The Return of the Revenge of AXIS Coffeehouse

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Like some monster out of the depths, AXIS Coffeehouse just keeps on coming back.

Unlike most b-movie monsters, however, AXIS Coffeehouse will let you write poetry, hang out, and eat snacks...Oh, and it will give you goodies like $5 fine forgiveness coupons when you present your work at the mic. How delightfully nefarious!

The mayhem will take place at Malletts Creek branch, from 6:30 -8 PM on Friday March 5th. Be there!

Youth Nonfiction Finds -- Special Edition: Martin Luther King Jr. Day

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Martin Luther King Jr. Day is a day when we should look forward and backward -- backward into history to appreciate how far we have come as a country and the hard work of those who brought us here, and forward to the challenges we still have to face in order to bring about true equality. Here are some good books to help you get a good understanding of the history of the Civil Rights Movement and Martin Luther King Jr.:

Who Was Martin Luther King Jr.? provides a concise biography of its titular subject and background on the issues underlying the Civil Rights Movement, such as Jim Crow Laws and the Supreme Court's Brown v. Board of Education decision. My Brother Martin, written by Christine King Farris, tells the story of Martin Luther King Jr.'s childhood, for a more human picture of the great man. Did you know that he was quite the prankster as a child? I Have a Dream presents Dr. King's famous speech in manageable bites, accompanied by evocative illustrations.

For those who want to learn more about the Civil Rights Movement itself, Nobody Gonna Turn Me 'Round presents a very understandable, illustrated history of the major events of the movement. A Dream of Freedom provides a more in-depth look at the issues, from Emancipation to the Black Panther Party. In Freedom's Children activists like Claudette Colvin and Ruby Bridges share their experiences of growing up during those tumultuous times. Finally, The Civil Rights Movement for Kids combines history with activities, like skits, songs, speeches and even recipes, to really bring history home.

Parent Magazine Update -- Inspiration Information

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I hope you feel rested and refreshed at the end of this holiday season. On the other hand, if you feel like you used up all your creative energy picking gifts and planning activities, January's parent magazines have tools to inspire and inform you.

The Horn Book Magazine is a great guide to the best inspirational tools on the planet -- books! This issue contains an interview with children's author Margaret Mahy, an article in defense of fanfiction (an under-appreciated genre in my opinion), and of course, abundant book reviews. The editors' book picks this issue include Imogene's Last Stand, wordless picture book The Lion and the Mouse,Crossing Stones - a teen novel about World War 1, and graphic novel The Storm in the Barn.

Working Mother Magazine features some inspiring portraits of successful career women, with a bio of White House deputy chief of staff Mona Sutphen and an article by Lynn Blum, the founder of resale shops Once Upon a Child, Plato's Closet and Clothes Mentor. On the more serious side of things, Working Mother also covers recent changes in custody settlements brought on by an increase in stay-at-home dads, with suggestions to minimize the effects of divorce on children.This issue also contains tips on keeping track of your teenager, and some tasty-looking one-dish recipes. I think that "Vegetarian Paella" and "Chicken Olive Tagine" sound pretty inspiring, don't you?

AXIS Coffehouse Returns

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Rejoice, poets and poetry fans! AXIS Coffehouse returns from winter break this Friday, January 8th at 6:30 pm, with more books, more snacks and more fine forgiveness coupons than ever before.

For those of you who are new to the program, AXIS Coffeehouse is space where you can hang out and share poetry in a comfortable and laid-back environment. Read your own work, or someone else's, and you get free goodies, including $5 fine forgiveness coupons!

So, whether you're new to AXIS Coffehouse or not, come on down to Malletts Creek this Friday for an evening of poetry and fun. Feel free to bring a friend.

Teen Stuff: A Series by Henning Mankell

Best selling Swedish author Henning Mankell is known for his slew of adult mystery novels, including the popular Kurt Wallander series. He has also written a few teen titles, including a series about a boy named Joel Gustafson and his father living in Sweden in the late 1950s. The story begins with A Bridge to the Stars, where the curious and imaginative wannabe sailor Joel is nearly twelve and is meeting new friends and looking for new adventures while dealing with his father’s new love interest. He takes comfort in stories of the sea and befriends the town’s oddballs, including a local mad man who drives a lorry at night to stay awake, and an eccentric woman with no nose. Shadows in the Twilight, When the Snow Fell, and the most recent and series ender- The Journey to the End of the World, continue Joel’s story as he begins to grow, finds new challenges, and gets closer to adulthood.

