Ages 5-11

Scary Murder Mystery – With Ghosts!

In the mood for something spooky this summer? Then give The Screaming Staircase by Jonathan Stroud a try.

This unusual murder mystery is set in an alternative England where ghosts have grown more and more active in the last few decades and Psychic Detection Agencies like Lockwood & Co. employ talented young agents to track down and destroy the sources of these hauntings. When Lucy and her fellow Lockwood & Co. agents uncover an unsolved murder while searching for the source of a haunting, they decide to solve the mystery with the help of the victim’s locket…but someone is out to make sure they never solve this case.

Full of adventure and genuinely scary encounters with ghosts, this story may be written for children but it is not for the faint of heart. Recommended for fans of Alvin Schwartz’s scary stories or older readers who enjoyed Libba Bray’s The Diviners.

Audiobook fans may also wish to check out the audiobook of The Screaming Staircase, which was named one of ALA’s Amazing Audiobooks for Young Adults 2014.

Hogwarts for Fairy Tales

School may be out for the summer, but this summer is the perfect time to discover The School for Good and Evil by Soman Chainani.

At this school, students learn how to be fairy-tale heroes and villains, with good students (known as Evers) attending classes like princess etiquette and animal communication and evil students (known as Nevers) tackling subjects like uglification and henchman training. The story focuses on two new students, best friends Sophie and Agatha, who seem to have been mixed up in the wrong schools. As golden-haired Sophie struggles in the School for Evil, trying to convince everyone she really belongs in the School for Good, foul-tempered Agatha just wants to escape the School for Good and return home.

Fans of the Harry Potter series will enjoy this new twist on a magical boarding school, complete with its own annual traditions, mythical creatures and unusual headmaster, while fans of Adam Gidwitz’s A Tale Dark and Grimm will appreciate its exploration of the darker side of fairy tales.

Books & Other Fun Stuff that AADL Staff Promoted During our Annual K-12 School Visits!

If during May and June your child or teen came home from school pumped up about the Summer Game and talked about the many books, programs, events and unusual stuff at the library they were lucky enough to see one of the lively presentations our staff do annually. Each May and early June staff visit elementary, middle and high schools to promote the summer game, summer programs and the unusual variety of stuff that we check out at the library! Please find the complete lists of ALL of the books, music tools, science tools and MORE our staff shared during their school visits.

Kayla visited Bryant, Allen, Mitchell, Bach and Carpenter - find her Grade K-2 List and her Grade 3-5 List.

Laura visited Northside, Wines, Hebrew Day School, Burns Park and Dicken - find her Grade K-2 list and her Grade 3-5 list.

Amanda went to Logan, St. Paul Lutheran, King, St. Thomas Catholic and Thurston - find her Grade K-2 list and her Grade 3-5 list.

Mariah visited E. Washtenaw Multicultural Academy, Lakewood, Open and Pattengill. Find her Grade K-2 list and her Grade 3-5 list.

Rachel visited Haisley, Abbot, MI Islamic Academy and Eberwhite. Find her Grade K-1 list, her Grade 2-3 list and her Grade 4-5 list.

Lastly, Erin visited Tappan, Forsythe, Scarlett, Community and St. Thomas Catholic. Find her Grades 6-12 list.

Geography Crafts for Kids

About now most kids are are counting down the days to summer break. However, summer doesn’t have to mean taking a break from learning. AADL has some great books that will have the whole family learning all summer long! The book Geography Crafts for Kids by Joe Rhatigan and Heather Smith offers hands on activities that will have learners of all ages thinking in new and exciting ways about the world we live in. Serve up some plate tectonics with a Pangea Pudding Puzzle or learn the art of cartography by mapping out your neighborhood. This book is filled with over 50 cool projects, along with illustrations and sidebars for parents. Check it out and learn about the world and beyond from your very own home!

Love Roald Dahl? Try Mr. Gum!

Mr. Gum is a thoroughly rotten old man, but the Mr. Gum series by Andy Stanton is anything but rotten. In fact, it’s downright hilarious.

Reminiscent of Roald Dahl, this series combines plenty of off-the-wall humor with an eccentric villain and a touch of magic to create a thoroughly enjoyable read that is also a fantastic read-aloud. The series begins with You’re a Bad Man, Mr. Gum!, in which our villainous Mr. Gum attempts to get his revenge on the dog who dug up his yard. It continues with Mr. Gum and the Biscuit Billionaire, Mr. Gum and the Goblins, Mr. Gum and the Power Crystals, Mr. Gum and the Dancing Bear, What’s for Dinner, Mr. Gum?, Mr. Gum and the Cherry Tree, and Mr. Gum and the Secret Hideout.

So if you’re looking for new adventures after journeying to Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory and making friends with Matilda, then you should definitely take a look at the Mr. Gum series.

