Thrice as nice!

When I was teaching I always had to giggle (to myself) when a student mistakenly thought a book was based on a movie, instead of the other way around. Many of my students got a whole lot more screen time than they did book time, so it was an understandable mistake.
If it was available, I often showed the movie version of a book after we completed reading it. It served as a treat for a job well done and also as a way to stretch out a lesson. After watching the movie I had my students write a paper on the differences they observed. Often children are so much more observant than adults and I was amazed at some of the differences my students, and my own children, came up with. (In my home I don’t make my children write a paper, but we do have great conversations on their findings!)
At the Ann Arbor District Library we have a many titles that allow for this type of interaction. One of my all time favorites is Roald Dahl’s Fantastic Mr. Fox. The story is about a wily fox that uses his impressive cunning to outsmart three feeble-minded farmers, who resort to extreme measures to protect their chickens. (The book is 81 pages long and can be read in the time it would take to watch the movie.) The movie, directed by Wes Anderson, stars the voices of George Clooney, Meryl Streep, Bill Murray and William Defoe, to name a few. It is great family flick that can be enjoyed by all, young and old. The soundtrack (also available at the AADL) features some fun Burl Ives classics, 60s pop and rock tunes and a few other quirky ditties that are fit for family listening.

Cabin Fever

If you are anything like me, March rolls around and you begin to crave the juicy flavor of a sun-warmed tomato or the crunch of a raw sugar snap pea. OK, maybe I started to crave those back in November..but, March is when I can actually allow myself to think about what delicious food I am going to grow. It is also when I can take little steps to growing this food, such as ordering/planting seeds and beginning to plan the layout of my garden. Around this time my imagination runs rampant and I end up with way more seeds and varieties of tomatoes than I could ever plant, let alone eat. With the help of some resources from AADL, you can wrap up in a blanket with a warm cup of tea, and look forward to the day when the sun is once again shining and you are not under 5 layers of clothes.

With books such as The Backyard Homestead, Great Garden Companions, and Easy Vegetable Garden Plans…you can begin to plan your summer growing experience.

Don’t have enough land to plant a garden? Have no fear! You can plant in containers if you only have a porch or a deck. There are many books that offer solutions to the problem of not having available land to plant a traditional garden. To see a list of books that address this and other issues that may arise when you are trying to garden in a small space, click here.

I would also recommend making a trip to the AADL location and browsing the gardening section. You can also browse our collection online here.

Also, if you do not have the space to garden but still want to get your hands dirty, there are many opportunities for you! Community gardens like Better Together Community Garden or organizations such as Growing Hope in Ypsilanti exist so you can get outside and work with the earth no matter what your living situation may be.

Get ready, summer is just around the corner!

Lego Bomb

Bomboclats are trying something new! Invention, composition, and imagination are at your fingertips with Legos. The sky is the limit when you create with these self locking building blocks. Where will the new drop zone be? Your bedroom, basement, classroom, back yard, or community center? You decide, the power is in your hands! Check out all things Lego starting here!

Wild Swan Theater: “Shipwrecked!”

Wild Swan Theater presents "Shipwrecked!" March 14-16 in Towsley Auditorium in the WCC Morris Lawrence Building. This original play, appropriate for kids in about grades 3-8, was written by accomplished local playwright Jeff Duncan. The story is a coming-of-age drama set during a fierce storm on Lake Huron in 1893. Twelve year-old Aaron Buchanan is sailing with his parents on their small schooner loaded with Christmas trees. Aaron's mettle is tested when a fierce gale hits "Shipwreck Alley," and he helps rescue his family. The play is based on historical accounts of the time and should give young people a good chance to learn some of the history, geography, music and maritime heritage of Michigan and the Great Lakes. For those families who may want to learn more about shipwrecks before going to the play, AADL has some great resources.

Chimpanzee

Chimpanzee is a very touching look into the complexities of a community of chimpanzees living in the jungles of West Africa. Surely we have been fascinated with chimps partly because of their similarities to humans and this documentary highlights those similarities more than most. The choice of Tim Allen for narration was a pleasant surprise and he did a wonderful job of bringing his own personality to the production, while not detracting from the overarching story. There are even a couple hints to his previous acting work as Tim “the Toolman Taylor” in the popular 90’s TV sitcom Home Improvement.

The cinematography was one of my favorite aspects of the film. There is one scene in particular of it raining that struck me as extraordinarily beautiful. This film however, does come with a warning, there are moments where you may tear up because you have so completely entered their world that the losses and difficulties their community faces feel like your own. Overall, this is a very touching story and I would recommend it to anyone who enjoys beautiful scenery and learning more about the society of chimpanzees.

To see what else the library has to offer regarding the magestic chimpanzee, click here.

