Get an Inside Look at the White House...When Audrey Met Alice

Ever wonder what life is like for a kid in the White House? Then check out When Audrey Met Alice by Rebecca Behrens.

Thirteen-year-old Audrey Rhodes became the First Daughter when her mother was elected the first female President of the United States. Sadly, life in the White House is far more frustrating than fun. After her last hope of making friends at her new school is ruined by a security breach, Audrey feels alone and miserable. Then she discovers the diary of Alice Roosevelt, eldest child of Theodore Roosevelt and a former First Daughter herself. Alice seems to understand exactly how Audrey is feeling, and while reading about the lively and rebellious Alice – whose antics included taking her pet garter snake, Emily Spinach, to dinner parties and sneaking a boy into the White House by dressing him up like a girl – Audrey decides to try out a little of Alice’s rebellious spirit. By channeling Alice, Audrey is eventually able to stand up for a cause both she and Alice believe in – marriage equality.

I have been a big fan of Alice Roosevelt ever since reading the wonderful picture-book biography What To Do About Alice? by Barbara Kerley, and so I loved getting to learn more about Alice and her White House adventures. Readers who enjoy spunky female characters and kids who stand up for what they believe in will definitely enjoy meeting Alice for themselves.

Permaculture: Practical solutions for self-reliance

One of our newer magazine subscriptions at the library is to Permaculture: Practical solutions for self-reliance. This magazine is a "bestselling international green-environmental magazine (with) inspiring articles written by leading experts alongside the readers' own tips and solutions," their website states. More from the website: "Published quarterly, this pioneering magazine is full of money-saving ideas for your home, garden and community. It features thought provoking articles on organic gardening; food and drink; renewable technology and green building; education, health and economics; transition towns and ecovillages; personal and community development; and sustainable agriculture and agro-forestry." Permaculture magazine also runs reviews of new books, DVDs, tools, courses, and access to contacts. Sounds like a good one!

Amazon Teen Bestseller: If I Stay

Currently #2 on Amazon's List of Best Sellers in Teen & Young Adult Books is the Kindle Edition of If I Stay by Gayle Forman. From our AADL catalog: "While in a coma following an automobile accident that killed her parents and younger brother, seventeen-year-old Mia, a gifted cellist, weighs whether to live with her grief or join her family in death."

Mary and Max

When I read the news of Philp Seymour Hoffman’s passing I did a quick mental inventory of the movies I’ve seen that he is in, there are so many. The one that sticks out the most, and that I think he got the least amount of credit for, is the animated film Mary and Max. The film takes place from 1976 to 1998 and tells the story of the unlikely pen-pal friendship that lasts for 22 years between Mary (Toni Collette), a lonely 8-year-old girl who lives in Australia, and Max (Philip Seymour Hoffman), a 44-year-old, severely obese, secular Jew atheist with Asperger syndrome who lives in New York City. The central focus of the movie is the letters shared between Mary and Max and the stories behind their life and the lives of people around them. This dark comedy deals with very mature themes, such as death/suicide, mental health, and dark depictions of childhood innocence. It also deals with the themes of love, friendship and forgivness is a way that will leave you thinking about it long past the 92 minutes it will take to watch it.

Peter Seeger, iconic folksinger and political activist, has died

Pete Seeger, as beloved for his enduring folk songs as for his principled political activism for six decades, has died.

Seeger began his singing career as part of the Weavers in 1948, performing tunes of peace. Just seven years later, McCarthyism caught up with Seeger. The singer refused to testify. After years of legal wrangling, Seeger was convicted of contempt in 1961. A year later that conviction was overturned on a technicality.

For years, Seeger was blacklisted and banned from performing in schools and concert venues. He refused to be silent, writing and demonstrating whenever he could.

He was the inspiration for many folksinging giants, including Joan Baez who said of Seeger: "We all owe our careers to Pete Seeger." and Peter, Paul, and Mary who made famous Seeger's If I Had a Hammer. Other long-enduring Seeger classics are Where Have All the Flowers Gone and Turn! Turn! Turn!.

In 1994, the National Endowment of the Arts bestowed on Seeger the National Medal of Arts. In 1996, he won his first Grammy and was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Twelve years later, he won his second Grammy. And just one year later, in a stunning moment of political validation, he performed at a celebratory concert in Washington, D.C. two days before President Barack Obama's first inauguration.

Seeger stayed politically active until the end of his life. In 2011, he marched in New York City with the Occupy Movement. He performed in last year's FarmAid concert and, as a lifelong environmentalist, this past November he asked Russian President Vladimir Putin to release the Arctic 30 who were granted their freedom the following month.

