The Best of 2014 (Suggestions to get a jumpstart on Black Friday)

Library Journal's The Best of 2014 is a mix of the Top Ten of the year and the best of this year' s genre fiction, graphic novels, business, consumer health, craft & DIY, memoirs, and science.

Titles on the LibraryReads Top Ten Favorites that public library staff most enjoyed recommending in 2014 are no strangers. They are sure bets!

I quite like the list of 30 Books You NEED To Read In 2014 posted by The Huffington Post. Some of them might have been flying under the media radar this past year but everyone of them is an exceptional read. Definitely for the adventurous literary reader.

School Library Journal's Best Books of 2014. These 70 books distinguish themselves with excellence in writing, art, design, storytelling, originality, and appeal. From picture books to nonfiction, for lap-sharing and independent readers.

For the visual readers of all ages, check out the New York Times Best Illustrated Books Awards. The 2014 winners are a feast for the senses.

Alright... you are twisting my arm. If you must (toys, I mean), here are some suggestions you can count on...

Parents Magazine rated this year's best toys for every age, starting with baby and ending with big kids! These 58 winners (at all price points, I might add) would bring you kisses and hugs. There is even a list of toys for kids with special needs.

Game On!

Looking for something to do in your spare time? The wind, snow and frigid temperatures make it challenging to enjoy the outdoors this time of year, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have fun! The AADL has more than just books to keep you and the family entertained.

If you’re looking to get out of the house, there are two great events coming up for you! Saturday,November 22, there is a Family Board Game Bash at 2:00 at the Pittsfield Branch. The following Saturday, December 6th, you can join us at Traverwood to Learn To Play Mahjongg with a local enthusiast to help you learn along the way.

Maybe you want to keep it cozy at home? Check out the Unusual Stuff in our catalog- maybe you’d like to go big and play Giant Dominoes or Giant Checkers? Or, get your warm weather game on point and borrow a Portable Disc Golf Basket. Whatever your fancy, game on friends!

Delicious Imagination!

It’s time for gingerbread play at the Youth Department Tot Table this month. We’ve got the cookie sheets, spatulas and felt cookies in every shape and size. If it makes you long for true gingerbread deliciousness, check out this recipe inspired by Zingerman's “ginger jump up” cookies. Then burn calories and “run, run, catch me if you can” at the annual Turkey TrotGingerbread DesignGingerbread Design!

November Holiday Markets

Mark your calendars and plan to take in a holiday market during the month of November. Here are a few to consider:
The Ann Arbor Fiberarts Guild Holiday Sale is Saturday Nov. 8 from 10am - 4 pm., in WCC Morris Lawrence Buillding., 4800 E. Huron River Dr.
The Holiday Art Fair of the Guild of Artists & Artisans is Saturday, November 15, 10am - 6pm and Sunday, November 16, 11am - 5 pm, in the Eastern Michigan University Convocation Center.
The Sunday Artisan Market Holiday Open House is Sunday, November 16, from 11am - 4pm in Kerrytown Shops on Detroit St.

Tiny Expo: Ann Arbor's biggest little indie arts & craft fair — Downtown, December 13th!

Ann Arbor's biggest little indie arts & craft fair is back! After a few years of hopping around to different locales, Tiny Expo will land at the Downtown AADL this December 13th, 11am—5:30pm!

Just what IS Tiny Expo? It's a fun local, and handmade shopping experience that began with a small group of artists in 2010. As the initial group of creative folks banded together to hold a fun, informal little fair, expo-goers responded, and the show grew just a teeny bit each year. Finding a location that could fit everyone was a perennial challenge, though, and so Tiny Expo jumped around town — from Kerrytown to Felch Street and back again.

This year, the Downtown Library will host Tiny Expo's marvelous collection of local indie artists and crafters, including a few audience favorites from past Tiny Expo editions! We'll be announcing the final artist roster in mid November, but if you or an artist you know might be a good fit, you can apply here to be a part of things!

So, get excited, get ready, and mark your calendar — for the biggest little indie arts and craft fair, this December!

Halloween Events at the AADL!

We love Halloween at the AADL, and we have lots of fun events planned for other Halloween lovers, too! On Tuesday evening, October 28, adults and teens can make decorative Halloween wreaths at the Pittsfield branch of the library. On Wednesday, October 29, we’ll be celebrating Dia de los Muertos by making Day of the Dead Shrinky Dink skull charms at the Mallets Creek location. And, on Halloween itself, we have tons of activities for little ones. In the morning, at both 9:30 and 10:30, there will be a special, first-ever Halloween-themed puppet show at the downtown library! Preschoolers will definitely enjoy the Halloween storytime that morning, also taking place at the downtown library and featuring, music, finger plays, and holiday stories. Kids can come in their costumes for treats here at the library, and then join up with the Treat Parade! The library has partnered with the Main Street Association and we’re a stop on this year’s parade! For more information about any of our Halloween events, you can call or ask at any of the AADL locations. Happy Halloween!

Literati: Violin Monster Concert and Storytime

A human dressed up as "Violin Monster" will be at Literati bookstore at 7pm Thursday Oct. 30, the evening before Halloween. Literati is located at 124 E. Washington in downtown Ann Arbor. From their web page: "Violin Monster will play some music, read some stories, share some of his spookiest, scariest memories... and he may even need some help from the audience remembering them! Join us for this fun, spooky event for all ages. AAAAWWWOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!" At the library we have lots of books for young people about Halloween.

Once Upon An Alphabet

Once Upon an Alphabet is the brand new book by popular children’s author Oliver Jeffers. He’s famous for illustrating last year’s The Day the Crayons Quit, and for writing and illustrating The Hueys books, and The Heart and the Bottle, as well as many other kids’ books written and illustrated in his signature style.

Once Upon an Alphabet is particularly special because it offers up a short story for each letter… and all these stories feature interconnected characters and situations throughout the book. The letter A tells the tale of an astronaut who’s afraid of heights, B is a bridge burned between friends, and C is the story of a cup longing to escape its cupboard of captivity. Jeffers’ gorgeous illustrations and use of color turn Once Upon an Alphabet into a whimsical art book as well as a literary learning experience!

The School Library Journal calls Once Upon an Alphabet “an altogether stimulating, surprising and satisfying reading experience.” Don’t miss it!

Chesstastic this Sunday, October 19

Join us for our monthly chess program this Sunday from 1:00-4:00pm at the Traverwood branch of the AADL! Players of all ages and skill levels are welcome and this is a great way to learn more about the most popular game in the world and to meet new people. Chess sets are provided.

Anne of Green Gables

The Anne of Green Gables books have been a staple in my life for as long as I could remember. The first book opens with a brother and sister who are getting on in years deciding that adopting a boy will be a practical step for them instead of hiring help. What they get however, is a very impractical Anne Shirley. Anne is a scrawny little girl with spirit and energy in abundance. Despite her being a girl, she quickly wiggles her way into everyone's hearts and is allowed to stay for a probationary period. I spent my childhood wishing I was as creative as Anne with her red hair and spunk. She is the epitome of delight with her flowery language and dramatic ways. Even though such traits could quickly become irritating, she manages to be one of the most endearing characters in literature. She is no stranger to making mistakes and yet she has a resiliency that is at times superhuman.

If you are the sort who enjoys movies based on great books you should also check out the movies based on Anne of Green Gables staring Megan Follows. She will forever be the version of Anne that I picture whenever I reread the books.

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