Your Guide to Avoiding Summer Boredom

I don’t know about you, but I’m counting down the days until summer vacation! Summer is the perfect time to explore, build, create, imagine, and discover. Here some books and websites to get you started, whatever your interests or age: is a comic-style website of directions for making some crazy new toys. How about a Speed Blaster or Robofingers? There is something for everyone here and all the projects can be made with common household items like pop bottles, paper plates, and straws.

If you’re planning a campout or a hike, Camp Out! and Follow the Trail have all sorts of information about what to bring, what to do, and how to prepare for emergencies. Another fun book is Cooking in a Can, full of recipes for cooking over a campfire, from vegetables to grilled sandwiches to cake.

Even from your backyard or a park you can get up close with nature. 101 Nature Experiments includes how to grow various types of gardens, make your own compost, and discover all sorts of things about critters, bugs, and plants up close.

More into art than science? How to Draw What You See and Illustrating Nature will get you ready to draw and paint plants, animals, and landscapes 'en plein air'. There are also tons of crafts to make using stuff from nature: check out Organic Crafts, Ecology Crafts for Kids, and Nature’s Art Box for inspiration.

Summer is also a great time to update your wardrobe. How about making your own purse from fabric and embellishments, jewelry from beads and fiber, or perhaps a wallet or tool belt made from duct tape? These books give step-by-step instructions for creating one-of-a-kind accessories to keep or give as gifts. The Hip Handbag Book, Ductigami, Hemp Masters, and Creative Beading will get you started and you can let your creativity do the rest.

Finally, don't forget about the AADL Summer Reading program! Our theme this year is "Make it Happen," and events include art workshops, games, and all sorts of activities. Check out the Summer Reading events page to make sure you don't miss out!

Julie Austin

Some grown-ups might remember the marvelous SongSisters who entertained thousands of Michigan kids a while back. The good news is, the talented SongSister, Julie Austin, who now lives in Atlanta, is returning to Ann Arbor on June 17 at 7 pm at the Downtown Library. Julie will invite everyone to stomp-along and sing-along and you can purchase her CDs for a little summer treat! Also, don't forget all our wonderful local talent when you head off on those long car trips. Nothing like the Chenille Sisters or Gemini Brothers to keep you clapping on the road!Julie austinJulie austin

Ashley Bryan:Words to My Life’s Song

Three time Corretta Scott King Award winner Ashley Bryan opens a window into his poetic and artistic life. Travel with him into the past where he sat on the fire escape of his railroad apartment or to the beach where “the tides roll in.” Join Ashy Bryan in a celebration of life, love and art in Ashley Bryan’s:Words to My Life Song.

My People by Langston Hughes photographs by Charles R. Smith Jr.

The famous poem by Langston Hughes, My People, is translated into pictures by the talented Charles R. Smith Jr. winning the Corretta Scott King illustrator award for 2010. The poem speaks to the struggles and triumphs of African Americans and the longing for a place to belong.

Kids Read Comic Convention June 12-13

2010 Kids Read Comics2010 Kids Read Comics

Kids Read Comics Convention is a totally free event that unites kids, teens, parents, teachers and librarians with professional artists and writers from the comics and animation fields. The aim is to introduce kids to worlds of imagination while unlocking their creative impulses and to serve that goal, programs included are:
• hands-on workshops
• panels and presentations for kids, families, and educators
• a chance for kids to meet and chat with comics and animation professionals
• the opportunity for kids to have their own art portfolios reviewed

Be sure to stop by the AADL Comic Artists Forum table to see and purchase the works of our homegrown participants.

This year’s convention will be at the Henry Ford Centennial Library in Dearborn, Michigan on Saturday, June 12 and Sunday, June 13 (10 a.m. to 6 p.m.) .

The Ultimate in LEGO Books

LEGOs are awesome. They were awesome when I was a kid, and they are awesome now when I play with them with other peoples’ kids. The library has a slew of books for LEGO maniacs of all levels. My top two: LEGO Star Wars: A Visual Dictionary, and it's just that. It has the best images and descriptions of all things LEGO & Star Wars. I could stare at the pages for hours. For a history of LEGOs, info on various sets that have been manufactured, and descriptions of the theme parks, etc., check out The LEGO Book.

And it’s not too early to save the date for AADL’s annual LEGO contest on August 5! Check the new AXIS brochure for details.

The Little Piano Girl by Ann Ingalls & Maryann Macdonald

Mary Lou Williams began playing the keyboard when she was four. She mastered all music styles from ragtime to the blues and played her way into the hearts of anyone who heard her. She taught jazz greats like Charlie Parker, Theolonios Monk and Dizzy Gillespie. Read about this amazing jazz legend in The Little Piano Girl

Jumping Beans


Are you looking for something to do in between storytime sessions? Come on down for creative movement, dancing and singing, when Kris Groh and Noah Haiduc Dale turn us all into Jumping Beans on Wednesday, May 12 at 10 am at the Downtown Library.

Henry Aaron’s Dream by Matt Tavares

Henry Aaron wanted nothing more than to be a major league baseball player. He was told not to get his hopes up since there were no negro ball players at that time. Not having a bat, a ball or racism were going to stop him from achieving his dream. When Jackie Robinson became the first ball player in the big leagues, Henry Aaron knew he would one day play for them too. Matt Tavares tells the story of Henry “Hank” Aaron in clear concise language. Tavares's illustrations capture the triumph of Henry Aaran’s achievements.

George Washington Carver by Tonya Bolden

Gerorge Wasington Carver is known for his versatile use of peanuts. Few people know that he was an agricultural genius and a conservationist whose motto was “waste not, want not.” He was hired by Booker T. Washington to run the agricultural department at Tuskegee Institute teaching courses and doing research. Tonya Bolden tells the story of George Washington Carver from his humble beginnings as a slave to fame and prosperity as an adult. Photographs of Carver and key events in his life add intimacy to the book.

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