New and Unusual Animal Books

If you or your little one loves animals, we have some great new books in that will teach you all about them in a whole new way! You’ll want to look at all of these beautiful, bright, and fascinating books.

First up, check out Bone Collection: Animals, which offers realistic drawings of animals’ skeletons with explanations of how the bones fit together and what purpose they all serve. Mixed in with the skeleton drawings are photographs of the animals and lots of facts. I learned so much from this book! Did you know that kangaroos’ tails are heavy to support their weight during fights, or that even though fruit bats are only 15 inches long, their wingspan can be longer than 5½ feet? That’s taller than I am! Learn all about this and more in this beautiful book.

For an amazing look at how wildlife adapts, take a look at Chernobyl’s Wild Kingdom: Life in the Dead Zone. This brilliant book explains the disastrous 1986 Chernobyl nuclear reactor explosion and explores the aftermath. This book details the recovery of plants and animals in the area, which was initially assumed to be impossible. The effects of radiation are explained in clear, detailed language, and photographs highlight the difference between animals living within the “dead zone” and without.

If you’re after beautiful illustrations and simple, informative text, look at illustrator Steve Jenkins’s new books, Creature Features: 25 Animals Explain Why They Look the Way They Do, and Eye to Eye: How Animals See the World. With a combination of true facts and big pictures, these books are perfect for younger readers.

Draw Paint Print like the Great Artists

With Draw Paint Print like the Great Artists, you can learn different art styles alongside your favorite artists throughout history! In this beautiful and fascinating book, the reader is introduced to more than 30 different famous artists and their works. From there, the book introduces each artist's favorite art techniques, and provides creative projects designed by the author in order to hone your newfound art skills. All of the activities include easy instructions and the activities themselves are both inspiring and a lot of fun!

With aesthetically pleasing content and formatting, Draw Paint Print like the Great Artists encourages artists of all ages and skill sets while leaving enough room for creativity and growth. For more information on these famous artists, look for An Eye for Art: Focusing on Great Artists and Their Work and Look Closer: Art Masterpieces Through the Ages.

New Non-Fiction for Kids: Inventions that could have changed the world... but didn't!

Over the course of history, a lot of people have changed the world. Of course, even more people have also WANTED to change the world… but it hasn’t quite worked out. The brand new book Inventions That Could Have Changed the World… But Didn’t! describes some of the toys, games, household and office aids, and general contraptions that have been thought up but didn’t quite succeed in actuality. From a combination pogo stick/helicopter to Toaster Bacon, this fun book is filled with goofy and fascinating inventions from the ages. Inventions That Could Have Changed the World also has interesting and easy-to-understand information about patents and tips for getting your OWN invention to succeed.

Interested in other books about inventions and inventing? Try 100 Inventions That Made History, The Story of Inventions, or Girls Think of Everything: Stories of Ingenious Inventions by Women.

Sports talk-show host pens rich fiction

If you’re familiar with Mike Greenberg then you probably know him as the less athletic half of ESPN’s top-rated radio program Mike & Mike. What you may not know is that Greeny has forayed into the world of fiction, last month releasing his second novel.

My Father’s Wives follows Jonathan Sweetwater, an accomplished Wall Street banker, through two tumultuous weeks of disappointment and discovery. When Jon has reason to believe that his wife is having an affair, he hastily sets out to learn why his seemingly perfect life is falling apart. Central to this search is Jon’s father, the late US Senator Percival Sweetwater III whom Jon has not seen since his own ninth birthday party.

Since the Senator is not available for comment, Jon treks the globe in search of his father’s six wives, hoping that they will reveal some long-hidden truth about his father and himself.

Ultimately Greenberg’s book is about the nature of family and relationships. The well-developed characters feel real, and the use of sports as metaphor is well-done. The book is fast-paced and Jon’s globe-trekking search for answers adds a sense of mystery and suspense to the novel. And at just over two hundred pages placing it on hold is an easy commitment to make. Unless, that is, you’re afraid of that sort of thing.

You can check out Greenbergs other books here and a New York Times review of My Father's Wives here.

