March 2011

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What's Life Like As a Smart, Sassy 5th Grader?

Book cover of Vive La ParisSmart and sassy Paris doesn't know what to do with Tanaeja, who picks on Paris's older brother, Michael, for no apparent reason. It wouldn't be a problem if Paris were older than Michael, but the problem is that Michael is three years older than she, in eighth grade. What would people think of Michael if his younger sister defended him? Her older brothers advise her to do nothing for fear that others would label Michael a "wussy" next year in high school, but can she watch her brother getting beat up from one day to the next?  While Paris must find her own way out from her troubles, the reader will find her story amusing and entertaining. There is no end to her wisecracks and funny remarks. Vive La Paris by Esme Raji Codell is a must read for smart sassy girls.  Also, this title qualifies as an award winner, having received a Sydney Taylor Honor Award, if you are looking for an award winning book for school.

Protect Your Infant

Photo of mother holding child

In addition to making sure your child gets all the immunization shots that he or she needs, you should always have the poisoning emergency number 1-800-222-1222 handy. Young children have the highest risk of poisoning because of their natural curiosity. Many common household items can be poisonous to children. Never leave cleaning supplies, medicine, alcohol, fumes, and chemical products unattended and within the reach of your child.


Having the First Aid Quick Guide can also be useful. This pocket size book was put together by the National Safety Council.  Founded in 1913, NSC is an nonprofit membership organization devoted to making our world a safer place. You will find valuable information on how to provide Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) and first aid to infants. If you want to take a look at it before purchasing one to keep, please make a visit to your local library.   

Heroism or Hallucination?

Book cover of Going Bovine In Going Bovine by Libba Bray, Cameron, a 16 year old slacker gets rudely jolted out of his going-nowhere life by a shocking diagnosis. He has mad cow disease. A gorgeous punk rock angel with pink hair convinces Cameron that he must go on a quest to save the world and in the process find a cure for himself. With Gonzo, a neurotic dwarf, and Balder, a Norse god trapped in the body of a garden gnome, by his side, Cameron sets out on a crazy road trip. Along the way he is attacked by fire giants, narrowly escapes the clutches of an evil happiness cult, and takes part in a near-lethal reality t.v. show contest.  It’s an amazing ride - or is it all in Cameron’s mind, a symptom of his illness? Either way, this dark comedy is a kick! 

Business Question of the Day

"I need help finding recent demographic statistics."


You're in luck! The Census Bureau is starting to release data from the 2010 Census. You can find state and county statistics on population, race, and housing occupany on the   new American Factfinder site.  The new American Factfinder site contains information from the 2000 and 2010 Census only. The Census will move the older data to the new site when the old American Factfinder site goes away sometime in the Fall. In addition, the Census will be continually releasing data from the 2010 Census so there is more statistics to come.

Fun Poetry

Everyone loves a rhyme, especially when it makes them laugh. Here are three poetry collections that are guaranteed to deliver a smile, a chuckle and lots of giggles. Entertaining illustrations for all three books accent and extend the humor of each poem.


  • What A Day It Was At School! , by Jack Prelutsky is a lively collection of verse that begs to be read aloud. Jack Prelutsky knows what makes kids laugh. These clever poems are sure to produce instantaneous giggles as readers identify with the humorous aspects of a typical school day. 
  • Take Me Out of the Bathtub and Other Silly Dilly Songs, by Alan Katz. Alan Katz is a comedy writer. He has taken familiar songs like “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” and given the songs new, silly, spirited lyrics that will make you want to laugh and sing along. Zany illustrations by David Catrow make this book of song poetry perfect fun for everyone.


Book cover of Rolling in the AislesBook cover of What a Day It Was at School!Book cover of Take Me Out of the Bathtub and Other Silly Dilly Songs

Cat the Cat

Cover of Mo WIllems book Cat the Cat Who is That?Last summer I came across Mo Willems' Cat the Cat books, and became a big fan of Mo Willems.  If you know his "Don't Let the Pigeon..." books, I hope you will look at his Cat the Cat Series.  









Listen to Mo Willems, himself, answer questions about Cat the Cat.


Got a Mystery to Solve? Call Nate the Great!

   Book cover of Nate the GreatDo you have a child always asking "why"? Then  Nate the Great series, by Marjorie  Weinman Sharmat, is right up their alley. This mystery series for children is a fun way to introduce the genre. The stories follow Nate the Great, a young detective, as he searches for clues to help solve mysteries in his neighborhood. But the best part is that he explains how he solved the mystery. These engaging books will have your child putting on a thinking cap to see if he or she can outsmart and outwit, Nate the Great. Checkout this series in the Children's Easy Reader section of the library.

Golden Gate Bridge

Cover Image of Kevin Starr's book Golden GateAs I was driving to work this morning I listened to part of a discussion on California's infrastructure. One of the subjects the interviewer and guests mentioned frequently was the Golden Gate Bridge. San José Public Library has many materials in many different formats that discuss this national landmark.  If you would like to see some of our holdings showcasing the Golden Gate Bridge check us out. 

Reading is Fundamental (RIF)-Week 1

Remember those Public Service Announcement (PSA) commercials on TV telling us that reading was fundamental? Being a child then I didn’t know what fundamental was but I think I understood that reading was important. In my house everyone read. My parents read the paper; they read books.


The first book that really touched me was The Catcher in the Rye. I read it as a senior in High School. I don’t know why it spoke to my 18 year old self, but it did. Reading for me means many things; entertainment, education, communication, just to name a few. My life has been enriched because of reading. I just assumed that everyone, at least every adult, could read. This is not true.


In Santa Clara County it is estimated that 277,000 residents are at the “Below Basic” level of reading, writing and understanding, with 153,000 of those people living in San Jose. Below Basic means that they have trouble reading a medicine bottle or filling out a job application. Partners in Reading (PAR) has been training tutors and helping people to read since 1989. I wanted to share my experience with PAR and have volunteered to be a PAR Tutor. As I don’t have a background with teaching or tutoring, I expect that when working with my learner on a weekly basis there may be some bumps in the road. I will face them head on and hopefully help my learner reach some of their goals, and also learn something as well.

Willow Glen Wags (Tygon)

Tygon listens to a young readerThe second and fourth Thursdays of the month are two of my favorite days, because dogs and books come together at Willow Glen Branch Library for our popular Reading to Dogs program. I always enjoy seeing Sassy and all the Furry Friends. On March 24, Willow Glen had a brand new visitor, the tall and handsome Tygon. He arrived with a bandage on one leg because he was still recovering from a bad spider bite. With any luck, his recovery will include the discovery of super powers. He already has super speed--Tygon is a Greyhound, and he used to be a racing dog. In fact, Tygon was one of the last dogs to race in Kansas, before the last dog-racing track was closed down. But that was two and a half years ago; since then, Tygon has been enjoying a more leisurely life in California with his human, Patrice.


It could be said that Tygon is a teacher's assistant at Willow Glen High School. His favorite subject in school is chemistry. He also enjoys being a Furry Friend, which lets him meet lots of new people, especially children, with whom he is unfailingly patient and tolerant. At ninety-five pounds, Tygon is on the large end of the Greyhound scale; his roommate Onyx is fully grown at only sixty pounds. I found out that Greyhounds often enjoy sleeping on their backs. This unusual canine behavior is called "roaching." For more information on this fascinating breed, take a look at your local library for books about Greyhounds. To meet Tygon in person, youngsters can come to Willow Glen on my favorite days and read him a book.

Bugs, Bugs, Bugs!

Book cover of Incredible InsectsGet a chance to learn about the amazing powers of insects on Saturday, April 9 at 2 p.m at Rose Garden Library. Come find out who has special UV vision, who has super strength, and who can. leap a tall building (compared to their own size) in a single bound! Join us for a fun presentation about Super Bugs in our everyday lives.

Posted by Nancy Donnell on Mar 26, 2011 | Comments: 0 |

Diversity in Your Backyard

censusThe 2010 Census and the San Jose Mercury revealed something awesome about the Edenvale neighborhood.  We are one of the most diverse areas in the entire Bay Area! How was this calculated? USA Today created a calculation called the “diversity index” which measures the likelihood someone in the area would see someone not of the same ethnic background as them. The Census tract that covers Edenvale had a rating of 81.6 out of a 100.  Other areas that scored similarly high include East Palo Alto and Hayward.
In the Edenvale Library, we see a lot of this diversity reflected in our customers. We hear at least 4-6 different languages being spoken in the building, and our International DVDs and books are very popular. We also strive to offer programs that are of interest to those from a variety of backgrounds.  Starting in April, our Spanish-English Storytime will be on Saturdays at 2pm. On Tuesday, April 12th we are also starting a 6-week, all-Spanish language workshop partnering with the Health Trust about maintenance of chronic illnesses.  And every Friday, we have our ESL Conversation Club that welcomes community members to practice their English in a safe and fun environment. 
So be proud Edenvale residents of your diverse neighborhood, and be sure to come to the library – your center for community engagement! 


Book cover of EarthquakesThird graders are curious about science and the natural world. They have a lot of questions about everything from earthquakes to dinosaurs. The Let’s-Read-And-Find-Out-Science Stage 2 series of books is perfect for third graders who need answers to their science questions. Earthquakes, by Franklyn M. Branley is part of this series and offers an excellent explanation of one of nature’s most mysterious forces – the earthquake. Simple language and excellent illustrations explain why earthquakes happen, where they are most likely to occur and what to do if all of a sudden an earthquake hits where you live. Check out all the Let’s-Read-And-Find-Out Science Stage 2 series books for inquisitive young minds and aspiring scientists.

The Hand that First Held Mine

book coverThe Hand that First Held Mine by Maggie O'Farrell.

Parallel stories of two young women living in London, separated by fifty years, whose lives come together at the end. Lexie arrives in London in the 1950s, becomes a reporter and is entangled in complex relationships. Elina, an artist in the 1990s, faces motherhood for the first time;  after a difficult birth, she and her husband are disorientated, plagued by memory lapses, nightmares and uncertainties. The stories take time to get established, but most loose ends are resolved in the final chapters. In this short interesting video the author talks about writing her novel.


Recipes of the West

Cover of "The Sunset Cookbook"For Christmas last year I received The Sunset Cookbook. It’s from the editors of Sunset magazine and contains over 1,000 recipes from their archives. Recipes like “Oven-roasted Fall Vegetables,” “Classic Pesto” and “Steamed Clams or Mussels in Seasoned Broth” cover the basics. Then there are more complicated dishes, like “Shiitake and Edamame Salad with White Miso Vinaigrette,” “Caramelized Carrot Risotto” and “Roll-your-own Vietnamese Summer Rolls” that will satisfy the more accomplished cook or someone willing to take on a challenge. There are also plenty of poultry and meat recipes if you are so inclined, though I’m not.


There’s a great section on grilling, including a spread on “Cooking (and Eating) from Nose to Tail.” I have tried hard to ignore this page but you may enjoy it. More in line with my taste is “The Griller’s Guide to Vegetables,” which gives the grilling times and instructions for a variety of vegetables.


There are recipes for breads, muffins, cookies and mouthwatering desserts. I made the “Chocolate Chiffon Cupcakes” for my mom’s birthday and they were a success. That recipe is from Elizabeth Falkner of Citizen Cake in San Francisco, and many other recipes in the book come from restaurants and Sunset readers.


