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.

Over and Under the Snow

Over and Under the Snow is a cozy picture book written by Kate Messner and beautifully illustrated by Christopher Silas Neal. The book is the story of a day on a snowy cross-country ski trek in the woods where a father and child encounter many animals along their tree-lined journey. They find animals that live in “the secret kingdom,” which is “a network of small open spaces and tunnels between the snowpack and the ground.” Red foxes live over, while red squirrels live under. It’s a thoughtful story with beautiful and simple illustrations of the snow and animals on a wintry day. Perfect for sharing while sipping hot cocoa and looking out the window.

Family Books for the Car

Every week many of us spend hours of time in the car with the kids. If you're getting tired of hearing the same songs on the radio, or would rather skip the next car-listening power struggle maybe one of these audiobooks can help.

Elijah of Buxton is the story of a sensitive and scared boy in Canada's Buxton settlement, a refuge for freed slaves and their families. Elijah Freeman, the first free born child in the community battles his fears in this book, and ultimately has to put his mastery of them to the test. Be prepared to field questions about slavery and why people do bad things to others.

The Mostly True Adventures of Homer P. Figg takes place during the Civil War. Homer goes on an adventure to save his brother who was illegally recruited to join the Union forces. Homer does not hesitate to exercise his creativity throughout his adventures; he is pretty loose with facts and details. It feels wrong to call a wartime children's book fun, but if the shoe fits....

A Crooked Kind of Perfect is a fun, light read about families, fears, and how sometimes unexpected outcomes are exactly what is supposed to happen.

Cozy Collage Craft

Let's pull out all the cool Scrapbox tidbits, yarn, noodles, stickers, buttons, etc.etc.etc., and see if we can make something wonderful! Join us for a guaranteed creative and colorful mess for the whole family on Friday, December 27 at 2:00 p.m. Then you can check out some of the new crafting books to take home with you!

New Year Nonsense

The holidays will be past us, but the laughter, stories and songs continue on Friday, January 3 at the Downtown Library at 2 pm. Join my musical buddy, Rosalie Koenig, and I for some really fun and silly story/song combos for your listening pleasure!Rosalie KoenigRosalie Koenig

The Snowman

Every winter, when I was little, I would get out one of my favorite books, The Snowman by Raymond Briggs. But I would not read this book – because there are no words – only pictures. These pictures tell a magical, yet simple story of a young boy who builds a snowman, only to wake up in the middle of the night and find that the snowman has come alive. The boy and his snowman get into all sorts of mischief during the night, from trying on his dad’s clothes to flying across the big night sky. This cozy story is ingrained in my memory to this day, and carries with it so much nostalgia!

This classic picture book is available in the AADL collection, not only in its traditional format, but now also in the reader format and as well as a movie on DVD.

Pirate Stories

Ahoy there, me hearties! Arrrrrgh! Perhaps you visited a preschool storytime recently where pirates stories were featured and are looking for more swashbuckling fun? AADL has a slew of picture books featuring pirates on grand adventures. Here are a few to set sail with:

Pirate Nap by Danna Smith
Shiver Me Letters by June Sobel
Pirates Don’t Take Baths by John Segal

Radiant Orchid

When Pantone announced that their color of 2014 would be radiant orchid, all I saw in my mind were children's books. That's one of the side effects of working in a library, I suppose.

Harold and the Purple Crayon was the first book that came to mind.

Next up on my list of purple oriented kids' books was Purplicious. Purplicious, of course, wasn't the author's first foray into colors. That honor goes to Pinkalicious.

Then there was Lilly's Purple Plastic Purse, which not only tempts us with the color purple, but with alliteration. No, none of these books are radiant orchid, but they do give us the excuse to think about our favorite purple books.

What are yours?

Parent’s Corner: Ready To Read

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 tantrums to safety to homework. These books are available for checkout and can be found in the catalog when searching “parent shelf.”

There are some great books in the collection that focus on books and reading, including choosing what to read and help with encouraging children to read. To get you going, check out these titles:

*Book love: developing depth, stamina, and passion in adolescent readers
*Get those guys reading!: fiction and series books that boys will love
*Picture books for children: fiction, folktales, and poetry
*Read with me: best books for preschoolers

And for more see this great list of related titles.

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