Fanfare for the Common Cold

Join other piano music lovers on Sunday, March 17, 4-5 pm at the Downtown Library to hear original selections from the recent recording project, Sweet Geriatrics by pianist/composer Waleed Howrani. From “Bifocal Boogie Woogie” to “Balding Balalaika,” the pieces cover a wide range of topics and musical styles with aplomb. “Old to Joy” reflects on the happy free time of retirement via Beethoven backwards in a minor key, while the joyful “Great-Grandsonata” winds six elements of a sonata into 27 playful seconds. “The journey through life into middle age and beyond is a lot like a symphony,” said Howrani. “It takes place in movements and phases and has many different tones and moments along with recurring themes." You will be amazed and thoroughly entertained by how Howrani tickles the ivories and plays with mother time right before our very eyes!

Chesstastic

Take time for chess on Sunday, February 17 @ the Traverwood branch 1 - 4 PM. It fills the bill for something to do that is both relaxing and stimulating.

Newly added to the library's collection is, A Fresh Look at Chess : 40 Instructive Games, Played and Annotated by Players Like You, a look at some
amateur games, showing you how to make more effective moves, and Chess is Child's Play : Teaching Techniques That Work. All ages and abilities are welcome at Chesstastic.

Solving problems, thinking logically, and learning patience are skills that playing chess can boost at any age.

Roses Are Red, Valentines Are Too!

Roses Are Red, Valentines Are Too!Roses Are Red, Valentines Are Too!

Come to the Pittsfield Branch Library on Saturday, February 9, 2013 at 11:00 a.m. to make some Valentine cards for the special people in your life.
Moms, dads, grandmas, grandpas, aunts, uncles . . . everybody likes to get Valentine's Day cards. We'll be making beautiful tissue paper flowers
to go with the cards. This is for preschool - Grade 5 but all are welcome. Supplies will be provided.

You can also make cards for patients at the C.S. Mott Children's Hospital and the Veterans Hospital. We'll deliver those cards for you.
If you can't make it to the Saturday program, you can drop off Valentines cards at any AADL location from Feb. 5 - 11.
When making your card, please remember: sign it with your first name and leave it unsealed; do not use glitter, and please do not
include messages about getting well or feeling better - many of the patients are in the hospital for a long time.

For materials about this popular holiday, click here.

National Day of Courage on February 4th honors Rosa Parks' 100th Birthday

On Feb. 4, The Henry Ford will celebrate what would have been Rosa Parks’ 100th birthday with a National Day of Courage.

In 2001 The Henry Ford became the home to Montgomery, Ala., bus No. 2857, the very bus that Mrs. Parks refused to give up her seat on. The bus has become a symbol for courage and strength as many believe Mrs. Parks’ actions that day sparked the American Civil Rights Movement.

The day-long celebration taking place inside Henry Ford Museum will feature nationally-recognized speakers, live music, and dramatic presentations. Current scheduled speakers include American social activist and leader in the Civil Rights Movement Julian Bond, contributing Newsweek editor Eleanor Clift, Rosa Parks biographers Jeanne Theoharis and Douglas Brinkley and Wayne State University Assistant Professor Danielle McGuire. A live stream of the day’s events will be available to watch online on the National Day of Courage website.

You'll find a list of books and DVDs about Rosa Parks here.

ALA Announces 2013 Newbery, Caldecott, and other Youth Media Awards


Every year at the American Library Association Midwinter Meeting, librarians from across the continent gather for the most exciting event on the youth fiction calendar--the announcement of the ALA Youth Media Awards. These awards, from the venerable Newbery medal to the relatively new Stonewall Book Award, are awarded to what can only be termed the rockstars of the youth media world, and the enthusiasm surrounding the event carries out this comparison. Books nominated for these prizes are enshrined in their own sections of libraries, assigned in schools, and treasured by decades of readers, young and old. The 2013 winners were announced this morning in Seattle, Washington.

The 2013 Newbery Medal for the most outstanding children's literature of the year was awarded to Katherine Applegate for her book The One and Only Ivan.

The Caldecott Medal, celebrating its 75th year of honoring the best of the best of children's picture books, was awarded to Jon Klassen for This Is Not My Hat.

The Coretta Scott King Book Award for an outstanding publication that represents the African American experience was given to illustrator Bryan Collier for I, Too, Am America and author Andrea Davis Pinkney for Hand in Hand: Ten Black Men Who Changed America while The Coretta Scott King-Virginia Hamilton Award for Lifetime Achievement recognized Demetria Tucker, librarian and youth media advocate, for her longstanding contributions.

The Pura Belpré Awards for works that best represent the Latino experience honored Martín de Porres: The Rose in the Desert for David Diaz's illustrations, and Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz for text.

The Michael L. Printz Award for the best book written for young adults was awarded to Nick Lake for In Darkness.

The Laura Ingalls Wilder Award for a lifelong contribution to children's literature in the United States was awarded to Katherine Paterson, author of Bridge to Terabithia and many other beloved books, and The Margaret A. Edwards Award for contribution to teen literature went to Tamora Pierce for her quartets The Song of the Lioness and Protector of the Small.

For a full list of winners and honorable mentions, visit the American Library Association's awards page or the ALA Youth Media Awards Facebook page, and be sure to check out our section of award winning children's books in the Downtown Library youth room.

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