Ages 5-11

Let the "Write On!" Contest Begin!

All third, fourth, and fifth grade writers may now submit their stories to the third annual "Write On!" Short Story Contest! Just type up your story and either send it to youngwrite@aadl.org or bring it to the Youth Desk at the Downtown Branch! Story submissions will be accepted 2/9-2/27. Check out the guidelines and contest website for more information!

If writing a story straight from your head seems tough, try out a couple of these goofy story-starters to get your ideas flowing!

The only thing worse than stepping in grape jelly is...
This morning I woke up and thought, "Aw pickles."
Dragons don't make very good pets...
When I walked into science class today, I didn't expect...
Something sounded like two million cats practicing karate...

Happy writing!

Is Your Teacher A Monster?

Peter Brown, author and illustrator of the popular and fabulous picture book Mr. Tiger Goes Wild, brings us a new bit of fun in My Teacher is a Monster. In this picture book Bobby has a big problem at school. Her name was Ms. Kirby. She was the meanest teacher who stomped and roared and did not allow paper airplanes in class. She was a monster. But then one day something happens and Bobby sees her in a whole new light.

The book is delighfully illustrated in true Brown fashion, and would be a fun read whether your teacher roars or not.

Cool new nonfiction for kids: Skyscrapers!

Are you curious about how huge buildings like the John Hancock Center, the Eiffel Tower and the Chrysler Building were constructed? I know I am, and I’ve always been interested in the architectural feats that keep such towering structures upright for—in some cases—over a hundred years. The amazing new book Who Built That? Skyscrapers, by Didier Cornille, is an introduction to familiar skyscrapers and their architects geared towards kids… but absolutely fascinating for all ages!

My favorite part of the book are the amazing illustrations that show different stages of construction of each building, including the inside skeleton and the frame, so readers can find out how the structure manages to stand so tall. It is so cool to see! Readers can also learn a little bit about each architect including what inspired them to build the featured structure, and what other unique buildings they constructed during their careers.

If you want to learn even more about skyscrapers, try Skyscrapers: Inside and Out, Unbuilding, or Skyscraper, all available at the AADL.

PreK Bits - "T" is for Tubby Time

Today was sponsored by the letter "T" in Ms. Rachel's Storytime.

First ... PARROT TICO TANGO stole the fruit and needed to make things right.
We did "A-Tooty-Tah" for wiggle time.
Then ... we caught the baby and gave her a bath for TUBBY.

For more TUB stories try the following:
PIGEON NEEDS A BATH by the one and only Mo Willems.
RABBIT EARS ... Hopscotch refuses to clean his ears until ....
KING BIDGOOD'S In The BATHTUB .... and "he won't come out!"
GULLIVER SNIP and his swashbuckling bath-time.
QUEEN VICTORIA'S BATHING MACHINE is an historical experience with the real Queen Victoria.
Next time... Don't forget to lather up and play with those bubbles!

"Write On!" Contest Guidelines are now posted! Entries accepted February 9 - 27th!

Young writers in 3rd-5th Grade may now view the 2015 "Write On!" Short Story Contest Guidelines! The "Write On!" Short Story Contest is now three years old and has received a total of 200 submissions from previous years! Keep the stories coming, writers of Ann Arbor and beyond!

"Write On!" will begin accepting submissions on Monday, February 9.

Need some help getting started? Check out the Writing Resources page. For more information about the contest, please visit the contest home page.

Happy writing!

The Boy Who Cried Fabulous!

"When Roger started out for school, his mother set a simple rule. She said, "Now Roger, you go straight-- straight to class and don't be late!" Roger tried hard to obey, he knew that he should not delay. He shouldn't wander or explore, but then he came upon a store..."

In The Boy Who Cried Fabulous by Leslea Newman, Roger is a quirky boy who has trouble going to and from school. The reason? He can't help but become side-tracked by all of the fabulous things he sees! When Roger finds himself late for school (again!), his parents ban him from saying the word 'fabulous' anymore. What will Roger do when he can no longer explore "a world too wondrous to ignore"?

