Home: a work of art for children and adults

The concept of “home” has meant a lot of different things to people over the ages and is still unique for each one of us today. Artist Carson Ellis makes her solo debut with a beautiful picture book, titled simply Home, that explores the meaning and concept of home. A snail shell, a covered wagon, an igloo, a castle surrounded by a moat… all are or have been home to something or someone at a given point in time. Ellis even weaves in fantastical homes: fairy houses, boots, and more are included in this wonderful book. In some of the mythical houses, Ellis does not include a description of who lives there, but instead asks readers to imagine what sort of creature they think would be suited to the structure. The clever combination of traditional, non-traditional, and fanciful homes will inspire children (and adults!) to think of “home” in a new way.

You may recognize Ellis’ work: she is the illustrator of the Wildwood series and the artist for the band The Decemberists. You can visit her website to see more of her awesome talent!

All About That Space, No Tribbles!

Readers interested in astronauts, planets, stars, and discovery will love AADL's new youth nonfiction books on space!

Professor Astro Cat's Frontiers of Space, by Dr. Dominic Walliman and Ben Newman, will have you hooked from the first page! Professor Astro Cat and friends travel through space to discover the composition of the sun, relative sizes of the planets, and a step by step process of how the Apollo II astronauts landed on the moon! Each page is highly visual with engaging graphics and interesting facts. Did you know that the International Space Station orbits the Earth 15.7 times every day? Or that objects falling into a black hole experience spaghettification? Check out this colorful book for a wild ride and even more amazing space facts!

How to Be a Space Explorer: Your Out-of-this-World Adventure by Mark Brake makes YOU the astronaut! First, get ready for space in a gravity simulator and use light-years to discover just how far apart the planets really are. Check out all the different materials used in your space suit like nylon tricot, spandex, and mylar. Real photographs of different types of spacecraft and tips for making your own bottle rocket take you on your way! Up, up, up into space until you're touring the moon and looking for signs of life. You'll feel like you're really there with this incredibly fun and interactive book.

Star Stuff: Carl Sagan and the Mysteries of the Cosmos by Stephanie Roth Sisson paints a beautiful picture of the life of celebrity scientist Carl Sagan! A trip to the World's Fair as a child inspired him to dream big. He spent a lot of time at the library learning about stars and one day became the astronomer and cosmologist that so many people know about today! This book is a great biography for beginning readers with stunning illustrations.

Are you like Carl Sagan and just can't get enough science? Check out AADL's other books on space and science tools!

Award Winning Audiobook - The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer

The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer 2010. 20 hrs. 30 mins.

Awards: The Pulitzer Prize for General Nonfiction, 2011. TIME Magazine’s All- TIME 100 Non-Fiction books.

Author: Siddhartha Mukherjee

Narrator: Stephen Hoye

As a hematology/oncology fellow at Massachusetts General Hospital, Siddhartha Mukherjee was challenged by one of his patients to explain cancer. This biography of the disease, which takes on the enormous task of describing cancer and it’s treatment from ancient Egypt through modern day, is the result. Although the breadth of the story is intimidating, The Emperor of All Maladies is a great listening experience. The narrator did an excellent job with the personal stories of Mukherjee and his patients and I found the book informative but easy to comprehend.

On March 30th, inspired by Mukherjee’s book and with the support of Stand Up to Cancer, PBS and the documentary filmmaker Ken Burns will air the first episode of a 3-part, 6-hour television event. Cancer: The Emperor of All Maladies is hailed as the most comprehensive documentary on a single disease ever made. As Ken Burns explains, “the series matches the epic scale of the disease, reshaping the way the public sees cancer and stripping away some of the fear and misunderstanding that has long surrounded it. The story of cancer is a story of human ingenuity, resilience and perseverance but also of hubris, paternalism and misperception.”

Part one of the film airs on Monday March 30, 2015 from 9-11pm e.s.t. For a schedule of upcoming episodes and interviews with executive producer Ken Burns, visit the PBS website.

Library Lists: 10 Interactive Books for Kids

Books aren't just for reading! Awesome books like the ones on this list allow you to be inventive and engaged by using and interacting with them!