I like the sidebars with quick recipes, like “Stir-fried Brussels Sprout Leaves” and “Fava Bean Puree.” Then there are informational pages like “A Guide to Asian Greens” and “Meet You at the Farmer’s Market” and a section on western wines. I love the book’s focus on fresh produce and the emphasis on western ingredients. As a California native I’m proud of our state’s agricultural heritage and love Sunset magazine of its emphasis on the western U. S. This cookbook lives up to the Sunset name and I’m sure it will provide me with tasty recipes for years.  

The Talented Clementine by Sara Pennypacker

Book cover of The Talented ClementineClementine is a hilarious 3rd grader who needs to come up with an act for the 3rd and 4th grade talent show. Our heroine discovers a hidden talent even she isn't aware of by the end of the story. It is hard to know what will have kids laughing harder - her adventure gluing bottle caps to the soles of her new sneakers or her note to the babysitter written on her little brother's forehead!


Fans of Judy Moody and Ramona the Pest will love The Talented Clementine. Sara Pennypacker has also written Clementine, Clementine Friend of the Week, and Clementine's Letter.

More Romantic Than a Sparkling Vampire...

 Not only is the movie a downright sob fest, the book completes all the amazing romantic words of Mr. Keats written for Fanny Brawne. I was never a big fan of reading or even listening to poetry until I saw the movie Bright Star. After seeing the movie, my emotions and interest was quite peaked that I had to finish reading the full collection of Keats' poems in the book also named, Bright Star. They are beautiful, soft yet passionate. Deep and heartfelt. Poems and words that every girl and woman wishes a man tells her, or at least thinks of her. I recommend this book (and movie) for the ultimate romantic. It's fantastic and just lovely.


Posted by Halleia Sadeghi on Mar 25, 2011 | Comments: 0 |

Killer Hair

Book cover of Killer Hair by Ellen ByerrumThe other day I watched a murder mystery movie on television called Killer Hair.  The actress that plays the main character, Lacey Smithsonian, is Maggie Lawson.  I recognized her from the USA Network television show called Psych.  It turns out the movie is based on the book written by Ellen Byerrum.

I recently started reading the book, Killer Hair, and I noticed that the book and the movie are little bit different but I won't spoil it for you because it is a really good read.

Hilary, I still reading the book please don't delete this blog.


Posted by Monique McClellan on Mar 25, 2011 | Comments: 0 |

The Good Earth

    One of the books I've read recently that had me up all night is an old classic called "The Good Earth." This book is about a Chinese Farmer who goes from being very poor to having great wealth. It is a great story that even if you've read it before some time ago, I would recommend reading again. This is actually t he first in a trilogy. The next chapter of this is called "Sons" and lastly "A House Divided."


*Hi, I started this in the blog training class and wanted more time to finish it.

Posted by Tracy Wilderman on Mar 25, 2011 | Comments: 0 |

City of Ember by Jeanne DuPrau

"City of Ember" by Jeanne DuPrau

The City of Ember byJeanne DuPrau describes a strange future Earth where everything possible must be recycled because people are running out of resources. Food supplies are also running low and  there are more and more blackouts of total darkness, as the generators begin to fail. Two friends, a young girl and a teen boy, question the wisdom of waiting to be rescued. They have clues to solve and their ingenuity makes them the heroes in this adventure.


Read, watch, or listen to this great story, available at your San Jose Public Libraries.

Rich Dad, Poor Dad for Teens

Rich Dad, Poor Dad for TeenRobert T. Kiyosaki introduces his philosophy to teens in his book: Rich Dad, Poor Dad for Teens, which encourages teens to be creative in developing ways to earn cash and to limit spending.


Teens get the opportunity to gain knowledge of personal financial skills - something which they don't learn in school and which many parents have yet to learn.


In addition, there are Spanish copies available.



The Social Network

The Social Network is loosely based on the founder of Facebook. I enjoyed this movie because it followed all the aspects that the founder would have gone through to end up creating the very popular website Facebook. Even though there will be obstacles in life, this movie shows you can set your goals and make them come true.


Here's a book based on the founder of Facebook:

Book cover of The Accidental Billionaires

The Accidental Billionaires: The Founding of Facebook, a Tale of Sex, Money, Genius and Betrayal by Ben Mezrich



Other books on the social network

Posted by Patricia Solis on Mar 25, 2011 | Comments: 0 |

Help for Writers

There's nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and open a vein. ~Walter Wellesley "Red" Smith


Cover of The Artist's Way by Julia Cameron

Many writers agree with Red Smith, a sports journalist esteemed for his incisive and humorous commentary. Writing is hard. Fortunately there are books that can help. If you find yourself staring at the page with dread, there are books that can help, like Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way, with readings and exercises to un-block the creative flow. 


 Cover of Bird by Bird

Bird by Bird is another great book on writing by Anne Lamott and named  for a homework assignment her brother was given, a long report about birds. When he didn’t know where to begin, his father told him to write about one bird, then another and another; to tackle it bird by bird. Good advice for writers, too.


If you live in the South Bay Area of California, check out the South Bay Chapter of the California Writers Club.

Homer's Odyssey

Book cover of Homer's OdysseyI went on vacation recently and took my Kindle which was loaded with books I'd wanted to read. My sister brought one paperback book, Homer's Odyssey. As she was reading she kept telling the rest of us little snippets from the book. Pretty soon we were all asking her to tell us more about Homer, the blind wonder cat. 

Homer goes through several major events, moving several times within a few years, finally ending up in New York from Miami, then promptly getting trapped in a building during the events of 9/11.  Yes, this one of those books for animal lovers, the cat is super cute, the story is inspiring and life affirming, but really, you should read it because it's so much fun to see the world through Homer's eyes!


Posted by Sun Min Lee on Mar 25, 2011 | Comments: 0 |

Engaging Memoir about a Life in Cooking and Writing

Cover of Blood, Bones and ButterLike to eat, cook, and discuss food? How about watching food shows and listening to podcasts about cooking? Is Jacques Pepin one of your gurus? A recent memoir Blood, Bones, & Butter: The Inadvertent Education of a Reluctant Chef is available in ebooks, audio, and print. The audio version, read by the author, makes for great listening.

Horrible Harry and the Secret Treasure

Cover of "Horrible Harry and the Secret Treasure"Horrible Harry and the Secret Treasure is the latest in the Horrible Harry series, authored by Suzy Kline. Harry Spooger is a third grader in Miss Mackle's class. His friends are Mary, Song Lee, Sid and Doug. (Song Lee has her own series, too). The books are written in the voice of Doug, who admiringly chronicles Harry's adventures. Horrible Harry books are good choices for upper second grade and third grade readers.

The Beat Goes On...

Cover of Jamari's DrumDo yourself a favor and come for fun to Santa Teresa Branch Library to Drummm, Saturday March 26th at 2 pm.  Jeni Swerdlow brings rhythm and action with audience participation. 

Posted by Rachel Collier on Mar 24, 2011 | Comments: 0 |

Happy Vernal Equinox!

Book cover of The Girl's Guide to Growing Your Own Garden"In the spring, at the end of the day, you should smell like dirt."  ~Margaret Atwood


Happy Vernal Equinox! Soon it will be planting season. It's time to come by and check out our excellent collection on organic planting and herb gardens. Also, mark your calendars for our Carnivorous Plant Show, Saturday April 2nd from 12-4 p.m. at Santa Teresa Branch Library.

Teen Fiction: Prepping for Prom

Spring is here, which means many high school juniors and seniors are starting to think about the prom. Some achingly count the days until they can don fabulous attire, ride in a limo, and dance with their sweethearts while others relish in re-inventing the prom or skipping it entirely as an act of nonconformity and independence. Whether you love it or hate it, the high school prom has become a traditional social custom for many American teens, and as a result, a variety of funny, dramatic, romantic, and/or unconventional stories about proms can be found in our Young Adult Fiction areas. Check these out!


Cindy Ella by Robin Palmer

Sophomore iconoclast Cindy Gold publishes an anti-prom letter in her high school newspaper, but when she develops a crush, she begins to doubt her own convictions.


Prama by Jamie Ponti

Six high school seniors deal with the drama that goes along with attending the senior prom.


Prom Queen Geeks cover Prom Queen Geeks by Laura Preble

When self-proclaimed "queen geek" Becca decides there should be an alternative to the prom, her best friend Shelby cannot decide whether to support her friends or to go with her boyfriend to the traditional prom.


21 Proms edited by David Levithan and Daniel Ehrenhaft

These short stories run through the whole spectrum of the prom experience, featuring awesome YA authors like John Green, Rachel Cohn, Sarah Mlynowski, and Jacqueline Woodson.


Zombie Queen of Newbury High by Amanda Ashby

While trying to cast a love spell on her date on the eve of the senior prom, Mia inadvertently infects her entire high school class with a virus that will turn them all into zombies.


Also, be sure to check out Operation Prom Dress, which is a unique opportunity for hundreds of girls in the San Jose area to score a new or gently used prom dress for FREE. Going to the prom doesn't have to break the bank. So whether you decide to go to your school's event with a special someone or a bunch of your best pals, or perhaps create your own "anti-prom" event, or maybe just skip it altogether, just choose what feels right for you. You'll probably have a story or two of your own to share about it later on.

Have Comments or Suggestions?

We at Tully Community Branch Library would love to hear about any suggestions you might have or comments you would like to leave us. is a great website to read and leave reviews of establishments all over the Bay Area. We now joined that site and have our own Tully Community Branch Library Yelp page. 


Come check us out by clicking the button below. 

Button for linking to Tully Branch Library page on Yelp


We are looking forward to any new suggestions and ideas you have or just leave a shout-out!

Posted by Candice Tran on Mar 24, 2011 | Comments: 0 |

Béisbol = 野球 Yakyū = Baseball!

Cover of Baseball: An Illustrated HistoryThe baseball season is upon us, what with the MLB season starting on Thursday, March 31st. It's sometimes difficult to explain the grip that baseball has on the casual fan, of which I am one, because in many ways it's a seriously neurotic way of observing the passing days of Spring, Summer, and if your team is lucky (or good), Fall. The season is too long, the games too many, but somehow every year I look forward to congregating in Oakland (sorry Giants fans) with my brothers, my nephews, my own son and the occasional female member of our troupe just to reconnect with the first stadium and, indeed, team that I ever felt compelled to support as mine.


Check out the book Baseball: An Illustrated History to get an overview and, if nothing else, a reason to remind yourself of the enormity and importance that baseball history provides in our country's identity. Another title worth giving major props is From Asahi to Zebras: Japanese American Baseball in San Jose, California by the library's own Ralph Pearce.


So whether your team is from Maracaibo, Chicago(Cubs or Sox), Hokkaido or Oakland(!), it's time to root root root for the home team and praise the glory of neurotic affiliation and loyalty to your baseball colors!


p.s.: New SF Giants' dvd The Magic Inside is available in case you want to relive last season ... again.

Life Is So Good by George Dawson and Richard Glaubman

book jacket of Life Is So Good

Partners in Reading recommends Life Is So Good by George Dawson and Richard Glaubman, which tells the story of a man who began to learn to read at the age of 98. Dawson was the grandson of slaves and worked very hard all of his life. He worked so hard that he didn't have time or the opportunity to go to school. Finally, when he retired, he went to school and was an inspiration to all the other students in his class. Read this book and also contact Partners in Reading to find out more about adults who want to improve their reading skills and about how you can help them.

