I Don't Explain My Head

Perhaps one of Shel Silverstein's most well-known and loved books, The Giving Tree (which we have in Chinese, French, and Spanish) continues to delight children new to its pages. It is the story of a tree that gives and gives to a little boy, even when it seems there is nothing left to give. Here, an animated version of the book read by the charismatic Silverstein himself, about ten years after publication.

One of my favorite books of all time, with a message that might be more relevant to adults than children, is Silverstein's The Missing Piece, which is the story of a circle trying to find a shape that matches his triangle-shaped void. Turns out it is not as easy as finding a triangle-shaped stranger.

missing piecemissing piece

And for an interesting tidbit from Shel Silverstein the man...
From a 1965 interview:

Question: "Do you shave your head for effect or to be different, or to strike back at the long-haired styles of today?"

Shel: "I don't explain my head."

Brilliant.giving treegiving tree

Fifth Avenue Fun!

You will meet the most colorful tree and a spunky girl on a magical journey at next week’s autumn storytimes on Tuesday 10 am and Wednesday 11 am at the Downtown Library.

Fifth Avenue Fun!

If ladybug had her way, she would never raise a wing to fly, she is just that lazy! One sneeze from enormous elephant changes all that. Everything is upside down and topsy turvy at next week’s storytimes on Tuesday 10 am and Wednesday 11 am at the Downtown Library.

Fifth Avenue Fun!

A sweet, patient doggie and a tough, enormous Vingananee are the furry figures that star at the Tuesday 10 am and Wednesday 11 am storytimes at the Downtown Library next week.

Favorite children’s author to visit Ann Arbor

Michigan native Jon Scieszka will be reading and signing copies of his brand new book Robot Zot, on Tuesday, September 22 at 6pm, at the Borders located at 3140 Lohr Road in Ann Arbor. See here for Borders’ event description.

Robot Zot, illustrated by David Shannon, is in short, “a tale of a quixotic robot determined to conquer the earth.” Tiny Robot Zot battles kitchen appliances galore as he and his sidekick adventure off. Their course takes a shift when they spot the princess (a cell phone) and Robot Zot must prove himself a hero to win her love. Sounds zany!

Fifth Avenue Fun!

Ready to get silly at the Tuesday 10 am and Wednesday 11 am storytimes at the Downtown Library next week? Get into goofiness galore with Sandra Boynton and farm animals with wacky ideas.

Take a Fall Hike @Bird Hills Nature Area

If you’ve never trekked through the Bird Hills Nature Area, you are in for a treat. Located on a moraine, this land of steep slopes was logged in the 1800s and then grazed by cattle. In the 1920s under new owners reforestation began. With its varied topography and soils Bird Hills is one the most floristically diverse areas in Ann Arbor.

City of Ann Arbor Natural Area Preservation staff will lead the hike. View a wide variety of trees, discover the ways to identify them, and learn about ecological restoration and responsible use of public lands. Come join us!

Saturday, October 3 | 2:00-3:30 PM | Bird Hills parking lot off Newport Road, just north of M-14
Fall leavesFall leaves

Fifth Avenue Fun!

Shouldn’t bear be home by now? Could he be out in the storm? We are bearly hanging in there at the Tuesday 10 am and Wednesday 11 am storytimes at the Downtown Library next week as big bumbling bears get into all kinds of trouble.

Fifth Avenue Fun!

We are going bananas next week at the Tuesday 10 am and Wednesday 11 am storytimes at the Downtown Library. A journey to Grandpa’s with a single banana turns into quite an adventure. So does the fall down the hole into mouse country in the Roly Poly Rice Ball!

In Their Own Voices: Youth Titles

Wrinkle in TimeWrinkle in Time

I have been listening to more audiobooks lately, and I came up on the audiobook of A Wind in the Door by Madeleine L'Engle at the Michigan Digital Library. I was intrigued that L'Engle did the recording for the book herself. I downloaded it, and it was a pleasure to listen to this iconic children's book read by the woman who wrote it... to hear her own inflections and interpretations of the characters. Earlier in the summer, I also downloaded Coraline by the popular science fiction writer Neil Gaiman which lead me to also download his collection of short stories Fragile Things . Again, I was pleased to listen to these stories read by Gaiman himself, particularly since he has a lovely English accent.

All of this made me curious. I've been reading all my life, but most of us don't know how our favorite authors sound when they read their own stories. With audiobooks, we have that opportunity. So I did some investigating, and here are some of the other youth titles available read in the authors own voices:

-L'Engle reads the entire Time Quartet. These are also all available online,
-many of Judy Blume's books, particularly the Fudge series (some online versions),
-Mary Pope Osborne reads The Magic Tree House series (online copies),
-Phillip Pullman narrates a cast recording of the great His Dark Materials series and by himself reads Lyra's Oxford and Once Upon a Time in the North (all available online),
-Lynne Reid Banks reads the Indian in the Cupboard series (online)
-and again, Coraline by Neil Gaiman, scary and wonderful (downloadable version),
-and finally, a rare gem for teen listeners: Lord of the Flies read by Nobel laureate William Golding (online version)

That's enough for now. Next time, I'll list some adult titles, and I'd love to hear your suggestions in the meantime. Happy listening!

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