ages 11-18

Need a Picture ID?

If you've been asked for a picture ID and have been unable to produce it, you may likely be able to get a Washtenaw County ID Card. Applicants must appear in person at the Washtenaw County Vital Records Division. There are point values attributed to a broad range of documents that can serve as proof for applicants to get a picture ID card when they may have been unable to get ID in the past. The cost of the card is $25.00 and is for all ages. Check out the Washtenaw County ID Project on Facebook to find out about events to promote the ID card. Community members are encouraged to get a card in an effort to de-stigmatize it for those who have no other identification card options.

Giant Days brings Giant Entertainment

I'm a big fan of Boom! comics and their various imprints. They are the company who brought us Lumberjanes, and Mr. Stuffins (the best comic you'll ever read about a James Bond-like teddy bear). Now with Giant Days by John Allison, they have made a wonderful slice-of-life comic for the teen reader.

The comic follows three freshers (this is the British term for new university students) as they go about their lives during the first year of university. The stories are not grand and epic like Lumberjanes but rather they are small and meaningful. You really get to know the characters and there are opportunities throughout the comic to connect with what's going on with them, whether that's boyfriends, toxic friendships, or rescuing a friend from a trashy nightclub (and many many other such real life adventures).

The artwork is superb, with each of the characters and the locations really having a strong sense of individuality. So if you're looking for a comic that really connects you with wonderful characters, then Giant Days is a must read!

Green Card Stories

Join us as author Saundra Amrhein shares life stories depicted in her book, "Green Card Stories," including the legal, social, emotional, financial, and spiritual obstacles that mirrors what immigrants continue to face across the USA.

This event is held in conjunction with Ann Arbor District Library’s film and discussion series Latino Americans: 500 Years of History.

"Green Card Stories" depicts 50 recent U.S. immigrants—each with permanent residence or citizenship—in powerfully written short narratives and compelling portraits. Each story is as old as the foundation of this nation, but also reflects the global trends and conflicts of the 21st century. Arriving from all corners of the globe, coming for work, love, to study, invest, or escape persecution, the people in this book share a steely resourcefulness and a determination to fulfill their potential in America.

Saundra Amrhein is a freelance journalist, writer, author, speaker and reporter writing articles, news and blogs about Immigration and Cuba. A former reporter at the St. Petersburg Times, she has been a journalist for more than 21 years, focusing on immigration, asylum, and refugee issues. She is currently a Knight Wallace Fellow at the University of Michigan.

Fabulous Fiction Firsts #577

Only Love Can Break Your Heart by Ed Tarkington, the Indie Next List and the American Booksellers Association Indies Debut Pick of the Season, is a coming-of-age novel shot-through with ‘70s rock-n-roll.

Titled after a Neil Young song, it is set in Spencerville, Virginia, 1977, where 8-year-old Richard “Rocky” Askew worships his older brother, Paul, who allows him to tag along as he cruises around in his Chevy Nova, cigarette dangling from his lips, arm slung around the beautiful Leigh, daughter of Judge Bowman.

Unfortunate events pit the Askews against their wealthier neighbors, the Culvers and each other, triggering an unforgivable act of violence from Paul who disappears, but not before taking Leigh with him. Years later, as the Askews are struggling with declining health and financial ruin, Paul returns, looking for redemption and forgiveness. After a mysterious double murder brings terror and suspicion to their small town, Rocky and his family must reckon with the past and find a way to rebuild relationships - with each other, and with the town.

For readers who enjoyed My Sunshine Away by M.O. Walsh; A Land More Kind Than Home by Wiley Cash; and The Secret Wisdom of the Earth by Christopher Scotton.

The Musical Mainstream

Opera and jazz lovers have a special niche at the National Library Service of the Library of Congress called the Music Section. This section produces a bi-monthly publication, The Musical Mainstream, which lists the most recent classical scores available in Web-Braille/BARD, Audio and Large Print. Musical Mainstream and these scores can be ordered by calling 800-424-8567 or email to The issues also contain articles about the world of music taken from several publications and includes the Metropolitan Opera Broadcast Schedule. With each opera title and broadcast date it provides a list of Braille (BRM) and audio (DBM) recordings from their rich collection of opera appreciation recordings. As I explored the online NLS Catalog for jazz composers, I found a recording of Dave Brubeck talking about how French composer Darius Milhaud used jazz for the first time in classical compositions (DBM 00133). Of local interest, I found a Piano Jazz session with Marian McPartland from March 19, 1987, as she talked and played with UM Professor Emeritus of Music Theory James Dapogny, who told stories about and played tunes by Jelly Roll Morton (DBM 01254). These wonderful materials are also available at no charge to any Washtenaw Library for the Blind & Physically Disabled patron, through BARD, by calling 734-327-4224 or email

It's Hard to be evil on a part time wage.

It sure is hard being the devil and a lord of a vast demon host when you only get part time hours at the local McRonald's restaurant. But Sadao Mao (as the Devil now call himself) is doing just that. Originally from another world called Ente Isla the Devil and his arch nemesis the Hero Emelia are thrust through a magic portal into our world. Left without their magic they are stuck and the Devil and his demon companion have to live in a tiny apartment and work part time jobs just to pay the bills.
This Manga based on a Light Novel and Anime of the same name is fantastic. It will keep you guessing as to what the real motivations behind the demon lord of Ente Isla truly is. The series has everything, action, adventure (and possible a little love) so if you're looking for a light hearted look at the Devil and his companions you can't go wrong with The Devil is a Part-Timer and the library is getting volume 1, Volume 2 and Volume 3!

Let the Writing Contests Begin!

