An Audiobook for Young Harry Potter Fans

Fans of J. K. Rowling's Harry Potter series and especially fans of the audiobooks narrated by Jim Dale may be interested to learn about The Worst Witch audiobook by Jill Murphy.

Like the Harry Potter series, The Worst Witch takes place at a school for young witches (though no young wizards here), complete with broomstick lessons, potion tests and uniforms with house colors. At Miss Cackle's Academy, we meet Mildred Hubble, dubbed the worst witch at the school because of her talent for getting into trouble. What kind of trouble? How about turning a rude classmate into a pig! (She meant to turn her into a toad, you see.) It's a short but magical story -- and very funny too.

Oh, yes, and did I mention that it's narrated by Miriam Margoyles, whom you may remember as Professor Sprout in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets?

The audiobook series continues with The Worst Witch Strikes Again and The Worst Witch All at Sea.

Chickadee wins 2013 Scott O'Dell Award

Louise Erdrich's Chickadee has received the 2013 Scott O'Dell Award for Historical Fiction, announced on January 16. This award was established in 1982 by Scott O'Dell to encourage writers to focus on historical fiction, and it is awarded annually to an author for a "meritorious book published in the previous year for children or young adults," according to the award website. To be eligible for the award, the book must be published by a U.S. publisher and set in the Americas.

Chickadee is the fourth installment in Erdrich's Birchbark House Series and takes place in the nineteenth century, chronicling the kidnapping of Chickadee, an eight-year-old Anishinabe (known today as Ojibwe) boy, and the adventures that follow as Chickadee tries to return home and his family leaves home to look for him.

Some previous Scott O'Dell Award winners in the library's collection:

Dead End in Norvelt

In the historic town of Norvelt, Pennsylvania, twelve-year-old Jack Gantos spends the summer of 1962 grounded for various offenses until he is assigned to help an elderly neighbor with a most unusual chore involving the newly dead, molten wax, twisted promises, Girl Scout cookies, underage driving, lessons from history, typewriting, and countless bloody noses.

One Crazy Summer

In the summer of 1968, after traveling from Brooklyn to Oakland, California, to spend a month with the mother they barely know, eleven-year-old Delphine and her two younger sisters arrive to a cold welcome as they discover that their mother, a dedicated poet and printer, is resentful of the intrusion of their visit and wants them to attend a nearby Black Panther summer camp.

The Storm in the Barn (Graphic Novel)

In Kansas in the year 1937, eleven-year-old Jack Clark faces his share of ordinary challenges: local bullies, his father's failed expectations, a little sister with an eye for trouble. But he also has to deal with the effects of the Dust Bowl, including rising tensions in his small town and the spread of a shadowy illness. Certainly a case of "dust dementia" would explain who (or what) Jack has glimpsed in the Talbot's abandoned barn - a sinister figure with a face like rain. In a land where it never rains, it's hard to trust what you see with your own eyes, and harder still to take heart and be a hero when the time comes.

Click here for a complete list of previous O'Dell Award winners.

Once Upon a Winter's Day

Join us on Sunday, January 20, 2013 at the Pittfield Branch at 2:00 p.m. for a cozy winter celebration. We'll have winter stories, songs by musician Sara Keller, a faux fireplace, hot chocolate and a fun craft.

We'll warm you up with this enjoyable family event. For children preschool through Grade 5 along with their grown-ups.

For some winter stories, click here.

Extra Yarn

Extra Yarn by Mac Barnett is one beautiful picture book. It has the potential of winning a Caldecott Medal, thanks to Jon Klassen's beautiful illustrations. The story features young Annabelle who comes across a box containing some yarn. But a magical thing happens! She knits and knits and knits and the yarn never seems to run out. So she knits sweaters for dogs, and people, and trees, and cars, and soon the entire monochromatic town is awash in color thanks to her handiwork. The greedy archduke decides to steal her magic box, which leaves Annabelle in a bit of stitchuation. Will she knit her way out of it?

Let's Party with Gemini!

