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Fantastic Children's Non-Fiction

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When Planet Earth Was New - by James Gladstone & Katherine Diemert -
This starkly beautiful picture book introduces very young readers to the geological history of planet Earth. Beginning with the very early development of the solar system, billions and billions of years ago, 'When Planet Earth Was New' shows the earth as it passes through various geological epochs, through the beginnings and the evolution of organic life, and into the human-dominated present. You'll find a great appendix at the end, giving a wealth of additional details. This little gem is a great way to show your child the basics of geological and biological history, years before they will first learn it in the classroom.

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Pocket Full of Colors: the magical world of Mary Blair, Disney artist extraordinaire -by Amy Guglielmo & Jacqueline Tourville-
The authors chart the course of the life of Mary Blair, the creative talent behind Disney classics like Cinderella and Alice in Wonderland. Mary's creative instincts and professional ambitions collide with gender discrimination in the highly male-dominated work-spaces of mid-century America. Mary perseveres though, and single-handedly drags the Disney Studios from it's black and white past, and into the lush colors of it's storied golden age.

While there is much to love in this slender book, as and adult, my favorite part of 'A Pocket Full of Colors' is how carefully the illustrator captured the various incarnations of Mary's personal style, from Betty Page bangs, to late 50's June Cleaver pearls, and finally into ultra-trendy 60's Mod. This beautifully illustrated, audaciously colorful picture book is a great way to introduce your little one to biographies.

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Yum! MmMm! Qué rico! : Americas' sproutings - by Pat Mora -
Featuring vibrant, warm colors and a playful style, Pat Mora manages to pack an enormous amount of quality content into a tiny little picture book. 'Written as a series of haiku, Yum! MmMm! Qué rico!' teaches kids about the history of many of the great foods that originated in the Americas (chocolate, corn, peanuts, potatoes, and many more). Be sure to check out the fun and informative histories of each food item, always in small print on the left-hand side of every page. Your child will be both educated and entertained.

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Poison : deadly deeds, perilous professions, and murderous medicines - by Sarah Albee -
Written for more advanced readers, this book is sure to satisfy kids with a passion for chemistry, history, spy-craft, or maybe just anything morbid. While the author is careful to state that 'Poison' is not an exhaustive index of poisonous materials, at nearly 200 pages, Sarah Albee manages to cover an enormous amount of ground. Your child will learn about how humans have wrangled with chemistry throughout history, focusing on the where, when, and why of how people have come into contact with dangerous chemical compounds. Be sure to check it out!

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Blog Post

i carry your heart with me

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[http://www.aadl.org/catalog/search/keyword/ee%20cummings|E.E. Cummings], (Edward Estlin, for those wondering) beloved American poet, was born on this day in 1894. Cummings is most well known for his unique style of poetry, recognizable by his sparing use of words, and his experimentation with form, grammar, and spelling. Often he wrote about love, and arguably his most well known poem is [http://www.aadl.org/catalog/record/1449914|i carry your heart with me]. Cummings started writing at a young age, and was quite prolific, having written thousands of poems. For a quick intro, here are [http://www.aadl.org/catalog/record/1094698|100 selected poems] to give you a taste of his distinguished work. For a deeper dive, be sure to check out a copy of the [http://www.aadl.org/catalog/record/1438929|Complete Collected poems]. In addition to writing poetry, Cummings wrote multiple non-fiction books including [http://www.aadl.org/catalog/record/1018976|The Enormous Room] and [http://www.aadl.org/catalog/record/1230074|Fairytales], as well as a handful of plays, which are available for check out [http://www.aadl.org/catalog/record/1422074|here].

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Blog Post

Three brilliant wordsmiths

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As presented in delightfully rendered, craftily composed biographies of wordsmiths for children (of all ages).

Edward Estlin Cummings was born on October 14, 1894 and was raised in Cambridge, Massachusetts by two supportive and creative parents, who introduced Estlin to the wonderful world of words and provided him with the space to use them magically. Estlin’s love of words was illuminated by his passion for drawing and painting, so that the poems he created used words for language and illustration. This very unique style of poetry is well known to any who are familiar with the works of [a:cummings, e.e.|e.e. cummings]. In [b:1469730|enormous smallness : a story of e.e. cummings], [a:Burgess, Matthew|Matthew Burgess] details [a:cummings, e.e.|cummings’] childhood and his journey to becoming a poetry pioneer. [a:Di Giamomo, Kris|Kris Di Giamomo’s] illustrations are the perfect match to both Burgess’s and cummings’ words. Words appear as pictorial representations of leaves on trees, clouds, the night sky.