Quiz: How much do you know about the upcoming Awards Celebration on June 3?

Take this quiz to see how much you know about the 3rd-5th Grade Short Story Challenge Awards Celebration on June 3!

1. The fabulous children's author who will be present at the event is...
a. Bob Shea
b. Laura Numeroff
c. Lisa Wheeler
d. Lara Zielin

2. Writers who participated in the Challenge will receive...
a. bacon
b. a certificate
c. a commemorative pen
d. a wheelbarrow

3. Everyone interested in kids' library events can pick up...
a. the pace
b. steam
c. the pieces
d. the new summer Jump! brochure

4. There will be a food table with...
a. cookies and water
b. cookies and cream
c. donuts and lemonade
d. Elephant and Piggie

5. The top 9 winners of the Challenge will get...
a. a deflated tire
b. a smelly old sock
c. a pony!
d. a Target gift card

Whew, tough quiz. Let's see how many you got right:
(p ϛ 'ɐ ㄣ 'p Ɛ 'q ᄅ 'ɔ Ɩ)

If you got:
1 correct: You need to study up. Try stopping by the Awards Celebration and then try again!
2-4 correct: Nice! It sounds like you missed a couple things, but you can make up for that by coming to the Awards Celebration in person!
5 correct: Superstar! Show off your amazing quiz-taking skills by coming to the Awards Celebration!

Audiobook for Kids: Rooftoppers

As a baby, Sophie is found floating in a cello case after a shipwreck and is taken in by the man who found her, eccentric Englishman Charles Maxim who uses books for plates and toast for bookmarks! Sophie and Charles live a quiet, happy life together until Sophie’s twelfth birthday, when the authorities decide that Charles is not a fit guardian. Rather than letting Sophie be taken to an orphanage, Sophie and Charles embark on a quest to find Sophie’s mother with the cello case as their only clue. The pair travels to Paris where Sophie meets the illusive rooftoppers who agree to help her with her search for her missing mother.

The audiobook of Rooftoppers by Katherine Rundell has the feel of a classic with its gorgeous writing, gentle humor and determined young heroine, and narrator Nicola Barber gets the accents exactly right. The novel is also reminiscent of Martin Scorsese’s Hugo with its adventures through the secret world of Paris.

May 5 LAST DAY to enter the 3rd-5th Grade Short Story Challenge!

Calling all writers in 3rd-5th grade, today (Monday, May 5) is your last day to submit a story to the 3rd-5th Grade Short Story Challenge! Please make sure you have checked the guidelines, and then either send it by email to or drop off a paper copy at the Youth desk Downtown. The story submission mailbox will be closed at midnight tonight. Happy writing!

Multicultural Chapter Books: The Alvin Ho Collection

Second-grader Alvin Ho loves playing the brave Firecracker Man at home but at school he is too afraid to say a word. In fact, Alvin is afraid of many things but faces fear after fear in the Alvin Ho series by Lenore Look. In the first book, Alvin Ho: Allergic to Girls, School and Other Scary Things, Alvin worries about making friends at school. In its sequel Alvin Ho: Allergic to Camping, Hiking and Other Natural Disasters, Alvin and his family get ready for Alvin’s first camping trip. Not only are these books delightfully funny, but the situations are very relatable. The audiobook is a particular treat, narrated by child actor Everette Plen who brings a fantastic youthful energy to these stories.

I think my favorite thing about the Alvin Ho series,though, is their celebration of multiculturalism. Alvin’s close-knit Chinese-American family includes a father who spouts Shakespearean insults and a grandfather who sews, and Alvin’s growing friendship with classmate Flea offers a wonderful message about accepting friends who are different from us.

The series continues with Alvin Ho: Allergic to Birthday Parties, Science Projects, and Other Man-made Catastrophes; Alvin Ho: Allergic to Dead Bodies, Funerals, and Other Fatal Circumstances; and Alvin Ho: Allergic to Babies, Burglars, and Other Bumps in The Night. More books in the series are also available as audiobooks.

Picturebook Picks: The Shape of My Heart

The Shape of My Heart by Mark Sherring is a delightful, colorful picturebook that is perfect for reading aloud. Sherring takes the readers on a journey to discover all of the wonderful, beautiful shapes that we see in our everyday life. From the shapes of our eyes to the sun, from the shapes of the zoo to our hearts, this is a heartwarming book that is perfect for engaging in seek-and-find - “Where is the duck?” - play. The illustrations, colorful and bright, are a collage of animals, shapes, and objects that children will immediately recognize. In addition, these amazing illustrations are brought to life with added sound effects, from chirps to squeaks! Children will fall in love with the high level of interaction this every-color-of-the-rainbow book has to offer.

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