Toys, Tweens, Pies and Trees -- Parent Magazine Update

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The magazines on our parent shelf are taking on the world, and they can take you along for the ride.

Parenting: School Years starts out strong with an article on how to enjoy your child's "difficult" tween years, and just keeps on swinging with a special Mom Congress report on the necessity of art education, a guide to family hapiness, and their picks for "toys of the year."

Coincidentally, Family Fun Magazine also features their Toy of the Year Awards -- number one is Klutz's "Invasion of the Bristlebots", a kit for making robots out of toothbrush heads. The magazine continues with an article on blogging as a family, a list of fun Thanksgiving activities, and five unique pie recipes for those bored with the same old pumpkin-from-a-can variety.

Gifted Child Today tackles some serious issues in their fall edition -- a guide to involving children in caring for the earth, an article by Dr. Gilman W. Whiting, director of the Scholar Identity Institute on reducing dropout rates among diverse students, and a guide to identifying signs of Asperger's syndrome-- an Autism-spectrum disorder.

If all this makes you want to roll up your sleeves and dive in, great! These great ideas and more are just a trip to the magazine rack away.

It's the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown!

Halloween is around the corner and that means it's time for the annual showing of "It's the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown" on Wednesday, October 28th at 8pm on ABC. If you will not be able to watch it, the library also owns a few copies. The library also owns the book version. Here are a few new Halloween stories that are available in the youth collection: Boo to You!, Mystery Vine: A Pumpkin Surprise, Haunted Party, There Was an Old Monster, Pick a Pumpkin, Mrs. Millie! and J is for Jack-O-Lantern:a Halloween Alphabet. Have fun, and don't stay up too late waiting for the Great Pumpkin!

A Halloween Carol

Other holidays have a multitude of books written in honor of them, but where is the main text for Halloween? Sure, there are plenty of scary, eerie, and unsettling books published to get you in the mood for the holiday, but what can stand on its own as exemplary of Halloween itself? Something that can be reread annually, such as A Christmas Carol is to Christmas. The Halloween Tree is the answer to this question.

A short read, this book poetically jumps through the origins of the celebration throughout time and other cultures. The imagery is pure Halloween, with jackolanterns, an abandoned house, gargoyles, mummies, witches, cemeteries, and what might be a ghost. Bradbury seems to effortlessly create a wild, fun, fantastic world for the reader as soon as the story begins in a small Indiana town.

There was an animated movie based on the novel that has not yet been released on DVD, but the movie is a classic as well.

Government Offices to Close for Independence Day Observance

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City of Ann Arbor, Washtenaw County and State of Michigan offices will be closed on Friday, July 3, in observance of Independence Day. City of Ann Arbor trash, recycling and compost trucks will follow their regular Friday schedule. Post Offices will close at 12 noon on Friday, July 3, and will be closed on the 4th of July.

Note also that most State of Michigan offices will be closed on Monday, July 6, as an unpaid furlough day.

Celebrate "Cinco de Mayo"

Today, May 5 is also known as Cinco de Mayo, the holiday commemorating the victory of the Mexican army over the French in the town of Puebla, Mexico on May 5, 1862. The day is celebrated mainly in the town of Puebla and in many places in the U.S., especially cities with significant Latino populations. People participate in parades, eat indigenous foods and dress in traditional Mexican clothes. The day is often confused with Mexico's day of independence which is September 16.

To celebrate in Ann Arbor, head to the Firefly Club where a dj will spin Salsa music and you can indulge at the taco bar. Festivities begin at 9 p.m. Or check out books and cds from our collection and whip up your own Mexican specialties to the tune of your favorite Latin music.

V-Day = Feb 14

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Around this time of year a conversation staple is Valentine’s Day. Questions of “what are you doing, where are you going, who are you going with” are floating in the air. If you’re not doing anything and tomorrow may as well be February 26th for all you care, there are some books that may make you laugh and smile. The Anti- Valentine’s Handbook is a girl’s guide on how to laugh and survive V-Day, for the younger set there’s Love Stinks (and no, Katie Kazoo is not into mushy gushy stuff), and there’s Hating Valentine’s Day, a fiction story with A Christmas Carol-esque twist where a single woman is visited by a ghost who is trying to change her “no time for dating” mind.

Happy New Year!

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Ready to ring in 2009? We know how they celebrate at Times Square. In fact, you can watch a live webcast of people celebrating in New York and around the world. In other countries, people have different ways of celebrating the new year. In Mexico, people eat one grape for each chime of the clock and make a wish for the new year. In Venezuela, people wear yellow underwear for good luck. In Japan, people eat soba noodles because their length symbolizes long life. At midnight, Greeks eat a cake called a vasilopita with a gold coin baked inside. Whoever gets the piece with the coin will have a good year. So "drink a cup of kindness yet" for 2009.

The Man Who Invented Christmas

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When Charles Dickens wrote A Christmas Carol in 1843, he changed the way the holiday is celebrated, revived his career, and created a tale that has become one of the most popular and enduring Christmas stories of all time. Tomorrow, December 19th, is the anniversary of the original publication of "A Christmas Carol in Prose, Being a Ghost Story of Christmas". Here at the AADL you can pick up a copy of Les Standiford's new book The Man Who Invented Christmas : How Charles Dickens's A Christmas Carol Rescued His Career and Revived Our Holiday Spirits for a behind the scenes look at the holiday classic. Standiford says his title is "a bit of an exaggeration — but not much." Happy Holidays!

Take a Holiday Adventure!

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Check out a Museum Adventure Pass, good for admission for 2 to the Edsel and Eleanor Ford House, and enjoy the current holiday tours. From the flocked modern tree adorned with original pink and purple teardrop shaped glass ornaments made especially for a party hosted by Eleanor Ford, to the15-foot Christmas tree in the grand Gallery space where many holiday galas where held, each room is decorated in the season’s best and tells a unique story about how the Ford Family shared holiday traditions. Outdoors, the Fords’ daughter Josephine’s Play House is decorated in true gingerbread house fashion with icicle lights and huge candy canes lining the path. Ford House Holiday Tours begin Friday, Nov. 28, and run through Sunday, Jan. 4. Tours are available 10 a.m. - 4 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday, and noon to 4 p.m. Sunday. There are a limited number of Adventure Passes available at each AADL location and they are available on a first-come, first-serve basis.

A Magical Christmas of Magic

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Yo, drop the needle, it’s Christmas. That’s Albus Dumbledore’s message. And it’s pretty much a great idea. Second only to putting A Magical Christmas of Magic by Harry and the Potters in your CD player, turning up the volume, and dancing around in your Christmas pajamas while you wrap presents. (For the non-wrappers, non-dancers there’s always head-bobbing and hot cocoa sipping.) This CD is such a fun treat. Draco, Neville, Harry, and the gang lend their voice for all original Christmas songs, including; Money for Christmas by The Gringotts Goblin Choir, Seasonal Depression by The Whomping Willows, and All I want for Christmas by Draco and the Malfoys. If you’re into Harry and the Potters but not Christmas, the AADL also has a few other discs to suit your fancy: their fabulous self-titled album, Harry and the Potters and the power of love, and Voldemort can't stop the rock! Put the needle on the record!

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