Mankell is a master writer. He paints a wonderful image of snowy small town Sweden in these novels, and Joel is an adorable and fun character. As a fan of the Wallender series I was glad to read Mankell’s telling of Joel’s story in this laid back teen series. (For grades 6 and up.)

Youth Nonfiction Finds -- Guide to the Good Life

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Increased homework? Video-game violence? Whatever the cause, recent studies show that kids today are more stressed and anxious than they were fifty years ago, or even last year. Fortunately, with a little help, stress and anxiety can be managed, and the youth department has plenty of books with suggestions to combat stress and live the good life.

Dr. Thomas McIntyre's book, The Behavioral Survival Guide for Kids, provides detailed, comprehensive information on a variety of issues -- building self-esteem, getting along with teachers, managing feelings, making friends, running for President...ok, that last one wasn't included. But other than that, this book has everything.

For those who like more specific advice, Patti Kelley Criswell's books offer excellent suggestions for managing all the ups and downs of friendship -- from making friends and having fun with friends, to making up after fights with friends. Younger readers may enjoy Peaceful Piggy Meditation, a simple guide to the practice and benefits of centering meditation.

Breathe deep, read good books and have a relaxing holiday season. Namaste!

Fifteen Minutes of Fame -- Teen Magazine Update

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From Mickey Mouse to Jay DeMerit, from Hiroshi Watanabe to William Gibson -- this month's teen magazines are filled with the faces of the famous, or the infamous, depending on your perspective.

Soccer America Magazine features some teams in the news right now -- the qualifiers for the 2010 World Cup in South Africa. Good news, the U. S. is one of them. Bad news, we have a lot of tough opponents before we make it to the finals.

This month's Giant Robot Magazine is absolutely stuffed full of interviews with famous people, from the aforementioned author William Gibson, writer of cyberpunk classic "Neuromancer" and inventor of the word "cyberspace," to Korean extreme horror filmmaker Kim Jin-Won.

Game Informer Magazine brings us a famous face with new twist -- Disney favorite Mickey Mouse is showing his darker side in new Wii game "Epic Mickey". The magazine also covers how the popular Prince of Persia video game will be getting the star treatment as a movie starring Jake Gyllenhaal.

Youth Music Notes -- Wizard Rock

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The Ann Arbor District Library has been fortunate enough to host wizard rock bands Tonks and the Aurors and The Remus Lupins, but did you know that we also have a collection of wizard rock on CD -- that fans of all things Harry Potter can listen to whenever we want?

Harry and the Potters bring us the "good" side of wizard rock, their several CD's chock full of inspiring music to fight the Dark Lord by. Exactly what we expect from the co-founders of the Harry Potter Alliance. Have I mentioned that they also have a special Christmas CD? How...seasonally appropriate.

Representing the often overlooked Slytherin perspective, we have evil wizard rock band Draco and the Malfoys, with a collection of twelve heart-wrenching tunes to remind us that evil wizards are people too.

And, of course, for purists, we also have many authorized CD's of the Harry Potter movie soundtracks.

In the words of Harry and the Potters, "It's never too loud to read," so turn up the CD player and get ready to sing along to some quality wizard rock.

Nonfiction Finds -- Dream Interpretation

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For a very long time, we humans have been fascinated by our dreams. Mystics have found guidance, artists have found inspiration and psychologists have found insight through the study and analysis of dreams.

The library has great resources for all fledgling oneironauts. Patricia Garfield's "The Dream Book" is a great place to start, as is "Dreams" by Tucker Shaw, with psychological explanations for a variety of common dreams. "Teen Dream Power" and "Dream Journey" take it a step farther with tips on lucid dreaming and using dreams to improve your waking life.

Dreams are the ultimate undiscovered frontier, unique and mysterious, with rules of their own. So grab a book and a pillow, and get ready to sleep like you've never slept before!

AXIS Coffeehouse is Back

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Some of you may have noticed that AXIS Coffeehouse took a break last week for Halloween. Now trick-or-treating and costume parties are over for another year, and AXIS Coffeehouse is back at Malletts Creek for two more sessions before we go on winter break.

On November 6 at 6:30 pm, our writing theme will be "Tell the World What You Think" -- a chance to air your opinions on school, your family, the world, or whatever you want! The theme for November 13 (again at 6:30 pm) is "Tell the World What You are Thankful For" -- perfect preparation for the Thanksgiving Dinner toast. Of course, in both sessions you can write anything, read books, eat snacks, and present your own writing or other people's to earn a host of goodies, including $5 fine forgiveness coupons.

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