National Book Award Winner for Young People's Literature

Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson won the National Book Award for Young People’s Literature at last night's awards ceremony. In the book the author shares her childhood memories and reveals the first sparks that ignited her writing career in free-verse poems about growing up in the North and South. The other finalists in this category were:

Threatened by Eliot Schrefer

The Port Chicago 50: Disaster, Mutiny, and the Fight for Civil Rights by Steve Sheinkin

Noggin by John Corey Whaley

Revolution: The Sixties Trilogy, Book Two by Deborah Wiles

See the full 2014 National Book Award list of winners in fiction, nonfiction, and poetry. (And AADL's list of the titles in the catalog for quick hold placing!)

Troll Swap

Have you ever wanted to trade places with a troll? Here’s one way to do it:

In Troll Swap, a funny picture book, we have Timothy the troll who is very neat and polite and tidy – much the opposite of all the other messy trolls.
Somewhere else we have a young girl named Tabitha who is very loud and loopy and messy – which upsets her neat parents half the time.

Tabitha and Timothy were both having a hard time getting along with others, until one day they bumped into each other and decided to trade places! That might solve all their problems! Maybe Tabitha’s parents would prefer a well-mannered troll who is polite and tidy? And maybe the trolls would enjoy Tabitha who is loud and loopy and messy like them?

Troll Swap is a silly book with wonderfully silly illustrations, and of course a happy ending. It's a cute book about just being yourself.

New Youth BOCDs @ AADL

If there is a family road trip in your future, consider taking along a few New Youth Books on CD. Recorded stories can keep a family entertained for hours. Our newest selections include Princess Labelmaker to the Rescue, an Origami Yoda book by Tom Angleberger. In this book, state tests are coming up as the Origami Rebel Alliance finds powerful allies in their fight against the "FunTime test preparation program". Another new selection is Absolutely Almost, by Lisa Graff, in which a new nanny named Calista makes a big difference in the confidence of Albie, a ten-year-old boy. Enjoy!

New Nonfiction for Kids: Get the Scoop on Animal Puke!

Animal- and nature- lovers will delight in all of the amazing facts they find on regurgitation and emesis (a.k.a. vomit) in Get the Scoop on Animal Puke! by Dawn Cusick! Despite the slightly off-putting cover of this book, this eye-catching new addition to the youth collection is sure to be a hit! Vomit as seen in nature doesn't have to be considered disgusting. As written by Cusick, "...gross and weird things we see in nature help animals compete and survive. Animal puke isn't gross: it's really pretty cool."

Here are some amazing facts that I was surprised to learn from this book:

  • Some animals vomit to protect themselves from predators or poisonous food.
  • Scavengers like turkey vultures expel highly acidic vomit to ward off potential thieves from eating their carrion food.
  • You may remember Genie's advice about camels in the movie Aladdin: "Watch out, they spit!" In truth, the "spit" that Genie is warning us about is really vomit, which camels eject when scared. Apparently it smells really bad.
  • Have you ever seen video of a snake eating an entire egg in one mouthful? They have trouble digesting the egg shell, so they make sure to spit that part back out after they eat it.
  • Many animals are "ruminant," meaning the plants or foods they eat are not fully digestible the first time, so they need to keep chewing it until it can go through their intestines. All ruminant animals have four(!) stomachs, and include cows, goats, deer, and giraffes.

Want to learn even more amazing and strange animal facts? Check out these fascinating animal books!

Kate Atkinson Fans Rejoice!


Kate Atkinson, whose epic Life After Life tore up time and space and heartstrings, has announced that her next book will return to the same world, this time focused on Teddy, the beloved youngest child in the Todd family. Her new book, "A God In Ruins" will be released in May 2015.

The article in The Guardian describes that the plot "will explore how Teddy – "would-be poet, RAF bomber pilot, husband and father" – navigates "the perils and progress of the twentieth century."

After the multiple realities explored by Life After Life, I'm very interested to discover in what reality "A God In Ruins" occurs, and if the story moves in a linear fashion, or if Teddy has some second chances of his own.

