Parent’s Corner: Science Fair Time!

The Downtown library has a shelf in the Youth Department known as the Parent Shelf. On this shelf you’ll find a variety of parent-child related books on a multitude of topics- including everything from language to behavior to safety to bullying. These books are available for checkout and can be found in the catalog when searching “parent shelf.”

Winter is in high gear, the new year started and the kids are back in school. This means that science fair season will soon be upon us! Many children in the area will complete a project for school. AADL has a slew of books with a variety of science fair projects in them, including a few on the parent shelf. It’s not too early to browse through the experiments and see what might be a good choice for you to work on!

Citizen Science

Science is everywhere. This gives scientists a lot of work to do, and many questions to work toward solving. Because of this, scientists also have much data to collect. Enter citizen science!

Citizen science is scientific research conducted entirely or in part by amateurs.

Citizen Scientists: Be a Part of Scientific Discovery from Your Own Backyard encourages kids to try four different activities, one for each season. The team behind this book aim to promote science as a rewarding hands-on activity.

If this sounds like a good book, you might also like The Hive Detectives: A Chronicle of a Bee Catastrophe, also by Loree Griffin Burns.

Teen Novel: A Cautionary Tale of Sexting

Thousand Words by acclaimed author Jennifer Brown is a wrenching piece of realistic fiction that shows – not in a preachy way – that sexting is stupid and dangerous. This new book, written for readers in about grades 9-11, stars tenth-grader Ashleigh, who is pressured by her friends into texting a full-frontal nude photograph of herself to her boyfriend. The photo is meant for his eyes only, but when he leaves for college, there is a nasty break-up. Seeking revenge, he sends the photo to everyone on his contact list.

Ashleigh is shocked to find herself arrested and facing community service, and her ex-boyfriend may be headed for prison. The community – where Ashleigh’s father is superintendent of schools – is an uproar. Gradually, Ashleigh is able to work through layers of issues and find hope in a future, with help from a shy, kind and troubled young man she meets in community service. This is an engaging, beautifully written novel that parents and teens probably should discuss together. I thought it was an utterly believable story and a valuable literary cautionary tale.

Matilda and Hans

Once there was a good little cat named Matilda, and a not so good cat named Hans. Matilda always behaved and Hans always misbehaved. One night Hans let all of the animals in the zoo free and there was big trouble. Will Matilda help Hans? With a funny plot twist and a sneaky ending, this picture book will have you giggling. Matilda and Hans by Yokococo features delightful illustrations and an adorable storyline.

Gemini is Back!

Friends in Song and StoryFriends in Song and StoryWe had too much fun at this concert last year so we are bringing back this song/story stew for young children on Sunday, January 19 at 2:00 pm at the Downtown Library. Giant books like Where is the Green Sheep? and Silly Sally, in call and response style, as well as traditional Shake-It-Up Tales, won’t leave anybody sitting still for long. I am thrilled to join Gemini for this musical event!Friends in Song and StoryFriends in Song and Story

KinderConcert This Friday!

As the temperature rises, the tot parade will head to KinderConcert when we partner with the Ann Arbor Symphony Orchestra to teach the very young about classical music. We’ve got Kathryn Goodson on piano, Eric Amidon on cello, and Gari Stein leading the way on Friday, January 10th at 9:30 and 10:30 am at the Downtown Library. It's a joyful experience!KinderconcertKinderconcert

Art Table: Self Portraits!

The next time you’re at the Downtown Library, pop into the Youth Department and check out the new art project at the art table.

This time around you’ll be working with paper and pencil to create a self portrait, suitable for framing. Sit at the art table and glance in the mirror at yourself. What are your brightest features? What are the features you want to focus on? Will you make a simple line drawing? Will your art be black and white or full of color? Will you just draw your face? Let's find out!

To see some famous self portraits or get tips on creating your own, check out these children’s books and adult books.

Bring in the New Year!

Get ready to bring in the new year! Come to the Pittsfield Branch on Tuesday, December 31, 2013 at 2:00 p.m. to make hats and noisemakers for your
celebration. This is for kids pre-school through 5th grade but everyone is welcome.
All supplies will be provided.

For other ideas for keeping kids busy, click here.

Magic Mushroom House

Mushroom HouseMushroom HouseThe tot table at the Downtown Library feeds into the fairy frenzy when the Magic Cabin's Mushroom House, gnomes and winged creatures come out to play. Any fairy hunters looking for the famous door will want to stop and enjoy the cozy forest scene. Make sure to take a peek at our fairytale collection and a fairy book or two while you are here. Remember that Sunday in A2 is magic fairy dust day when parking everywhere is free!

An Award Winner For Teens - Tragedy, Humor, and Hope

I checked out a copy of The Reluctant Journal of Henry K. Larsen when I heard it had won the 2013 Canadian Library Association Book of the Year for Children Award as well as the Michigan Library Association's 2013 "Thumbs Up" Award. As the jacket states, "Thirteen-year-old Henry's happy, ordinary life comes to an abrupt halt when his older brother, Jesse, picks up their father's hunting rifle and leaves the house one morning. What follows shatters Henry's family, who are forced to resume their lives in a new city, where no one knows their past. When Henry's therapist suggests he keep a journal, at first he is resistant. But soon he confides in it at all hours of the day and night."

Inspired by a line in Wally Lamb's The Hour I First Believed, and based around bullying and school violence, this was not as gloomy as I expected it to be. The author, Susan Nielsen, creates a unique, fresh perspective on a topic that is all too common in the news. The story is told from Henry's point of view through journal entries, and his narrative voice has all of the sweet, awkward, goofiness of a 13 year old boy. Although the subject matter is an unthinkable tragedy, the book is written with healthy layers of humor and joy mixed in. I read the whole thing in one sitting, and the characters are lingering with me days later. This young adult novel is worth reading, no matter what your age.

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