All writers in 3rd through 12th grade may now submit their stories to AADL's Short Story Contests! Read on to find out more:

TEENS in Grades 6-12: "It's All Write!" Teen Short Story Contest
Writers may submit a short story Monday, January 25 through Friday, March 4. Judges will choose the top three stories from each category (grades 6-8, 9-10, and 11-12) to receive cash prizes totaling $1500!
Enter your story now on the contest website! Be sure to check the guidelines for more information.

KIDS in Grades 3-5: "Write On!" Short Story Contest
Writers may submit a short story Monday, January 25 through Friday, February 12. Judges will choose the top three stories from each grade to win awesome prizes! Every writer will receive a certificate.
To enter your story, e-mail it to or bring it to the Downtown Youth Desk! Be sure to check the contest website and guidelines for more information.

We look forward to reading your story! For inspiration and ideas, check out the writing resource guides for teens and kids!


Crossover Graphic Novels January Edition

Another year another wonderful selection of graphic novels that are great for young and old alike. This month brings some awesome graphic novels from some supremely talented artists and authors!

First up is Baba Yaga's Assistant by Marika McCoola and Emily Carroll. This book takes the slavic folktale character Baba Yaga and reimagines a world in which she might live, and indeed do well enough to need an assistant. Whoever chose Emily Carroll to do the artwork for this book deserves to be applauded for their forward thinking. The artwork is a wonderful mix of simple and complex. Everything “ordinary” is drawn simply and really gives a sense of the “normalness” of them while Baba Yaga and other such extraordinary things are clearly drawn as different from the normal. The story itself really benefits from this style of art. As for the content of the story, it is more than just another reimagining of a folktale that are so popular at the moment. It truly strives to use the folktale as a frame for the story and not the other way around.
So if you like the weird, the extraordinary and people outthinking the “bad guys” then this book is for you!

The second graphic novel(s) in this month's crossover blog is the wonderful “Chronicle of Claudette” series which include the volumes Giants Beware and Dragons Beware. The first volume follows young Claudette as she goes in search of a local giant to slay and make her mark on the world. The Second follows as she attempts to get the famous sword Breaker that her father lost when trying to slay a dragon. The dragon took the sword along with her father's legs and one arm! The artwork is cute at times, but don’t let that distract you. The story is engrossing and will keep you reading.
So if you like giants and dragons, and awesome young protagonists who do what no one thinks they can, then this graphic novel is for you!

Lastly (and I’ll hope you’ll forgive me for this) I’m not going to point out a new series, but rather highlight that we will be getting volumes 2 and 3 of Lumberjanes!!! So if you’ve read the first volume Beware the Kitten Holy and loved it half as much as I did you should request to be added to the hold list for the new volumes because they are awesome, and if you haven't read the first volume you should go read it as soon as possible! It won lots of awards last year and for good reasons!

Fabulous Fiction Firsts #576

One of February 2016 LibraryReads picks, Be Frank with Me * by Julia Claiborne Johnson, is one of the most enjoyable read I have come across for quite awhile.

M.M. (Mimi) Banning, whose first (and only) novel won her the Pulitzer as well as the a National Book Award at age 19, is desperately in need of a new book that would pull her out of financial ruin, having been the victim of Madoff-like investment adviser. Besides a substantial advance, she requires that her publisher send an assistant who "must drive, cook, tidy. Computer whiz. Good with kids. Quiet, discreet, sane, and no English majors or Ivy Leaguers", to manage her household and her 9 year old son, Frank.

That's how Alice Whitley ends up in the fortress-like Bel Air mansion. While Mimi is prickly and reclusive, it is Frank that wins Alice over, despite the disasters mother and son bring upon themselves. A walking encyclopedia of trivia facts and Hollywood lore, Frank dresses with the flare of a 1930s movie star and speaks with the confidence and wisdom beyond his years. Having no friend of his own age, Frank gradually opens up to Alice. When their sexy family friend Xander shows up, things decidedly take on an interesting turn.

"Johnson's magnificently poignant, funny, and wholly original debut goes beyond page-turner status...Her charming, flawed, quietly courageous characters, each wonderfully different, demand a second reading while we impatiently await the author's second work."

Readalikes: Marisa De los Santos' Love Walked In; Brooke Davis' Lost & Found, and Tell the Wolves I'm Home by Carol Rifka Brunt, all fabulous fiction firsts.

* = starred review

Printz Award Winners Announced!

Yesterday many awards were given for excellence in books, video and audio books for children and young adults at the American Library Association’s Youth Media Awards. One the biggies given annualy is the Michael L. Printz Award, which is given for excellence in literature written for young adults. This year there was one Printz Award Winner and two Printz Honors named, so if you’re looking for some new teen fiction, here are a few worth a glance.

Bone Gap by Laura Ruby – Eighteen year old Finn, an outsider in his quiet Midwestern town, is the only witness to the abduction of town favorite Roza, but his inability to distinguish between faces makes it difficult for him to help with the investigation, and subjects him to even more ridicule and bullying.

Out of Darkness by Ashley Hope Pérez – Loosely based on a school explosion that took place in New London, Texas in 1937, this is the story of two teenagers: Naomi, who is Mexican, and Wash, who is black, and their dealings with race, segregation, love, and the forces that destroy people.

The Ghosts of Heaven by Marcus Sedgwick – Four linked stories of discovery and survival begin with a Paleolithic-era girl who makes the first written signs, continue with Anna, who people call a witch, then a mad twentieth-century poet who watches the ocean knowing the horrors it hides, and concluding with an astronaut on the first spaceship from Earth sent to colonize another world.

Looking for more Printz winners? Here’s a list of the winners and the honors that have been awarded since 2000.

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