ages 11-18

AADL is an Ann Arbor Film Festival Community Partner

Ann Arbor Film Fest LogoAnn Arbor Film Fest LogoThe Ann Arbor Film Festival is here again, and with it comes another year of films, events, and community partnership. AADL will once again be an official AAFF community partner for Films in Competition 4, on Saturday March 28 at 11 am at the Michigan Theater, which features films especially for viewers and filmmakers age 6 and up.

You can check out the list of films playing and buy tickets on the Ann Arbor Film Fest’s website. Make sure to enter the code AAFF53_AADL for half off your advance ticket – normally $6!

When you come to the screening, you’ll even have a chance to hear the premieres of the film scores participants created in our Making Movie Music workshop, held in conjunction with the AAFF.

The Ann Arbor Film Festival is the longest-running independent and experimental film festival in North America. The 53rd AAFF takes place March 24-29, 2015 and presents over 200 films from across the world with dozens of world premieres. For more information, please visit the Ann Arbor Film Festival’s website.

Leader Dogs for the Blind Summer Experience Camp

Summer Experience Camp is a unique summer camp for boys and girls ages 16 and 17 who are legally blind that combines summer fun with an introduction to guide dogs and the opportunity to spend time with peers who are facing similar challenges. Campers kayak, rock wall climb and tandem bike, learn to use a GPS device with instruction and spend time with dogs and Leader Dog guide dog mobility instructors to learn more about living and working with a guide dog.

The program is completely free including airfare to Michigan, and everyone receives a free HumanWare Trekker audible pedestrian GPS device to keep. Summer Experience Camp is scheduled for June 26 to July 3, 2015. Applications are due by April 1, 2015.

For more information and to download an application, go to www.leaderdog.org/clients/programs/summer-experience-camp or call the Leader Dogs for the Blind client services department at 888-777-5332.

It's All Write: The Countdown Begins!

Short story writers, if you haven't written a story for the 2015 It's All Write Teen Short Story Contest, now's the time to get started! The deadline for submission is March 13, which means you have one week in which to write a totally awesome, amazing, incredible, hilarious, jaw-dropping, heart-wrenching, inspired story! Don't have time to write a brand new one? Dust off and spruce up that draft you've got sitting around on your hard drive!

Go to the It's All Write page to find writing guidelines and the submission form.

Happy writing!

New Adult Fiction: In Some Other World, Maybe

I saw In Some Other World, Maybe, by Shari Goldhagen, reviewed a few months ago and have been eagerly anticipating its arrival at the AADL ever since. And now that I’ve read it, I can vouch for its greatness! The premise of this book is an intriguing one. One night in the early ‘90s different groups of teenagers across the country go to see the same movie. Their motivations for seeing the film are all different (and some don’t even make it through the whole thing), but this early insight that readers gain into the characters’ younger years sets an excellent backdrop for the rest of the book. Over the next two decades, these characters’ lives connect and disconnect, entwined by friendship, love, ambition, fame, and tragedy. Goldhagen chooses to focus on different characters at different points in their lives, so sometimes readers are left wondering what the others are up to. More than once I was surprised and pleased when one character appeared in the plot line of another and the two stories went along together for awhile. It’s this instilment of curiosity in readers that keeps the book moving at an unexpectedly quick pace, and that kept me turning pages later into the night than was good for me.

BookPage calls In Some Other World, Maybe, “a compelling tale that leaves readers pondering what is and, had life taken another direction, what could have been.” Fans of Meg Wolitzer’s The Interestings should absolutely give In Some Other World, Maybe a try.

SELMA - Because They Marched

SELMA the movie, is up for Academy Awards 2015.
The story began over 50 years ago.
I was twelve years old when the Selma story was taking place in 1965.
My father was a Lutheran Campus Pastor, and my mother was a "Social Problems" Lecturer, at Mankato State University in Minnesota.
Pope John XXIII had convened "Vatican II", creating momentous changes within the Catholic Church.
Many people felt compelled to support and participate in the changes and history was being documented.

History is an amazing thing, and witnessing legends decades later is a moving opportunity.
The subject is especially timely when it falls during African-American History Month.
I find movies, documentaries and youth non-fiction overviews to be my favorite way to review and remember.
If you also like to research an era, surrounding a major movie, the following lists are some my recommendations on this era:

From the DVD Movie Collection:
SELMA
SISTERS Of SELMA: Bearing Witness For Change, includes first person interviews of participants in the civil rights movement, and the march from Selma to Montgomery.
FREEDOM RIDERS, "an astonishing testament to the accomplishment of youth" ... "personal conviction and the courage to organize against all odds."

From the Youth Collection:
BECAUSE THEY MARCHED: The People's Campaign For Voting Rights That Changed America, a new journalistic book covering the movement.
SELMA, LORD, SELMA a DVD movie, through the eyes of a child.
FREEDOM WALKERS: The Story Of The Montgomery Bus Boycott, the movement that produced a famous icon in Rosa Parks.
RUBY BRIDGES, a film of Ruby Bridge's story of integrating a grade school in New Orleans.

Significant biographies of little-known people who practiced for change:
The GIRL FROM The TAR PAPER SCHOOL: Barbara Rose Johns, a story that signifies common experiences leading up to the Civil Rights Movement.
CHILD Of The CIVIL RIGHTS MOVEMENT, Paula Young Shelton remembers the time.
AS FAST AS WORDS COULD FLY, a story based on personal experience of the author's father, Mason Steele.
The SCHOOL Is NOT WHITE! The Carter family stuggles to integrate an all-white school in Drew, Mississippi, in 1965.
LITTLE ROCK GIRL 1957 Nine African-American students made history when they defied a governor and integrated an Arkansas high school in 1957.
THROUGH MY EYES Ruby Bridges recounts the story of her involvement, as a six-year-old, in the integration of her school in New Orleans in 1960.