PreK Bits - "W" is for WHALES

Ms. Rachel took a trip to the Arctic for tales of whales, igloos and Inuit people.
“A Whale Of A Tale” from The STORY VINE is an “oral tradition” tale about an Inuit boy who went for a walk.
"Okki Tokki Unga" is an Inuit rhythmic phrase we chanted while paddling kayaks “across the bay.”
Here ... The WIGGLES do their version of "Okki Tokki Unga"
KUMAK’s FISH is an original Inuit folk tale by Michael Bania.

If the list from Storytime is not long enough to satisfy your need for whale blubber, try more whale Tales:
KUMAK'S HOUSE by Michael Bania.
BURT DOW: Deep-Water Man by Robert McCloskey.
Also the recorded kit version BURT DOW: Deep-Water Man
This story was a family favorite when my sons were young. Every boat was the “Tidely-Idely” and we could always find “the pink of Ginny Poor’s pantry.”
BABY BELUGA in book format by Raffi. The song is on recorded CD BABY BELUGA and [|more songs by Raffi] .
DOWN To The SEA With MR MAGEE another wacky tale!
COMMOTION In The OCEAN by Andreae Giles.
BREATHE by Scott Magoon.
FOLLOWING PAPA’s SONG by Gianna Marino.
LOOK INSIDE An IGLOO by Mari C. Schuh.
IGLOOS by Jack Manning.

Friday 2/27 - Last day to submit stories for the "Write On!" Short Story Contest for 3rd to 5th Grade!

Don’t worry - there’s still time! You can submit a story at the Downtown Library Youth Desk (343 S. Fifth Ave) or email it to youngwrite@aadl.org through February 27th! Check out the contest guidelines for details.

Remember, the top three stories will be chosen from each grade and every writer will receive a certificate of participation! Winners will be announced at an awards ceremony held on Sunday April 19th, 2015 from 2 - 3 pm in the Downtown Library: Multi-Purpose Room.

Still working on your story? Try some of these writing resources if you need help!

My Weird Writing Tips by Dan Gutman. The author of the “My Weird School” series gives advice on writing, finding your big idea, and provides a checklist to help young writers develop all the important parts of their story!

Just Write: Here’s How by award winning author Walter Dean Myers. Get suggestions for story ideas, characters and plot as well as advice for dealing with helpful criticism.

826michigan
Ann Arbor’s own center for great creative writing workshops. All workshops are free, some require registration. Ages 8 to 18.

Brainfuse Writing Lab
Get live online help from writing tutors 2-11pm, seven days a week. No appointments necessary. Log in to an aadl.org online account and go to http://www.aadl.org/research/browse/studentpapers to use this service for free!

Taco Tuesday: Let's Dip

It’s Taco Tuesday! What are you making for dinner? Pizza? Oh, well, that’s okay. BUT! If you’re thinking about tacos… today is apparently National Tortilla Chip Day. (Yes, there seems to be a “day” for everything.) What’s Taco Tuesday? It’s pretty much just making it a point to dine on tacos on a Tuesday.

Along with the tortilla chip comes something yummy to dip it in! The cookbook Frontera: Margaritas, Guacamoles and Snacks features just that. All the scrumptious fixings to top your tortillas with delicious. Yes there are drink recipes, but the book also provides a guacamole recipe for each month of the year. Did you know there were that many ways to make guac?

And to fancy up those tacos with things beside the usual, check out Mexican flavors: Contemporary recipes from Camp San Miguel for Some Tasty Inspiration. Happy taco Tuesday to you! (Even if you choose to eat pizza.)

The new novel Lillian On Life is dazzling

The unobtrusive new novel Lillian On Life is a breath of fresh air! Alison Jean Lester writes in the unique voice of an elegant middle-aged woman looking back on her life. Never having married, Lillian has traveled the world alone meeting people, conquering several different careers, and learning life’s lessons. “In short vignettes, Lillian looks back, drawing an impressionistic portrait of a bold life full of adventure — erotic and otherwise — in prose spiked with unflinching observations, riotous riffs and poignant reflections,” says the review of the book in the Washington Post. Each chapter title of Lillian On Life implies what experiences Lillian will relate to readers in the coming pages; one chapter is titled “On leaving in order to stay” and another, “On getting out of bed.” These stories aren’t didactic in the least, however. Instead, they interweave and flow loosely along, painting a stunning portrait of a full life, not without sorrow, but made richer because of it.

