Start planning & building your entry for the 7th Annual LEGO Contest!

2011 LEGO Contest2011 LEGO Contest
If it's summer it's LEGO Contest time! One of our largest and most anticipated events is scheduled for Thursday, August 2, at the Kensington Court Hotel, 610 Hilton Blvd., (near Briarwood Mall). Last year we had over 200 entries and we can be sure there will even more this year!. Preschoolers, Kid, Teens and Adults are invited to participate. New this year: PEOPLE'S CHOICE! Attendees of the contest may vote for one project in each age category. People's Choice winners will receive a special LEGO trophy. For all the details read the complete rules and guidelines, and then start building!

A2 Kidical Mass

Have you heard of Kidical Mass? This national (even International: Budapest, Hungary) biking group promotes bike safety, fun and fosters community among bike riders & families. In Ann Arbor they meet on the 3rd Saturday of the month, Rain or Shine! The first 15 minutes may include bike decorating or a mini-safety lesson. The group always uses a short & safe route to a family-friendly & fun destination afterwards. Check out their blog to see where the route begins this Saturday, June 16th at 10:15 AM!

A new Anne of Green Gables TV series is being planned

One of Canada’s most well-known and beloved literary characters will be returning to TV, in a new 13-episode series of Lucy Maud Montgomery’s “Anne of Green Gables”.

First published in 1908, more than 50 million of the Anne books have been sold. There are eight classic “Anne of Green Gables” novels. Montgomery’s granddaughter, Kate Macdonald Butler, says she believes there is keen appetite for a new televised version. Sullivan Entertainment brought “Anne” to television in the 1980s. "But I think it is now time for a new interpretation — that was almost 30 years ago.”

You can borrow DVDs of those 80's shows: Anne of Green Gables; Anne of Green Gables : the Sequel; Anne of Green Gables : the Continuing Story; and Anne of Green Gables : a New Beginning.

The new show is expected to begin production in the summer of 2013 but likely won’t air until the following year. Both Butler and executive producer Joan Lambur think it’s important that the role of Anne Shirley be played by a Canadian and preferably one with real red hair. But Lambur said she doesn’t picture the new Anne of Green Gables will follow in the mode of the original or other popular period series such as Road to Avonlea. Think more along the lines of “Little House on the Prairie” meets “Downton Abbey.” “I picture it a little more truthful and a little less sweet,” she said.

Rick Riordan's Heroes of Olympus

Rick Riordan, who has been called "the god of mythology-minded tween literature," is hard at work finishing the third installment in his five-book Heroes of Olympus series. It will be called The Mark of Athena, and is due out on October 2. You can read the book’s first chapter at the Heroes of Olympus website.

This week, Disney-Hyperion will launch a new Web site, Greeks vs Romans, with the tagline: “Whose camp are you in?” As of Monday morning, the site has an image of a T-shirt, half purple and half orange, with the message "Camp Visits Starting Soon," so check back often, to see what will be revealed.

In the meantime, if you haven't already read or listened to the first 2 books in the series, here's your chance.

Book One: The Lost Hero. We have the book and the BOCD

Book Two: The Son of Neptune. Here's the book, and the BOCD

And if you want to read more about what Rick Riordan is doing these days, click here.

Diamond Jubilee Playhouse Makeover

On the grounds of Windsor Great Park is a special little house where generations of British royal children have played. Now, as Britain celebrates the Queen's Diamond Jubilee, Princess Beatrice has overseen a year-long renovation of her Grandmother's childhood cottage.

Looking for ideas for your own dream house playhouse? Try these books:

Playhouses You can Build : Indoor & Backyard Designs

Backyards for Kids : a Sunset Outdoor Design & Build Guide

The Backyard Playground : Recreational Landscapes & Play Structures

Fabulous Play House Plans : Simple and Sophisticated Hideaways for Boys and Girls

Building Outdoor Play Structures

Children's Play Yards

Outdoor Playhouses & Toys

Leo Dillon, one half of the award-winning Dillon & Dillon illustrators' team, has died

Leo Dillon who with Diane, his wife of 55 years, won multiple awards for their collaborative illustrations, has died.

