Eureka! Land in sight.

This week is the anniversary of the discoveries of two significant land masses. On December 13, 1642, Captain Abel Tasman of the Dutch East India Company first sighted New Zealand. In 1769, Captain James Cook landed and took possession for Great Britain. To read more on New Zealand, try Traveller's History of New Zealand and the South Pacific Islands by John H. Chambers.

On December 14, 1911, the South Pole was located and visited by Roald Amundsen. Although more has been written about Ernest Shackleton, his expedition to Antarctica was in 1914, a few years after Amundsen's discovery. Last Place on Earth is a book by Roland Huntford and then a film based on the rivalry between Amundsen and Scott who came one year apart to the Pole.

American Born Chinese & The Monkey King

Cleverly interweaving stories tell the tales of Jin Wang, a teen who meets with ridicule and social isolation when his family moves from San Francisco's Chinatown to an exclusively white suburb; Danny, a popular blond, blue-eyed high school jock whose social status is jeopardized when his goofy, embarrassing Chinese cousin, Chin-Kee, enrolls at his high school; and the Monkey King who, unsatisfied with his current sovereign, desperately longs to be elevated to the status of a god. Exploring issues of self-image, cultural identity, transformation, and self-acceptance American Born Chinese by Gene Luen Yang is a rare treat.

Give the gift of a good read!

Are you stumped on what to get your family members for the holidays? Try giving someone a book! NPR's All Things Considered has several recommendations here in the article "Book Selections to Nourish the Mind at the Holidays."

And while you're on NPR's website, check out their page of holiday recipes too!

The Rouge: Photographs by Michael Kenna at UMMA

This past weekend The Rouge: Photographs by Michael Kenna opened at the University of Michigan Museum of Art Off/Site, its temporary home while the museum is under renovations.

“English landscape photographer Michael Kenna first toured the Rouge plant in Dearborn, Michigan, in 1992 and returned to the site over a number of years. The resulting photographs capture the smoky atmosphere, the dramatic structures, and the bold silhouettes that give this early twentieth-century technical marvel at the center of modern American industry its character.”

Kenna is not the first photographer to take an interest in the Rouge Plant. While Charles Sheeler’s famous Rouge Plant images were admittedly Kenna’s inspiration, others like Diego Rivera have taken a more painterly approach to this subject in his mural at the Detroit Institute of Arts.

Check time/date for scheduled docent guided tours of the exhibition and read up on Michael Kenna in the library's collection.

Buy Local Week, December 4-10

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Organized by Think Local First of Washtenaw County, Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti will celebrate Buy Local Week, December 4-10 along with many other communities across the country. Click here for a list of events.

During Buy Local Week,, you'll have a chance to win a $250 gift certificate to ANY of the independent, locally-owned businesses in Washtenaw County, as well 10 runner-up prizes.

Why buy local? Here are seven reasons to Think Local First.

While you are shopping at one of our wonderful independent, locally owned bookstores, don't forget our local authors. Happy Shopping!

Bone (in color!)

If you missed out on the first run of this great comic series (originally released from 1994-2004 by Cartoon Books) you won’t want to miss Scholastic’s re-release. The writer/illustrator, Jeff Smith, is currently working with colorist Steve Hamaker to color all nine volumes, which were previously released in black and white.

The story follows the adventures of three cousins, Fone Bone, Phoney Bone, and Smiley Bone as they are run out of their hometown of Boneville and find themselves in a mysterious valley. There they encounter giant rat creatures, swarms of locusts, dragons, princesses, and racing cows. It’s a fantasy saga that doesn’t take itself too seriously all the time. Take Smith's humor, throw in a little adventure, romance, and suspense, and you have a comic that appeals to all audiences.

Visit Jeff Smith's website to learn more about Bone.

You will find the new Scholastic color versions through volume four in our collection (volume 5 is due out next February):
1.Out from Boneville
2.The Great Cow Race
3.Eyes of the Storm
4.The Dragonslayer

AADL also has some of the black and white Cartoon Books releases:
1.Out from Boneville
3.Eyes of the Storm
4.The Dragonslayer
6.Old Man’s Cave
8.Treasure Hunters

Nate the Great

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Remember Nate the Great? His pancake breakfasts? Rosamond? Anne and her dog Fang?

If so (or if not and your curious,) check out the Nate the Great series by Marjorie Weinman Sharmat.

I think it's time to reintroduce the pint-size detective.
Forget Columbo, hire Nate to get to the bottom of things...

And I bet you didn't know that there's a Nate the Great website, did ya?

Top Ten Bestselling Children's Picture Books

Each issue of Publisher's Weekly features bestseller lists for all kinds of categories. Here are the top ten bestsellers in the children's picture book category according to the November 20, 2006 issue.

1. Our 50 States by Lynne Cheney, illustrated by Robin Preiss Glasser. (This title is on order.)
2. Pirateology. Edited by Dugald A. Steer. (Library's copies are in teen section.)
3. Thanksgiving Is For Giving Thanks by Margaret Sutherland. Illustrated by Sonja Lamut.
4. Mommy? by Maurice Sendak, Arthur Yorkings and Matthew Reinhart. (This is a pop-up book. Pop-ups are problematic for library collections.)
5. Is There Really a Human Race? by Jamie Lee Curtis, illustrated by Laura Cornell.
6. A Princess Primer by Stephanie True Peters. (This one has many removable pieces. Again, not practical for library collections.)
7. Fancy Nancy by Jane O'Connor, illustrated by Robin Preiss Glasser.
8. The Beatrice Letters by Lemony Snicket.
9. Library Lion by Michelle Knudsen, illustrated by Kevin Hawkes.
10. Flotsam by David Wiesner.

Willkommen!

All ages are invited to make pine cone and star ornaments, dance to lively tunes played by Luther Schaible on accordion, and eat soft pretzels to celebrate traditions of German, Swiss and Austrian families. To get yourself in the mood, check out some Brothers Grimm Fairy Tales and then party at the Downtown Ann Arbor District Library on Sunday, December 3 at 2:00 pm!

"A book is a gift you can open again and again" ~ Garrison Keillor

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It’s the season for giving and if your gifts of choice are books, we have a few suggestions for you.

We LOVE Powell’s Books and their right-on-the-money gift ideas. If you are on a budget, no problem! They have great suggestions for $7 and under.

Next time you are at any of our library locations, pick up a copy of the free review magazine BookPage. The December issue has a special feature called "Great Gifts for Readers of Every Stripe". Get a headstart and download the Holiday Gift Catalog.

We also like Amazon’s 2006 Top 50 Editors’ Picks; the Most Gifted in Books; and their lists of award winners.

Want to do right by the little ones?
Here are the N(ational) E(ducation) A(ssociation) Teachers' Top 100 Books and the Kids' top 100 books; New York Public Library’s 100 Favorite Children's Books and the 100 Picture Books Everyone Should Know.

Clueless about those teenagers on your list?
What about music? You will be sure to find something on The Billboard Hot 100 to please them. You could also strongly encourage reading by presenting them with one or more of these fabulous picks from the American Library Association’s Best Books for Young Adults.

And if you have deep pockets and are short on time, and you love shopping as much as scrubbing the toilet with a toothbrush, then there is always the BookBaskets option. I cannot personally vouch of this outfit, but Katie Couric is a satisfied customer.

Happy Giving. <--break-->

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