This stunning book is Lester’s first novel and if readers are lucky, it won’t be the last. You can read the full review of Lillian On Life here.

Fabulous Fiction Firsts #514 - "I want to trespass boundaries, erase all identifications, anything which fixes one permanently into one mold, one place, without hope of change.” ~ Anaïs Nin

Debut novelist Angelina Mirabella's The Sweetheart refers to Leonie Putzkammer, a 17 year-old with little prospect, living and caring for her widowed father in a Philadelphia row house and waiting tables at a diner. When an impulsive feat of athleticism on Bandstand comes to the attention of Salvatore Constantini, the legendary wrestling promoter, she is offered a chance to recast her future.

At Joe Pospisila's School for Lady Grappling, Leonie is put through a grueling regiment of physical training in and out of the ring; and coaching in dramatics (wrestling is after all, entertainment). To build a fan base, Leonie recreates herself as Gorgeous Gwen Davies, being tall, blonde, curvaceous does not hurt. Before long, she becomes known as "The Sweetheart of the ring" and has a genuine shot at the championship.

But the loneliness of the road, the injuries, the burden of finance eventually put a strain on her relationship with her out-of-work father, her tag-team partner/friend Screaming Mimi Hollander, and even on her budding romance with Sam (Spider) McGee, a men's champion wrestler. At a critical time in her debut season, Leonie finds she has a difficult decision to make.

"An engrossing portrait of the little-known (1950s) world of women's wrestling with questions about the nature of stardom and showing love..." "Angelina Mirabella's surprising, affecting, and morally complex novel describes how a single decision can ripple through the lives of everyone around us."

Recommended for those who enjoyed League of Their Own, a motion picture about the All American Girl’s Professional Baseball League (AAGPBL) in the 1940s, based on a true story, and The All-Girl Filling Station's Last Reunion by Fannie Flagg - the story about five women who worked in a Phillips 66 gas station during the WWII years.

SELMA - Because They Marched

SELMA the movie, is up for Academy Awards 2015.
The story began over 50 years ago.
I was twelve years old when the Selma story was taking place in 1965.
My father was a Lutheran Campus Pastor, and my mother was a "Social Problems" Lecturer, at Mankato State University in Minnesota.
Pope John XXIII had convened "Vatican II", creating momentous changes within the Catholic Church.
Many people felt compelled to support and participate in the changes and history was being documented.

History is an amazing thing, and witnessing legends decades later is a moving opportunity.
The subject is especially timely when it falls during African-American History Month.
I find movies, documentaries and youth non-fiction overviews to be my favorite way to review and remember.
If you also like to research an era, surrounding a major movie, the following lists are some my recommendations on this era:

From the DVD Movie Collection:
SELMA
SISTERS Of SELMA: Bearing Witness For Change, includes first person interviews of participants in the civil rights movement, and the march from Selma to Montgomery.
FREEDOM RIDERS, "an astonishing testament to the accomplishment of youth" ... "personal conviction and the courage to organize against all odds."

From the Youth Collection:
BECAUSE THEY MARCHED: The People's Campaign For Voting Rights That Changed America, a new journalistic book covering the movement.
SELMA, LORD, SELMA a DVD movie, through the eyes of a child.
FREEDOM WALKERS: The Story Of The Montgomery Bus Boycott, the movement that produced a famous icon in Rosa Parks.
RUBY BRIDGES, a film of Ruby Bridge's story of integrating a grade school in New Orleans.

Significant biographies of little-known people who practiced for change:
The GIRL FROM The TAR PAPER SCHOOL: Barbara Rose Johns, a story that signifies common experiences leading up to the Civil Rights Movement.
CHILD Of The CIVIL RIGHTS MOVEMENT, Paula Young Shelton remembers the time.
AS FAST AS WORDS COULD FLY, a story based on personal experience of the author's father, Mason Steele.
The SCHOOL Is NOT WHITE! The Carter family stuggles to integrate an all-white school in Drew, Mississippi, in 1965.
LITTLE ROCK GIRL 1957 Nine African-American students made history when they defied a governor and integrated an Arkansas high school in 1957.
THROUGH MY EYES Ruby Bridges recounts the story of her involvement, as a six-year-old, in the integration of her school in New Orleans in 1960.

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