April is National Poetry Month

"National Poetry Month is a month-long, national celebration of poetry established by the Academy of American Poets. The concept is to widen the attention of individuals and the media—to the art of poetry, to living poets, to our complex poetic heritage, and to poetry books and journals of wide aesthetic range and concern." - Poets.org

Started in 1996, National Poetry Month is celebrated with posters, events, and inspiration for poets.

Poets.org offers a listing of ways to celebrate, including reading a book of poetry, attending a poetry reading, Googling a poem, and even adding a verse to your e-mail signature.

Here at AADL, we can certainly help with at least the first of these! For starters, you could try some older poets, such as Lord Byron, Edgar Allan Poe, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Walt Whitman, and T.S. Eliot.

For the younger crowd, I would recommend Shel Silverstein, Lewis Carroll, Roald Dahl and perhaps even Dr. Seuss.

For a more contemporary piece, you might try the National Book Award Winner for Poetry in 2009, Transcendental Studies: A Trilogy by Keith Waldrop. We also have the 2008 winner, Fire To Fire: New And Selected Poems by Mark Doty.

As for me, I think I'll celebrate, in closing, with a short poem that I happen to love:

"Nature's first green is gold,
Her hardest hue to hold.
Her early leaf's a flower;
But only so an hour.
Then leaf subsides to leaf.
So Eden sank to grief,
So dawn goes down to day.
Nothing gold can stay."
-Robert Frost, "Nothing Gold Can Stay"

Fabulous Fiction Firsts #205

Marina Endicott’s Good to a Fault** is a novel that probes “the moral and emotional minefield of heroic Samaritan acts”. When forty-something divorced Clara Purdy plows into the Gage family car; she could not have imagined its impact (pun not intended).

Thankfully, no one is seriously hurt but Lorraine Gage’s medical attention reveals advanced cancer, and the rest of the homeless Gages (minus Clayton who takes off for parts unknown) are invited into the guilt-ridden Clara’s empty house and quiet circumscribed world.

Domestic chaos mixes with joy as Clara cares for the three young children and learns to tolerate cantankerous Grandma. Unexpected support from neighbors and relatives rally around her and Clara even finds the strength to begin, at least tentatively, a new relationship.

Good marks Canadian writer Endicott’s U.S. debut and is the 2009 winner of a Commonwealth Writers Prize. Reviewers considered her a talent to watch and praised her “deft and winsome touch” in handling provocative issues. For readers of Anne Tyler, Elizabeth Berg and Anita Shreve. “An enchanting and poignant novel”.

** = Starred reviews

Author's Forum: A World Without Ice

U-M geophysicist Henry Pollack – who shared the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize with Al Gore – will join U-M weather and climate scientist Richard Rood in a conversation called A World Without Ice on Wednesday, April 14, from 5:30-7 p.m. at U-M Harlan Hatcher Library. Topics covered will include why ice matters, the delicate geological balance between ice and climate, and the pending crisis of a world without ice. The discussion is being presented by the Author’s Forum, a collaboration between the U-M Institute for the Humanities, University Library, Great Lakes Literary Arts Center, and the Ann Arbor Book Festival.

Past Academy Awards

The Oscars air Sunday, March 7th, which makes now a great time to watch a few past Oscar winners with your kids. The Best Animated Feature Film Category was introduced in 2001, and the winners make great movies to enjoy with your family.

Films distinguished by winning Best Animated Feature Film include Shrek (It's sequel, Shrek 2 was also nominated in 2004), Spirited Away (a Japanese anime film dubbed with English actors), Finding Nemo, The Incredibles, Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit, Happy Feet, Ratatouille, and WALL-E. Clearly computer generated movies by Pixar have been big winners in this category.

Treasure Planet earns an honorable mention from me as my personal favorite nominee for Best Animated Feature Film, as I've always liked Robert Louis Stevenson's Treasure Island and I think setting the story in space only improved it.

Quirky Mystery Novels starring the Quirky Spellman Family

The Spellmans are not your ordinary family, nor are they your ordinary crew of private investigators. That’s right, the Spellmans are all in the family P.I. business.

Lisa Lutz’s series starts with The Spellman Files, which introduces us to the family, and centers around the rebellious Izzy, who at the age of 28 is obsessed with Get Smart, is sneaking out of windows, assuming false identities, and performing background checks on potential boyfriends. Eventually Izzy wants out of the business (like her lawyer brother David) and her mother gives her “one last case” before she is allowed to quit. Izzy is always into trouble, and her much younger sister Rae is following in her footsteps… until she goes missing, and Izzy finds herself on the other side of the interrogation table. Will Izzy be able to call it quits?

Mom is tailing Izzy, Uncle Ray always wears his lucky shirt, and keeps going on “lost weekends” requiring the family to hunt him down and bail him out of whatever insanity he got caught up in during his black outs. His namesake, young Rae, is addicted to sugar, when she gets grounded she is denied going on stake-outs, and she won’t do anything without being paid or negotiating first. Not your typical bunch! Follow Izzy and the zany Spellman family for more adventures in the laugh out loud Curse of the Spellmans, Revenge of the Spellmans, and coming soon is The Spellmans Strike Again. (Note: The Spellman Files, won a 2008 Alex Award, given annually to ten books written for adults that appeal to young adults age 12-18.)