Kaleidoscope: With a built-in spinning kaleidoscope lens, every page of this book is transformed into a visual delight. Simple rhymes describe the changing seasons, making this lovely and inventive book a unique and colorful journey through a year.

Mythology: the gods, heroes, and monsters of ancient Greece: This fascinating book on Greek mythology uses newspaper clippings, letters, and photographs from the “past” to impart information about famous myths. Other great books in the series include Dinosaurology, Alienology and Pirateology.

Alphablock: What a fun way to learn the alphabet! Thick pages in this book are cut into the shape of each letter, allowing children to peek-through the letters and guess them based on both their form and words associated with them.

Press Here:This creative book encourages kids to perform actions on each page: pressing dots, shaking the book, turning it upside down, and more. The result of each action is demonstrated on the next page. Kids love “influencing” the story and seeing the effects of their actions!

Panorama: a foldout book: Simple text and beautiful illustrations invite readers to view different places around the world. Then, the pages can be folded out to see the same scenes at nighttime.

Book-o-Hats, A Wearable Book: You can become a chef, a firefighter, a pirate, and more in this book that features wearable hats with fun rhyming text. There’s more wearable books in this series too, including Book-o-Teeth, Book-o-Beards, and Book-o-Masks!

What Happens When…: This lovely book allows readers to explore what happens to things that are lost or let go through text and illustrations on fold-out pages. I love how this book—originally published in French—offers simple solutions to some of the most common questions, such as “what happens when I let my balloon go?”

Guess what?—Food: This lift-the-flap book allows young readers to see familiar foods transformed into unexpected animals! Author Yusuke Yonezu is also the author of Guess What?—Fruit, an equally cool lift-the-flap book for young ones.

Small Smaller Smallest is a great way to learn differences in sizes and quantity. Each page has a pull-tab for children to tug on to see phenomenon like a flower growing from tall to taller to tallest and snowflakes falling low… lower… lowest.

Pinwheel allows readers to spin different wheels to create colorful scenes of natural areas. Like in Kaleidoscope, Salina Yoon’s simple poetry reminds readers of the beauty around us every day.

If you want even more great interactive books for children, check out this more extensive list!

Dojo Daycare!

Dojo Daycare is a hilarious new addition to our picture book collection. With its digitally drawn comic style illustrations and rhythmic rhyming, Chris Tougas' first foray into the world of picture books is a pure joyride.

When adult ninjas leave the house, their little ninjas are dropped off at the Dojo Daycare. The Dojo Master tries to instill values of kindness, respect and honor in the young ninjas, but they have other plans. KABOOM! KAPOW! With kids kicking, jumping, and screaming, the Dojo quickly descends into chaos. The Dojo Master attempts to regain control but cannot get through to his little ninjas. When the little ninjas see that they have saddened the Dojo, they quickly regroup to furiously clean the Dojo and restore peace to the Daycare.

This adorable and funny book puts an emphasis on personal responsibility and respect for your peers. For other interesting and off-beat stories about good manners, try A Quest for Good Manners or Rules of the Wild: An Unruly Book of Manners.

Please, Mr. Panda

Here are two super cute picture books that involve manners.

Please Mr. Panda is a new picture book and features a panda with a box of donuts to share, but his friends aren’t asking for them very nicely. It’s a simple book with few words and lively illustrations all about the word please.

Thank You, Octopus offers a hilarious dialog between a boy getting ready for bed and his octopus friend. There is a lot of thank you and no thank you between the two that will enduce much laughter.

If this sparks further dialog with your little one, check out more picture books all about manners.

A Pond Full of Ink

" 'Would you like to come out walking?' said the table to the chair,
'I've been standing here forever, and I'd like to take the air.'
'Now you mention it, I'd love to come, ' the chair at once replied.
'Why, we both have legs beneath us that we've never even tried.' "

Looking for something a little silly? A little goofy? A little bizarre or 'out-there'? Turn to A Pond Full of Ink for a quirky display of poetry with unbelievable illustrations. This poetry collection by Dutch author Annie M. G. Schmidt contains 12 funny and nonsensical poems, which are paired with fantastical images. These sketch-like illustrations are the true star here, and remind me quite a bit of Quentin Blake's great illustrations for Roald Dahl's books.