Math Curse by Jon Scieszka

Cover of Math CurseMath lovers of all ages will enjoy Jon Scieszka’s Math Curse as the teacher Ms. Fibonacci tells her students, “You know, you can think of almost everything as a math problem.”  The book takes off from there following one student’s math adventure gone awry.


From the number of buttons on her coat, to the number of feet in her socks and the number of pillows it takes to get to five sheep which she needs to count before she can fall asleep, the main character spirals deeper and deeper into the dreaded math curse. Readers may want to find answers for the more logical questions, but much of the book is playful whimsy, “Does tunafish + tunafish = fournafish?”


Lane Smith’s illustrations are equally masterful in communicating the wild and whimsical story with his combination of drawings and collage.


Scieszka and Smith team up for a wonderfully rollicking series of children’s books which contain humor and delight for all ages.

Featured Local Business Resource: Business Owner Space

Image Business Owner Space logoBusiness Owner Space (BOS) is a one-stop resource for businesses and entrepreneurs.  BOS is composed of a collaborative partnership among more than two dozen public, private, and non-profit agencies and businesses including San José Public Library.


BOS can help you assess whether you are ready to start a business, give you the steps to launch and grow your business, and connect you with local resources that can help support you through the business start-up process.


BOS is located at 1290 Parkmoor Avenue in San José.

Owen Foote by Stephanie Greene

Owen Foote, Money Man, book coverThe Owen Foote books by Stephanie Greene are a great read. My favorite is Owen Foote, Money Man. There are so many things Owen wants to buy: important things, like plastic vomit and a few newts for his aquarium. But his mother’s terms for getting an allowance seem very unreasonable. So, Owen tries to come up with some alternatives to earning an allowance, which sounds like too much work.

HTML5 - Come Back to the Basics

Book cover of HTML5: Step by StepFor those who love to handcode HTML, to build a "clean" and simple Web page, this is the book for you.  From simple tags to Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) to embedded sounds/videos and JavaScripts, HTML5: Step by Step by Faithe Wempen helps you get started on coding well-constructed Web pages.  In simple language with plenty of examples, illustrations, and excellent organizations of information, this book gives you a command of HTML5 in a short time.  HTML5 includes downloadable digital copy and exercises.

A Personal History of Operation Pedro Pan

Cover of  Learning to Die in MiamiIn 1962, in a program known as Operation Pedro Pan, 14,000 Cuban children left their homeland and came to the United States, alone, as refugees. The United States government helped settle these children with family members, friends and in foster homes in Miami and other areas of the country. Carlos Eire, now a professor of history at Yale, was one of these children. He first wrote about his story in the memoir Waiting for Snow in Havana, which vividly recalled his life as a son of privilege in Cuba and the hard life that followed in the United States. His latest memoir, Learning to Die in Miami, focuses squarely on Eire's experience from the moment he and his brother arrive in Miami until his mother joins them in the United States years later. Eire struggles with the Cuban part of himself, trying to kill it off so he can be fully American, but also doesn't want to completely lose that part of himself. This is a good companion book to Waiting for Snow in Havana but may also be enjoyed on its own.


If this sparks your interest, you may want to learn more about Operation Pedro Pan and its background. You can start with these library materials.

The Best Chef in Second Grade

Book cover of The Best Chef in Second GradeOliver is excited because the famous Chef Antonia is going to visit his classroom. All the children are going to bring a family favorite food to share; however, Oliver doesn’t know what he is going to bring. To find out what happens next, read The Best Chef in Second Grade written by Katharine Kenah and illustrated by Abby Carter. This book is also available in book and CD kit format.

The Excitement of Spring

Book cover of Spring by Nicola Baxter

What is the significance of spring season? Why do we all become so exited at this time of the year? Is it the weather, the nature, or the psychology of change? You guessed it right; it’s all the above, it’s the end winter and the preparation for another summer. It is the beauty of nature, the flowers, the blossoms, and the new life. This is when nature awakens, time changes, and the blooming starts. Throughout the history of mankind, there were always exciting moments in spring. From the ancient times to modern days, there are holidays, festivities, and celebrations during this season. People have important attachments to this beautiful time of the year. From religion festivals, to holiday celebrations, to gardening, spring has been an integral part of our human bond. What is your favorite part of spring?

Of Thee I Sing, by Barack Obama

Book cover of Of Thee I Sing: A Letter to My DaughtersPresident Barack Obama, author of a couple of autobiographical adult-level books (The Audacity of Hope and Dreams From My Father) turned his hand to a children's book with  Of Thee I Sing: A Letter to My Daughters. Mr. Obama gives a brief poetic nod to thirteen Americans ranging in time from George Washington to Maya Lin. The eight men and five women specifically mentioned here are held forth as exemplars of bravery, intelligence, strength and other virtues. In the basic body of the book, the descriptions are so short and poetic, I can imagine even a young child asking a parent, "Is there more?" Fortunately, at the end of the book, there is a one-page long "detail" page, where more solid facts about the person and his/her accomplishments are set forth. 


It's Obama whose name "sells" the book, of course. But an equal or, frankly, even more important contributor to the book is Loren Long, the illustrator. His bold, colorful pictures both intrigue and stand out. I especially liked his illustration of Sitting Bull, which is one of those what-do-you-see-first, the-big-picture-or-the-little-details optical illusion sort of paintings. 


Of Thee I Sing can be read in about two or three minutes. But the cumulative effect packs a punch, and gets one semi-weepy in a rah, rah, it's good to be an American sort of way. Hurrah! 

Health Books for You

Book cover of Ah-choo!We have often been advised that chicken soup is the best aid when we have a cold. The advice is once more confirmed in the new book, Ah-choo!: The Uncommon Life of Your Common Cold.  Author, Jennifer Ackerman, participated in a research project and knowingly got infected by a common cold virus. She looked into the medicine and business of the common cold and made her findings interesting and accessible in this book. Here are excerpts from several reviews of this book:


“In the hands of gifted science writer Ackerman, the cold is addressed with dry wit while she covers every detail from soup (chicken, of course) to nuts (folk remedies)” – Booklist review


“In addition to detailing exactly how the virus works, Ackerman delights in busting the many myths, and confirming a few truths, that have been around for millenia.” – Mclean’s review


“It wasn't a hard-hitting science book, but Ackerman made the common cold a bit more accessible to everybody whether you know a lot about science or not. “ – Goodreads community reviews


There are several other health books that are recommended by reviewers as timely, informative and good to read:


Book cover of Slow Death by Rubber DuckSlow Death by Rubber Duck: The Secret Danger of Everyday Things by Rick Smith and Bruce Lourie


“Pollution is no longer just about belching smokestacks and ugly sewer pipes—now, it’s personal. The most dangerous pollution, it turns out, comes from commonplace items in our homes and workplaces.” -- Product description.


“This is one scary book. Using a variety of test methods, the authors determined individual ‘body burdens,’ or the toxic chemical load we carry. The innocuous rubber duck, for example, offers a poison soup of phthalates that ‘permeate the environment and humans.’" – Booklist review


Goodreads community reviews.


The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer by Siddhartha Mukherjee


“This is a brilliant, riveting history of the disease that Siddhartha Mukherjee, a cancer researcher and physician, calls "the defining plague of our generation." – Entertainment Weekly review


“The eminently readable result is a weighty tale of an enigma that has remained outside the grasp of both the people who endeavored to know it and those who would prefer never to have become acquainted with it.” – Booklist review


Goodreads community reviews


Treat Me, Not My Age: A Doctor’s Guide to Getting the Best Care As You or a Loved One Gets Older  by Mark Lachs


“In this book, renowned geriatrician Mark Lachs takes readers on a grand tour of adult medicine, showing how we can navigate a complex and confusing system to make the best choices for ourselves and our loved ones.” – Production description.


“Here one can find invaluable guidance on how to pick a good primary care doctor, choose the best nursing home, avoid hospital system 'cracks you didn’t even know you could fall through,' and even stave off age-related illnesses.” – Booklist review


Goodreads community reviews           

Little House in the Big Woods

Book cover of Little House in the Big WoodsBegin reading the beloved “Little House” series with the first book: Little House in the Big Woods by Laura Ingalls Wilder. This is a story about a loving and brave pioneer family who carve out a new life in the wilderness of Wisconsin in1871. The little house is built of logs and shelters Laura, her Ma and Pa, her sisters Mary and baby Carrie, and the family dog Jack. Surrounded by woods and far from any neighbors the family must stick together and help one another so they can survive the first winter in their new home. Adventure fills every day as wild animals and harsh weather challenge Laura’s family. Love and cheer fill the cozy, warm house every night as the close knit family finds joy in Pa’s fiddle music, simple games and storytelling. Once you finish Little House in the Big Woods you will want to read all the Little House books in this heartwarming series:  Little House on the PrairieFarmer Boy, On the Banks of Plum Creek, By the Shores of Silver LakeThe Long WinterLittle Town on the PrairieThese Happy Golden Years, and The First Four Years.

Just Grace

Book cover of Just GraceGrace has a superpower; a small but important superpower. She says, “I can always tell when someone is unhappy, even if that person is pretending to be happy and is a really good actor.” Grace tries to use her empathy superpowers for good, to cheer up a lonely neighbor, but her plan backfires and gets her into trouble. Now her dad says she has to team up with the disgusting, spitting Sammy Stringer in order to try to set things right. Sometimes it’s not easy being a superhero, but Grace’s adventures make for a lively and funny read. Grace’s cartoon sketches, included throughout Just Grace, add to the fun.  If you enjoy this book, the author, Charise Mericle Harper has written several other Grace books.

Learn a New Language

mango languages logoThe San Jose Public Library offers you the convenience of learning a language from your home computer, laptop or any mobile device with access to an Internet connection. There are 34 different languages, plus English, to select from in Mango Languages. In addition this database offers a translation feature where you can type in a word or phrase and it will respond with the equivalent in the language of your choice. The individual, learn-a-language lessons can be done at your own pace where you can pick up where you left off upon your next log-in. There are "cultural notes" recommending when one might use certain greetings and phrases.  I enjoyed using the Narrator option where a speaker reads each lesson page along with the words being learned. Reinforcement was gained along with learning as I went along and was asked to repeat phrases that were previously covered.


This is a wonderful program and is free to you. On our homepage just click on the "Research" square in the lower left hand corner. This will bring you to the next page where you choose "Find Articles Online."  It is here you will find among the list of Subject Specific Resources our Learn a Language link. Check it out!  ¡Buena suerte! 

Recommended Books for Second Graders

  • Smarty Sara by Anna Jane Hays and Sylvie Wickstrom
    Sara is a smart kid! She plans an adventure for her friends. But where does it lead?
  • Dear Tooth Fairy by Karen Grey Ruelle
    Emily's tooth is about to fall out. She becomes excited when her brother tells her the tooth fairy will come and visit. But what does the tooth fairy look like?
  • Please Say Please, Grumpy Bunny! by Justin Korman Fontes
    Bunny O'Hare wasn't used to saying please. At school he learned that the magic word is "please." One day, his teacher introduced a game. To win the game, O'Hare would have to say "please" the whole day. Even after he won the game, he kept saying please; then he found out that the word was really magic!
  • Bones and the Dinosaur Mystery by David A. Adler and Barbara Johansen Newman
    Jeffrey Bones visits the museum with his grandparents and buys a toy dinosaur. When it goes missing, how will he find it?
  • Strike Three, Marley! by John Grogan and Richard Cowdrey
    Marley watches the ball game with his family. When they let go of his leash, Marley runs wild! Read to find out what happens!


