Meet Jo Anne Normile, Author of "Saving Baby"! 11/13 at 7 PM

Whether you're interested in racing, animal rescue, or horses, be sure to stop by AADL's author event featuring Jo Anne Normile! She will tell us about her new book, "Saving Baby," the true story of a beloved foal and the surprising discoveries to be found in Michigan horse racing. She will also share her inspiring story of how she has worked tirelessly to save the lives of thousands of horses.

We hope to see you there! The event is on Wednesday, November 13 at 7pm in the Downtown Multi-purpose Room.

Fabulous Fiction Firsts #422 - Spotlight on Ann Arbor Authors (with news flash!)

Words failed me in describing Matt Bell's In the House Upon the Dirt between the Lake and the Woods *. It disturbs my dreams and shows up at unguarded moments. I now see why Keith Taylor recommended it as a "must-read" this summer. (Listen to the podcast and check out the feature in Publishers Weekly).

By turn called "charmingly bizarre and disturbing ", "spare, devastating", "dark, intriguingly odd fable", it tells how a newly-wed couple relocates to a remote and desolate homestead along a lake - to live simply off the land and water, to build a house and raise a family. With each failed pregnancy, they grow more distant - the child-obsessed husband begins to rage at this new world and resent the wife whose beautiful voice could sing physical objects into existence and altering nature's course. As grief divides them, they must also separately grapple with the bear who rules their woods and the squid who dwells in their lake. A story that is "as beautiful as it is ruinous,... A tragedy of fantastic proportions".

"Bell finds whimsy in despair and reality in the absurd in this absorbingly virtuosic near fairy tale about marital struggle and personal reclamation. The result is a novel of catastrophic beauty and staggering originality. "

Formerly of Ann Arbor (a senior editor at Dzanc Books), currently an assistant professor in the English department at Northern Michigan University, Bell will be one of the speakers at this year's Kerrytown BookFest on Sunday, September 8th.

Signing at the BookFest will be local author Shirley G. Coleman, for her debut novel Mersoon Rising which the Michigan Chronicle review called a "sociopolitical space opera", that chronicles the lives and loves of the Jymirr race during an epic battle for the fate of a planet and an entire solar system.

Check out the feature story in the September 4th issue of the Ann Arbor Journal on Ms. Coleman, and Mersoon being the first title published by Plenary's Wild Seed Press imprint, which honors the late Octavia Butler, and is dedicated to publishing black American authors.

Click here for the BookFest event schedule.

* = starred review

Giddy Read-aloud Picture Book: 'Dozens of Cousins'

This is my favorite book yet by Shutta Crum, the librarian, author, poet, and speaker who lives in Ann Arbor and has delighted so many readers with her writing. Dozens of Cousins, Shutta's latest picture book, is rhythmic, lyrical, warm, and hilarious.

As the annual family reunion approaches, the cozy chaos of cousins begins. "We are wild and fierce. We do not wait for invitations. We run through front doors, arms extended, slap dirty feet on cool linoleum, grab from plates thrust out at us -- and holler for more." Some wiggle their fannies toward distracted adults, in the cutest possible way. Splashy, rip-roaring illustrations are by David Catrow, editorial cartoonist and illustrator of more than 70 books for children.

Initial reviews are glowing, including one in The New York Times. Looks like another hit for the author, a former AADL youth librarian and storyteller. Check out Shutta's books and accomplishments on her website.

Smell and Tell: Stories of Anosmia

Saturday June 8, 2013: 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm -- Downtown Library: Multi-Purpose Room

Sensory loss is visible in the blind and the deaf, but what about people who lose their sense of smell?

Michelle Krell Kydd, editor of Glass Petal Smoke (http://glasspetalsmoke.blogspot.com), spent time talking to congenital and acquired anosmics to get a better understanding of how the absence of the sense of smell has affected their lives. What she's learned will inspire you to pay attention to a sense that is closely linked to memory.

Parenting Lecture: Why It's OK Not to Share

Are you ready to rethink long-standing parenting practices? Author Heather Shumaker has defined 29 "renegade rules" for parenting young children, drawing on her own experience raising two young children as well as the work of child psychologists, educators, and neuroscientists.

Heather Shumaker is the author of It’s OK Not to Share…And Other Renegade Rules for Raising Competent and Compassionate Kids, which was named a Best Parenting Book of 2012 by Parents magazine, and is a northern Michigan bestseller. Salon.com called it "an insightful, sensible and compassionate book full of downright revolutionary ideas."