The Dillons met at the prestigious Parsons School of Design in NY and became instant, fierce competitors. Ms. Dillon said their marriage was a 'survival mechanism to keep us from killing each other.' They attributed the success of their artistic sharing to the presence of It who helped wed their two styles.

The couple won multiple awards, including two back-to-back Caldecotts. When they won the 1976 Caldecott for Why Mosquitoes Buzz in People's Ears: A West African Folktale, Mr. Dillon, of Trinidadian descent, became the first African American to win that award. The very next year, the Dillons won the Caldecott again, this time for Ashanti to Zulu: African Traditions.

Their ouuvre of children's literature illustrations accompanied an equally significant reputation as illustrators of science fiction covers. Five years before their first Caldecott, they captured the Hugo Award for Best Professional Artists.

Maurice Sendak, beloved children's author, has died

Maurice Sendak, wildly imaginative children's author/illustrator, died today.

Sendak, an award-winning author and illustrator, blew the lid off staid, squeaky clean children's books with his delightfully cranky, naughty subjects: "I don't care" Pierre (1962) and grumpy Max in Where the Wild Things Are (1963), which won the 1964 Caldecott.

He was also a lightning rod for criticism -- a naked Mickey in In the Night Kitchen (1985) had some school librarians "clean up" the content by slapping a diaper on Mickey.

In September of 2011, Sendak published Bumble-Ardy, the tale of a pig, orphaned when his parents become meals, who throws himself a rambunctious birthday party.

In February of 2013, My Brother's Book, an homage to his much-loved late brother, Jack, will be published.

Mr. Sendak, who was 83, died in Connecticut following complications from a recent stroke. To borrow from his 1993 book, We Are All in the Dumps...

Celebrate Free Comic Book Day with the Family Comic Jam

Saturday, May 5 | 9:00 a.m.-Noon | Downtown Multipurpose Room | All Ages

Work as a family to make your own comics story!

In this hands-on workshop teaching artist Jerzy Drozd will show you how a cartoonist uses shape, size, and line to write with images. Then each family or group will divide up into a team consisting of a writer, artist, and letterer, switching between jobs with every page. The result is an improvisational cartoon story you create together.

This event, for all ages, coincides with Free Comic Book Day and Vault of Midnight will be donating comics to give away.

Take a Hike@Bird Hills

Thursday, May 3 | 7:00-8:30 PM | Bird Hills Natural Area | All Ages

The City of Ann Arbor Natural Area Preservation staff will lead a nature walk in one of Ann Arbor's most beloved parks, Bird Hills. Covering 147 acres, it is the largest park in Ann Arbor.

Learn about ecological restoration and responsible use of public lands. Opportunities for wildlife viewing are plentiful. If we’re lucky, we may get to view some early spring bloomers like trillium, jack-in-the pulpit, and more. Black, red, and fox squirrels, ground squirrels, deer, and butterflies are very common in Bird Hills. Dress comfortably to walk and enjoy nature.

We'll meet in the parking lot off Newport Road, just north of M-14. This event is for all ages.

Bookshare Celebrates its 10th Anniversary!

Access to books for education, employment & social inclusion has dramatically increased for people with print disabilities. An early ebook innovator, Bookshare developed a new approach to digital rights management (DRM) which include both electronic fingerprints in the books as well as legal agreements & social pressure. Bookshare's parent company, Benetech is a leading provider of accessible open content and open source tools to improve accessibility. Bookshare started with volunteers digitizing and legally sharing materials over the Internet with others who had qualified print disabilities. To date, over 180 publishers have now contributed over half of the 140,000 titles in the collection. For more information about Bookshare or to see if you or a family member qualify, click here.

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