Chesstastic @ Malletts Creek this Sunday, February 19

All you fans of chess, we will be gathering for open play, even though Traverwood, the usual host branch, is closed for maintenance. We'll be setting up the chess boards from 1:00-4:00pm on Sunday, February 19 at Malletts Creek for chess players of all ages and abilities. Please join us for one of the best strategy games around.
New to the game? Please check out these introductory titles or look here for titles with more advanced strategies. AADL also carries magazines for chess enthusiasts, Chess Life and Chess Life for Kids for quick tips and articles of interest.
Drop by on Sunday to challenge your friends and make new ones.

The Art of Emblems

The art of emblems goes way back to the “impresa” which wealthy people used to create their personal mythology. An emblem or logo may represent schools, countries or even types of gardens. Emblems can be windows into cultures and eras of human history. Of course Ann Arbor’s emblem has something we are famous for. One of the most recent popular emblems plays a dramatic role in the book , The Hunger Games, also coming soon to a theater near you!

Make a Valentine's Day Card for that Special Someone!

Pittsfield Branch: Saturday, February 11, 2012 at 11:00 a.m.

Make some valentines for those special people in your life.
We'll also be making large tissue paper flowers. All supplies will be provided. This is for preschool - grade 5.

For books and movies about the holiday, click here.

For Valentine's Day coloring sheets or other projects to try at home, click here.

Make Valentine's Day Brighter!


This Valentine's Day, you can send a card to patients at the Veterans Hospital and C.S. Mott Children's Hospital! Make or buy a Valentine's Day card, fill it out, and drop it off at any AADL location from February 5 - 11. You can specify which hospital or let AADL staff decide. We will make sure it arrives safely!

Please avoid glitter and leave the envelope unsealed. Because many of the patients at these hospitals are long term, please do not include any messages about getting well or feeling better.

Thank you for making this Valentine's Day a little better for children and veterans!

Scandinavian Family Celebration

We’ll be making Danish paper heart baskets, viking shields, and snacking on gingerbread cookies and smoked salmon on crackers at the Scandinavian Family Cultural Celebration on February 12 at the Downtown Library. The event will kickoff at 2:00 pm when Veselba brings their unique instruments and we dance along!

Author Carole Boston Weatherford comes to Ann Arbor

Award winning author Carole Boston Weatherford is coming to Ann Arbor in honor of Black History Month. This author writes fiction, poetry and non-fiction for children. She will be at the downtown library on Saturday, February 4 at 2:00 p.m.

In an interview with the Detroit Free Press, Ms. Weatherford said her visit to Ann Arbor would " . . . focus
on poetry that celebrates the African-American experience and pays tribute to both famous and unsung heroes and heroines."

Books will be on sale at the event, courtesy of Nicola's Books.

The Secret World of Walter Anderson

“There once was a man whose love of nature was as wide as the world. There once was an artist who needed to paint as much as he needed to breathe. There once was an islander who lived in a cottage at the edge of the Mississippi, where the sea meets the earth and the sky. His name was Walter Anderson. He may be the most famous American artist you’ve never heard of.”

So begins The Secret World of Walter Anderson by Hester Bass, a youth biography of the Mississippi artist. Known as the “homegrown Van Gogh”, he sketched and painted the natural world of the Gulf coast from the 1930s to the mid-1960s. He also carved sculptures, made furniture, created murals, decorated pottery and wrote poetry. He was driven by an intense desire to produce his art and express the beauty and transcendence of nature. “The heart is the thing that counts, the mingling of my heart with the heart of the wild bird; to become one with the thing I see…”

He was brilliant, reclusive and eccentric, living on the edge of sanity in a small cabin and making frequent excursions by rowboat to Horn Island in the Gulf, where he camped in primitive conditions for weeks at a time, sketching the turtles, birds and waves. In his cabin, he kept one room locked and completely off-limits to his family. When he died, and they opened “The Little Room”, they found every square inch had been painted with glowing, vibrant colors, depicting a Gulf coast day from dawn to night. It was his secret and it is magical.

