Crossover Graphic Novels: October Edition!

Another month, another three graphic novels perfect for comic lovers whether you are 5 or 500!

The first is a graphic novel based on the hit TV show Steven Universe and imaginatively named Steven Universe Volume 1. If you're not familiar with the TV show Steven Universe, it's about a boy named Steven who is half human/half Crystal Gem. The Crystal Gems are an advanced alien race with superpowers and extended lifespans. Steven and the Crystal Gems work hard to save Beach City and the Earth from gem monsters and other disasters. This comic is a great adaptation of the show and manages to capture the feel of the show while being its own unique entity. It's a must-read for any fans of the show and if you've never seen it, it'll give you a window into one of the current hot trends!

The second is another adaptation, though this time from newspaper comic strips to monthly comics. Peanuts is produced by KaBOOM, the same company behind the hit comic Lumberjanes. Peanuts is great, and you can tell that the team behind it really loved the original series by Charles Schultz. The humor is very similar and the characters are every bit as lovable as they were in the classic strip! Now with the new Peanuts movie coming out later this year, it's the perfect time to check out some great new strips with your favorite characters.

The third graphic novel is Space Dumplins. This book is seriously great, it has everything from the the excitement of space and the drama of family, to the joy of space whale poop harvesting. The book follows Violet Marlocke, daughter of a lumberjack (the people who harvest said space whale poop). When her dad goes missing and the government takes no action, Marlocke and her friends set off on a rescue adventure.


The Little Gardener is a treat!

Oh my goodness! What a treat of a new picture book. The Little Gardener, written and illustrated by Emily Hughes, is completely charming. An unnamed miniature boy lives and works in a giant, colorful garden with his little worm friend. The two tend to the garden and get their food and shelter from it. But such little creatures working in such a big garden get tired! The tiny boy and the worm get more and more worn out and their garden starts to wilt and die. One evening, the little boy makes a tiny wish… for just a bit of help. Then he and his worm buddy fall asleep. They are so tired that they sleep all day… all week… all month! While they are sleeping a human girl sees one of the beautiful flowers that is growing in the garden and gets inspired to tend to the garden herself. She waters and weeds and makes everything healthy again! When the tiny boy wakes up, he is rejuvenated and amazed. His garden is flourishing again! He happily goes back to work at his labor of love. The beautiful illustrations and simple, carefully worded text really make this a wonderful picture book, both for young readers... and the adults reading to them!


History Mysteries with Mystery Authors Carrie Bebris, Susanna Calkins, Anna Lee Huber, and Sam Thomas

Media Player

August 8, 2015 at the Downtown Library Multi-Purpose Room

Mystery buffs will marvel at this panel of award-winning historical mystery authors, each with a brand new mystery book that has just been released!

Robin Agnew of Aunt Agatha’s Mystery Bookshop moderated this event, which will included opportunities for audience questions.

Panelists included:
• Award-winning author Carrie Bebris, author of the critically acclaimed Mr. and Mrs. Darcy mystery series (the further adventures of Jane Austen’s most beloved characters) is also a life member and regional coordinator of the Jane Austen Society of North America. Her seventh book in the Jane Austen-based series, The Suspicion At Sanditon, finds Fitzwilliam and Elizabeth Darcy have moved to Sanditon, the setting of Jane Austen’s final work. They have barely settled into their lodgings when they receive an unexpected dinner invitation from Lady Denham, one of the town’s most prominent residents. Thirteen guests assemble at Sanditon House—but their hostess never appears. The Darcys, like most of their fellow attendees, speculate that one of her ladyship’s would-be heirs has grown impatient … but then the guests start to vanish one by one.

• Susanna Calkins is the author of the award-winning Lucy Campion novels, which are set in 17th century London, a time period that gives Calkins the ability to write about both the plague and the Great Fire. Her main character, Lucy, began the series as a chambermaid, but in this third novel, The Masque of a Murderer, Lucy is working as a bookseller's apprentice, selling broadsides with her fellow apprentice on the streets of London. On a freezing winter afternoon in 1667, she accompanies the magistrate's daughter, Sarah, to the home of a severely injured Quaker man to record his dying words, a common practice of the time. The Quaker, having been trampled by a horse and cart the night before, has only a few hours to live and Lucy is unprepared for what he reveals to her — that someone deliberately pushed him into the path of the horse, because of a mysterious secret he had uncovered.

• Anna Lee Huber is the award-winning and national bestselling author of the Lady Darby Mystery series, set in Scotland in the 1830’s. In A Study In Death, the fourth riveting mystery in the series, Lady Kiera Darby is commissioned to paint the portrait of Lady Drummond, but is saddened when she recognizes the pain in the baroness’s eyes. Lord Drummond is a brute, and his brusque treatment of his wife forces Kiera to think of the torment caused by her own late husband. When she finds Lady Drummond prostrate on the floor, the physician is called and Lord Drummond appears satisfied to rule her death natural. However, Kiera is convinced that poison is the culprit and intends to discover the truth behind the baroness’s death, no matter who stands in her way.

