Are You a Single Parent?


Michigan State University Extension offers a session called Parenting On Your Own every Tuesday at Hope Center. The session is from 10:30 am to 11:30 am and is free of charge. Topics include managing stress, communication, building self esteem, discipline, parenting teenagers, and more! Call 734-484-2989 or 734-222-3943 for more information.

Goodbye Reading Rainbow


I am so saddened to hear the news that Reading Rainbow, the PBS show that has fostered a love of reading in children for the past 26 years, has come to an end. According to the NPR story, Reading Rainbow is the third longest-running children's show in PBS history — outlasted only by Sesame Street and Mister Rogers. Fortunately, the AADL is well stocked with Reading Rainbow DVDs, as well as many of the books featured on the show, which means you can still see LeVar Burton sharing wonderful stories and hear those magic words, "Take a look, it's in a book".

Brutal -- Michael Harmon

Teen literature certainly has grown up since Paul Zindel's The Pigman, as Michael Harmon's 2009 novel, Brutal, proves in this vivisection of bullying and intolerance in today's high schools. Harmon's lead is Poe Holly, a displaced and self-alienated punk rock singer whose outspoken attitude against the barbie doll status quo is tested when her outcast neighbor becomes the victim of several beatings at the hands of untouchable football star, Colby Morris. The novel is as much an analysis of the social strata that the school system fosters as it is a portrait of the disenfranchised individuals that the system tramples underfoot. Here, Brutal succeeds in speaking to both the students caught up in the scheme and the adults who have been shaped by it.

Need Some Help?


Washtenaw County MSU Extension is teaching Family Consumer Science Programs on useful subjects such as How to Talk So Kids Will Listen, Relax- Alternative to Anger, and Paying Down Debt. They also offer financial resources on their website. Be sure to check them out!

Holiday Gift Guide from the Parents' Choice Foundation

Holiday Gift Guide for ParentsHoliday Gift Guide for Parents

If you are stumped about what get that young person in your life for the holidays, check out the Holiday Gift Guide from the Parents' Choice Foundation. The Foundation has been reviewing media and toys for kids since 1978. The Holiday Gift Guide can help you search by age of the child, budget, or interest! According to their website, Parents' Choice Foundation recommends "products that help kids grow – imaginatively, physically, morally and mentally—fairly priced products that are fun, safe and socially sound." They will help you give gifts you can feel good about.

Dealing with Biting Behaviors


Do you have a pint-size biter on your hands? Whether it is out of frustration, exploration, or plain ol' swollen gums, toddlers are expressing something when they bite. Join Early Childhood Consultant Kathy Sims on Saturday, October 18 at 10:00am at the Pittsfield Branch to learn how to effectively deal with biting and other behaviors in young children. Young children are welcome. Toys will be available in the room.

Sign Language for Infants and Toddlers


Learn how and when to sign with your baby or toddler to improve communication! Join us at the Mallett’s Creek Branch on Saturday, March 27 from 11-11:45am as Kathy Brady of Signing Smart guides you and your young one through games, songs, and other actitivities that make learning signs fun and easy.

Tim Russert 1950-2008, Fathers, Sons and Daughters

I was truly shocked and heartbroken yesterday when I heard of the death of beloved journalist Tim Russert. Behind his award-winning career, Tim was a devoted family man and the best-selling author of two books which make for great father's day gifts. His memoir Big Russ and Me: father and son: lessons of life (2004) recounts his irish-catholic childhood in Buffalo, New York as the son of Big Russ. After the success of this book, Russert received some 60,000 letters and emails from people describing their own relationships with their fathers - excerpts from which comprise his second book Wisdom of Our Fathers: Lessons and Letters from Daughters and Sons (2006). Although it has the potential to be sappy, this collection of stories is diverse enough to appeal to a wide range of readers. And, as a side note, in 1995, the National Father’s Day Committee named Tim Russert “Father of the Year,” Parents magazine honored him as “Dream Dad” in 1998, and in 2001 the National Fatherhood Initiative also recognized him as Father of the Year. Tim, we will miss you.

Summer fun has now begun

No whiningNo whining

Here's a summer-day family plan: Get your kids to read "Mary Catherine rules the wave pool" from the Odyssey children's science magazine of Feb. 2006, available from our Kids InfoBits database. Then take them to Rolling Hills Water Park. Over Memorial Day weekend the park opened for the season, as did Ann Arbor city pools. Surprisingly, Rolling Hills wasn’t the least bit crowded on Memorial Day, maybe because there was a new water park opening in Belleville. At Rolling Hills, I was eyes-on watching two 12-year-old boys as they strategically positioned themselves in tubes against the wall of the wave pool, where the waves are on for 8 minutes, off for 12. This cycle gave everyone a good chance to get tossed around.

Opportunity to have toys tested for lead

This Friday, May 9, 2008, the Washtenaw United Way will provide an opportunity for parents to have toys and other child related plastics tested for lead at the Whittaker Road Ypsilanti Library from 12:00 to 2:00 p.m. The Ecology Center will have its XRF Lead Analyzer there and they will do on the spot tests to check for high lead levels. Other educational activities will be available from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. at our Pittsfield branch. Read more about chemicals in toys from the Ecology Center and check out the top toys from

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