The Great Pumpkin Says Let's Be Safe This Halloween

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Trick-or-Treating in Ann Arbor will be from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. this Sunday, Oct. 31. So let's review our Halloween Safety Tips and get our little ghosts and goblins home safe, sound and oh-so happy. Don't forget the extra-special Halloween Story Times this Friday at the Downtown Branch.

Halloween in Ann Arbor, 1957

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Here are a few photographs from the Ann Arbor News archive to give you a taste of what Halloween was like in Ann Arbor 50 years ago. The first photo, below, is of a girl trying on a mask in a Main Street dime store. The second photograph is of a boy looking at candy. Both were taken on October 21, 1957. Does anyone recognize the store? Could it have been Kline's? Or maybe Kresge's?

The two photographs at the bottom are from the Burns Park School Halloween Parade in 1957: children marching in the parade ; and, my favorite, the Burns Park band playing in costume.

Curanderas: the Heart & Hand of Coatlicue

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Stop by the Multi-Purpose Room Downtown to view a colorful exhibit of the Heart and Hands of Coatlicue. This photo exhibit depicts Mexican & Mexican-American traditional healers and their mystic world. On November 1st the artists, Juan Javier & Gabrielle Pescador will discuss the history of Día de los Muertos, including a performance by a traditional Aztec Dance troupe directed by Estrella Torrez.

60 Year Anniversary of the First Peanuts Comic Strip!

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On October 2nd 1950, after many rejections, the first Peanuts comic strip was published in 7 newspapers. Just 2 years later the first Peanuts book was published. Over the years, the Peanuts have appeared on the New York Times Best Seller List with Happiness is a Warm Puppy. I personally always loved that book in particular. It takes you through a number of simple things that make people happy and reminds me of reading it at my grandmas house when I was little. The Peanuts were on the cover of Time Magazine in 1965. That same year, Charles Schulz even won an Emmy for outstanding children's programming for A Charlie Brown Christmas. In later years, A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving, You're a Good Sport Charlie Brown and Life is a Circus, Charlie Brown. By 1999, before his retirement, more than 2,600 newspapers worldwide were publishing the Peanuts. On February 12, 2000, the day before the final Sunday Peanuts comic strip ran, Charles Schulz died at the age of 77. New Peanuts strips are not being made however, many of these loved classics can be found here at the library. The library also offers a number of Peanuts DVD's such as: It's the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown, A Charlie Brown Valentine, This is America, Charlie Brown and many more. Be sure to place holds early for the holiday books and DVDs because they lists grow quickly! I'm happy to see that even after 60 years people still love the Good Ol' Charlie Brown and the Gang!

National Book Festival 2010

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The National Book Festival takes place this Saturday, September 25, on the National Mall in Washington, DC, with honorary chairs, President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama, there to celebrate the NBF's 10th Anniversary. This year's festival promises to pull out all the stops, with the biggest authors and illustrators in the country talking about their craft and signing books throughout the day. Authors in attendance include the rapidly-buzzing Freedom writer, Jonathan Franzen, multiple Newbery Award winner, Katherine Paterson, Hunger Games Trilogy author, Suzanne Collins, Pillars of the Earth epic writer, Ken Follett, and many more. If you're not planning on heading down to the nation's capital this weekend, you can follow all the action online through webcasts and podcasts throughout the day.

International Nurses Day

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May 12th is International Nurses Day. The day was chosen in honor of the birthday of Florence Nightingale.

In celebration of all the wonderful care nurses give, you could watch a DVD, maybe something likeM*A*S*H, which focuses on a medical unit during the conflict in Korea, or you could watch the 1957 film version of Hemingway's A Farewell to Arms.

Or you could read a factual book. There are biographies on women like Florence Nightingale, Mildred MacGregor, and Clara Barton. There are also more general works, such as one on WWII nurses and even one or two on how to become a nurse.

Valentine Fun

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Valentine's Day is coming up again, and with it, the chance to show all your friends and loved ones how much you appreciate them.

Some of you have undoubtedly purchased your boxed sets of Valentines already, but remember, nothing says "love" like that special, homemade touch. Come on down to Mallett's Creek Branch this Saturday, Feb. 13 from 2-4 to make a creative Valentine or two for those you love!

Youth Nonfiction Finds -- Special Edition: Martin Luther King Jr. Day

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Martin Luther King Jr. Day is a day when we should look forward and backward -- backward into history to appreciate how far we have come as a country and the hard work of those who brought us here, and forward to the challenges we still have to face in order to bring about true equality. Here are some good books to help you get a good understanding of the history of the Civil Rights Movement and Martin Luther King Jr.:

Who Was Martin Luther King Jr.? provides a concise biography of its titular subject and background on the issues underlying the Civil Rights Movement, such as Jim Crow Laws and the Supreme Court's Brown v. Board of Education decision. My Brother Martin, written by Christine King Farris, tells the story of Martin Luther King Jr.'s childhood, for a more human picture of the great man. Did you know that he was quite the prankster as a child? I Have a Dream presents Dr. King's famous speech in manageable bites, accompanied by evocative illustrations.

For those who want to learn more about the Civil Rights Movement itself, Nobody Gonna Turn Me 'Round presents a very understandable, illustrated history of the major events of the movement. A Dream of Freedom provides a more in-depth look at the issues, from Emancipation to the Black Panther Party. In Freedom's Children activists like Claudette Colvin and Ruby Bridges share their experiences of growing up during those tumultuous times. Finally, The Civil Rights Movement for Kids combines history with activities, like skits, songs, speeches and even recipes, to really bring history home.

Carting Off the Christmas Tree

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Drop and drag time will be here before you know it! The City of Ann Arbor's curbside collection of holiday trees will be held Monday, Jan. 18 - Friday, Jan 22, 2010. If Mother Nature delivers a snowstorm, just leave them buried and the City will pick them up when things thaw out. Be sure and get those ornaments off your holiday tree -- metal, glass or plastic can ruin the recycling machinery and spoil the mulch. Wreaths and roping have wire/plastic backing so put those in the trash cart. If you'd like to drop off your undecorated holiday tree, head to parking lot adjacent to the Drop-Off Station through Jan. 30, 2010.

Christmas with Dylan Thomas


Spend a holiday evening with Dylan Thomas' A Child's Christmas in Wales on dvd, audiobook, or book. Thomas' lilting Welsh voice lends a magical air to the audio recording. Listening to the story gives me the feeling of an old fashioned Christmas complete with peppermints and caramels, candle light, and thick blankets of snow.

Dylan Thomas is most well known for his villanelle "Do Not Go Gentle into that Good Night", and his poems and stories about life in Wales during the first half of the 20th century, including Under Milkwood, which was originally written as a radio play exploring the private thoughts of people in a small Welsh town. In 2008 a story about Dylan Thomas' adult life with his wife and childhood sweetheart opened the Edinburgh Film Festival. The Edge of Love stars Keira Knightley, Sienna Miller, and Cillian Murphy and wonderfully captures the WWII atmosphere, however, a warning to those who are interested in watching it: it's not a cheerful movie for this joyful time of year.

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