This book is a beautiful introduction for young people to his art and life. The first part is useful for lower elementary students for doing biography reports, but could be read to younger children as well; the second part (the author’s note) expands the information to be appropriate for middle school or even the curious adult. In trying to learn more about this artist I found several books in MeL which were wonderful.

Walter Anderson’s art is worth spending time with. See some images of his artwork here. If you happen to find yourself in New Orleans, the Walter Anderson Museum is a day-trip away.

Traverwood Branch Closed for Floor Maintenance Beginning February 13

Traverwood Branch will be closed for necessary repairs and maintenance to the wood floors beginning on Monday, February 13. We plan to re-open the branch by February 23, but if things go well it will open sooner. The finishes used that adhere to standards that are in keeping with the sustainable principles used to build the building have not held up to the high traffic in that location. The floor needs to be sanded, repaired in some places, and recoated and sealed. We could simply throw all caution to the wind and finish the floor like a basketball court, but that seems shortsighted and unjustified. A product that meets our standards, and is proven to hold up well in high traffic areas will be applied. Annual maintenance on these wooden floors will always be required, but it is our hope that extensive work will not be required for years.

Library materials may be returned to the outside Traverwood drop boxes on Huron Parkway or to any other AADL location during this closure. We apologize for any inconvenience.

Unexpired holds will be moved from Traverwood to the Downtown Library after the Branch closes at 6 pm on Sunday, February 12. Unexpired holds that would have been available for pickup at Traverwood during the closure will instead be held for pickup Downtown. If you would like to pick up your holds at a different location, please contact us at www.aadl.org/contactus, call 327-4219 or come to the Traverwood service desk prior to Monday, February 13. We will be happy to assist you.

During the closure please check this website for the many storytimes, computer classes, ESL sessions and events at other AADL locations. Consider visiting the Downtown Library or one of our three other branches.

Thank you in advance for your patience. We again apologize for any inconvenience.

Josie

Once Upon a Winter's Day

Once Upon a Winter's DayOnce Upon a Winter's Day

Join us on Sunday, January 29, 2012 at 2:00 p.m. at the Pittsfield Branch Library for a family storytime. What a cozy way to spend
an afternoon! We'll tell stories, sing songs, and drink hot chocolate. Then we'll make some cute stuffed snow people.
Bring the whole family!

For winter stories, click here.

Breaking Stalin's Nose

2012 Newbery Honor book, Breaking Stalin's Nose, by Eugene Yelchin is a welcome addition to what I expect out of historical literature for young adults. If I'm looking for great books about the Civil War, early-1900s race relations, the Holocaust, or the Civil Rights Movement, I have award winners like Elijah of Buxton, Number the Stars, The Best Bad Luck I Ever Had and One Crazy Summer, or dozens of others. But what about the Cold War?

In Breaking Stalin's Nose, ten-year-old Sasha lives in Cold War-era Soviet Union. The novel opens with a set of beliefs Sasha holds above all, "My dad is a hero and a Communist and, more than anything, I want to be like him. I can never be like Comrade Stalin, of course. He's our great Leader and Teacher."

From there, readers are plunged into a fog of Stalinist propaganda that permeates Sasha's life, in his cramped apartment, on the radio, and in school lessons. Sasha is a devoted Soviet with hopes of joining the ranks of the Young Pioneers, an elite youth nationalist group at school. But when Sasha's father, a member of the State Security, is taken from their komunalka in the middle of the night, leaving the boy an orphan, Sasha begins to discover the cost of a culture of fear, suspicion, and persecution as his status careens from elite to outcast.

The issues raised in Breaking Stalin's Nose are far deeper than a didactic 'Communism is bad and Capitalism is good', and the situations and choices the characters face are relevant beyond their immediate setting. This title would make a fantastic classroom or book group discussion selection.

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