AppleSeeds Magazine for Kids!

If you like going on extreme adventures right from your chair, then you should check out the January 2014 issue of AppleSeeds Magazine! AppleSeeds is a magazine written for elementary school-age kids, but everyone can find something to like. In this issue, you can be mesmerized by the layers of the Earth, go cave diving, live near an active volcano spewing lava, and mine for gold far beneath the Earth’s crust. In addition to all of that fun, you can also read short stories and solve puzzles.

You can find AppleSeeds at the Downtown and Traverwood branches and other magazines for kids at all locations!

Want to experience the adventure for yourself? There will be a Family Science Workshop on January 18 at the Pittsfield branch and a Hands-On Science Fun program on February 6 at the Downtown branch.
Happy exploring!

LEGO Connection

Sunday, January 12 | 1-2:30pm | Malletts Creek Branch| Grades K-5

One month until The LEGO Movie is released in theaters! Are you geeked?! Join us for a LEGO adventure! Here’s a chance to get connected with other LEGO-minded people and build great things at the library! During this open-play event we’ll have a load of LEGO bricks for you to use to make cool things as you make new friends. At the end of our open LEGO play time the LEGOs will stay at the library before you head onto your next adventure, but if you want you can have your creation photographed for our LEGO Look Book before you go.

If you’re looking for books for some LEGO inspiration, check out AADL’s collection of great LEGO books! We’ve got books including how to build stuff, the history of LEGOs, and even stories featuring minifigs!

This event is for grades K - 5, with an adult.

Baby Bits - SNOW

It is blowing ... It is SNOWing ... flitter flutter snowflakes ... falling down ... On the ground ....

Baby PlayGroups take place as long as the Library building is open.
Find a good day and time, Bundle up the Baby, and come and play in a big room with other babies 0-2 years old (no older siblings please).
You can view the schedule here.

Here are some nice wintery items to take home and enjoy during a warm cuddle-up.
BITTY BABY LOVES The SNOW
Raymond Briggs' The SNOWMAN
IF IT'S SNOWY And YIOU KNOW IT CLAP YOUR PAWS!
YOU MAKE ME SMILE
OVER And UNDER The SNOW
A PERFECT DAY
TEN On The SLED
NO
SUPER SNOW DAY SEEK And FIND
STRANGER In The WOODS

... Now where ARE those mittens?

Art Table: Self Portraits!

The next time you’re at the Downtown Library, pop into the Youth Department and check out the new art project at the art table.

This time around you’ll be working with paper and pencil to create a self portrait, suitable for framing. Sit at the art table and glance in the mirror at yourself. What are your brightest features? What are the features you want to focus on? Will you make a simple line drawing? Will your art be black and white or full of color? Will you just draw your face? Let's find out!

To see some famous self portraits or get tips on creating your own, check out these children’s books and adult books.

The Puck Drops Here and the Winter Classic help ring in the new year in Ann Arbor!

At 1:00pm on New Years Day, hockey fans will pack The Big House in downtown Ann Arbor for the 2014 Winter Classic. The battle between the Detroit Red Wings and the Toronto Maple Leafs is not only expected to shatter the record of the highest attendance ever at a hockey game, but is also expected to break the overall attendance record in the Big House, which currently stands at over 115,000.

To welcome visitors in town for the game and celebrate the New Year, local Ann Arbor groups have worked together to create The Puck Drops Here, an outdoor celebration being held in downtown Ann Arbor tonight. There will be over 6 hours of live entertainment throughout the event, most notably The Voice finalist and Ann Arbor native Michelle Chamuel, and a midnight ball drop on Main Street. Many Main Street restaurants plan to re-open their outside seating for the evening, so the guests can watch the festivities under the warmth of outdoor heaters.

In conjunction with this event, the Farmers Market space in Kerrytown will have family-friendly activities including a skating rink, ice carvings, and marshmellow roasting.

You can read more about activities related to these events at AADL. Kids will enoy Z is for Zamboni: A Hockey Alphabet. Red Wings fans can explore The History of Hockeytown: Detroit Red Wings, 75 Years and The Winged Wheel: A Half-Century of Detroit Red Wings in Photographs. And, you can hear more of Michelle Chamuel’s work on Dancethink Systems, by My Dear Disco, the local band she was part of before competing on The Voice.

Happy New Year to all!

Bring in the New Year!

Get ready to bring in the new year! Come to the Pittsfield Branch on Tuesday, December 31, 2013 at 2:00 p.m. to make hats and noisemakers for your
celebration. This is for kids pre-school through 5th grade but everyone is welcome.
All supplies will be provided.

For other ideas for keeping kids busy, click here.

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.

Learn about The Polar Express' Michigan Roots

How many of you knew that the classic picture book, The Polar Express, has Michigan roots? The book itself is based in Grand Rapids, which is where the author, Chris Van Allsburg, is from! The story starts out with a young boy who is feeling a bit sad because he’s not so sure anymore that Santa Claus is real. As he lies in bed on Christmas eve, waiting hopefully for the sound of Santa, he instead hears the sound of a locamotive! He hops out of bed and runs outside, only to find a gigantic train waiting for him, filled with other young children. Together, they set off on a Christmas eve adventure to the North Pole.

The Polar Express was also adapted into a film back in 2004, starring Tom Hanks. Did you know that the film, too, has Michigan connections? NPR recently did a story on the locamotive that the film makers used for direct inspiration. When making the movie, the film crew traveled all the way out to little Owosso, Michigan, in order to capture the magic that is the 400 ton Pere Marquette 1225!

“Finally, the train arrives: 16 feet tall, puffing huge blasts of steam. The smell of burning coal fills the air, and the ground literally shakes.”

Do you love The Polar Express? Click through the links in this blog post to place requests on the original book, DVD, or Blu-ray. In fact, if you or your little one are interested in some festive decorating during this holiday season, the AADL even has a Polar Express art print that you can check out and hang up on your walls at home!

The last installment of Phyllis Reynolds Naylor's beloved "Alice" series is now available!

Phyllis Reynolds Naylor, the author of the long-running, much-loved “Alice” series, has written the series’ final installment, Now I’ll Tell You Everything, available now. This book chronicles Alice from the ages of 18 to 60. It has been long-awaited by many of her fans that have been with Alice since she was nervously starting 6th grade at a new school in The Agony of Alice, first published in 1985.

Since The Agony of Alice, Naylor has published 28 total Alice books, including three prequels to the series geared towards younger readers. Over the course of the series, Alice navigates many of the challenges of growing up. The books often make the list of the American Library Association’s most challenged books due to their frank discussion of families, friendships, religion, dating and sex.

The recent publication of Now I’ll Tell You Everything has left many readers nostalgic. After “growing up with Alice,” knowing that Alice’s adventures are over is a difficult realization for devoted fans. Throughout her writing of the series, Naylor received thousands of letters and emails from these fans expressing their love of the books, sharing their stories and making suggestions for future Alice books (some of which Naylor actually used!).

The Alice books can be enjoyed by all ages. The earlier novels are appropriate for elementary school children, and readers can age along with Alice over time. Older fans who remember Alice from their youth can reread some of the books and now finally find out what the rest of Alice's life has in store for her.

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