• Historian and teacher Sam Thomas is the author of the Bridget Hodgson series, set in 17th century York. All of the mysteries in the series focus on Bridget's work as a midwife. His latest novel, The Witch Hunter’s Tale, finds the Puritans scouring the British countryside for witches with often heartbreaking consequences. As women and children sicken and die, midwife Bridget Hodgson is pulled against her will into a full-scale witch-hunt that threatens to devour all in its path, guilty and innocent alike. As the trials begin, and the noose begins to tighten around her neck, Bridget must answer the question: How far will she go to protect the people she loves?

Length: 00:42:53
Copyright: Creative Commons (Attribution, Non-Commercial, Share-alike)
Rights Held by: Ann Arbor District Library

"T" is for Tricks and Treats

Ms. Rachel brought tricky farm stories to Storytime.
We learned how to be a farm dog with "Ragweed" who his currently touring with his book RAGWEED'S FARM DOG HANDBOOK.
Banjo Betsy led the participation song "Oh I Wanna Be a Dog" ... versions can be found on the CD 10 CARROT DIAMOND with Charlotte Diamond ... and OLD DOGS, NEW TRICKS with Barry Polisar.
Then we found the animals playing with the tractor when the farmer slept late in GOBBLE GOBBLE MOO TRACTOR.

For more TRICK and Farm stories try the following favorites:
OTIS … an older tractor … still important on the farm.
HENRY’S MAP … Henry made a map of the farm so everyone would know their place.
BIG TRACTOR … four seasons … with tractor equipment.
ARTHUR’S TRACTOR … study the pictures. There’s more than one story going on … in addition to the tractor.
McTOAD MOWS TINY ISLAND … a silly story of transportation … and a lawn tractor.
TURKEY TOT ... creative thinking … for when the sweet, juicy berries are out-of-reach.
Remember ... dogs really, really love BISCUITS !!!

Rereading the Classics - Emma by Jane Austen

Austen referred to the heroine of her fourth novel as “my Emma”. It betrays a fondness for the character which I share. Emma is not the possessor of sound judgment and maturity, at first. But Emma fails, repeatedly, and then grows more self-aware. She learns acceptance, restraint and reason over unbridled imagination and meddling. Though she does not think less of herself by the end, her egotism slowly slides into the ability to value the world, and the other, more. Her headlong desire to make life vivid, and to orchestrate the happiness of others, is possible to forgive.

The book rewards rereading, for it reveals more each time, and it is so delightfully funny. The comic irony, pitch-perfect dialogue, plot twists and outstanding characters, are all evidence of the light touch of a masterful writer at her peak. It survives to the 21st century with all of its appeal and accessibility intact, as is evidenced by the many adaptations and spin-offs that it inspires. And, for added measure, Emma's friend, George Knightley, the perfect English gentleman, and the epitome of sound judgment and kindness, is a superior romantic hero to Darcy any day. Read it and compare.

“Surely this is the definition of genius in a writer: the capacity to make a text that can give and give, a text that is never fully read, a text that goes on multiplying meanings.” Hilary Mantel, writing of Jane Austen's novels.

Parent’s Corner: Are we Facebook friends?

In this day and age things are different than when we were kids. Your child is ten and wants their own iPhone. After you take a photo of your four year old with your phone, the child instantly asks “are you going to put that on Facebook?” And let’s not forget the kid who walks around “air hashtagging” when he’s not even sure what Twitter is. How do you as a parent or caregiver guide children along in this screen-driven world?

The Parent Shelf is located in the downtown youth area, and here is where you’ll find a variety of parent-child related books on a multitude of topics- including everything from food and nutrition to potty training to time-outs to homework. These books are available for checkout and can be found in the catalog when searching “parent shelf.” And there are many on the topic of the digital age and children. Here are a few to get you started:

Screen-smart parenting: How to find balance and benefit in your child's use of social media, apps, and digital devices

Reset your child's brain: A four-week plan to end meltdowns, raise grades, and boost social skills by reversing the effects of electronic screen-time

Growing up social: Raising relational kids in a screen-driven world

Talking back to Facebook: A common sense guide to raising kids in the digital age

And if you’re looking to research more on navigating cyberspace and children, there are plenty more books to choose from.

Fabulous Fiction Firsts #556 - " I am from there. I am from here. I am not there and I am not here. I have two names, which meet and part, and I have two languages. I forget which of them I dream in.” ~ Mahmoud Darwish

In the Language of Miracles * * a first novel by Rajial Hassib portrays an Egyptian American family and the tragedy that threatens to tear their lives apart.

