Mace Windu's purple lightsaber

If you're turning 13 and love Star Wars, it makes sense that you would want a purple lightsaber for your birthday. My son got one--over my initial objection that he already had way too many lightsabers of other colors. Now I know what's behind Mace Windu's purple light saber, and also that this hue of magic weapon may actually have been a personal request from actor Samuel Jackson, when he agreed to play Mace Windu in the films. (I got that from Wikipedia, which quoted an interview on The Late Show with David Letterman.) Yes, of course: who wants to wage galactic battle, and not have your lightsaber clearly identifiable among other Jedi?

Human biology for kids (and adults who like gross stuff)

Look on our New Books shelf in the Youth department and you might find a copy of what The Seattle Times referred to as a book "For kids who like their science with a dash of grossness". Ouch! : how your body makes it through a very bad day is a graphic introduction to many basic functions of the human body. Inside you'll find detailed images and explanations of things like pimples, sneezing, sleeping, vomiting, pathogens and parasites, and the ever-popular bathroom break. To add to the visual detail of the book, a CD-ROM is included which offers viewers an animated view of a few everyday bodily functions. Science lovers will enjoy the meticulous detail and elaborate glossary (I learned what Epithelial Tissue is!) and parents will appreciate the numerous health facts for kids (like "Feces can consist of up to 50 percent bacteria, hence the need to wash hands after going to the bathroom"). Yuck! Enjoy!

Tweens can Download Savvy--free!

Attention tweens! Savvy is a new novel about a girl whose family members each manifest a special power at age 13.

Of course, it can be hard to get your hands on one of the AADL's copies of popular new titles like this one, but luckily, to promote this debut novel by Ingrid Law, Penguin is teaming up with 35 tween-centric Web sites to give away free e-book copies of the title.

From July 14 to 20, visitors to those sites, including: bered.com, Allykatzz.com, and Girlslife.com, will be able to download a copy of the book via Penguin's minisite for Savvy. The e-books can be read through Web browsers and posted on blogs or social networking sites; the book will only be readable during the weeklong promotion. (If you can't wait until then, chapter one is already available for download here.)

Library Lego League

Second Place Team 7/5/07Second Place Team 7/5/07

Register now for Library Lego League! Visit any public service desk or call 327-4200 to reserve your spot on one of the four Lego building days: 7/24, 7/31, 8/7, or 8/14.

In teams of four, participants will spend all day, from 10-4 PM, building a robot out of Mindstorms NXT kits in the Downtown Library Multipurpose Room. Teams will face a challenge of the day, where they will have to program their robot to complete a certain task. The top three teams will win prizes, while everyone will leave with a participation ribbon. Pizza will be provided.

Join us at the library for a fun-filled day. Be sure to sign up because space is limited. Check out the L3 Blog to find fellow NXT enthusiasts. See you there!

To brush up on Mindstorms, check out these books: The unofficial LEGO Mindstorms NXT inventor's guide, Building robots with Lego Mindstorms : the ultimate tool for Mindstorms maniacs! and Creative projects with LEGO mindstorms.

Fabulous Fiction Firsts #108

It's not often that you come across a debut novel as sure-footed and well-crafted as Tom Rob Smith's Child 44*.

In the last winter of Stalin's reign, Leo Demidov, a national hero and a ranking officer of the Moscow MGB (State Security) is aware that his good fortune (nice apartment, beautiful wife, imported foods) is precarious at best – balancing on luck and political gamesmanship. When he refuses to denounce his wife on trumped up charges as a spy, he was demoted and exiled to a remote city and quickly becomes involved hunting down a serial killer preying on young children. What Leo sees as his redemption cast him as the enemy of the state and a fugitive on the run.

Bleak, brooding and chillingly affecting, with a “relentless” pace and a layered plot, this unexpected story of love and family, of hope and resilience is a hypnotic psychological thriller - surely not to be missed. Prepublication film rights already sold to Ridley Scott.

For fans of the Arkady Renko series by Martin Cruz Smith and Emil Brod series by Olen Steinhauer.

* = Starred Reviews

A Cool Girl and her Stuff

Ginny Davis is having a tough seventh-grade year, but at least she is getting good grades on her English essays. This helps us as readers, as we enjoy the essays, notes, instant messages, lists, and meatloaf haikus of Middle School Is Worse Than Meatloaf: A Year Told Through Stuff by Jennifer Holm. Pictures by Elicia Castaldi add delight to this clever book written by a two-time Newbery Honor winner.

Frosty Life: Surviving the Poles

What animals live at the poles and how do they survive? Discover how polar bears swim in ice-cold water and other sub-zero animals live through extreme temperatures through hands-on experiments. Find out all about artic animals in this fun-filled adult/child workshop presented by the UM Exhibit Museum of Natrual History. Call any information desk to register your spot in a branch or drop in. Workshop for children ages 6-11 with an adult.

Pittsfield Branch, Wednesday, February 20, 4:30-5:30 PM
Malletts Creek Branch, Saturday, February 23, 10-11 AM
Northeast Branch, Saturday, February 23, 2-3 PM

TweenSpace goes undercover!

We're becoming Masters of Disguise this week at TweenSpace. Join us at the Northeast Branch, Tuesday, February 5th from 4:30 to 6 pm to create disguises and costumes. Make a silly mustache, an eye patch, your very own Wild West vest, or anything else your imagination dreams up. If you're a 4th or 5th grader go incognito this week at TweenSpace.

TweenSpace: Checkermania! @ Malletts Creek, Tuesday, January 22, 4:30-6:00 pm

Work with your team to jump over opponents in a life-size game of checkers. Haven’t played before? Come and learn! We’ll also be making our own checkerboards that you can take to play on at home! For kids grades 4 and 5.

Ice Worlds: Why are the Poles so Cold?

IcebergIceberg

Where are the North and South Poles, and why are they so cold? What’s the difference between seawater and fresh water? Sea ice and land ice? How do layers of ice stack up? From ice cores to ocean currents, we’ll learn about the coldest places on Earth in this exciting science workshop held in collaboration with the UM Exhibit Museum of Natural History. The workshop is for children ages 6-11 and their adult guardian. Activities are created for both adults and children to complete together.

Call the Youth Desk at 327-8301 or ask at any service desk to register for the program. Choose from the following dates:
Wednesday, Jan. 16, 4:30-5:30 PM at the Pittsfield Branch
Saturday, Jan. 19, 10-11 AM at the Malletts Creek Branch
Saturday, Jan. 19, 2-3 PM at the Northeast Branch

Read up on the topic in these great books: Life in the polar lands by Monica Byles, Icebergs, Ice Caps and Glaciers by Allan Fowlar, Shackleton’s Stowaway by Victoria McKernan, and Polar Bears Past Bedtime by Mary Pope Osborne.

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