If you haven't read Kate Atkinson before, Life After Life is a great place to start. When it was published in 2013, it enjoyed great success, winning many awards and much critical praise. I also highly recommend her ingeniously plotted Case Histories, which kicks off her excellent Jackson Brodie mystery series.

TV Spotlight: Pee-wee’s Playhouse

Mekka-lekka-hi, Mekka-hiney-ho! Pee-wee’s Playhouse, Seasons 1 – 5 are now available at AADL! This cult classic stars Paul Reubens and aired from 1986-1990. Created by Reubens, it was designed to be an educational show for children and adults and was influenced by 1950s television shows such as Captain Kangaroo and Howdy Doody. With its quirky characters and colorful playhouse set, the show was a hit and remains a classic. The show features the zany Pee-Wee Herman and his many silly friends, including Cowboy Curtis, Conky the Robot, and Reba the Mail Lady. For more Pee-Wee, check out Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure and The Pee-Wee Herman Show on Broadway.

Hook's Revenge!

New to the shelves is Heidi Schulz's Hook's Revenge! This rousing adventure book features thirteen-year old Jocelyn, better know as Captain Hook's only daughter! After Hook meets his untimely end, Jocelyn must track down the fearsome crocodile that killed him in order to avenge her famous father. Along the way, Jocelyn meets a few familiar faces, including pirates, mermaids, fairies, and even Smee, Peter Pan, and the Lost Boys themselves. Especially hilarious is the narrator, who tends to be a bit.... snarky. Over the course of the novel, Jocelyn finds her calling behind the helm of her ship and leads her swashbuckling friends through dangerous adventures. Hook's Revenge is a funny and touching book about a young girl struggling to find her place in the world.

Looking for other popular pirate books? Try Magic Marks the Spot and it's sequel: The Terror of the Southlands. Both novels are a part of The Very Nearly Honorable League of Pirates series by Caroline Carlson, and follow main character Hilary Westfield, a girl who escapes finishing school to join a group of buccaneers on their pirate adventures.

Once Upon An Alphabet

If words make up stories, and letters make up words, then stories are made of letters.
In this menagerie we have stories, made of words, made FOR all the letters.

Once Upon An Alphabet: Short Stories For All the Letters is written and illustrated by the amazing Oliver Jeffers. The picture book has a (cute or charming or funny or silly or weird or dark) short story for each letter of the alphabet, accompanied by quirky and beautiful illustrations. The stories feature some great vocabulary that dances off the page. This book is a real treat for both adults and children who aren't afraid of dark humor. (All the letters have great stories, but I recommend W. Since W is for Whiraffe!)

NEW Diary of a Wimpy Kid Book: The Long Haul!

Can't get enough of Greg Heffley and the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series? Well you're in luck! Jeff Kinney just released his newest addition to the series, "The Long Haul," yesterday! This time Greg is definitely in for some eye-rolling and groans: he's going on a family road trip. That's right, he's stuck with Rodrick, Manny, Mom and Dad inside a car for what seems like eternity, and that can only mean one thing: this hilarious journey is sure to keep you laughing!

More good news! The official series website has a free excerpt for you to read, or you can read ALL OF IT by checking it out from AADL!

Even MORE good news! If you want to celebrate this awesome book series, join us at the Pittsfield Branch this Saturday (11/8) at 1pm for a Diary of a Wimpy Kid Book Release Party! We'll have crafts, games and prizes for the whole family!

Parent’s Corner: Top Picks

The Parent Shelf is located in the downtown youth area, and on this shelf you’ll find a variety of parent-child related books on a multitude of topics- including everything from homework to potty training to time-outs to bullying. These books are available for checkout and can be found in the catalog when searching “parent shelf.” Here are a few stand-out titles worth a peek:

Making grateful kids: The science of building character

How to be the parent you always wanted to be

For additional parent resources check out the long list of titles in the catalog and located on the Parent Shelf!

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