[a:cummings, e.e.|cummings] was greatly inspired by the outside world that he noticed as a child. So was [a:Williams, William Carlos|William Carlos Williams], born in 1883 in Rutherford, New Jersey. [a:Bryant, Jen|Jen Bryant] gives us Williams’ story in [b:1323360|A river of words: the story of William Carlos Williams]. As Williams grew older and had less time for outdoor pursuits, he realized that poetry instilled in him the same feeling as the sounds of the natural world. Unlike cummings, Williams did not find the poetry bursting out of him. He first tried his hand at writing like the famous English poets he had read in school, but found that this style could not convey the images he was seeing in his mind. He put aside rhyme and rhythm and “let each poem find its own special shape on the page.” Williams became a doctor to pay the bills, but often used his prescription pads for jotting down the lines in his head. After each day of work, he wrote to create the poems that are so well known and well loved today, poems about plums and wheelbarrows. Like Di Giamomo, illustrator [a:Sweet, Melissa|Melissa Sweet] demonstrates that pictures can be made with words.

Bryant and Sweet team up again in [b:1460390|The right word : Roget and his thesaurus] to give us the story of another great wordsmith. Born in London in 1779, [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peter_Mark_Roget|Peter Mark Roget] was a collector of words, and because of his accumulation, we have one of the most amazing, breathtaking books there is. The Greek translation of thesaurus is “treasure house,” and there is not a better word within it to describe it. As a child, Roget didn’t have many friends, but he had books, and reading them inspired him to make his own. He organized his words differently from cummings and Williams: he created lists. As he grew older he realized that there was always an ideal word to describe anything and that if those perfect words could all be found in one place, a book sure to provide the best word, than the world would be improved for it. Like Williams, Roget also became a doctor, but it was ultimately his wondrous compendium of words, the “Collections of English Synonyms Classified and Arranged,” that created his legacy. Bryant tells Roget's story in way that exhibits her own admiration for the thesaurus, and Sweet has once again used words as active, cheerful illustrations to show how letters can convey meaning on many levels.

The stories of these three scribes will appeal to word-lovers of any age, even help to create some new ones. And yes, I used a thesaurus to write this. I always do, regularly, repeatedly, and evermore.

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Crafts

Zine Workshop

Monday January 8, 2018: 7:00pm to 8:00pm
Downtown Library: Multi-Purpose Room
Grade 6 - Adult

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Blog Post

Grasping for that Grassy Green Cover...

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But then, lo and behold, there was ANOTHER time at the library...with that book you saw on a shelf, with a GREEN cover, that drew you in - but, of course, you had to pass it by in that moment for some unbeknownst reason. Now, if you should find yourself green with envy for that grassy-colored cover, I may have the book for you! I've recently created a [:user/lists/71952|list of books] that have, or have had, green covers - whether or not their most recent editions have that gorgeous emerald hue, they did at some point! Plus, this list is welcome to all kinds of green covered books...

Whether it be a marshy green of the novel [:catalog/record/1509939|The Marsh King's Daughter], a gawky bright green like [:catalog/record/1509883|The Awkward Age], or perhaps the olive green of [:catalog/record/1511479|Behind the Mask], all green covers are welcome on this compilation list. But this list isn't just for the adults! There's also a wide age range available for the younger reader greedy for the green...

Whether it's from the teen section like [:catalog/record/1298140|Fablehaven], maybe Gary Paulsen's [:catalog/record/1052717|The River], or even [:catalog/record/1406702|Insurgent] from Veronica Roth's best-selling Divergent series, this list has a generous collection of green covered pages that you might have left on the shelf. Even the youth may have glazed over a glorious green book resting on it's display, such as [:catalog/record/1013930|The Secret Garden] or [:catalog/record/1515713|Evermore Dragon]. This list also gives a gateway to the many genres that glisten with glittering green covers at the library...

Maybe you were gleefully grasping through science fiction and found [:catalog/record/1516158|The Best of Ian McDonald] or David Hutchinson's [:catalog/record/1516030|Acadie]? Could you have gone gallivanting through the Express Shelf and seen [:catalog/record/1514707|My Absolute Darling] or found [:catalog/record/1508225|The Essex Serpent]? What about the non-fiction readers, who may have glanced through the graceful stacks, gazing at gripping covers glorifying [:catalog/record/1515923|goodly grub for the growing kids] or [:catalog/record/1515962|great grammatical rhymes]?