Samir and Nagla Al-Menshawy appear to have attained the American dream. The leafy New Jersey suburb of Summerset is a long way from their cramped apartment while Samir was a medical resident, and certainly a world away from their native Egypt. With a thriving medical practice and three children, the Al-Menshawys feel confident of their place in the community - until a devastating turn of events that leaves their eldest son Hosaam and a dear friend and neighbor's daughter Natalie Bradstreet dead, turning the Al-Menshawys into outcasts in their own town.

The novel opens during the five days leading up to the memorial service that the Bradstreets have organized to mark the one-year anniversary, with the Al-Menshawys expressively excluded. The surviving Al-Menshawy must come to term with his/her role in the tragedy; the desperation to reconcile with the community; and a way to move forward.

"Writing with unflinchingly honest prose, Rajia Hassib...paints tender portraits of a family's struggle to move on in the wake of heartbreak, to stay true to its traditions, and above all else, to find acceptance and reconciliation."

"Steeped in Arabic culture and the Muslim faith, as well as sharply observant of immigrants' intricate relationships to their adopted homelands, this exciting novel announces the arrival of a psychologically and socially astute new writer."

Reader who enjoyed Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng; and Before and After by Rosellen Brown might want to give this a try. A sound choice for book groups interested in issue-driven discussions.

* * = 2 starred reviews

Harvey Award Winners 2015: Celebrating Great Comics and Graphic Novels

Another year, another group of great comics and graphic novels were celebrated at yesterday's Harvey Awards at the Baltimore Comic Convention. Without further ado, here are the Harvey Award winners for 2015:

Saga really cleaned house winning 3 out of the 4 awards that they were nominated for (Best Cover Artist: Fiona Staples, Best Continuing or Limited Series, and Best Artist: Fiona Staples)

Afterlife with Archie won Best Letterer award for Jack Morelli’s work

Teenage mutant ninja turtles : the ultimate visual history won Best Biographical. Historical or Journalistic Presentation.

Blacksad: Amarillo won Best American Edition of Foreign Material

Danny Miki won Best Inker for his work on Batman.

Best New Series went to Southern Bastards

Jim Henson’s Musical Monsters of Turkey Hollow won Best Graphic Album Original

Best Writer went to Mark Waid for his work on Daredevil

Lumberjanes took home Best Original Graphic Publication for Younger Readers

Sex Criminals won the Special Award for Humor in Comics

It's Banned Books Week! Sept. 27 - Oct. 3

Banned Books Week 2015 posterBanned Books Week 2015 poster

What is Banned Books Week, you may ask? It's an event put on by the American Library Association every year to celebrate the freedom to read! The ALA does not believe in censorship, and celebrating banned or challenged books draws attention to the harm potentially caused when access is restricted. If you haven't already, come check out our Banned Books Week display in the Downtown Youth Department and take a peek at the books we've chosen to highlight - some of them may surprise you!

What does it mean if a book is challenged or banned? Well, it simply means that someone doesn't like it! It could be a parent who doesn't agree with their child's assigned reading list for school, or a teacher who doesn't believe a particular title should be allowed in his/her district's curriculum. Books are challenged with the best intentions - to protect others, most commonly children, from difficult ideas and information. However, banning a book goes far beyond simply expressing a point of view or exercising beliefs. Removing material from a school's curriculum or the public library restricts the access of others who may not hold those same beliefs.

If you've had a chance to look at the display or check out the list of titles that are in it, you're probably wondering why some great books have been challenged or banned. Well, hold onto your hats and find some pearls to clutch, because we're about to tell you!

Les Bandes Dessinées

When you are learning another language, reading graphic novels can be a helpful and fun way to develop your vocabulary and cultural knowledge with supporting visual context. Did you know that AADL’s Word Languages collection includes graphic novels for several languages?

I love to practice my French by reading graphic novels, or bandes dessinées. You can browse our French graphic novels in the catalog. Don’t miss Aya de Yopougon by Marguerite Abouet, the story of a young woman studying to become a doctor in Côte d'Ivoire (Ivory Coast) circa 1978, and her party-loving friends Adjoua and Bintou who always manage to get into trouble. Loosely inspired by the author’s own experiences growing up, the book includes rich appendices featuring a glossary of expressions, cultural anecdotes, and some Ivorian recipes. Aya de Yopougon will charm anyone looking for a vibrant story of teenage crushes, friendships, dreams, and rebellions, or those who are interested in a story of everyday life in Côte d'Ivoire during an economic boom. Don’t speak French? AADL’s collection includes the Aya series in English.

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