Youth Biographies by Brad Meltzer

Author Brad Meltzer is known for his best-selling mystery novels, including The Book of Lies and The Inner Circle.

His latest books are for children! And they’re cool! It’s a series called Ordinary People Change the World and features biographies on some extraordinary folks that started out as ordinary, just like me and you. Check out the wonderfully illustrated I Am Abraham Lincoln and I Am Amelia Earhart. In these books young readers get to see famous faces from history doing fun things as children.

New J Fiction: The Lion Who Stole My Arm

Be sure to check out a great new addition to realistic fiction for kids: The Lion Who Stole My Arm! Pedru has grown up in Africa as a hunter’s son: he can catch fish, climb trees, and even use a spear to defend his family and catch the biggest animals. But one evening as he’s heading home from a fun day of fishing with his friends, he encounters something he’s only heard of in tales- a lion! In this tale of exciting heroism and personal strength, Pedru shares his struggles to defend his community from unwanted intruders and how he dealt with the life-changing experience of coming face to face with a lion.

Nicola Davies finds her passion in observing and working with animals. She has impacted animal life all over the world through whale watching, bird spotting, and hands-on research. Ms. Davies has written several books for kids, including One Tiny Turtle, Surprising Sharks, and Escape from Silver Street Farm. To learn more about Nicola Davies, visit her author website.

Once Upon A Northern Night

Once Upon A Northern Night is a beautiful NEW picture book written by Jean E. Pendziwol with pictures by Isabelle Arsenault.

Once upon a northern night
While you lay sleeping,
Wrapped in a downy blanket,
I painted you a picture.

Using lyrical and poetic language the narrator describes the wintry landscape outside a sleeping child’s window, creating a narrative that makes way for a picture painted with words and imagery full of magic and wonder. The illustrations are reminiscent of older storybooks like the Caldecott honor book Blueberries For Sal. This would make a wonderfully calm and enchanting bedtime story.

Winter is on its way out, but Season 4 of Game of Thrones is coming!

Many of us are eagerly awaiting the start of season four of Game of Thrones, which begins on Sunday, April 6th on HBO. The AADL has the first three seasons of the show on DVD and Blu-Ray, but we also have a large selection of other Game of Thrones-related materials that fans may be interested in. The show was inspired by and is strictly based on the Song of Ice and Fire series by George R. R. Martin. The library has all five of the currently published books available. Martin has said that he may publish the sixth installment of the series, The Winds of Winter, in 2015. Even if you’ve already seen the show, reading the books is a cool way to find out more details and clear up any confusion.

The AADL also has graphic novel adaptations of Game of Thrones. These are fast-paced and colorful reads that fans will surely enjoy. There are also unique books about the Game of Thrones fantasy world and the show in our collection. The Wit and Wisdom of Tyrion Lannister collects a number of the hilarious and witty quotes said by one of the most popular characters into a fun book. The Unofficial Game of Thrones cookbook: from direwolf ale to auroch stew—more than 150 recipes from Westeros and beyond has appetizers, side dishes, main courses and desserts, all inspired by meals or situations from Game of Thrones. We also have the official companion to the HBO show, Inside HBO’s Game of Thrones. It is filled with hundreds of photos of the set, actors, and props from the show. Finally, an extremely helpful book is The Lands of Ice and Fire: maps from King’s Landing to across the Narrow Sea, a collection of maps and diagrams that show the world described by Martin in his books and shown to viewers on the show. As fans know, keeping the many settings of Game of Thrones straight can be a challenge; this book can help those who are struggling better visualize the continents of Westeros and Essos

Fun Youth Novel: True Blue Scouts of Sugar Man Swamp, by Kathi Appelt

For raccoon lovers -- think Raccoon Tune by Nancy Shaw and Rascal by Sterling North -- this book is a rare find indeed. The True Blue Scouts of Sugar Man Swamp, by Kathi Appelt, stars raccoon brothers Bingo and J'miah, the latest recruits to the Official Sugar Man Swamp Scouts. The chance to serve the Sugar Man -- who rules the swamp and loves sugarcane -- is an honor and a huge responsibility. The story unfolds as wild feral hogs and developers threaten the swamp, yet Sugar Man can't seem to wake up. The raccoon brothers are particularly memorable, as are a host of other characters including 12-year-old Chap Brayburn and Gertrude the rattlesnake. This highly imaginative, fast-paced book was a finalist for the 2013 National Book Award for Young People's Literature. Kathi Appelt has won many other awards and may be best known for her book The Underneath.

Creepy, Brilliant Teen Science Fiction: "Unwind," by Neal Shusterman

Unwind by Neal Shusterman is a wildly imaginative dystopic tale published in 2007, yes, even before Hunger Games burst on the scene. Shusterman's believable, terrifying science-fiction thriller is based on a fictional future law which allows parents of children age 13 to 18 to have their teens "unwound," with al their organs transplanted into different people. Oh my. As a result of this law, the main characters in the novel -- Connor, Risa and Lev -- are running for their lives in a world gone mad. The story contains several nightmarish medical scenes that may keep you up at night, worrying about the future of the characters and/or of America. But overall, I found this to be an entirely engaging, exciting book that once begun, could not be put down. When it was published, the novel was well received and earned this starred review from Publishers Weekly: "...Gripping, brilliantly imagined futuristic thriller . . . could hardly be more engrossing or better aimed to teens." The [www.ala.org|American Library Association] named the novel a Best Book for Young Adults and a Quick Pick for Reluctant Readers. After reading this book, I'm eager to read the next two books in the Unwind dystology -- UnWholly, published in 2012, and UnSouled, which came out last year.