The new graphic novel Here is the coolest thing ever!

Richard McGuire’s Here is graphic novelization at its best! The focus of the book is a single space and the events that take place in and around it over millennia. For much of the book, this space is a living room in a large house on the East Coast, but it is also a swamp, a city, a future archaeological dig, and much more. McGuire’s uses multiple panels on each page to show the overlapping and intertwining years. A dinosaur wanders by while a child plays with a similar plastic dinosaur in a panel on the opposite page. A question posed between people in the 18th century seems related to a question or answer between different people in the 21st century. The natural world changes and interweaves throughout the book too. A tree grows for several hundred years, and then is depicted on the forest floor. Swamps give way to glaciers, which then give way to forest and farmland. I loved how the unique perspectives that Here provides beautifully represent the transient nature of all things. “Meanwhile,” states the book jacket appropriately, “the attention is focused on the most ordinary moments and appreciating them as the most transcendent.”

Newbery, Caldecott, Printz & ALL the Youth and Teen Book, Audio and Video Awards Announced!

On Monday, February 2 in a snowed in Chicago The American Library Association (ALA) today announced the top books, video and audio books for children and young adults – including the Caldecott, Coretta Scott King, Newbery and Printz awards – at its Midwinter Meeting. A hotly anticipated day for librarians, publishers, and lovers of youth and teen literature the awards the announcements culminate a year's worth of reading, listening and watching by a wide variety of librarians and educators all over the country. Over the years the variety of awards given out has grown to cover

John Newbery Medal for the most outstanding contribution to children's literature:

The Crossover,” written by Kwame Alexander, is the 2015 Newbery Medal winner.

Two Newbery Honor Books also were named:
El Deafo” by Cece Bell
Brown Girl Dreaming,” by Jacqueline Woodson

Randolph Caldecott Medal for the most distinguished American picture book for children:

The Adventures of Beekle: The Unimaginary Friend,” illustrated by Dan Santat, is the 2015 Caldecott Medal winner.

Six Caldecott Honor Books also were named:

Nana in the City,” illustrated and written by Lauren Castillo
The Noisy Paint Box: The Colors and Sounds of Kandinsky’s Abstract Art,” illustrated by Mary GrandPré, written by Barb Rosenstock
Sam & Dave Dig a Hole,” illustrated by Jon Klassen, written by Mac Barnett
Viva Frida,” illustrated and written by Yuyi Morales
The Right Word: Roget and His Thesaurus,” illustrated by Melissa Sweet, written by Jennifer Bryant
This One Summer,” illustrated by Jillian Tamaki, written by Mariko Tamaki

Coretta Scott King (Author) Book Award recognizing an African American author and illustrator of outstanding books for children and young adults:

Brown Girl Dreaming,” written by Jacqueline Woodson, is the King Author Book winner.

The World of PostSecret

The wildly popular community mail art project PostSecret, in which individuals decorate and mail a postcard with a secret on it to creator Frank Warren, was first established in 2005. Since then, the secrets that Frank has received have been displayed around the world in museums and galleries, and are posted on the PostSecret website, as well as published in PostSecret books. It had been a few years since a PostSecret book was published, but now fans can be excited about The World of PostSecret, the sixth book displaying some of the thousands of postcards that Frank receives. The book also features images and secrets from the short-lived PostSecret app. The range of emotions that one experiences while reading a PostSecret book is vast. The secrets will make you cringe, laugh, cry, and shake your head in disbelief and appreciation. I especially enjoyed The World of PostSecret because it contains follow-up stories to some of the secrets that readers might be most curious about.

Other PostSecret books in the AADL collection include The Secret Lives of Men and Woman, My Secret, Extraordinary Confessions from Ordinary Lives, and A Lifetime of Secrets.

Join us for Kundalini Yoga on Saturday morning!

This Saturday, February 7th, at the Downtown AADL location from 10-11:30AM, local yoga instructor Victoria Duranona will lead a kundalini yoga class geared towards reducing stress and improving sleep. Victoria will teach participants how to become aware of stressors and how they influence communication, relationships, and performance. She will then lead yoga and meditation exercises intended to help release stress.

"Kundalini" is a term that refers to a "spiritual energy or life force located at the base of the spine." Kundalini yoga aims to activate this force through yogic breathing exercises.

This event is intended for teens and adults. It is advised to bring a bottle of water, not eat for two hours before you come, and dress comfortably. Also, please bring your own mat.

The End of Always deals beautifully with timeless issues

The setting of the new book The End of Always, by Randi Davenport, is unexpectedly haunting: turn-of-the-century Waukesha, Wisconsin, provides a stark backdrop to the chilling story that Davenport unveils slowly to readers. Seventeen-year-old Marie Reehs is consumed with memories of her mother, who died in a mysterious accident to which her father was the only witness. In her heart, Marie knows that her violent, abusive father murdered her mother, but her older sister is desperate to keep what remains of the family together and begs Marie to forget what she has seen. As Marie toils away every day at the local laundry, she vows that she will not marry a violent man, as seems to be the legacy for the women in her family. When she starts a love affair with a handsome and charismatic young man, she thinks that he may be the answer to her prayers for freedom, but readers must press on until the end of this luminescent book to find out if Marie will be able to break free from the Reehs women’s dark family curse.

Reading about domestic violence in a historical context was interesting and eye-opening. Although difficult to read at times, The End of Always is ultimately an uplifting and powerful story of a courageous woman trying to take charge of her own life.

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