Ann Arbor Ypsilanti Reads Event: Literacy Learners Share Their Stories

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Tuesday February 15, 2011: 7:00 pm to 8:30 pm -- Downtown Library: Multi-Purpose Room

The 2011 Ann Arbor Ypsilanti Reads 2011 book Life Is So Good is the story of George Dawson, a man who learned to read at age 98. Dawson's story of becoming literate at a late age is truly inspirational. What are the learning stories of local residents - and what are their successes?

Be inspired as a panel of local literacy learners share their experiences. Discover how you can engage in learning that makes life worth living as a learner or volunteer. This event is co-sponsored by the Literacy Coalition of Washtenaw County.

Roger Chard: A Self-Determined Life

Roger Chard is totally blind. He recently retired from a twenty-two year career as a real estate attorney in Ann Arbor. Among his many achievements are awards in high school and college debate and in downhill skiing. He has performed as a baritone vocal soloist and presented recitals with other musicians in small and large venues. He will speak on how self-determination helped him create a life worth living. This amply reflects the theme of the Ann Arbor/Ypsilanti Reads 2011, depicted in the book Life is So Good by George Dawson and Richard Glaubman.

Wed., January 26 | Malletts Creek Branch | 2:00-3:30 pm

Dance Through Life: Nia Dance Playshop

by Pink Sherbet Photography, Flickr.comby Pink Sherbet Photography, Flickr.com
Teresa Myers of Soul to Sole presents a Nia Dance Playshop this Sunday, January 23 at 2 pm at the Traverwood Branch. Why is this a "playshop" and not a "workshop," you ask? Because Nia is all about fun! By focusing on improvisation and the body's natural motions, Nia helps people rediscover the pure joy of movement. Dance makes life worth living! Grade 9-Adult.

What Book Would You Have Chosen For the Ann Arbor/Ypsilanti Reads?

Life Is So Good: Life is so goodLife Is So Good: Life is so goodThe Ann Arbor/Ypsilanti Reads screening committee reviewed many books before deciding on the official selection of 'Life is So Good.' What book would you have chosen to embody the theme "What Makes Life Worth Living?"

Leave a comment on the wall of our AA/Y Reads Facebook page and let us know your pick!


Youth Reading List - Curated by Ypsilanti District Library

What makes life worth living?

Grades K-5

The Dangerous Book for Boys
by Conn Iggulden, 2007, 0061243582
The overall premise of this nostalgic book is that action and adventure are fun and worth the risks.

The Daring Book for Girls
by Andrea Buchanon, 2007, 0061472573
See above – it’s all ok for girls to be adventurous too.

Is There Really a Human Race
by Jamie Lee Curtis, 2006, 0060753463
While thinking about life as a race, a child wonders whether it is most important to finish first or to have fun along the way.

Complete Adventures of Curious George
by Margret and H. A. Rey
I’m a sucker for Curious George – nobody is more fantastically curious or adventurous or intrepid than this little monkey.

And the behind the scenes story of the Reys’ escape, The Journey That Saved Curious George : the true wartime escape of Margret and H.A. Rey
by Louise Borden
An extraordinary story about escaping death.

Anne of Green Gables
by L. M. Montgomery, 1908
Anne is an orphan, sent to help out a lonely middle-aged brother and sister on a farm on Prince Edward Island. Anne has a feisty spirit and exuberance for life that captivates everyone around her.

Loser
by Jerry Spinelli, 2002, 0060540745
Even though his classmates consider him strange and a loser, Daniel Zinkoff’s optimism and exuberance and the support of his loving family do not allow him to feel that way about himself.

Thank You Mr. Falker
by Patricia Polacco, 1998, 0399237321
An autobiographical account of a teacher that goes the extra mile in helping her overcome her dyslexia when others make her feel dumb.

Goin’ Someplace Special
by Patricia McKissack, 2001, 1416927352
In segregated 1950s Nashville, a brave African American girl braves indignities and obstacles to get to one of the few integrated places in town, the public library.

Uncle Jed’s Barbershop
by Margaree King Mitchell, 1993, 0689819137
At age 79, after a lifetime of obstacles, Uncle Jed finally fulfills his lifetime dream of owning his own barbershop.

Grades 6-12

Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl
by Anne Frank, 1953
We all know this story

Zlata’s Diary: a child’s life in Sarajevo
by Zlata Filipović, 1994,
Similar to Anne Frank’s diary only in Sarajevo. A privileged 11 year old, only concerned with Madonna and MTV has to get used to bombing, snipers, shortages of food, gas, water and electricity.

Farewell to Manzanar
by Jeanne Wakutsuki Houston, 1986, 0618216200
Yet another Anne Frank-like autobiography. The author was 7 years old when her family was forced to leave their home and their fishing business in Long Beach, CA and move to a Japanese Internment camp called Manzanar in the California desert.

Stargirl
by Jerry Spinelli, 2000, 0679886370
Spinelli shows what it means to be a human being on a planet that is rich with wonders. "She was elusive. She was today. She was tomorrow. She was the faintest scent of a cactus flower, the flitting shadow of an elf owl."