Let’s celebrate with my dear friends, the awesome Gemini, on Sunday, January 13 at 2 pm at the Downtown Library with music and stories galore! I knew the first time I met these talented twin boys, when we were just young punks, that they would bring harmony to A2 on so many levels. Even when I moved far away to Boston, my family danced to the Deli song before we had ever tasted a Zingerman’s Gemini sandwich and my daughter convinced us to get a dog by singing the Puppy Love song until we had to give in! See you there this Sunday!

Family Science Workshop: Just Like Me?

Saturday January 12, 2013: 10:00 am to 11:00 am -- Pittsfield Branch: Program Room

What makes us different? What makes us the same?

Families will learn about the biological reasons behind skin color, hair texture and explore other inherited genetic traits like the ability to taste certain compounds. Families will also get to perform a DNA extraction.

This event is for grades K-5 with an adult.

When a teenager writes a publishable book, it's noteworthy, but when the book is this good, it's something special

Very little about 19-year-old Stefan Bachmann says “typical teenager.” Born in Colorado, he moved to Switzerland with his family at a very early age and is a dual U.S.-Swiss citizen. His mother homeschooled him until he enrolled in the Zurich Conservatory in 2004 at the age of 11.

His book The Peculiar had a first printing of 100,000 copies and met with critical acclaim; it was also a #1 bestseller in Switzerland, and rights have been sold in seven languages. Part murder mystery, part gothic fantasy, part steampunk adventure, it is a riveting, inventive, and unforgettable debut novel.

The young author has just turned in his second novel, The Whatnot, to his editor. “I was nervous because it’s the second book,” he says. “It’s the conclusion to The Peculiar, a duology, so it wraps up the story. The first book had a cliffhanger, and that probably annoyed people.” Bachmann’s next book will “switch between contemporary and historical, which is going to be really new for me, but I can’t really say a lot about it yet. And when I’m 25 I’d like to write an adult book—when I’m actually an adult.”

Amid his literary success, Bachmann sees his music as being just as important as his writing, and he continues to study composition in Zurich. He’s managed to merge his two worlds—he wrote musical pieces for The Peculiar’s Web site and trailer—and sees parallels between the two. “I think the most basic one is that they both take practice,” he says. “You can start music at age five and at first you’ll be bad, obviously, and then you practice a while and you’ll get better. I think it’s the same with writing. If you practice writing a lot and read a lot, you’ll get better at it, though you have to have the spark to begin with.”

Happy Birthday, Amelia Bedelia!

It's hard to believe that the maid who takes everything literally is 50 years old.
Peggy Parish, the original author of the Amelia Bedelia books, was a third grade teacher
in Manhattan. She often shared loving anecdotes about her students' vocabulary mix-ups.
Isn't it funny when some idioms and phrases are taken literally? Amelia Bedelia was published in 1963.
Ms. Parish wrote 12 Amelia books before her death in 1988. Her nephew, Herman Parish, has
been writing them since then.
In honor of the anniversary a reprint of the original title will be re-issued on January 29th.
And there will be two Amelia Bedelia chapter books coming out later this month as well. Those are on order at the Library.

LEGO Connection!

Sunday, January 6 | 1-2:30pm | Malletts Creek | Grades K-5 with parent

Join us for a LEGO adventure! Here’s a chance to get connected with other LEGO-minded people and build great things at the library! During this event, we’ll have a load of LEGO bricks for you to use to make something cool as you make new friends. At the end of our adventure the LEGOs will stay at the library before you head onto your next adventure. This time around we’re focusing on LEGO architecture by building buildings! Not you’re thing? No problem, you can make whatever you want. But if you are into LEGO architecture, check out the LEGO Architecture: Towering Ambition exhibit at The Henry Ford.

If you’re looking for books for some LEGO inspiration, check out AADL’s collection of great LEGO books! We’ve got books including how to build stuff, the history of LEGOs, and even stories featuring minifigs!

Storyteller Adam Mellema

Adam MellemaAdam MellemaLucky for us, Adam Mellema, has favorite family members in Michigan and leaves sunny CA for the holidays! Families are in for a total treat when this dynamic children's television producer and outrageous storytelling performer will join us on Wednesday, January 2 at 2 pm Downtown for grades Kindergarten and up!

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