Book cover of Smarty SaraBook cover of Dear Tooth FairyBook cover of Please Say Please, Grumpy Bunny!Book cover of Bones and the Dinosaur MysteryBook cover of Strike Three, Marley!

Posted by Angela Vu on Mar 19, 2011 | Comments: 0 |

Ramona Quimby, Age 8

Book cover of Ramona Quimby, Age 8Timeless Ramona is still up to mischief in Ramona Quimby, Age 8 (AR 3.0, Level 5.6) by Beverly Cleary. Ramona has been around since I was a child many years ago, but her problems are still relevant today!


Ramona is going through some major changes at home and at school. Her father is off to college and her mother is not home anymore. Ramona's troubles are worsened by getting eggs in her hair, throwing up at school, being called a "nuisance," and seeing her parents argue. Then, an unexpected act of generosity makes Ramona and her family realize what's important in life.


If you like characters who are bold and mischievous, Ramona Quimby is it!

Allie Finkle's Rules for Girls: Moving Day

Book cover of Allie Finkle's Rules for GirlsYounger fans of Meg Cabot's Princess Diaries series rejoice! Meg Cabot has a series that follows the first person account of tween's life in Allie Finkle's Rules for Girls: Moving Day (AR 6.0, Level 5.0.)


Allie Finkle is an unusual 4th grade girl who has to go through one of the most reviled rites of passage: moving! Allie finds, however, that her treasured old life may not be that hard to leave! Conflicts with old friends and interesting new friends make life a little bit more interesting.


If you are going through some major changes yourself, or if you enjoy reading about hilarious situations, or if you like Beverly Cleary's Ramona, you will thoroughly enjoy the Allie Finkle series.  You might find that Allie's rules for herself may be useful for you!

Babymouse: Queen of the World

Book cover of Babymouse: Queen of the WorldThe Babymouse series by Jennifer L. and Matthew Holm starts off with this amusing title, Babymouse: Queen of the World (AR .5, Level 2.2.)  Babymouse is an ambitious, outsider-like mouse who can't quite fit in with the popular crowd.  When she is invited to a popular kid's slumber party, mayhem and fun occur.


Babymouse and other graphic novels are perfect for visual learners, who may not feel comfortable with chapter books quite yet.  The vocabulary is sophisticated; it includes words like "jabber," "sanitation," and "glamorous."  If you learn better visually, these books are perfect for you!

Henry and Mudge Series

Book cover of Hendry and Mudge and the Great GrandpasHenry and Mudge and the Great Grandpas is part of the amusing Henry and Mudge series.  Henry and Mudge bond with some grandfathers at a retirement community and learn that older people are really great fun!


Kids who love dogs will especially enjoy Henry and Mudge's adventures!  My son avidly loves anything about dogs and is especially fond of this series!

The Lord of the Rings Trilogy!

DVD cover of Lord of the Rings: The Return of the KingFor me, some of the best, most comforting times during cold or rainy evenings have been a series of movie nights watching The Lord of the Rings trilogy! 


I prefer to watch the films in order, viewing each part, one at a time…gradually, savoring each scene.  In order to get the gestalt of the adventure, I begin with The Fellowship of the Ring and keep going until I have finished watching The Return of the King!  All of these epic movies are available at your San José Public Library.


The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001)


The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (2002)


The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003)


These films are also available in spanish language. 


In addition, there are audio books, ebooks, and music.


Also, you can read each of the books, also available at your San José Public Library and compare the story line with the film.  In this way, you can see the difference between J.R.R. Tolkien’s, Lord of the Rings and the version that Peter Jackson et al. has brought to the big screen.


Enjoy!  :]

Rare Insight into the Beatles

Cover The Unreleased BeatlesIn The Unreleased Beatles, author Richie Unterberger examines the group from a unique perspective. That is to say he explores the huge amount of material that that Beatles did not intend for public consumption (i.e. bootlegs, out takes, alternate recordings, rare film footage), but is available if one looks hard enough. A great opportunity to look behind the scenes while the Beatles developed their craft.

Posted by Michael Dines on Mar 18, 2011 | Comments: 0 |

Get Your Health and Wellness Resources from San Jose Public Library

Photo of Melanie I have a 10 month old daughter and found out how much health and wellness resources are needed. There were times that I wanted to look up certain medications for Melanie. I also searched for information on particular symptoms that she had. San José Public Library has several health and wellness databases which have been helping me. To access most of these databases from home you'll need your library card and pin number.


Consumer Health Complete covers all areas of health and wellness from mainstream medicine to holistic and integrated medicine. This database includes topics such as aging, cancer, diabetes, drugs and alcohol, fitness, nutrition and dietetics, and children's health.


Medline Plus has information on diseases and conditions, hospitals and physicians, and medical drugs. This database includes links to a medical encyclopedia and dictionary, and clinical trials from the National Library of Medicine/National Institutes of Health. The database is also accessible if you type in

Practice Your Exams with LearningExpress

Using the computerLearningExpress database's Learning Centers offer practice tests, exercises, skill-building courses, eBooks, and information you need to achieve the results you want—at school, at work, or in life. Looking to land a job? You'll find an entire Learning Center dedicated to helping you get the one that's right for you.


Teachers from the local schools where I presented LearningExpress gave positive feedback and indicated that they will instruct their students to use the database to improve their skills. I showed my teensReach volunteers the LearningExpress database before their SAT or ACT and they loved it. This online exams database is a wonderful supplemental tool for the many job seekers who come to the library every week and it's available 24/7. LearningExpress not only gives the user an opportunity to practice the materials before the test, it simulates the pacing of the real examination.


How do you get to the database and navigate it? Please view this video clip.


The Icarus Syndrome

Cover of The Icarus SyndromeThe Icarus Syndrome is the best history book that I have read this year. Beinart surveys American foreign policy from the Wilson administration through the 2nd Bush administration. His thesis is that there have been different policy strategies that have worked over the past century, but these strategies cause problems when the government becomes overconfident in its ability to succeed.


The most recent case is the dominant, nation building strategy of the Clinton and Bush administrations. According to the author it sort of worked in the first Iraq war and in Bosnia, but it led to disaster when George Bush over confidently decided that he could bring democracy to Iraq simply by overthrowing Saddam Hussein.


Although not everyone will agree with the thesis, the writing is strong and interesting and Beinart's research was very thorough.

Elizabeth Berg

Cover of The Day I Ate Whatever I WantedWanting something to read one day, I spotted The Day I Ate Whatever I Wanted: And Other Small Acts of Liberation by Elizabeth Berg.  The book is a collection of short stories that deal with women from their teenage years up to age 80.  Some of the stories made me laugh out loud, while others touched my heart.  I loved this book so much, I sought out other titles that she's written.  I love that she jumps right into her stories.  Her characters are so real and are easy to relate to.  If you'd like to learn more about her and her books, here is her website.

Planning for Disneyland

Sleeping Beauty Castle Planning a trip to the Happiest Place on Earth? The library has a wealth of books that will help you plan for your vacation to Disneyland. In addition to excellent travel guidebooks, we also have various materials on the history of the park. Some of my favorite books to reference when visiting Disneyland are The Unofficial Guide to Disneyland, the fabulous Disneyland Encyclopedia, and if you love searching for Hidden Mickeys, Disneyland’s Hidden Mickeys is always a must.


There are also some fantastic web resources like (this website includes menus for all the restaurants) and (which has great message boards with tips from other travelers and a very informational weekly update). And while you're in Disneyland, don't forget to say hello to Mickey Mouse!

Eating Better!

Cover of East This, Not That!Are you watching your calorie intake and not sure what to order at your favorite restaurant?  Check out the book Eat This, Not That!: Restaurant Survival Guide. This book will help you make better choices when you are dining out. This book includes restaurants with one main dish to eat versus a bad one and other picks and passes.  In one of the chapters there is also a list of the best and worst restaurants in America.  Happy dining everyone!

Posted by Ana Fabela on Mar 18, 2011 | Comments: 0 |

Help Finding Car Reviews In Consumer Reports Online Articles

Sometimes I find it difficult to find yearly car reviews in Consumer Reports in our Ebsco database.

With this direct link to Consumer Reports it's easy. From the Consumer Reports link, I first click on 2011 and then click on the April issue (Vol. 76 Issue 4 - Apr2011)


After clicking on the April link I see Consumer Reports " Top Picks," "Best and Worst," "Profiles," "Ratings," "Used Cars," "Safety," "Used Car Reliability," and "Reliability" history of new and used cars. Next I click on "PDF Full Text" to see the complete magazine article.


Note: You will first need to enter your library card and password to access Ebsco database.

US Census Statistics and American FactFinder

It is hard sometimes to find verified statistical data. US Census Home Page may help. To search data in particular area you would need to go to American Fact Finder. US Census currently is working on simplifying the search technique and developing a new web page. There are some basic steps that you would do searching both sites - a New American FactFinder and the Legacy American FactFinder The latter will go away in Fall 2011.


New site has a nice Help page that will guide you through the  Quick Start search or Search using categories and topics. Data search could be performed by using geography (maps), industry codes or population groups topics. After getting results arranged in the table,  you also can create a reference map or thematic map based on this data.


By clicking on American Fact Finder Virtual Tour link in the content (left frame) you will be able to view a short video that will explain to you how to navigate this site.

March is Women's History Month

March is National Women's History Month! Test your knowledge by taking the Women's History Quiz at Joyce Ellington Library, and win prizes! These include women's history bookmarks, items from the Friends of the Library sale area, and a $20 Target gift certificate.


The quiz focuses on women past and present who made history with their accomplishments. Question 1 asks you to name a woman serving on the U.S. Supreme Court. The current 3 female justices are Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Elena Kagan, and Sonia Sotomayor. Sandra Day O'Connor, the first female appoionted to the Supreme Court, is now retired.


One way to find out more about these women is by using the San José Public Library databases. I went to World Book Biography Center, logged in with my library card and pin number, then filled in the search criteria of "areas of work/interest," "gender," "nationality," and "time period." The top 4 results listed these four women.

Renewing Your Library Materials

A recent change in library policy now requires users to renew their materials online. 

  1. Simply log into your library account, select the link "Check-Outs/Renew. You will see the total list of items you currently have checked out.  You can choose to sort the list by due date. 
  2. If you want to renew all items, select "renew all" or you can choose to select only those items with upcoming due dates.  Simply click on the small box to the left of each item and then click "renew selected items."
  3. You'll then get a confirmation of what will be renewed and you'll need to click "yes". 
  4. Be sure and go back to see that all items have been renewed. Anything that wasn't renewed will be highlighted in red text.

If you have any questions, please ask a library staff member.

Posted by Linda Keirstead on Mar 18, 2011 | Comments: 0 |

Dorothy M. Johnson, Writer of Western Short Stories

DVD cover of The Man Who Shot Liberty ValanceBook cover of The Hanging TreeYou may not have read any works by Dorothy M. Johnson, but if you're a fan of western films, you've probably seen The Man who Shot Liberty Valence, The Hanging Tree and A Man Called Horse, all classic films based on her short stories.