She is a speaker, journalist, blogger and advocate for free play and no homework for young children. She’s been featured on Fox & Friends TV, Huffington Post, New York Post, Parenting, Parents.com, USA Weekend, Wisconsin Public Radio and other media.

Join us at the Pittsfield Branch at 7:00 pm on Tuesday, May 21 for Heather Shumaker's talk, and be prepared to change your mind! This event includes a book signing, and copies of It’s OK Not to Share…And Other Renegade Rules for Raising Competent and Compassionate Kids will be available for purchase.

The picture book Woolbur has won the 2013 Michigan Reads! Award

The 2013 Michigan Reads! title has been announced! The award goes to the picture book Woolbur, written by Leslie Helakoski and illustrated by Lee Harper.

Woolbur is a unique story about a young sheep who is not afraid to be himself! Some of his antics include running with the dogs and dying his wool blue! His mom and dad are worried about him at first, but his grandparents tell them not to worry. In the end, the other sheep start to see the beauty in Woolbur’s creative ways and realize it is not so bad to live outside the box of a “normal” sheep life.

Helakoski, originally from Louisiana, is a graduate of Northern Michigan University and currently resides in southwest Michigan near Kalamazoo. Her picture book Big Chickens also won the Michigan Reads! Award for 2007.

The Michigan Reads! One State, One Children's Book program “focuses on the importance of reading and sharing books with children, especially toddlers through early elementary, and the vital role libraries play in providing access to the quality books, programs and services that lay the foundation for reading and school success.”

Another Stead Picture Book Collaboration

Bear Has a Story to Tell, written by Philip Stead and illustrated by Erin Stead, is a warm, wonderful story about patience and friendship that will delight young children and people of all ages who may want to read it aloud or over a young person's shoulder. The Steads are the Michigan duo that created A Sick Day for Amos McGee, winner of the 2011 Caldecott Medal. The books are companions in tone and style.

The lovely pencil and watercolor illustrations Bear Has a Story to Tell depict the changing natural landscape, as Bear tries to remember the tale he wants to tell his animal friends and they try to jog his memory. There are warm acts of kindness, giving the book, a Kirkus Reviews Best Children's Book of 2012, the feel of a classic likely to be read and shared by many future generations.

Meet the the Author & Illustrator of the “Vordak” books!

Friday, April 26 | 7:00-8:00pm | Pittsfield Branch | K-8th Grade | Adults

Author Scott Seegert and illustrator John Martin, both from Michigan, are responsible for the wildly funny and silly Vordak the Incomprehensible book series. They’ll both be at the Pittsfield branch on Friday, April 26 talking about their books, leading a drawing exercise, and will perhaps be bringing a little surprise! If you’re into funny books, drawing, and super villains, then this event is for you.

The Vordak books, including How to Grow Up and Rule the World, Rule the School, and Double Trouble, are most appropriate for kids in grades 3rd – 8th, but this library program will be enjoyed by those grades in K-8th, as well as adults! It’s always fun to hear an author talk about their work and then get to meet them, and here we’re lucky to meet the author AND the illustrator!! Be sure to also check out the Vordak website, with all sorts of fun things to do.

Books will be for sale after the program, and there will be a book signing.

Ann Arbor Observer: Meet Jacqui Robbins

The March issue of the Ann Arbor Observer has a particularly good article about Jacqui Robbins, who is a writer, director and teacher in Ann Arbor. This article profiles Robbins, author of the children's books The New Girl. . . .And Me, and Two of a Kind. She also has a piece in the new book Dare to Dream - Change the World, a poetry collection inspired by coverage of the 2011 uprising in Egypt. Around Ann Arbor, Robbins is active in many community organizations including 826 Michigan, where she is president of the board.

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Ann Arbor Resident's Story of Survival

A current resident of Ann Arbor has a story to tell about her remarkable survival during a period of tremendous upheaval and bloodshed a lifetime ago and an ocean away. Miriam Garvil's autobiography I Have To Survive: Miriam Garvil's Story is the culmination of twenty years' worth of work. Ninety-two year old Garvil, who resides in an assisted living facility in Ann Arbor, began writing with the encouragement of social worker Ruth Campbell, who continued to assist Garvil's work even after retiring herself.

"I Have To Survive" reveals the author's past growing up in Poland before the outbreak of the Second World War, and recounts her memories of the concentration camps Auschwitz and Bergen-Belsen. She lost her mother, father and sister in the camps, and recalls her promise to her father: "If you don't survive, I will survive for you".

You can find more information on Miriam Garvil and her story in this month's issue of the Ann Arbor Observer.

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