Big Magic for Little Hands!

Are you a kid looking for something new to do? Never fear! Big Magic for Little Hands is the latest and greatest authority on how to become a real-life magician. Inside are 25 astounding illusions for young magicians. Discover how to perform amazing magic tricks, such as how to levitate your brother, how to perform a Houdini-inspired escape, how to vanish your homework, and more! Learn the biggest tricks of the trade, such as how to conquer stage fright! Find out magic's biggest rules (and when to break them). You can even look to history's most famous magicians for more inspiration... Adelaide Hermann and Matthew Buchinger are just a few of the magicians featured in this book.

Authored by the champion of the World Magic Seminar, this fantastic book features step-by-step instructions (with pictures!) leading you through each and every trick. Along the way are cool facts about other aspects of producing magic. For other resources (and for additional illusions), be sure to check out our other books about magic. As the late great Roald Dahl once said, "A little magic can take you a long way".

Access Common Legal Forms Online

We often get questions at the library about finding legal forms for a variety of purposes. If you find yourself needing forms, the library offers access to the Legal Forms Library - a database of common legal forms. You can search for specific forms or browse by popular categories. Popular categories include:

Divorce
Bankruptcy
Power of Attorney
Wills and Estates
Landlord Tenant
Name Change
Real Estate
Sample Letters
Incorporation

You can access the database from here (then choose Legal Forms Library from the list). Forms are available for download and printing in Microsoft Word, Rich text, and PDF formats (depending on the individual form). The database is updated regularly and also includes a legal dictionary and a Q & A section. A great resource with a wealth of information!

Homeschool Helps -- An Artist Study

Have you done an artist study in your home school? Artist studies (or “picture studies”) have been popular with Charlotte Mason style home schoolers but they can be valuable for any style of homechool. Studies could use one picture or a few pictures of art done by a particular artist.

At the downtown library we have large art books located on the third floor and art prints on the second floor. The Art Prints are ideal for a group to view while art books (a.k.a. coffee table books) are good to view a variety of works by the same artist or during a particular era.

For example use Lighthouse and building; Portland Head and Automat to spur discussions of how the artist (Edward Hopper) uses light, shadow, settings, focus, and mood to communicate to the viewer. Is there a story being told?

An overview of the Edward Hopper’s other paintings and a little about his life can be found in the book The complete oil paintings of Edward Hopper or a in book for children like Edward Hopper.

Heading to a museum? The Fandex family field guides : Painters might be the perfect guide to take along to provide some background from many Western artists.

You don't homeschool? This would be a great snowy/rainy day activity for any family!!

Newbery, Caldecott, Printz & ALL the Youth and Teen Book, Audio and Video Awards Announced!

On Monday, February 2 in a snowed in Chicago The American Library Association (ALA) today announced the top books, video and audio books for children and young adults – including the Caldecott, Coretta Scott King, Newbery and Printz awards – at its Midwinter Meeting. A hotly anticipated day for librarians, publishers, and lovers of youth and teen literature the awards the announcements culminate a year's worth of reading, listening and watching by a wide variety of librarians and educators all over the country. Over the years the variety of awards given out has grown to cover

John Newbery Medal for the most outstanding contribution to children's literature:

The Crossover,” written by Kwame Alexander, is the 2015 Newbery Medal winner.

Two Newbery Honor Books also were named:
El Deafo” by Cece Bell
Brown Girl Dreaming,” by Jacqueline Woodson

Randolph Caldecott Medal for the most distinguished American picture book for children:

The Adventures of Beekle: The Unimaginary Friend,” illustrated by Dan Santat, is the 2015 Caldecott Medal winner.

Six Caldecott Honor Books also were named:

Nana in the City,” illustrated and written by Lauren Castillo
The Noisy Paint Box: The Colors and Sounds of Kandinsky’s Abstract Art,” illustrated by Mary GrandPré, written by Barb Rosenstock
Sam & Dave Dig a Hole,” illustrated by Jon Klassen, written by Mac Barnett
Viva Frida,” illustrated and written by Yuyi Morales
The Right Word: Roget and His Thesaurus,” illustrated by Melissa Sweet, written by Jennifer Bryant
This One Summer,” illustrated by Jillian Tamaki, written by Mariko Tamaki

Coretta Scott King (Author) Book Award recognizing an African American author and illustrator of outstanding books for children and young adults:

Brown Girl Dreaming,” written by Jacqueline Woodson, is the King Author Book winner.

Lindbergh: The Tale of a Flying Mouse

In Lindbergh: The Tale of a Flying Mouse, a very curious mouse wakes up one day, only to discover that all of the other mice have disappeared. The reason? The invention of the mechanical mouse trap! Our little mouse friend knows he must reach his friends and family in America, but with hungry cats guarding the ships at the harbor and owls following him each night, the little mouse knows his journey will not be easy. Late one night, the little mouse spies bats flying in the distance, and (in a stroke of pure mousy genius) realizes that he must fly to America. The mouse will build his own little wings for the long journey overseas. Although difficult at first, our furry protagonist constructs his very own pair of wings, and sets off across the Atlantic.