The Book Thief
by Markus Zusak, 2006, 0375842209
This is a mesmerizing, moving story of a young German girl in World War II Germany who steals books and survives amidst a dreadful existence. The story is narrated by Death, himself, who is funny, self deprecating and unsentimental.

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-time Indian
by Sherman Alexie, 2007, 0316013684
A semi-autobiographical account of a budding cartoonist who transfers from the reservation school to a rich, white school. Amidst daily struggles of reservation life, Arnold Spirit is determined to improve himself and overcome poverty.

A Long Way Down
by Nick Hornby, 2005, 1573223026
This is a book written for adults but I know several teens who have read this book through word of mouth. 4 people independently meet on New Year’s Eve at an infamous suicidal destination to commit suicide and unlikely bonding occurs.

Make Lemonade
by Virginia Euwer Wolff, 1993, 0805022287
A triumphant, hopeful story about a bright, loving 14 year old who wants very badly to go to college. To earn money she babysits for a 17 year old with 2 children who live in squalor. As she helps Jolly make lemonade out of the lemons her life has given her, LaVaughn learns some lessons outside the classroom.

Youth Reading List - Curated by Ann Arbor District Library

What Makes Life Worth Living?

John Denver's Sunshine on my Shoulders
Adapted & illustrated by Christopher Canyon
Dawn Publications, c2003 9781584690481
Picture book adaptation of a John Denver song which celebrates the simple things in life such as sunshine, being in nature, and loving relationships.

Eight Days: A Story of Haiti
by Edwidge Danticat Orchard Books c2010 9780545278492
Junior is seven, and he is trapped under his house for eight days. We know from the first page that he is rescued, as we see him surrounded by news crews with huge cameras. But then we find out what he has played in his mind during his time in the rubble. Here are all the normal things Haitian children do, like marbles, kite-flying, hide and seek, visiting Papa at his business, singing in the choir at the church, soccer. Here is a beautiful Haitian family, welcoming back their rescued son. There is grief in this story, but it is understated. The main message is that Haiti is a place worth rebuilding, a place of hope.

Wilfrid Gordon McDonald Partridge
by Mem Fox; illustrated by Julie Vivas
Kane Miller c1989 (1985) 9780916291266
A small boy tries to discover the meaning of "memory" so he can restore that of an elderly friend.

Mama, Do you Love Me?
by Barbara M. Joosse; illustrated by Barbara Lavallee
Chronicle Books c1991 9780877017592
In this universal story, a child tests the limits of independence and comfortingly learns that a parent's love is unconditional and everlasting.

The Thanksgiving Bowl
by Virginia Kroll; illustrated by Philomena O'Neill
Pelican Pub. Co. c2007 9781589803657
Each member of a family writes an anonymous "I'm thankful for" note and places it in the Thanksgiving bowl. When the bowl is accidentally left outside, various creatures find and put the bowl to good use.

Guess how Much I Love You
by Sam McBratney; illustrated by Anita Jeram
Candlewick Press c2008 (1995) 9780763641757
During a bedtime game, every time Little Nutbrown Hare demonstrates how much he loves his father, Big Nutbrown Hare gently shows him that the love is returned even more.

Thank you World
by Alice B. McGinty; illustrated by Wendy Anderson Halperin
Dial Books for Young Readers c2007 9780803727052
Eight children from eight different countries express their thanks for many special things including the sun that colors the sky, breezes that lift kites, clouds that paint cotton pictures and send rain, and sparkling stars that "shine like Mommy's eyes."

Inside All
by Margaret H. Mason; illustrated by Holly Welch
Dawn Publications c2008 9781584691112
Takes the reader on a nesting doll-like journey, from the edges of the universe into the heart of a child at bedtime, showing how we each have our place inside the universe and the universe has a place inside each of us.

The Bee Tree
by Patricia Polacco
Philomel Books, c1993 9780399219658
When Mary Ellen complains to Grampa that she's tired of reading her book, he proposes they hunt for a bee tree. After an adventurous chase, Grampa spoons a drop of honey onto Mary Ellen's book, saying "There's such sweetness inside books too . . . adventure, knowledge, wisdom. But these things do not come easily. You must pursue them…"

Let's go Home: the Wonderful Things about a House
by Cynthia Rylant; illustrated by Wendy Anderson Halperin
Simon & Schuster c2002 9780689823268
Describes the individual rooms in a house, moving from porch to attic, stopping by the living room, kitchen, bathroom, and bedrooms in between. In a quiet, warm mood, the narrative delineates the gestures and activities of a multigenerational household. “No matter the kind of house, it is the living inside that makes it wonderful.”

City Dog, Country Frog
by Mo Willems; illustrated by Jon J. Muth
Hyperion Books for Children c2010 9781423103004
Two seemingly incompatible animals--a free-range frog and a curious urban dog--discover the endless possibilities that unfold when we share the best of ourselves with each other.

Biblioburro: a True Story from Colombia
by Jeanette Winter
Beach Lane Books c2010 9781416997788
After amassing piles of books, Luis, a voracious reader, dreams up a way to share his collection with “faraway villages.” He starts with two burros—one for himself, one for books—and heads off. Both understated and full of life, this satisfying story is a vibrant reminder of the pleasures of books and the difference one individual can make.