The Boy Who Cried Fabulous is a funny rhyming story about curiosity and accepting others differences. The illustrations are vibrant and bright, and become more and more outlandish as the story continues. Other fabulous titles from Leslea Newman include Donovan's Big Day, Just Like Mama, and Dogs, Dogs, Dogs!

Winter Wonderland at the Tot Table

Too cold to roll in the snow outside? Come to the downtown tot table to celebrate winter and play with furry friends and snow people in colorful hats and mittens! They have a tiny skating rink, just like ours. They have a snow covered tree, like the lovely ones we see all over town. Can fox and bear and mouse all fit in the Mitten? Come and see!Snowy Tot TableSnowy Tot Table

Let's Learn About Science!

If you have a little one who loves science and you haven’t checked out our New Book shelf lately, you’re missing out! We have a bundle of exciting new science books in designed just for kids.

For older kids, Hello from 2030: The Science of the Future and You, by Jan Paul Schutten, takes a look at the near feature based on current science. In the future, will we be able to easily and quickly 3D print body parts? What will climate change make the planet look like? This book also explains how predictions work and contains a section on becoming a futurologist.

In you want to learn about the amazing scientists that have brought us this far, check out the new Women in Science series, which features short but detailed biographies of physician Antonia Novello, astronaut Mae Jemison, physicist Chien-Shiung Wu, meteorologist Joanne Simpson, and biochemist Hayat Sindi.

After learning about the great scientists above, children can learn about mistakes in science from the Science Gets it Wrong Series. My personal favorite is Let’s Make Some Gold!, but you can also check out: Your Head Shape Reveals Your Personality!, That Bull is Seeing Red!, and We're the Center of the Universe!

For all of these, and lots of other books, including ones about robots, genes, ecosystems and more, check out our list New Science Books for Kids.

Abilities over Disabilities - PreK - 7th grade

There are many "human ability" stories and exercises that deserve to be shared and discussed with kids.
People request "stories for kids" especially when issues arise in school or family life.
Here are two public lists especially for kids through elementary school ages.
There are stories of real people who have lost abilities many take for granted.
These are stories of surprise, determination and success.
Some include simple life-style enhancements such as ... eyeglasses and good friends.
Others explain trained animal assistants, braille, prosthetics, insight ... and also humor.

This list is dedicated to stories of Autism, and Aspergergers spectrum disorders
Autism and Aspergers - Grades K - 6

This list spans as many abilities as possible, yet includes some stories from Autism spectrum too.
Abilities over Abilities - Grades PreK - 7

New Nonfiction for Kids: Get the Scoop on Animal Puke!

Animal- and nature- lovers will delight in all of the amazing facts they find on regurgitation and emesis (a.k.a. vomit) in Get the Scoop on Animal Puke! by Dawn Cusick! Despite the slightly off-putting cover of this book, this eye-catching new addition to the youth collection is sure to be a hit! Vomit as seen in nature doesn't have to be considered disgusting. As written by Cusick, "...gross and weird things we see in nature help animals compete and survive. Animal puke isn't gross: it's really pretty cool."

Here are some amazing facts that I was surprised to learn from this book:

  • Some animals vomit to protect themselves from predators or poisonous food.
  • Scavengers like turkey vultures expel highly acidic vomit to ward off potential thieves from eating their carrion food.
  • You may remember Genie's advice about camels in the movie Aladdin: "Watch out, they spit!" In truth, the "spit" that Genie is warning us about is really vomit, which camels eject when scared. Apparently it smells really bad.
  • Have you ever seen video of a snake eating an entire egg in one mouthful? They have trouble digesting the egg shell, so they make sure to spit that part back out after they eat it.
  • Many animals are "ruminant," meaning the plants or foods they eat are not fully digestible the first time, so they need to keep chewing it until it can go through their intestines. All ruminant animals have four(!) stomachs, and include cows, goats, deer, and giraffes.

Want to learn even more amazing and strange animal facts? Check out these fascinating animal books!

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