This story hinges on it's beautiful and breathtaking illustrations, and readers will connect easily to the mouse at the center of this inspiring story. The mechanical aspects of this book greatly reminded me of the illustrations and overall feel of The Invention of Hugo Cabret. Other great mouse stories with similar themes include Mousenet, Young Fredle, and Ratatouille.

Cozy Books for Winter

Are you feeling done with winter even though winter isn’t done with you? I can relate! Luckily, we’ve got some great kids books to make the winter more cozy and fun. My favorite new addition to this group is Winter Bees & Other Poems of the Cold, by Joyce Sidman and Rick Allen. This book is a true gem. Each page combines poems about life during the winter, gorgeous illustrations, and a sidebar explaining the facts behind the poem. For a lovely mix of art and science, you can’t get much better than this book!

If you’re going stir crazy and need some fun activities, check out Fun and Festive Winter Crafts, which will teach you how to make a number of seasonal crafts and offers information on the science of winter. Creating Winter Crafts will also help drive away boredom.

Finally, if you want a hilarious and sweet winter classic, try the great picture book Tacky the Penguin, by Helen Lester. And for older readers, check out my personal winter favorite, Laura Ingalls Wilder’s classic The Long Winter. I guarantee you that this book will make you feel better about our winters!

Grab some hot chocolate and cozy up with one of these books! Spring will be here before we know it. Hopefully.

Is Your Teacher A Monster?

Peter Brown, author and illustrator of the popular and fabulous picture book Mr. Tiger Goes Wild, brings us a new bit of fun in My Teacher is a Monster. In this picture book Bobby has a big problem at school. Her name was Ms. Kirby. She was the meanest teacher who stomped and roared and did not allow paper airplanes in class. She was a monster. But then one day something happens and Bobby sees her in a whole new light.

The book is delighfully illustrated in true Brown fashion, and would be a fun read whether your teacher roars or not.

Professor Astro Cat's Frontiers of Space

Looking for a cool new non-fiction book with a twist? Look no further: Professor Astro Cat's Frontiers of Space has just arrived! Join Professor Astro (a very smart kitty!) as he leads readers through our galaxy and beyond, stopping along the way to explain and explore our solar system. Have you ever wondered how a rocket works? Or maybe you've always wanted to know how to find your favorite constellation in the night sky? Professor Astro is here to help!

Professor Astro Cat's Frontiers of Space is overflowing with cool information, and covers varied space topics such as the life cycle of stars, the Apollo missions, the International Space Station, how modern space suits work, constellations, telescopes, and many more cool space topics. Much of the information is delivered through funky and retro illustrations. This is the kind of book you can spend hours with, pouring over the small details. This book was created by Dr. Dominic Wallman (who holds a PhD in Quantum Physics) and award-winning illustrator and comic book creator Ben Newman, making it both scientifically accurate as well as very visually appealing. This is a great book for all ages, and comes highly recommended!

Interested in learning even more about space? Try out the DK Guide to Space or The Story of Astronomy and Space for more information.

Cool new nonfiction for kids: Skyscrapers!

Are you curious about how huge buildings like the John Hancock Center, the Eiffel Tower and the Chrysler Building were constructed? I know I am, and I’ve always been interested in the architectural feats that keep such towering structures upright for—in some cases—over a hundred years. The amazing new book Who Built That? Skyscrapers, by Didier Cornille, is an introduction to familiar skyscrapers and their architects geared towards kids… but absolutely fascinating for all ages!

My favorite part of the book are the amazing illustrations that show different stages of construction of each building, including the inside skeleton and the frame, so readers can find out how the structure manages to stand so tall. It is so cool to see! Readers can also learn a little bit about each architect including what inspired them to build the featured structure, and what other unique buildings they constructed during their careers.

If you want to learn even more about skyscrapers, try Skyscrapers: Inside and Out, Unbuilding, or Skyscraper, all available at the AADL.

How To Build Your Own Country

Are you a kid that likes making stuff? Are you tired of people bossing you around all of the time? Why not start your own country? How to Build Your Own Country is exactly the guide you need to turn your diplomatic dreams into a reality!

How to Build Your Own Country is the essential guide for creating a new country. This book leads you through important steps in the country-building process, such as naming your country, finding a population, designing a flag and motto, and writing a national anthem. Once you've created your new country, it's time to keep your citizens in order! Let this book guide you through tricky tasks such as setting up a government, holding elections, making the laws and serving your citizens. Once you've got a handle on your country's internal politics, this book also looks at how to best handle keeping the peace between different nations. Pretty soon, you may find yourself with a fully functioning country on your hands!

As you read, you will frequently run into fun facts or interesting stories along the way to help you visualize how these tips played out with other real-life countries. This book includes comic-style illustrations, making it exceptionally easy to pick up and read. This fun and interactive book is a must read for kids of all ages.

Need some inspiration for your new country? Check out books like 100 Countries, 5000 Ideas or Building Manhattan to help spark your own creativity and imagination.

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