The Story Blanket
by Ferida Wolff and Harriet May Savitz; illustrated by Elena Odriozola
Peachtree, c2008 9781561454662
With no wool to be found in the village, Babba Zarrah, the storyteller, starts unraveling her story blanket bit by bit, to secretly supply the needs of the community, and when the villagers realize what is happening they return the favor.

Reviews of The Living Great Lakes

The Living Great Lakes: Searching for the Heart of the Inland Seas, by Jerry Dennis, c. 2003

Publishers Weekly
In his newest book, Dennis (From a Wooden Canoe) offers an engrossing description of being a crew member on the schooner Malabar on a six-week trip through the waters of Lakes Huron, Ontario, Michigan, Erie and Superior. Capt. Hajo Knuttel and other crew members such as Tim, the ship's creative cook, spring to life in this modern adventure tale. Dennis weaves anecdotes from his childhood, such as a family-fishing trip on Lake Michigan, together with informed commentary on the natural history of the lakes and the people who live there as well as evocative descriptions of the enchanting view of the forests along Lake Superior from the schooner. His narrative is a continual reminder of the dangers inherent in navigating the waters of these magnificent lakes as he details their current condition; he explains that in the 1970s, Lake Erie's waters were saved from an ecological disaster by a public outcry, yet other waters are still in danger from commercial dumping. But all does not go smoothly for the Malabar; Dennis's narrative takes on an air of adventure when, toward the end of the trip, the Malabar and its crew encounter a terrifying storm.

Booklist
Dennis surveys the Inland Seas through the viewpoint of his lake-faring rambles in three different vessels: schooner, racing yacht, and voyageur canoe. As he passes the numerous spectacular sights the Great Lakes afford sailors, Dennis recalls their associated history in a vibrant blend of personal observation and geological, historical, and environmental anecdote. The main focus here is a schooner trip in 2000 from Grand Traverse Bay to Maine (via the Erie Canal). As the Malabar negotiates the treacherous Straits of Mackinac, Dennis not only covers the French missions, British forts, and innumerable shipwrecks in this storied area but also recollects his experience in the annual Chicago-to-Mackinac yacht race. Working in a separate, French fur-trapper style canoeing adventure on Lake Superior, Dennis touches on all five lakes in this compendium, endowing his chronicle with a breadth that makes it a fine introduction to the lakes' ecology.

Reader reviews on Amazon

'Life Is So Good' Chosen For Ann Arbor/Ypsilanti Reads 2011

Life Is So Good: Life is so goodLife Is So Good: Life is so goodA selection team composed of community members has chosen Life Is So Good by George Dawson and Richard Glaubman as the selection for the 2011 Ann Arbor Ypsilanti Reads, which will take place in January & February of 2011. The book is the story of George Dawson, who learned to read at age 98.

The theme of this year’s read is What Makes Life Worth Living. There will be an author event with Richard Glaubman (George Dawson passed away in 2001) at Washtenaw Community College in late January. More details about that event will be available in the near future. The other titles under consideration were The Undertaking: Life Studies From The Dismal Trade by Thomas Lynch and Year of Wonders: A Novel of the Plague by Geraldine Brooks.

Help Us Choose the Book for Ann Arbor/Ypsilanti Reads 2011

logologoIt's almost time for the Ann Arbor/Ypsilanti Reads to begin once again. This year, our selection committee has chosen three finalists for our theme: What Makes Life Worth Living.

The finalists are Life Is So Good by George Dawson and Richard Glaubman, The Undertaking: Life Studies From The Dismal Trade by Thomas Lynch, and Year of Wonders: A Novel of the Plague by Geraldine Brooks.

We have plenty of copies in stock and we appreciate your comments and opinions on which one should be our official selection for the Reads. Check these books out and then let us know which one you think should be chosen by leaving a comment on the book's page on the AA/Ypsi Reads website. The final selection will be announced in October.

You may also join our AA/Ypsi Reads page on Facebook to receive the latest news in your Facebook feed.

Two Finalists for 2010

Update 11/2/09: The Living Great Lakes is the selection for the 2010 Ann Arbor/Ypsilanti Reads.

A selection committee of community leaders, librarians, students and educators in the Ann Arbor/Ypsilanti area will meet in mid-October to choose one of two books as the focus for this year on the subject of Michigan. Which book should be chosen? We appreciate your comments and opinions.

The two book finalists are available in alternative formats for those who are unable to read or use printed materials due to a physical disability (blindness, macular degeneration, paralysis, multiple sclerosis, arthritis, dyslexia, etc.). Please contact the Washtenaw Library for the Blind and Physically Disabled at 1-734-327-4224.

Click on the titles below for more information about the books and authors, and to add your comments.

The two books under consideration are:

ArcOfJustice
Kevin Boyle, Arc of Justice: A Saga of Race, Civil Rights, and Murder in the Jazz Age. New York: H. Holt, 2004.

LivingGreat Lakes
Jerry Dennis, The Living Great Lakes: Searching for the Heart of the Inland Seas. New York: Thomas Dunne Books, 2003.

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