Her works are sometimes hard to track down (don't forget the M if searching by keyword), but worth reading. She takes familiar western themes and often narrates them from a woman's or child's point of view, usually with an interesting twist. 

If you want to learn more:


Watch the full episode. See more MontanaPBS Presents.

Paint for Spring

Bring spring into your life by freshening up your surroundings. Along with the spring cleaning, think of applying some fresh colors to your walls. Bring a sunshine yellow to your Kitchen walls, strawberry red to the dining . Fresh vanilla color to the living room. Add accessories in complimentry colors and your new look is ready.

If you are not ready for the bold change, use lighter hues. Use white for pure hue without any undertone. This makes a great back drop to showcase art and furnishings.

Blue- green whites have a cool, crisp, breezy feel and blend well with equally cool colors from the Blue- green side of the spectrum.

Pink Whites have subtle rose or peachy blush that is flattering to faces and furnishings.

Yellow whites are often described as warm, creamy, or buttery these whites include- Linen white, navajo White, Cameo White and more.

With these subtle paints add bright colored accessories keeping the same tones.

Your space will be fresh and ready to Welcome the Spring!!

Posted by Jaya Kopalle on Mar 17, 2011 | Comments: 0 |

101 Fun Sewing Projects!

One-yard wonders : look how much you can make with just one yard of fabric! by Rebecca Yaker and Patricia HoskinsOne-yard wonders : look how much you can make with just one yard of fabric! by Rebecca Yaker and Patricia Hoskins contains over 101 sewing projects requiring only one yard of fabric!  This spiral bound book includes information on basic sewing techniques, patterns and directions for each project and a color photo of the finished item.  Some of the 101 projects are folding chair pinafore slipcovers, picnic-tastic lunch mats, craft or garden apron, quilted lunch bag, bean bag booster seat, toddler art smock, and cozy dog bed!  Have fun making these projects using only one yard of fabric!

Posted by Deborah Cunningham on Mar 17, 2011 | Comments: 0 |

Story-Time Books

At the story-times this week, we read books with numbers as their theme.


  • Little Quack's Hide & Seek by Lauren Thompson tells the story of 5 little ducks playing hide and seek with their mother.  As each duck finds a hiding space, the book counts down the remaining ducklings. This story teaches subtraction, in a simple way.
  • Two at the Zoo tells the story of a grandfather and grandson who visit the zoo, counting the animals they see from one to ten. ; We offer many other books on counting, as well as stories in rhyme.
  • Chicka Chicka 1,2,3 by Bill Martin is a wonderful book to teach children their numbers up to 100. It's also in rhyme. 
  • Hickory Dickory Dock by Keith Baker is a wonderful retelling of the familiar nursery rhyme. Read along as animals react as the clock strikes one through twelve.


Cover of Little Quack's Hide & Seek Cover of Two at the Zoo Cover of Chicka Chicka 1,2,3 Cover of Hickory Dickory Dock

What to Read Now

The San José Public Library system has a new homepage. One great improvement is the variety of suggested reading lists by categories. To find these recommended categories, click on the graphics for Books and Media. When you click the link What to Read Now, the page displays in the top left corner the 4 age levels from which you may select. The adult recommendation list has 10 categories in Fiction and 15 for Non-Fiction. So if you like to read novels with a Western setting or Biographies, you’ll have a ready-made list of choices. In addition, each of these categories is further divided to more narrow genres, such as Gunslinger Westerns. Titles will be listed and clicking on the link for the catalog will show which branches have the book. Enjoy using this new feature!

Create Your Resume Using Career Transitions Database!

Career Transitions has many useful features such as Discover My Interests, Explore Careers, Prepare Resume, Improve My Chances and Find Jobs. You can pick and choose what you want to do with this database.  If you choose to simply create a resume, then you just proceed to the Prepare Resume tab. You will be prompted to enter your information to create your own resume. It is easy to use and if you need additional guidance, there are video clips explaining each step of the way.


I fully tested the Prepare Resume feature recently and I was impressed with the resume I created using this database. The Find Jobs functionality also made the cut. I did not have to go far or to switch gears to search for jobs. It was extremely convenient. In this day and age, I was pleasantly surprised to find a list of job openings resulting from my search. Of course, it depends on the industry and the area of the search.


I highly recommend this wonderful free resource to you. You will need a valid library card and a pin number to access Career Transitions and other similar resources from home. If you would like us to walk you through it, we would be more than happy to help. You can visit your local library, call or email us.

Our Valued Volunteers: Nancy Hunt

Photo of Nancy with to Mason and AlexandraIf you’ve visited Willow Glen Library on a Wednesday afternoon, you may have seen Nancy reading to individuals or small groups in our children’s area. She is pictured here sharing a story with library visitors Mason and Alexandra. Nancy began volunteering at the library last fall. In addition to reading to children during Stories With Nancy, she has helped with library storytimes, crafts, our Book Adventures book club, and our Music and Movement With Preschoolers program.


Nancy is a long-time resident of Willow Glen and a retired teacher. She taught reading, religion, and social studies at St. Christopher’s School for 20 years. She has also taught at schools in Cupertino, Barstow, and Germany. Nancy loves to travel and has been to China, Europe, Mexico, and other countries all over the world. She also enjoys reading and gardening. Nancy’s volunteer service is much appreciated by library customers and staff alike. Next time you see her in the library, say hello!

Swimming for Exercise

Well, we're almost a quarter of the way through 2011 now...How are those New Year's resolutions going? If you're like me, perhaps you've vowed yet again to get (and stay) active this year. One of my goals was to take up swimming again as part of my exercise routine. I had just been contemplating local lap swim pools in my area a few weeks ago when I spotted Swimming for Exercise among the new books. It was like fate telling me to get back in the pool. I bought a new suit, cap, and goggles, and I was ready to go.


Swimming for Exercise coverSwimming for Exercise has all of the basic information that you'll need to start or get back into swimming as an exercise routine, including tips and advice about what you'll need to get started, sample workout plans (adjusted for beginners, intermediate, and advanced), a techniques refresher on the four major strokes, and stretching & strength-training exercises to improve swim performance. It's also filled with lots of nice full-color photos. This simple but useful book was exactly what I needed as a final push to literally take the plunge. I'm happy to report that I've been swimming laps twice a week for a few weeks now, and I feel great! Here are some local pools in the San Jose area that offer lap swim. You can also check our catalog for additional books & DVDs about swimming.

Writers and Readers Documentary Comics

If you’re reading a heavy subject, sometimes pictures help.


If you’re bored with a heavy subject, sometimes the pictures and the words can grab you when nothing else does.


I’m fascinated with Writers and Readers Documentary Comics. Over the years there have been titles on a number of subjects from Philosophy to Opera to Obama. This series features illustrations by well-known comic illustrators including Richard Appignanesi who also edited a number of titles in this series.


These titles are not always easy to track down. This series has been released by different publishing houses with some overlapping subjects. If you don’t find the “for beginners” series, try “Introducing” as a first word, or pair ”introducing” with the name of an artist. Here's what I found entering the keywords “Appignanesi” and “introducing”.


Enjoy and have fun!


Book cover of Philosophy for BeginnersBook cover of Opera for BeginnersBook cover of Barack Obama for Beginners

Tipping Groupon

Book cover of The Tipping PointEvent tickets, spa treatments, flying lessons, and oil changes... all at 50-90% off regular price! These are just a few of the huge variety of items you can get on Groupon -- currently one of the most popular consumer websites around. But how does it work?


It's actually based off of a sociological idea made popular by New Yorker writer Malcolm Gladwell. Called "the tipping point," it is defined as the moment when an event goes from unpopular to popular or common. When a deal is posted on Groupon, it has to have a specific number of people who are willing to buy it before the deal can be activated. If you are one of first purchasers (before the activation) you are committed to buying the groupon once it hits (if it ever does) that tipping point. After the number is reached, anyone after can purchase the deal until it expires. To learn more about the company, check out their company page, or you can also read about ;a contest they're running where one lucky person was chosen to live off only groupon deals for one year.

Teen Suggestion Box

Santa Teresa Branch Library teen suggestion boxCheck out our recently adorned teen suggestion box. It is in the Santa Teresa Branch Library teen room waiting for teens’ suggestions. We would like to encourage teens to let us know what you would like to see in the Library. Are there any books, CDs or DVDs that you would like us to purchase? Are there any programs you would like to see at the Library? Is there anything we can do better? Or, is there something that we do really well?


All branches of the San José Public Library have a teen suggestion box. Please visit the Library in-person or online and let us know what you think about your Library.


If you cannot make it to the Library, you can always contact us through our website.

Posted by Michele Rowic on Mar 15, 2011 | Comments: 0 |

Let's Learn Tai-Chi and Qi Gong!

Two great beginner's books on Tai-Chi and Qi-Gong published by Foreign Language Press, Tai Ji Quan (Tai-Chi) and Qi Gong (parts of series 10-Minute Primer) provide easy instructions and plenty of illustrations to get you started on these exercises that benefit both body and mind.  Text includes historical and philosophical backgrounds on these martial arts fields which originated in Ancient China.  Each book comes with an instructional DVD.


Check out another 10-Minute Primer book, Shaolin Quan, also from author Zhou Qingjie.


Book cover of Tai Ji Quan: 10-minute primerBook cover of Qigong Quan: 10-minute primer

Value Line Trial

Value Line logo


We have a Value Line trial going on right now. As some of you know Value Line is a great resource for investors. We are considering purchasing this resource but we need to know if you all prefer Value Line or the other comparable investor resource, Morningstar.


We have two trials of Value Line:

1. Value Line Investment Survey- Covers about 135 stocks in seven or eight industries every week. It includes index information on Dow Jones, S&P, CBOE, Russell, and NYSE.


2. Value Line Research Center- Includes access to various publications covering stocks, mutual funds, options and convertible securities as well as special situation stocks.


You can get access to Value Line and Morningstar trial here


Please comment and let us know what you think.

Talking to Kids about Disasters

Cover of Terrorists, Tornados and TsunamisWith all the footage of Japan coming across the media, parents of children are going to be asked some very serious questions about the earthquake, tsunami and the aftermath. It seems the younger your children are, the more you want to protect them from devastating news like this. 


Here are some resources that might help:


FEMA has a website about disaster readiness for kids that walks you through the steps of how to make a disaster plan for your family.


FEMA also has a webpage devoted to helping parents and teachers help their children cope with disasters. It is comprised of a quick overview of how different aged children cope, what their needs are and how to help them.


Terrorists, Tornados, and Tsunamis: How to Prepare for Life's Danger Zones by Lt. Colonel John C. Orndorff and Suzanne Harper. This book takes all sorts of dangerous situations and explains what they are and how to be better prepared to handle them if they should occur. A really good book for middle schoolers.


Eight Days: A Story of Haiti by Edwidge Danticat.  This novel describes one child's experience during and after the earthquake in Haiti.


DVD - How and When to Dial 911 - situations when a child should dial 911 and what to do in case of an emergency.


More books on earthquakes for children

More books on tsunamis for children


The Edenvale Gazette Interviews Ana Maria Fabela

Photo of Ana FabelaCarmel R. Ordaz on the job again interviewing Ana Fabela for the Edenvale Gazette. I remember working with her at Educational Park when I was just starting. I remember how kind and helpful she was to everyone. And you know what, she’s still the same today. It’s rare in this world to work with such a person who is genuinely thoughtful and kind.