In 2012, Seeger published Pete Seeger: In His Own Words.

Seeger, who was 94, died of natural causes.

Pete Seeger is no stranger to area music lovers. He made several trips to perform here. His benefit concert for the Ark is fondly remembered. Check out these Old News articles on this beloved muscian.

Suicide Prevention & Addiction

There is an alarmingly high prevalence of suicide among people with addiction and people in early recovery, and the period of early recovery from addiction is especially high risk. Family, friends and professionals are often strategically positioned to recognize suicidal thinking and intervene to help. This program will raise awareness of the signs of suicidal thinking, describe ways to offer support and obtain help for people who may be contemplating suicide. Participants will learn how to recognize suicidal thinking, reach out and offer support to others contemplating suicide, obtain help when suicidal thoughts are present, and access local and national suicide prevention and intervention resources.

Adulting and The Defining Decade are great reads for twenty-somethings!

Young adulthood can be a challenging time. As someone who is navigating the ups and downs of my twenties right now, I am frequently surprised at the unique and unexpected situations that I am presented with as I continue to grow up. As young adults have become more forthcoming about the trials and tribulations of their twenties in recent years, many authors—some of them still young adults themselves—have stepped up to write books giving advice to twenty-somethings and sharing their own experiences. Hoping for some tips, I read two of these such books, both of which you can check out from AADL.

In Adulting, 27-year-old Kelly Williams Brown gives hilarious and practical advice to young adults on a huge variety of topics. She covers cooking, cleaning, moving to a new area, relationships with friends, family and significant others, jobs and working, and many other areas of importance. Brown admits that she is still growing up herself and shares many of her own successes and failures throughout the book. The idea for this book came from Brown’s blog, which you can peruse here.

The Defining Decade is written by clinical psychologist Dr. Meg Jay, and outlines why one’s twenties are an extremely important time period if one wants to be successful later in life. Jay argues against the “thirty-is-the-new-twenty” mentality and offers advice to those in their twenties while also sharing stories from her own practice and from the young people who come to her seeking help.

I found both of these books to be extremely interesting, entertaining and helpful, and I found myself agreeing with most of what the authors put forward. These two books are a great read for anyone in their twenties, for anyone who interacts with people in their twenties, and for anyone who feels like they may still have some growing up to do!

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.

"Don't Call Me Inspirational: A Disabled Feminist Talks Back"

Harilyn Rousso, author of "Don't Call Me Inspirational: A Disabled Feminist Talks Back," will read from her book Nov. 13 at 1 p.m. in Palmer Commons, Great Lakes Room South, at the University of Michigan. Her appearance is sponsored by a number of groups including Services for Students with Disabilities, Council for Disability Concerns, Women's Studies, Center for Education of Women, the LSA Disability Culture class, and Nicola's Books. Refreshments and Screenline CART services will be provided. Later the same day, the author will participate in a reading and panel discussion at 6:30 p.m. at the U-M School of Social Work. Refreshments and CART services will be provided. People planning to attend the later event should RSVP by emailing Carolyn Grawi at cgrawi@umich.edu.

"Don't Call Me Inspirational" is a collection of essays, poems, and personal memories by the author, who was born with cerebral palsy and now is a psychotherapist, disabilities activist and artist. Her book, published earlier this year, was widely and favorably reviewed. Rosemarie Garland-Thomson wrote in Ms. magazine that it is "less a memoir of endurance than a fine model for feminist development."

Terrifying and Poignant, 'Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock'

Matthew Quick is a talented and prolific author, having written The Silver Linings Playbook (2008), Sorta Like a Rock Star (2010), Boy21 (2012) and now Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock. His new young adult novel will terrify many because the narrator, Leonard Peacock, takes a gun to school and plans to kill his former best friend and himself.

Leonard is a seriously disturbed young man. His father, a former rock star, has disappeared. His mother, a narcissistic fashionista, is in New York City. Leonard stalks adults to determine if they are happy; most do not appear so. He hangs out with his sick, elderly neighbor, who watches Humphrey Bogart films. In school, Mr. Silverman, who teaches Leonard's Holocaust class, urges him to write "Letters from the Future," to connect with imaginary future soulmates, as a strategy to find happiness in high school.

The dark action unfolds on Leonard's 18th birthday, which no one remembers. Carefully, Leonard moves toward executing his murder-suicide plan. Although it is hair-raising to read the thoughts of a crazy kid concealing a gun, readers are allowed to hope that Leonard's plan will somehow fail. I found the novel poignant and thought provoking. The New York Times review is
here.

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