ... a Moonbear book by Frank Asch
HOW To BABYSIT A GRANDPA for those who need pointers...
UPSIDE DOWN BABIES ... something happened the day the world tipped ... and you may like to know what !

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!

New J Fiction: The Lion Who Stole My Arm

Be sure to check out a great new addition to realistic fiction for kids: The Lion Who Stole My Arm! Pedru has grown up in Africa as a hunter’s son: he can catch fish, climb trees, and even use a spear to defend his family and catch the biggest animals. But one evening as he’s heading home from a fun day of fishing with his friends, he encounters something he’s only heard of in tales- a lion! In this tale of exciting heroism and personal strength, Pedru shares his struggles to defend his community from unwanted intruders and how he dealt with the life-changing experience of coming face to face with a lion.

Nicola Davies finds her passion in observing and working with animals. She has impacted animal life all over the world through whale watching, bird spotting, and hands-on research. Ms. Davies has written several books for kids, including One Tiny Turtle, Surprising Sharks, and Escape from Silver Street Farm. To learn more about Nicola Davies, visit her author website.

Fun Youth Novel: True Blue Scouts of Sugar Man Swamp, by Kathi Appelt

For raccoon lovers -- think Raccoon Tune by Nancy Shaw and Rascal by Sterling North -- this book is a rare find indeed. The True Blue Scouts of Sugar Man Swamp, by Kathi Appelt, stars raccoon brothers Bingo and J'miah, the latest recruits to the Official Sugar Man Swamp Scouts. The chance to serve the Sugar Man -- who rules the swamp and loves sugarcane -- is an honor and a huge responsibility. The story unfolds as wild feral hogs and developers threaten the swamp, yet Sugar Man can't seem to wake up. The raccoon brothers are particularly memorable, as are a host of other characters including 12-year-old Chap Brayburn and Gertrude the rattlesnake. This highly imaginative, fast-paced book was a finalist for the 2013 National Book Award for Young People's Literature. Kathi Appelt has won many other awards and may be best known for her book The Underneath.

Kid SPOTlight - NEW Concept Book

We found COLORS by Sophie Pelham on the NEW shelf.
After we discussed the book's visual virtues for about ten minutes ... we decided it was a thoughtfully concieved concept book for young children who want to count things together with someone older.
It's a visual charmer, in my opinion.

I added COLORS to my Thoughtful Picture Books for Kids list, just because it made me think.
pssst ... there's a great rainbow in it!

A Modern Fairy Tale

Hans Christian Andersen’s “The Snow Queen” had inspired many fantastic works in the last few years, including Disney’s Frozen and Anne Ursu’s Breadcrumbs. Fans of the latter will definitely want to check out the latest Snow Queen-inspired novel, Ophelia and the Marvelous Boy by Karen Foxlee.

The story takes place in a magical, labyrinth-like museum in a country where the snow never stops. While exploring the museum one day, Ophelia discovers the prison of the Marvelous Boy, a boy who never ages and who is destined to give the sword to the hero who will slay the Snow Queen. Though still grieving the death of her mother, Ophelia agrees to team up with the Marvelous Boy to help him defeat the Snow Queen and end the endless winter.

What I loved most about this novel was its careful balance of fantasy and reality. While much of the plot and the tone of the story feel like a dreamy or sometimes nightmarish fairy tale, Ophelia’s grief and its effect upon her family keep the heart of the story incredible real.

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