CRO: Ana, what’s your title here at Edenvale?

AMF: I’m a full time Library Clerk.

CRO: When did you start working for the library?

AMF: Valentine’s Day, 2000. I was excited, I had no date…(laughter ensues)

CRO: Did you start as a Clerk or as a Page?

AMF: I worked at Educational Park. for a year as a Page, and then I got promoted to part time Clerk at EK. I left for a year to go to Willow Glen, then I came back. I worked a total of 6 years at EK.

CRO: When did you start working here at Edenvale?

AMF: When they opened 2007, I came from Santa Teresa. I got promoted so I left EK and went to Santa Teresa as a full time Clerk.

CRO: What do you like about your job? And how do you feel you contribute to Edenvale?

AMF: My co-workers. I work with the kindest and nicest people. I look forward to coming to work.  I try to have a positive attitude. It’s easy to be positive because of all the support here at Edenvale.

CRO: Do you have a favorite childhood memory?

AMF: I was telling this to Kristen the other day, when I was a kid reading books, certain books like Charlotte’s Web, like when I see it here it just brings back good memories, and Morris Goes to School, that one gives me butterflies in my stomach when I see it.

CRO: Do you have a favorite adult book?

AMF: There’s only one book that I really enjoy and can read numerous times and that’s Gone With the Wind. I love the movie as well.

CRO: What do you like about it, the book or the movie?

AMF: Scarlet was a woman ahead of her time. She was strong willed and beautiful, but she always made the wrong choices. She made some wrong choices but she didn’t care what anyone thought.

CRO: Do you have a favorite type of music?

AMF: Right now I’m into everything, I used to be into heavy metal, 70’s rock, but now I’m heavily into rap, yeah Kanye

CRO: My Space or Facebook?

AMF: I miss My Space. The only reason why I converted to Facebook is because none of my friends are on My Space anymore so I had to go where everybody else was…

Thank you for talking with me.

Posted by Carmel Ordaz on Mar 14, 2011 | Comments: 0 |

Value Line Trials

Please let us know what you think about these two Value Line trials:


Value Line Investment Survey- Covers about 135 stocks in seven or eight industries every week. It includes index information on Dow Jones, S&P, CBOE, Russell, and NYSE.


Value Line Research Center- Includes access to various publications covering stocks, mutual funds, options and convertible securities as well as special situation stocks.


You will find these in the business section of the databases page.

Amber Brown is Not a Crayon

 Book cover of Amber Brown is Not a CrayonAmber Brown, the spunky third-grade heroine of Amber Brown is Not a Crayon, has a problem. She’s been best friends since preschool with Justin, and now it looks like Justin’s family will be moving away. Amber thought things couldn’t get any worse after her parents divorced and her father moved to France. But now Justin is preparing to move and, worse still, he acts like it’s no big deal. He won’t talk about it with Amber and then the two stop speaking to each other altogether.  In this and other Amber Brown books, author Paula Danziger displays her knack for combining serious subjects with humor in a way that connects with her audience. The book’s storyline, coupled with its slim size, large type, simple sentence structure, and line drawings by Tony Ross, will appeal to young readers in grades 2-4.

Stories y Cuentos

The Willow Glen Branch Library offers several one-on-one and small group reading opportunities for kids each week. Join us Tuesdays at 4 pm for Stories with Barbara. Barbara is a retired teacher and dedicated volunteer who loves reading with children. Wednesdays at 2:30 pm drop in for Stories with Nancy. Nancy is also a retired teacher and she is always eager to read with all kids. Join us also on Fridays at 3:30 pm for Stories with (Cuentos con) Priyanka. Priyanka is a high school student and volunteer who will read to your child in either English or Spanish.


Los viernes a las 15:30 Priyanka lee a los niños en la biblioteca Willow Glen. Priyanka es una voluntaria y un estudiante de la escuela secundaria. Ella puede leer a su hijo en inglés o español.

Recommended Books for 2nd Graders

  • Bird's Best Friend by Apple Jordan. Russell is the bird's best friend. When the bird gets kidnapped, Russell does whatever it takes to get him back.
  • Flat Stanley and the Haunted House by Lori Haskin Houran. It's Halloween. Flat Stanley and his family go to a haunted house. What will happen there?
  • My Wild Woolly by Deborah J. Eaton. The boy speaks to his friend the wild woolly. They have good time together.
  • Franklin and The Tin Flute by Sharon Jennings. Franklin finds a flute and trades it for a marble, but when he finds out that it was his grandfather's, he tries to get it back.
  • Mice are Nice by Charles Ghigna. A girl wants to get a pet. A mouse tries to convince her that mice are the nicest.


    Book cover of Bird's Best Friend Book cover of Flat Stanley and the Haunted House. Book cover of My Wild Woolly Book cover of Franklin and the Tin Flute Book cover of Mice Are Nice

Free Reading Help

On Tuesdays at 4 pm and Saturdays at 11:30 am the West Valley Branch Library offers free reading help for children. The Reading Buddies are trained teen volunteers that are on hand to either read to your child or to help your child practice reading. This is a great opportunity for younger children to have one-on-one time with a caring, enthusiastic teen mentor who will help them practice their reading in a low-stress environment.


Reading to Rover is another opportunity for kids to practice their reading at the West Valley Branch Library. This event  is generally held on the third Thursday of each month at 3:30 pm. At this program we pair children who want to improve their reading skills with literacy assistance dogs for some quality reading and bonding time. Come join the fun!

The Fantastic Mr. Fox

Cover of Fantastic Mr. Fox audiobookRoald Dahl has written several popular children's books. One of the more popular books is The Fantastic Mr. Fox


Mr. Fox steals chickens, turkeys, and ducks from three mean and weathly farmers to feed his family. The farmers are not amused.  What ensues is an all out war between the farmers and Mr. Fox. Along the way, Mr. Fox meets several other animals that help (and hinder) his fight against the farmers. 


The library owns both the print and audio versions of this title. It has also being adapted into a great movie using stop-motion animation that features the voices of some very popular celebrities

Dystopian Literature for Teens

Hunger Games coverDystopian literature is one of the fastest growing trends in teen literature right now. (Vampires? So 2008...) These are fantasy or science fiction stories typically set in the future or in an alternate history that depict a seemingly utopian world that is in fact corrupt and controlling. Brave New World, 1984, and A Clockwork Orange are some classic examples that are still widely enjoyed today, but Suzanne Collins' Hunger Games trilogy has emerged as the most recent successful offering for teens within this genre. Plenty more dystopian novels are appearing on the shelves every day, with stories about post-apocalyptic wastelands, constant surveillance, dwindling natural resources, oppressive dictators, mindless conformity, and me-against-the-world heroes that must face it all head on.


But why the recent surge in this thought-provoking yet gloomy genre for teens? This article in The New Yorker examines the recent boom, and this interesting debate in the NY Times includes some well-known dystopian lit authors like Scott Westerfeld (author of the Uglies series) and Paolo Bacigalupi.   that  Paolo Bacigalupi (recent winner of the 2011 Printz Award). Does the growing trend coincide with rising political, economic, and environmental turmoil in the world? Is it because technology is becoming too invasive in our lives? Or is it simply because this genre speaks to many teens that are approaching adulthood and beginning to critically examine and question the world around them? Perhaps all of the above and more. In any case, the result is some fascinating and engaging literature for us readers to enjoy. Check these out.



It can be heavy stuff, but don't despair. Just remember that these are cautionary tales of what could be, not necessarily where we are headed...One of the most inspiring things about stories like these is recognizing how people can correct history's mistakes and work together to build a better future.

Mom Amok!

Book cover of Pirate MomPirate Mom by Deborah Underwood.

She wears an eye patch, red polka-dotted head scarf, and a parrot on her shoulder. She swishes her wooden spoon around like a sword and yells, “Arrr!” and “Give me your loot!” Pete’s mom thinks she’s a pirate. Ever since Pete and his mild-mannered mom went to go see the Amazing Marco’s magic show, she has been under Marco’s hypnotic spell. He put her in a trance and told her she would be a pirate when she woke up. It worked! At first it was fun to have a pirate for a mom, but now Pete is worried. He misses his mom and she’s kind of scaring the neighbors with all of her rough pirate ways. It’s up to Pete to find a way to help his swashbuckling mom. This fun story will tickle kid and parent alike.

Cork and Fuzz

Cork and Fuzz, book coverMeet Cork and Fuzz. Cork is a muskrat and Fuzz is a possum. Cork likes to eat only veggies and Fuzz likes to eat beetles and worms. Cork likes to play “hide and go seek” but Fuzz likes to play “find and eat.” They seem to have nothing in common or do they? Check out these amazing stories of an unlikely friendship by author Dori Chaconas

Click Clack Moo: Cows That Type

Cover of Click Clack Moo: Cows that TypeIt all began when the cows found an old typewriter in the barn, after that, Farmer Brown’s farm was forever changed. When Farmer Brown denies the cows’ typewritten request for electric blankets, they put up a sign stating, “Sorry. We’re closed. No Milk Today.” By the time Duck gets involved in the mediation stages of this stalemate, the hens are demanding blankets or else they won’t provide eggs.


 Betsy Lewin’s illustrations add to the hilarity of the situation, as Farmer Brown grows increasingly impatient with his animals. Her brush drawings are filled in with color washes creating a fresh, loose, free-spirited scene that is well suited to the verbal narrative.


Author, Doreen Cronin and illustrator Betsy Lewin are a fantastic duo. Click Clack Moo: Cows That Type, a Caldecott Honor book, is followed by Giggle, Giggle, Quack another lively adventure on the farm in which the animals have some fun when Farmer Brown takes a vacation.

Dr. Brad Has Gone Mad!

Book cover of Dr. Brad Has Gone Mad! Dr. Brad Has Gone Mad! is the 7th installment of the My Weird School Daze series by Dan Gutman. It is a funny tale about 3rd grader A.J., who haphazardly creates a poem that lands him in Dr. Brad’s office for a multitude of intelligence tests. He attempts to use some of  Dr. Brad’s methods on his classmate Andrea with some amusing results. A.J.'s opinions, advice, and remarks within the book are what makes this title a fun read.

Irish Cooking

With St. Patrick's Day coming up next week (Thursday, March 17th) I started thinking about Irish foods. We have several cookbooks in our collection that may be of interest.



Cover of New Irish Table  Cover of Irish Heritage Cookbook

Russian-English Bilingual Story Time at the West Valley Library

The West Valley Library is adding another story time!

The West Valley Branch of the San Jose Public Library system is excited to announce a new weekly bilingual story time in Russian and English!  This new story time takes place on Friday afternoons in our Family Place Center starting at 5:00 pm and will allow you a unique opportunity to start your weekend off with Russian stories, finger plays, songs, history and more that the whole family can enjoy.


This bilingual story time will be conducted by a local West Valley community member named Olga.  Olga originally came from Saint Petersburg which she describes “as the most beautiful city of Russia, the former capital of Russian Empire and where one of the greatest museum hermitage is located.”  Olga worked as a journalist before coming to Silicon Valley.  She worked for a Russian newspaper in the SF Bay Area for a short period and then enrolled in college to get an Art Degree. After graduating, she started a family and now has 3 boys.  She says, “ I want my kids to be not only bilingual but also bicultural, and Russian literature as well as history are a really important part of it….we would like to share our activities with other kids our ages and cultural background. We want our kids to stay connected. We hope others will join us in listening and practicing our native tongue”. Please join Olga and her family at the West Valley Library at 1243 San Tomas Aquino Road, San Jose, CA 95117 at 5pm every Friday afternoon starting March 11th.