This list has ALL THE THINGS (or would like to have) and is growing each day! Please feel free to take a gander, and graciously grumble or gab about other green-covered books you think others may be searching for, so the list gets gargantuan. Just think: someone out there could be looking for a leafy-green book jacket that you've read before - maybe you've got the answer they've been grieving for as they search the grand volumes we have here at AADL. Or perhaps you yourself have getting grumpy in the search, and the book is in this list already!!! Only one way to find out...

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Public Event

Washtenaw Reads Book Discussion: Homegoing, by Yaa Gyasi

Sunday February 11, 2018: 2:00pm to 3:00pm
Pittsfield Branch: Program Room
Grade 9 - Adult

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Public Event

Washtenaw Reads Book Discussion: Homegoing, by Yaa Gyasi

Tuesday January 30, 2018: 7:00pm to 8:00pm
Downtown Library: Multi-Purpose Room
Grade 9 - Adult

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Blog Post

The 2018 Washtenaw Reads Title Has Been Selected!

After much deliberation, the book for the 2018 Washtenaw Reads program has been selected.

A panel of community members from Ann Arbor, Chelsea, Dexter, Milan, Northfield Township, Saline and Ypsilanti voted on the winner from two [http://aareads.aadl.org/node/365070|finalist titles]. Without further ado, this year's title is...

[http://www.aadl.org/catalog/record/1488798|Homegoing, by Yaa Gyasi]

Image removed.Homegoing follows the parallel paths of two half sisters, born into different villages in 18th century Ghana, and their descendants through eight generations: from the Gold Coast to the plantations of Mississippi, from the American Civil War to Jazz Age Harlem.

The book has won many awards, including the PEN/ Hemingway Award, the NBCC’s John Leonard Award, New York Times Notable Book, Washington Post Notable Book and was named one of the best books of 2016 by NPR, Time, Oprah.com, Harper’s Bazaar, San Francisco Chronicle, Mother Jones, Esquire, Elle, Paste, Entertainment Weekly, the Skimm, Minneapolis Star Tribune, and BuzzFeed.

One of the highlights of Washtenaw Reads each year is a visit from the author. Yaa Gyasi will appear in Ann Arbor on Tuesday, February 6 at 7:00 pm at Rackham Auditorium in a program entitled "Homegoing: A Conversation with Yaa Gyasi" - The 2018 Institute for the Humanities Jill S. Harris Memorial Lecture." The event includes a book signing and copies of the book will be for sale.

Washtenaw Reads is a community initiative to promote reading and civic dialogue through the shared experience of reading and discussing a common book. Copies of Homegoing can be found at AADL and in libraries and bookstores throughout Washtenaw County.

Keep an eye on the Washtenaw Reads website, [http://aareads.aadl.org/|wread.org] for more information on upcoming events, as well as reading and discussion resources.

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Lectures & Panel Discussions

Emerging Writers Workshop: High-Concept Ideas

Monday February 5, 2018: 7:00pm to 8:45pm
Westgate Branch: West Side Room
Grade 6 - Adult

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Blog Post

Happy Birthday Mark Rothko!

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Mark Rothko (1903-1970) was an Abstract Expressionist painter, famously known for his color field paintings: six or seven foot canvases painted with large rectangle swaths of color. The subjects of his paintings appear simple, and often people view them with the thought “well, I could do that.” However, Rothko’s paintings are not necessarily about the technical skill involved, they are about the way the painting makes the viewer feel, the emotions that the work elicits in the observer, and about creating the illusion of spatial infinity. Abstract Expressionism as a movement came about in New York in the 1940s, and focused on the "sublime," defined as working to capture and portray the unspeakable, be it emotion, the divine, or the cosmic. For some abstract expressionists like Jackson Pollock, the art of their work is in the emotion expressed during the act of painting. For Rothko, the art is in the relationship between his painting and the viewer, in being overwhelmed by the sensation of the colors, and becoming emerged in the painting. The artist is known for saying the viewer should ideally experience his work from 18 inches away, as to become one with the painting. While our art prints are not to scale, they still do an excellent job of eliciting emotion and are available for check out [http://www.aadl.org/catalog/search/keyword/Rothko?search_format=p|here]. (For the full viewing experience, be sure to check out [https://www.dia.org/art/collection/object/orange-brown-59912|Orange, Brown] which is on display at the Detroit Institute of Arts!) To read more about the artist, check out [http://www.aadl.org/catalog/record/1502140|this book] written by his son, or this [http://www.aadl.org/catalog/record/1283253|biography]. You can also find books about Abstract Expressionism [http://www.aadl.org/catalog/search/keyword/Abstract%20Expressionism|here].