While reading A Pond Full of Ink, I was immediately reminded of the late great Shel Silverstein. If you have yet to check out this brilliant author, take a gander at some of his best works, including Where the Sidewalk Ends and Falling Up.

New BabyLit Primer Board Books

Jennifer Adams' BabyLit primer board book series are new to the shelves and proving to be a great way to introduce your young child to literary classics! The BabyLit primer series takes well-known literary classics such as The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Wuthering Heights and Moby Dick, and introduces children to these novels in a way that is both easy to digest and unbelievably delightful. These books feature brilliant and engaging illustrations, simple phrases or quotes from the original texts, and present important vocabulary for your child to interact with.

Alice in Wonderland, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz and A Christmas Carol are color primers and therefore feature color vocabulary as related to their respective books. Learn about Old Marley's silver chains or Oz's yellow brick road and green Emerald City. Help familiarize your child with numbers by reading Jane Eyre or Romeo & Juliet, both counting primers.

There are primers on familiar topics, such as opposites, animals and sounds, as well as categories as diverse as fashion, anatomy or nonsense. There is even a primer on learning Spanish! These beautiful books are a great addition to any bookshelf and can help set in motion a love of reading to last a lifetime.

Library Lists: 10 Great Animal Books for Kids

Are you looking for cool facts about animals? Are you interested in seeing amazing, detailed pictures of animals and how they swim, run, climb, and eat? Here’s ten of the best designed, researched and illustrated books on animals for kids in grades K-8.

1. Bone collection: Animals: This book has detailed pictures and drawings of the skeletons of some of the world’s most fascinating animals! Study their bones to find out how they move and survive.

2. Extreme Animals: The Toughest Creatures on Earth: Many animals can survive in conditions that humans could never tolerate. Learn about these animals and their special adaptations that allow them to brave the driest deserts, the coldest poles, and other amazing locations.

3. Eye to Eye: How Animals See the World: Animals have eyes of all different shapes, colors, and seeing-capabilities. Learn why different animals have such unique eyes and how they use them to gain information about what’s around them.

4. Amazing Giant Wild Animals: This awesome book features fold out pages of some of the longest, widest, tallest and heaviest creatures on Earth, allowing you to get a feel for their true size!

5. Actual Size: Steve Jenkins’ amazing paper-cut illustrations make this amazing book even more wonderful. Each page features part of an animal or a whole animal presented in its real-life size. You can see how animal shapes and sizes compare to your own body parts and to other animals!

6. Nocturne: Creatures of the Night: Amazing photographs of nocturnal animals take readers on a journey through the animal kingdom at night. Learn about the habits and habitats of forty different night-dwelling creatures.

7. Creature Features: Some animals have strange features! In this beautiful book, the animals themselves explain why they look the way they do, and why their seemingly unusual traits actually help them survive in the wild.

8. National Wildlife Federation’s World of Birds: This colorful almanac for beginning bird watchers is filled with over a hundred species, arranged by habitat. A must-have guide for those interested in learning about the birds we see in our backyards!

9. Animalium: Take a journey to the museum with this stunning book! Invertebrates, fish, amphibians, reptiles, birds, and mammals are all featured in gorgeous illustrations in this virtual museum with exhibits open 365 days a year!

10. The Animal Book: This “collection of the fastest, fiercest, toughest, cleverest, shyest--and most surprising--animals on Earth” features over 300 types of animals and offers an easily comprehensible history of life on Earth. My personal favorite animal book for kids!

Still want more? Check out this more extensive list of great, kid-friendly books on animals!

Lift-the-Flap Board Books!

The library has many baby board books, with thick pages ready for babies and toddlers to handle. But sometimes you’re looking for the books that have peek-a-boo style flaps that the kiddos can lift up and explore! We have several of those.

This past week Ms. Amanda featured Guess What? - Food at storytime, and it’s great if you’re looking for a silly guessing story, even for preschoolers. AADL also has many more lift the flap books to choose from! Check out the list and see what might make your little one's reading time more hands-on.

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