Oscar-worthy Movies for Kids (or Kids at Heart)

The Animated Film category is always filled with children's movie nominations, but the really special kids' movies can hold their own against adult movies in the other categories. This year Up has been nominated for five Oscars, including best picture. It's a computer animation about an old man who rigs thousands of helium balloons to his house and floats away on an adventure.

If you like clay-mation you might be interested to know that the newest Wallace & Gromit film, the mysterious A Matter of Loaf and Death is nominated for best Animated Short Film. The Wallace and Gromit films are always big hits at the Academy Awards. The Wrong Trousers, A Close Shave, and the feature-length Curse of the Were-Rabbit (featuring the voices of Ralph Fiennes and Helena Bonham Carter) all received Academy Awards in previous years, and A Grand Day Out was nominated in 1990, but it lost to Creature Comforts, which is another clay-mation movie by the same filmmaker, Nick Park.

Harry Potter And The Half-Blood Prince is nominated for best cinematography. The Harry Potter films have not yet won any Oscars despite their wild popularity and six past nominations. Neil Gaiman's Coraline, featuring the voices of Dakota Fanning and Teri Hatcher is nominated for best animated feature film. Fantastic Mr. Fox and The Princess and the Frog both earned Oscar nominations too, but they won't hit library shelves until March, so don't forget to place your holds on them after they're ordered because they are sure to be popular.

2010 Edgar Award nominees

The Mystery Writers of America proudly announce 2010’s nominees for the Edgar Award. The Edgar is given annually to the best in mystery fiction. This year’s Best Novel nominees include: The Missing by Tim Gautreaux, The Odds by Kathleen George, The Last Child by John Hart, Mystic Arts of Erasing All Signs of Death by Charlie Huston, Nemesis by Jo Nesbø, and A Beautiful Place to Die by Malla Nunn. The nominated novels offer a variety of subject matter for the avid mystery reader.

Nesbo is the only Scandinavian in the lot, and the last time a Scandinavian author won this award was 1971’s The Laughing Policeman. See here for a list of Edgar Award nominees in other categories. The winners will be announced on April 29.
MysteriesMysteries

2010 Caldecott and Newbery Awards Announced

The 2010 Caldecott and Newbery awards were announced in Boston on Monday.
The Caldecott medal was awarded to Jerry Pinkney for his rendition of The Lion and the Mouse.
Caldecott Honors went to Marla Frazee for illustrations of All the World by Liz Garton and to Pamela Zagarenski for her illustrations of Red Sings from Treetops by Joyce Sidman.
The Newbery medal was awarded to Rebecca Stead for her novel When You Reach Me.
Newbery honor books are Claudette Colvin: Twice Toward Justice by Phillip Hoose, The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate by Jacqueline Kelly, The Mostly True Adventures of Homer P. Figg by Rodman Philbrick and Where the Mountain Meets the Moon by Grace Lin.

The 2010 Reading List Awards

Reading ListReading List

The Reference and User Services Association (RUSA) of the American Library Association has announced its selection for the 2010 Reading List.

The Reading List annually recognizes the best books in eight genres. This year’s list includes novels that will please die-hard fans as well as introduce new readers to the pleasures of genre fiction. The winners are:

Gone Tomorrow by Lee Child (Adrenaline)
Lamentation by Ken Scholes (Fantasy)
Agincourt by Bernard Corwell (Historical Fiction)
Last Days by Brian Evenson (Horror)
A Beautiful Place to Die by Malla Nunn (Mystery)
What Happens in London by Julia Quinn (Romance)
The Windup Girl by Paolo Bacigalupi (Science Fiction)
Very Valentine by Adriana Trigiani (Women's Fiction)

Trigiani happened to be in the audience during the annoucement. Here is her wild and excited reaction...

2010 Printz Award winners

Printz MedalPrintz Medal

The following Printz titles were announced at ALA Midwinter in Boston:

2010 Printz Award Medal
Going Bovine by Libba Bray
Can Cameron find what he's looking for? All 16-year-old Cameron wants is to get through high school - and life in general - with a minimum of effort. It's not a lot to ask. But that's before he's given some bad news: he's sick and he's going to die. Which totally sucks. Hope arrives in the winged form of Dulcie, a loopy punk angel/possible hallucination with a bad sugar habit. She tells Cam there is a cure - if he's willing to go in search of it. With the help of a death-obsessed, video-gaming dwarf and a yard gnome, Cam sets off on the mother of all road trips through a twisted America into the heart of what matters most.

2010 Printz Honor books:
Charles and Emma: the Darwins’ leap of faith by Deborah Heligman

Monstrumologist by Rick Yancey

Punkzilla by Adam Rapp

Tales of the Madman Underground by John Barnes

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