We have four other story times that occur weekly and an Inclusive storytime on the fourth Saturday of the month.  If you would like to check the days and hours for these and other programs please view our West Valley Library events.

In Praise of Chuck Klosterman

Cover of Eating the Dinosaur Chuck Klosterman is an American author born in 1972 and has written about Sex, Drugs and Cocoa Puffs. Well, he writes about other things, too, like Eating the Dinosaur. Pop culture, life in the 20th Century, sports and heavy metal music are his favorite subjects. But beneath all the pseudo bombast lies a really funny and perceptive writer.

Willow Glen Wags (Snickers & J.D.)

Snickers visits WG Feb 24 2011

 J.D. and Snickers are a beautiful pair of "golden girls," say Russ and Sandy, the proud humans of the household. The dogs, both Golden Retrievers, were rescued when their first families could not keep them. Snickers (left) came to live with Russ and Sandy nine years ago, through the NorCal Golden Retriever Rescue. Later, Russ and Sandy adopted J.D. (her initials stand for "Just Dog"), who used to live in southern California with a family that was just too busy to pay attention to her. Now, they all live together in beautiful Los Gatos and enjoy nice long walks around their neighborhood. The golden girls love to make friends wherever they go...and the girls  go to a LOT of places, because they are both official ambassadors of Furry Friends Pet-Assisted Therapy, which visits care facilities and hospitals, retirement homes, community centers, and libraries. When the Furry Friends visit the Willow Glen Library, you might see one or both golden girls listening to young readers and hoping for tummy rubs between books. 


J.D. visits WG on Feb 10, 2011One question I've heard is, "How does reading to dogs help kids?" Bay Area Parent has a great article about how much pets give back to people in its March, 2011, issue.


Golden Retrievers have long been one of the most popular breeds, ranking in the top five favorite breeds in America (according to the AKC) and in the top ten in the UK and Australia. This breed is known for its intelligence and sweet nature and has been featured in many popular books and movies, as well as quite a few television shows. Interested in movies? Try the Air Bud series , Bailey's BillionsThe Gold Retrievers, A Golden Christmas, and many more. Read or watch Homeward Bound, a novel about three lost pets that was turned into two successful movies by Disney. Kids may enjoy the Boomer picture books and the Buddy files, a series of chapter books. Adults can find Koontz's The Watchers and The Darkest Evening of the Year in book, audio, or electronic formats.  For nonfiction about this beloved breed, type "Golden Retriever" in the SJPL catalog search. You'll end up with 63 results, and those are just the tip of the iceberg.

Tall Tales...

Cover of the The Stories Julian Tells by Ann CameronIf you have never heard about the catalog cats that come in the mail and help you tend to your garden, then you may enjoy The Stories Julian Tells by Ann Cameron. The catalog cats are just one of several humorous stories told by Julian, a young African American boy , about the events in his life… with just a little bit of embellishment. In the six short stories you will also meet Julian’s little brother Huey, his parents, and his new maybe best friend Gloria. If you like the cast of characters you meet, you can visit them all again in several other titles:  Julian, Dream Doctor, Julian, Secret Agent, Julian’s Glorious Summer, More Stories Julian TellsThe Stories Huey Tells,  More Stories Huey Tells, and  Gloria’s Way.

1066, The Year of the Conquest

Book cover of 10661066, by David Howarth, is an elegant little (200 pages) work that gives a vivid glimpse of the Battle of Hastings. Combining research gleaned from surviving historical manuscripts and his own personal interpretation, Howarth weaves an entertaining narrative of William the Conqueror, Edward the Confessor, Harold of England and others that played a role during this critical year in British history.

Computer Tutors and Instructional Resources

Are you unsure how to move a mouse? Do you know what happens when you right-click or left-click? Perhaps you should stop by our Service desk at  Willow Glen Branch Library and schedule a session with a staff person or if you are a self-paced person we can introduce you to our online tutorials. Would you like to read up on a particular operating system?  Perhaps you'd like to know more about your Mac.  Willow Glen Branch Library has a collection of printed computer manuals that you can check out and read at your leisure. If we don't have the book you need on hand, chances are we can request it. 

Farm City: The Education of an Urban Farmer

Book cover of Farm CityIn Farm City by Novella Carpenter the author recounts her adventures and misadventures raising her own food in inner city Oakland. After staking claim to a nearby empty lot for a vegetable garden, she moves on to beekeeping and raising poultry, including her Thanksgiving turkey. Eventually rabbits and even two pigs join her growing collection of livestock. In addition to the animals, Novella’s experiment in urban farming brings her into contact with a series of colorful human characters as well—from the Buddhist monks next door to an upscale chef who shares his secret recipes and a homeless man who resides in a series of abandoned vehicles, complete with TV reception. This engaging and uplifting title is also available as an audiobook, vividly brought to life by actress Karen White.

Horrible Harry and the Dead Letters

book coverImagine having a real mailbox in your classroom. Harry’s teacher has a big blue mailbox installed in Room 3B  so her students can learn how mail is sorted and delivered. Everyone in the class is assigned a postal job. Some students are mail sorters, others are stackers and still others deliver the mail. There is a very special box for letters that are missing addresses or incorrectly addressed. The box has a spooky name. It is called the Dead Letters Box. Everyone has fun playing post office until something strange begins to happen. There is a thief in the classroom who is using the mailbox for something other than mail. Harry is determined to solve the mystery. If you like mysteries and like to laugh too, you will enjoy Horrible Harry and the Dead Letters written by Suzy Kline. Read all of the Horrible Harry books if you are looking for easy to read chapter books that are just right for second graders. 

Unraveling the Mystery of Charlie Sheen

Cover of Two and a Half Men - Season 7 DVDIf you've been paying attention to the news lately, the story that seems to be taking our minds off Libya is Charlie Sheen's antics online and in the media. If you have been paying attention, be sure to check out the piece on Saturday Night Live last week on Weekend Update


If you haven't been paying attention to Charlie Sheen, here's the skinny...  He's discovered Twitter and he's also been doing a lot of not very well thought out media appearances. Certain terms are coming up such as Tiger's Blood and Adonis DNA.  I'm not even going to try to figure that out, but if you're interested in catching up on his screen work, here's what you can get here at SJPL!


Platoon - Part of Oliver Stone's Vietnam War trilogy. This film was based on Stone's experiences in Vietnam.

Wall Street - Charlie Sheen portrays Bud Fox, an up and coming stock broker who isn't very scrupulous. Another Oliver Stone film.

Two and a Half Men - The successful television series that Sheen was just fired from. He portrays a non-apologetic carouser.

Ferris Bueller's Day Off - Sheen has a small role as a drug addict.

Scary Movie 3 - Sheen plays a farmer who discovers a crop circle in his field. 

Start Thinking About Your Spring Travel

Book cover of  "100 Greatest Trips"Published by Travel+Leisure Magazine, 100 Greatest Trips (2011 ed.) could inspire you to plan for your next travel destination with hundreds of colorful pictures and short capturing descriptions. Covering the five continents and selected islands, the entries are easy to read and packed with things-to-do lists at these exotic places. The beautiful pictures with specific tips on dining and sight-seeing are powerful messages to tell you, "Spring is coming. Get your travel gear together and go..."

The Peace Corps: Celebrating its 50th Anniversary

Fifty years ago this week, on March 1, 196l, President John F. Kennedy signed Executive Order 10924, which marked the official beginning of the Peace Corps. In his inaugural address, President Kennedy had proclaimed: "And so, my fellow Americans, ask not what your country can do for you--ask what you can do for your country." The program began recruiting in July, 1962.. In the years since the Peace Corps was established, over 200,000 Americans have chosen to dedicate two years (and sometimes more) of their lives, serving in 139 countries. These young Americans became ambassadors of a different kind for the United States, whether living in rural villages or large cities. During intensive training, the volunteers received instruction in the native language, and spent many hours learning about the history and culture of the country where they would be serving.


Many volunteers have written books about their experiences. Here are some titles available at King Library: Living Poor, by Moritz Thomsen (Ecuador); Monique and the Mango Rains, by Kris Holloway (Mali); The Unheard: a Memoir of Deafness and Africa by Josh Swiller (Zambia); and Away from Home: Letters to My Family, by Lillian Carter and Gloria Carter Spann (India.) As you may remember, Lillian Carter was President Carter's mother.


During the month of March and continuing for several months thereafter, commemorative celebrations will be held all across the country, including at UCLA, Stanford University and University of California, Berkeley. The public is invited to attend these events, to meet returned Peace Corps Volunteers and hear about their experiences in their host countries. The Peace Corps is now sending volunteers to 77 countries around the world. To learn more about the Peace Corps, you can visit their website at

Computer History Museum

Image of the computation machine modeled by BabbageIt was an amazing discovery for me! I had no idea I would enjoy a trip to the Computer History Museum so much. This museum is located in Mountain View and very easy accessible from 101 freeway. Two hours went unbelievably quickly and there was still so much to look at, to read about, to try out. I think that this museum should be discovered by everybody who lives in our area or visits Silicon Valley. You will find out how this all started from regular mechanical calculators to first models of calculating machines that were created by Charles Babbage. Then this journey will take you all the way to first computers and computer games and at the end - to the most modern computer models.


Our library resources include lots of interesting books on this subject as well. I would like to recommend several of them:

Posted by Nina Petrova on Mar 5, 2011 | Comments: 0 |

Fish Out of Water

Cover of  A Fish Out of Water A boy goes to a fish store and Mr. Carp sells him "Otto," a soon to be giant fish that outgrows even the bathtub! A classic, A Fish Out of Water by Helen Marion Palmer.

The True Story of the 3 Little Pigs

Cover of the True Story of the 3 Little PigsWe are taught that there are always two sides to a story. In the case of the 3 little pigs we have never heard the wolf's side of the story... until now. In The True Story of the 3 Little Pigs by Jon Scieszka we learn that the wolf is neither big nor bad, but rather just a neighbor that has run out of sugar. We all know how the tale ends, but check this book out to hear the wolf's side and see whose version you believe.

Unstoppable Movie Review



Train 777, half a mile long and carrying toxic chemicals, is headed toward a small town of Stanton, Pennsylvania at an accelerating speed. The train is unmanned and “unstoppable” because some worker thought he could jump off the train to switch the tracks and jump back on, but he was too slow to get back on. It is then up to veteran engineer Frank Barnes (Denzel Washington) and a young conductor (Chris Pine) to prevent a catastrophe by racing to catch this train before it reaches the city.


What is there not to like about this movie? You’ve got a high speed train loaded with toxic chemicals about to run into a town that will be completely destroyed if the train reaches it. I enjoyed this movie very much because you get to see the technical background of running a train station. This movie shows real shots of trains and explosions without computer-generated imagery (CGI). If you want an intense and suspenseful movie that will have you at the edge of your seat, check this movie out.

Planning a Summer Vacation with the Kids?

Cover of Lonely Planet's Travel with ChildrenAre you planning a summer vacation with the kids, but don't know exactly where to go and what will be available for both you and the kids to enjoy?  Check out the library's collection of traveling with kids books and DVDs!