Meet “It’s All Write!” Judge #6: Bill Konigsberg

Bill Konigsberg has a long history in writing prior to authoring teen novels. As an avid sports fan, Konigsberg covered the New York Mets and other teams as a sports writer and editor for the Associated Press and ESPN.com. He also contributed a fantasy baseball column to several newspapers countrywide. Since writing his award-winning article in 2001, Konigsberg has been a strong advocate for homosexual awareness in sports.

In addition to his debut teen novel, Out of the Pocket, Konigsberg published Openly Straight in May 2013. Openly Straight, featuring a student looking to shed gay labels and stereotypes, was listed on YALSA’s 2014 Best Fiction for Young Adults list and was recently awarded the Sid Fleischman Award for Humor.

To learn more about Bill Konigsberg, visit his website and blog.

Stay tuned for the rest of the “It’s All Write!” judges in forthcoming blog posts!

Reminder to all “It’s All Write!” participants: The deadline to submit your story is today, March14! Submissions will be accepted until midnight. Please make sure you have followed the guidelines, and happy (last-minute) writing!

March into a Book Club to Go!

Over the next few weeks the AADL will be rolling out six new Book Clubs to Go. There will be a mix of fiction and non-fiction that will include Amy Tan’s newest book, The Valley of Amazement and Robert K. Massie’s best-seller, Catherine the Great: Portrait of a Woman. Keep your eyes open for the following titles:

Fiction:
The Yonahlossee Riding Camp for Girls by Anton Disclafani
Exiled to an equestrian boarding school in the South at the height of the Great Depression for her role in a family tragedy, strong-willed teen Thea Atwell grapples with painful memories while acclimating to the school's strict environment.

The Round House by Louis Erdrich
When his mother, a tribal enrollment specialist living on a reservation in North Dakota, slips into an abyss of depression after being brutally attacked, 14-year-old Joe Coutz sets out with his three friends to find the person that destroyed his family.

Sweet Tooth by Ian McEwan
Recruited into MI5 against a backdrop of the Cold War in 1972, Cambridge student Serena Frome, a compulsive reader, is assigned to infiltrate the literary circle of a promising young writer whose politics align with those of the government, a situation that is compromised when she falls in love with him.

The Valley of Amazement by Amy Tan
Violet is one of the most celebrated courtesans in Shanghai, a beautiful and intelligent woman who has honed her ability to become any man's fantasy since her start as a 'Virgin Courtesan' at the age of twelve. Half-Chinese and half-American, she moves effortlessly between the East and the West. But her talents belie her private struggle to understand who she really is and her search for a home in the world.

Non-Fiction:
Catherine the Great: Portrait of a Woman by Robert K. Massie
The Pulitzer Prize–winning author of Peter the Great, Nicholas and Alexandra, and The Romanovs returns with another masterpiece of narrative biography, the extraordinary story of an obscure German princess who became one of the most remarkable, powerful, and captivating women in history.

In the Garden of Beasts: Love, Terror, and an American Family in Hitler's Berlin by Eric Larson
The time is 1933, the place, Berlin, when William E. Dodd becomes America’s first ambassador to Hitler’s Nazi Germany in a year that proved to be a turning point in history. Suffused with the tense atmosphere of the period, and with unforgettable portraits of the bizarre Göring and the expectedly charming--yet wholly sinister--Goebbels, In the Garden of Beasts lends a stunning, eyewitness perspective on events as they unfold in real time, revealing an era of surprising nuance and complexity

"Rooftoppers" is Exciting, Enchanting Youth Novel

The opening line of Rooftoppers by Katherine Rundell, sets the scene: "On the morning of its first birthday, a baby was found floating in a cello case in the middle of the English Channel." The baby is Sophie, now an adolescent with a vague recollection that her mother was in the channel, too, waving for help after a shipwreck. Sophie's eccentric guardian, Charles, tells her it is almost impossible that her mother is still alive. But for Sophie and Charles, "almost impossible" leaves room for "still possible" and they believe that one should never ignore something that just might be possible.

Because Sophie is a young lady in the care of a single man (Charles), British welfare officials begin pursuing them. The two flee to Paris. With only the address of the maker of her mother's cello, Sophie launches a search for her mom. She is aided by young Matteo and the Rooftoppers, a band of children living in hidden spaces above Paris. Philip Pullman, author of the wonderful series His Dark Materials, praises Rooftoppers as "the work of a writer with an utterly distinctive voice and a wild imagination." I found the book absorbing and delightful.

March is National Craft Month!

There is no better time to celebrate your inner crafter than National Craft Month. The snow is staring to melt (and will be back again soon) but the knitting needles are still on your coffee table next to a stack of movies to watch. It’s time to grab your knitting needles, jewelry pliers, embroidery floss, and scissor and get making.

Whatever your craft, AADL has you covered for books to get you started. The 700s contain many books on a variety of topics, including: jewelry making, sewing, crocheting, origami, felting, scrapbooking, quilting, and more.

If you're looking to get crafting but don't know where to start, join us at AADL for one of the many craft programs we regularly host! We host SO MANY great craft programs that are always free of charge for anyone to attend. There are folks to guide you and supplies to work with. Keep an eye on the schedule for upcoming hands-on events for all ages.

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