Animalium

If you have not yet seen this giant beauty resting on the new youth nonfiction shelf, please allow me to draw your attention to it. I know I will forever be indebted to the person who first showed Animalium to me. It is one of those rare books that is both captivating to look at and to read. Maybe I should make myself clear here, it is captivating if you enjoy learning about animals and reading facts about them. If you are expecting a great fictional story, then perhaps it would be best if you check this out for the sole purpose of enjoying the pictures. Furthermore, please don't dismiss this book because it is intended for youth, I choose to believe "youth" really just stands for "youthful" and there really is no age restriction when it comes to appreciating beautiful illustrations of wildlife.

The large colorful illustrations are wonderfully detailed and the shadowing and chosen colors give the pictures great depth. Being an amphibian girl myself, I was particularly drawn to the page including the the Darwin's Frog (Rhinoderma darwinii) which has "an oversize vocal sac in which it rears its young." Little tadpoles in a frog's throat never looked so pretty.

Be warned though, when I say "giant beauty" I mean bring a sturdy bag because this is no pocket book.

You may also want to check out Welcome to Mamoko or Maps, both published by Big Picture Press and with equally fascinating pictures and intriguing concepts. Or maybe this has piqued your interest about animals and now you want to learn more. Great! Here is a list of other Awesome Animal books that may help you with your research.

Nerd Nite Ann Arbor presented by AADL at LIVE 102 S First St.

Thursday February 19, 2015: 7:00 pm to 9:30 pm -- LIVE (102 S 1st Street)

This event is intended for Adults
This event will be recorded

For the last year and a half, crowds have gathered each month in the early evening - in bars and venues around Ann Arbor. Around 7pm, it begins: three boisterous speakers geek out up front. What is this? Some secret club?

Nope! It's Nerd Nite Ann Arbor! And it's open to anyone and everyone who loves to learn or share what they love.

For the uninitiated, Nerd Nite (NN) has been described as “...like the Discovery Channel™…with beer!” Sounds fun, right? It is! NN is held monthly in 70+ cities, giving several folks the opportunity to give 18-21minute fun-yet-informative presentations across all disciplines. Imagine learning about everything from the science of the Simpsons to the genealogy of Godzilla. Fun stuff!

Doors open at 6:30, and speakers start at 7pm.

So show up, have a drink, meet other nerds, and learn a bunch of awesome new junk!

Want to see past topics and a little more info? Check NNA2's site.

AADL is sponsoring this month's event, so there will be NO COVER!

Mark your calendars and spread the word! Any and all nerds (and non-nerds!) who love learning and having a great time are welcome to join us!

Nerd Nite Ann Arbor presented by AADL at LIVE 102 S First St.

Thursday January 29, 2015: 7:00 pm to 9:30 pm -- LIVE (102 S 1st Street)

This event is intended for Adults
This event will be recorded

For the last year and a half, crowds have gathered each month in the early evening - in bars and venues around Ann Arbor. Around 7pm, it begins: three boisterous speakers geek out up front. What is this? Some secret club?

Nope! It's Nerd Nite Ann Arbor! And it's open to anyone and everyone who loves to learn or share what they love.

For the uninitiated, Nerd Nite (NN) has been described as “...like the Discovery Channel™…with beer!” Sounds fun, right? It is! NN is held monthly in 70+ cities, giving several folks the opportunity to give 18-21minute fun-yet-informative presentations across all disciplines. Imagine learning about everything from the science of the Simpsons to the genealogy of Godzilla. Fun stuff!

Doors open at 6:30, and speakers start at 7pm.

Nerd Nite welcomes 2015 with a roster spanning history, sound and action!

We all like a good story now and then, right? All the better if that story is something from our city’s collective past. Local history geek & author Patti Smith will take us on a tour of the Good the Bad and the Ornery in Tree Town’s past. Like the sound of that? Carl Engelke will expose us to different sounds — heroic trumpet fanfares — as he considers music and physics in the natural history of the trumpet.
Finally, who couldn’t use an extra boost of self-confidence? Martial arts trainer Sal Sanfratello will illustrate how direct action and experimentation may help us become a little more balanced and courageous in our everyday lives.

Ponder some of our past, consider your favorite fanfare, and take action — grab a beer and say hi to your fellow nerds!

Want to see past topics and a little more info? Check NNA2's site.

AADL is sponsoring this month's event, so there will be NO COVER!

Mark your calendars and spread the word! Any and all nerds (and non-nerds!) who love learning and having a great time are welcome to join us!

CANCELLED - Nerd Nite Ann Arbor presented by AADL at LIVE 102 S First St.

Thursday December 11, 2014: 7:00 pm to 9:30 pm -- LIVE (102 S 1st Street)

Due to circumstances beyond our control - the December edition of Nerd Nite has been cancelled.

We apologize for any inconvenience.

Michigan Author Jerry Dennis: A Daybreak Handbook

Monday January 26, 2015: 7:00 pm to 8:30 pm -- Downtown Library: Multi-Purpose Room

This event will be recorded

Author Jerry Dennis, best known as an award-winning nature writer, has branched out in two new directions: poetry and publishing. Jerry's first book of poems, A Daybreak Handbook, was published in 2014. Also in 2014, Jerry, his wife Gail, and illustrator Glenn Wolff established Big Maple Press, a small press dedicated to producing special editions exclusively available for sale through independent booksellers.

Dennis will discuss these new avenues in his career as well as his ongoing work with the Great Lakes. Dennis' book The Living Great Lakes was the Ann Arbor/Ypsilanti Reads selection in 2010. A selection of Dennis' books will be available for sale and signing at the event.

Colorful Behind-the-Scenes Peek at Illustrating Children’s Books

Lois Ehlert, the well-known children’s book author and illustrator, has recently released The Scraps Book: Notes from a Colorful Life, an illustrated autobiography giving us a sneak peek into her creative process. Ehlert, whose picture books include Growing Vegetable Soup, Eating the Alphabet, and Planting a Rainbow, is known for her collage style, which mixes colored paper with everyday objects like leaves, plastic lids and even vegetables! Fans of Ehlert’s books will enjoy not only learning the stories behind some of her well-known illustrations but also hearing stories of Ehlert’s childhood and her encouraging words to future artists.

Looking for more fantastic picture-book biographies? Also check out these titles:

Balloons Over Broadway chronicles the life of Tony Sarg, the man who created the first balloons for the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade.

What to do about Alice? offers an energetic and insightful story about Teddy Roosevelt's oldest daughter Alice Roosevelt Longworth.

The Tree Lady tells the story of Kate Sessions, a turn-of-the-century schoolteacher who started a movement to plant trees throughout San Diego.

Sustainable Landscaping with Landscaping Expert Drew Lathin

Tuesday March 24, 2015: 7:00 pm to 8:30 pm -- Downtown Library: Multi-Purpose Room

Drew Lathin is the General Manager of Creating Sustainable Landscapes and a sustainable landscapes consultant who creates ecologically restorative urban and suburban landscapes. As an outspoken critic of conventional landscaping practices which destroy habitat, result in species extinction, and threaten the biodiversity upon which life depends, Drew utilizes native plants in his beautifully installed landscapes that support wildlife, and reduce or eliminate resource inputs such as pesticides and supplemental water. He will speak on these subjects and offer suggestions and tips for how you too, can utilize native plants and biodiversity to create sustainable landscapes of any scale on your own property.

Fleeting Beauty, Enduring Value: the Peony Garden at the Nichols Arboretum

Tuesday May 19, 2015: 7:00 pm to 8:30 pm -- Downtown Library: Multi-Purpose Room

The U-M Nichols Arboretum Peony Garden presents a stunning spring display, with over 270 historic cultivated varieties (cultivars) from the nineteenth and early twentieth century representing the best American, Canadian, and European peonies of the era. These fragrant spring beauties are arranged in 27 beds with each full bed containing 30 peonies. When filled to capacity the garden holds nearly 800 peonies and up to 10,000 flowers at peak bloom.

Dr. David C. Michener, Associate Curator at the University of Michigan Matthaei Botanical Gardens and Nichols Arboretum, will discuss the beautiful Nichols Arboretum Peony Garden and give an update on the current work in the Garden in preparation for its centennial in 2022.

New Nonfiction for Kids: Get the Scoop on Animal Puke!

Animal- and nature- lovers will delight in all of the amazing facts they find on regurgitation and emesis (a.k.a. vomit) in Get the Scoop on Animal Puke! by Dawn Cusick! Despite the slightly off-putting cover of this book, this eye-catching new addition to the youth collection is sure to be a hit! Vomit as seen in nature doesn't have to be considered disgusting. As written by Cusick, "...gross and weird things we see in nature help animals compete and survive. Animal puke isn't gross: it's really pretty cool."

Here are some amazing facts that I was surprised to learn from this book:

  • Some animals vomit to protect themselves from predators or poisonous food.
  • Scavengers like turkey vultures expel highly acidic vomit to ward off potential thieves from eating their carrion food.
  • You may remember Genie's advice about camels in the movie Aladdin: "Watch out, they spit!" In truth, the "spit" that Genie is warning us about is really vomit, which camels eject when scared. Apparently it smells really bad.
  • Have you ever seen video of a snake eating an entire egg in one mouthful? They have trouble digesting the egg shell, so they make sure to spit that part back out after they eat it.
  • Many animals are "ruminant," meaning the plants or foods they eat are not fully digestible the first time, so they need to keep chewing it until it can go through their intestines. All ruminant animals have four(!) stomachs, and include cows, goats, deer, and giraffes.

Want to learn even more amazing and strange animal facts? Check out these fascinating animal books!

Young Naturalist Awards Contest 2015

The American Museum of Natural History will once again host its popular Young Naturalist Awards contest this year for all students in grades 7-12 who are interested in science and nature. Young scientists can go outside and explore (in the backyard, at the park, at a pond, or even one of the Great Lakes, for example) to pose a question, create a hypothesis, and start collecting data. Then students write about their research in a thoughtful essay, including photographs or visuals and reflections on the outcome. In addition to all the outdoor fun, winning entrants will receive cash prizes, online publication, classroom resources for their teacher, and an all expenses paid trip to the Museum! Students may submit their essays from January 1, 2015 through March 1, 2015. Check out the American Museum of Natural History's website for more information!

Need help getting started on your submission? The first step is getting outside and exploring! You can even explore the great outdoors right near your favorite AADL branch: visit the beautiful Stapp Nature Area by Traverwood, the native plants of Malletts Creek, or the wetland areas of Pittsfield! Those looking to do background research can check out this list of books on nature. Library users can also check out items like binoculars, a birdsong scanning wand, a portable digital microscope, or the hybrid powered environmental quality meter from AADL's fantastic science tools collection for their research!

Good luck and happy exploring!

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