Plan a quick trip to San Diego, or someplace exotic like Costa Rica!  The library has tons of information that can help you plan the perfect trip!


Happy Travels!

Dogs and Cats

Cover of Dogs and Cats by Steve JenkinsKids love dogs and cats, including grown-up kids.  That's speaking from experience. Growing up, I was closer to our family's calico cat Patches, and our next-door neighbor's dachshund Gus, than I was to my siblings. (Shh.... don't tell them that.)


Dogs and Cats takes that innate fondness kids have for their pets, and runs with it. While the short book can easily be read at one sitting, and is designed to appeal most to children from about age 6 to about age 10, it is packed full of information, for the most part dished out in one-paragraph nuggets.  For example, on one page we learn why dogs chase balls, why dogs roll in manure, why they bark at strangers, and why they are easy to housebreak. On another page, we learn why cats purr, whether they can see in the dark, why they sleep so much, and why they chase their tails. 


The book is beautifully laid-out, with attractive pictures on every page. A nifty little trick, too, that makes one go "Wow. How neat!", is that the book can be read from both sides. Namely, open the book, then start reading about dogs. Close the book, flip it over, open it, and now you're reading about cats. 


So whether you read this book back to front, or front to back, if you are fond of your pets, you're sure to like this book. Enjoy! And pet your cat or dog while reading it, too!

On a Mission?

Photo of interior of Mission San JoséIt's that time of year again. Third and fourth graders around the state descend upon public libraries and various craft stores to start their California Mission project. But after you check out books about your mission of choice, take the time to visit some of the missions in the area. San José residents have easy access to two missions. Located on the campus of Santa Clara University, Mission Santa Clara de Asis, was the eighth mission founded in California and the first in Santa Clara Valley. Though technically in Fremont, Mission San José was named in honor of St. Joseph (just like the city!). Books, websites, and databases can give you a lot of useful information for projects, but visiting these historic locations give you an up close and personal touch to California history.


For more information, the library has a list of great links about all California Missions and at King Library, the California Room is a great place for primary sources and their Digital Collections contains great photographs of the missions.

So Much for Health Insurance

Book cover of So Much for ThatAnother novel well worth reading is the latest by Lionel Shriver So Much for That (2010) where the conflicting dreams of a married couple are suddenly complicated by the extreme need to retain their current medical insurance. Although an engaging work of fiction, this is also a thought-provoking story about a subject very much in the news.


To find more information on the health care debate in the SJPL online catalog, do a keyword search using "health care debate" and "health care reform."  Among the non-fiction books and eBooks on the subject, are also some notable non-fiction DVDs (non-fiction DVDs can be requested/reserved just as books can be--Just click the "request" box at the top of the catalog page showing the DVD title information and enter library card number and other information.)


Some of these non-fiction DVD titles include   Sick Around America, a PBS production from 2009;

Obama's Deal, PBS, 2010;   Sick Around the World, PBS, c2008;   Ten Trillion and Counting, PBS, c2009 and  Unnatural Causes: is Inequality Making Us Sick?, California Newsreel, c2008.

Using the "My Account" Features

Have you ever wanted to keep track of materials you check out?  For privacy reasons library staff cannot access this information, but you can by turning on the "My Reading History" feature in your library account.  Simply log into "my account" and then click on the link and turn this feature on.  It will then keep track of materials you check out.  I personally use this feature to keep track of books I've read and can easily click on the author link and see what new books have been published.  For all the other things you can do with your account, check out this link.

Battle of the Bands '11: The Library Rocks!

Battle of the Bands logoHave you voted yet for your favorite Battle of the Bands 2011 contestants??? The deadline is March 5th, and everyone is welcome to check out all 20 of our talented teen bands and performers before casting a vote. The top 5 bands with the most votes will be invited to play at an exciting concert finale at Almaden Branch Library & Community Center on March 19th. You're all invited to attend. I've had the pleasure of attending our past three Battle of the Bands finales, and they have all featured amazing young musicians. Don't miss out on this year's concert as we rock the library once again!


When I was a teen, I played in an all-girl punk band with my friends called Lily Liver. We weren't very good, but it was such a blast to practice out in the garage or play at our friends' parties. Check out these young adult books about other teens that rock, or learn how you can rock, too. Just be sure to give the library a shout-out on your album's liner notes. :)


Guitar Girl by Sarra Manning

Molly Montgomery discovers the high price of fame when her band, The Hormones, is joined by dangerous Dean and his friend T, and they become famous.


Lemonade Mouth by Mark Peter Hughes

A group of high school students thrown together in detention form a band to play at a school talent show and end up competing against a wildly popular local rock band.


Punk Rock Etiquette: The Ultimate How-to Guide for Punk, Underground, DIY, and Indie Bands by Travis Nichols

Don't let the name fool you...This is an awesome how-to guide for any type of band just starting out! Learn how to find bandmates, make your own shirts, find places to play, etc.


Rock Star Superstar coverRock Star Superstar by Blake Nelson

When Pete, a talented bass player, moves from playing in the high school jazz band to playing in a popular rock group, he finds the experience exhilarating even as his new fame jeopardizes his relationship with girlfriend Margaret.


The Rough Guide to Hip-Hop by Peter Shapiro

The definitive guide to hip-hop, from Grandmaster Flash to Outkast and beyond. Learn from the masters before you hit the mic.


6X : The Uncensored Confessions by Nina Malkin

Four teens on the fast track to pop-rock superstardom reveal the unfiltered truth about the glamorous, backstabbing world of sudden celebrity.

Series for the truly beginning reader

Cover of Dog in the FogDog in the Fog by Sue Graves is one title in a short series of easy readers, Fun with Phonics, which is excellent for beginning readers, not only because the story is funny and short, but also because there is a letter wheel with which the young reader can play.

Friday Fun @ King Library

Book cover of Birds by Samantha GrayWell it's a new month which means a new series of Friday Fun activities at the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Library. We have a great line up of activities. On March 4 we're Making a Memory Quilt. There's Going Wild! Kids' Nature Program on March 11 with a visit from the Don Edwards SF Bay National Wildlife Refuge; during this program we'll be learning about birds with stories and fun activities. On March 18 it's The Art of Japanese Calligraphy with Hikaru and on March 25 we'll Make a Mural we can go to visit at the Children's Faire that takes place on Saturday April 16 at Discovery Meadow Park. Please join us as Friday Fun is always a great way to start off the weekend! See you there! All of our Friday Fun programs begin at 4:00PM and take place in the Exploration Room.

Exit Through the Gift Shop

photo of DVD case and false Banksy graffitiSome of you know that the world's best known unknown street artist, Banksy, was up for an Academy Award last week for his documentary Exit Through the Gift Shop. The thing is, he's an artist who works incognito and he was not about to "reveal" his identity should he win, but since the award for best documentary went to Inside Job by Charles Ferguson, well, the drama died in a blur. Too bad, because Banksy was in L.A., but at least we have his film to enjoy and judge for ourselves the merits of this hugely creative bloke from Bristol, England. Banksy's been on the scene for a number of years and it should be stated that this documentary (film?) is more about an "artist" attempting to make a film about Banksy. Confusing, yes, but watch for yourself and decide whether it's a real documentary or, as some have suggested, a carefully staged creation of Banksy's endless well of creativity. It's a wonderful look at a contemporary urban art form and, in some ways, a look at whether the art world is about talent and dedication or, more likely, massive amounts of hype, publicity, and yes, filthy lucre ... a.k.a. money. I was rooting for Banksy at the Oscars, personally, but what I'm really rooting for is his art and the art of others who practice this heightened form of urban graffiti. It's compelling stuff and you won't regret the romp through this tale of contemporary art. 

A Child Witness to the Salem Witch Trials

Cover of The Heretic's DaughterThe novel The Heretic’s Daughter by Kathleen Kent is a child’s retelling of the Salem Witch Trials of 1692. The story is narrated by Sarah Carrier, the 10-year-old daughter of Martha Carrier, who was accused of witchcraft by neighbors and extended family. The early part of the novel covers the seclusion of Sarah and her baby sister, Hannah, at their aunt and uncle’s home after their brother contracts smallpox. Once all danger has passed, Sarah and Hannah return to their parents’ home, where they learn that their grandmother has died and the very uncle they were staying with is angry that his family did not inherit the grandmother’s property upon her death.


Gradually we learn that Sarah’s mother, Martha, is a woman of strong opinions who won’t back down from a fight when she feels she is right. She incurs anger from a neighbor who thinks she killed his cow, from an indentured servant who has ulterior motives and, of course, from the uncle who thinks his land was stolen. These and other people bring charges of witchcraft against Martha and she is taken from her family and imprisoned. Much of the early part of the novel focuses on the Carrier family’s daily life, and this makes the later events all the more compelling. As a child, Sarah is not able to fully convey all the events that go on around her, but I found her narration to be effective. Her voice comes through and you care what happens to her family.


The Heretic’s Daughter is based on the true story of Martha Carrier and her witchcraft trial. The author, Kathleen Kent, is a tenth-generation descendant of Martha Carrier, and she relied on family lore for many of the stories included in the novel. You can check out her official author site for more information about both her family and the Salem Witch Trials.  

Fun with Fractured Fairy Tales

Book cover of You Read to Me, I'll Read to YouLittle Red Riding Hood and the Big Bad Wolf sharing fries at the local diner? The Troll and the Billy Goat Gruff sitting down for a nice, friendly chat? These unlikely events and more take place in You Read to Me, I’ll Read to You: Very Short Fairy Tales to Read Together by Mary Ann Hoberman. Favorite fairy tales are briefly retold with amusing twists and surprise endings. The format of the book prompts children to take turns reading with an older child or adult. Colorful and lively pictures add to the fun. Readers are encouraged to continue the adventure by seeking out the full length versions of these fairy tales. The author has written many other books including three other You Read to Me, I’ll Read to You books: Short Stories, Mother Goose, and Scary Stories.

What Book Would You Be?

If you were a book at Santa Teresa Branch Library which book would you be?


Staff members at Santa Teresa answer this question in this short Film.



Posted by Rachel Collier on Mar 2, 2011 | Comments: 0 |

Wild Pacific

Cover of Wild Pacific DVDDuring recent trip to the beach, I was absolutely captivated by the beauty of the Pacific Ocean. Then a few days later I caught the 6 part BBC miniseries Wild Pacific on the Discovery Channel and was truly astounded by the beauty of this great ocean and the people and creatures that inhabit it. For once the HD feature on my TV paid dividends as the picture and images were absolutely incredible, so check out this family friendly miniseries that will captivate and amaze.


現在可以在圖書館以外的地方閱讀世界日報,這資料庫提供為期三年的世界日報電子全文. 結合『新聞知識庫』新聞平台,可利用樹狀全報瀏覽及各種查詢方式迅速獲取所需新聞. 每日下午五時左右更新當日新聞. 請到圖書館網站 首頁的中下部分. 點選 [世界日報] (World Journal), 只需輸入你的聖荷西圖書館證號碼和你的個人密碼, 便可進入庫內閱覽. 可按年月日選擇你要看的新聞.

What Pete Ate From A-Z (Really!)

Cover of What Pete Ate From A-ZMaira Kalman’s, What Pete Ate from A-Z, is a humorous and unique addition to the alphabet genre of books for children. