Follow Your Money

Follow Your Money: Who Gets It, Who Spends It, Where Does It Go? is a brand new informative book for kids! The introduction explains what money really is and how we started using it (can you imagine buying a rug by trading a camel for it?). The book monetizes everything from your breakfast to making movies, and breaks down the numbers in an approachable way. Cool graphics show the components of a cell phone and the process of making a shoe. It also answers tricky questions like why a hamburger costs more than the ingredients do and how a sale in a clothing store works.

This is sure to be a hit for those interested in how things work and those who haven't found that inspiring math topic yet!

AADL has other great books on money for kids too, such as Money Games: the Business of Sports, Show Me the Money, and The Secret Life of Money: A Kid's Guide to Cash.

For more fun with math, check out the Sum Story Fun events in February: The Lion's Share, Snowflake Bentley, and Pigs on a Blanket.

Rubber Band Bracelets!

It seems like kids everywhere are making and wearing jewelry out of colorful rubber bands. Perhaps a Rainbow Loom made its way to your house in December? Rubber band bracelet fun is a book that offers more designs to create with the loom, including the triple rainbow bracelet, the beaded bonanza and the flower bracelet. There’s also Totally awesome rubber band jewelry, which offers tips, tricks and more designs to create. If you’ve got a stash of tiny rubber bands on hand and are waiting for the next project, give them a whirl!

Parent’s Corner: Science Fair Time!

The Downtown library has a shelf in the Youth Department known as the Parent Shelf. On this shelf you’ll find a variety of parent-child related books on a multitude of topics- including everything from language to behavior to safety to bullying. These books are available for checkout and can be found in the catalog when searching “parent shelf.”

Winter is in high gear, the new year started and the kids are back in school. This means that science fair season will soon be upon us! Many children in the area will complete a project for school. AADL has a slew of books with a variety of science fair projects in them, including a few on the parent shelf. It’s not too early to browse through the experiments and see what might be a good choice for you to work on!

Best New Music At AADL

AADL is constantly adding to its diverse selection of new CDs. If you're seeking some great new tunes, consider the following must-hear material.

"The Electric Lady," Janelle Monae: The easiest way to categorize Janelle Monae's music would be "R&B," but the young singer-songwriter is far more versatile than that. As on her previous masterpiece, The Archandroid, she plays fast and loose with genres from funk to soul to rock to jazz...even a bit of baroque folk. Creating an android alter-ego for herself, she weaves bits of tongue-in-cheek sci-fi dialogue into the album, which plays like an hour of the funnest, funkiest radio you've ever heard. Featuring excellent guest artists from Prince to Erykah Badu. (Fun fact: if you haven't heard of Monae before, you've almost certainly heard her voice. She's featured on Fun's smash hit "We Are Young".)

"The Speed of Things," Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr.: If you're seeking some locally-grown jams, look no further than the new record from Detroit indie-pop duo Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr.. These guys seemed on the verge of major celebrity status with their previous record It's A Corporate World. While their latest isn't quite the big, radio-friendly push they need, it's still full of cheery, hooky, danceable tunes. (Just listen to "If You Didn't See Me (Then You Weren't On the Dancefloor)" and try NOT to spend the next hour humming that riff.)

"Dream River," Bill Callahan: Some may recognize Bill Callahan from his work under the name Smog, but he takes a more personal approach on this record, his fourth to be released under his own name. There's something fascinating, beautiful and a little spooky about Callahan's sparse, autumnal arrangements. You could describe the record's genre as "folk," but Callahan's whispery, often spoken lyrics are too unique to pin down to an established genre. Lie back and let Callahan's pensive lyrics and atmospheric arrangements wash over you.

Find more great new CDs here.

Matilda and Hans

Once there was a good little cat named Matilda, and a not so good cat named Hans. Matilda always behaved and Hans always misbehaved. One night Hans let all of the animals in the zoo free and there was big trouble. Will Matilda help Hans? With a funny plot twist and a sneaky ending, this picture book will have you giggling. Matilda and Hans by Yokococo features delightful illustrations and an adorable storyline.

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 Snowman

Every winter, when I was little, I would get out one of my favorite books, The Snowman by Raymond Briggs. But I would not read this book – because there are no words – only pictures. These pictures tell a magical, yet simple story of a young boy who builds a snowman, only to wake up in the middle of the night and find that the snowman has come alive. The boy and his snowman get into all sorts of mischief during the night, from trying on his dad’s clothes to flying across the big night sky. This cozy story is ingrained in my memory to this day, and carries with it so much nostalgia!

This classic picture book is available in the AADL collection, not only in its traditional format, but now also in the reader format and as well as a movie on DVD.

The Historical House Series

If you have a young reader in your life who loves historical fiction, check out The Historical House Series. Written by Adèle Geras, Ann Turnbull and Linda Newbery, this unique series follows the lives and times of young women who live in the same house in London over a period of 200 years. Follow along as the young women meet famous people the likes of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, join in the fight with suffragettes to allow women the right to vote and watch the first moon landing! Each book is written from the perspective of the young girls and captures the enchanting stories of their dreams and determination, all while set in the colorful world of London.
Polly’s March by Linda Newbery
Lizzie’s Wish by Adèle Geras
Mary Ann & Miss Mozart by Ann Turnball
Andie’s Moon by Linda Newbery

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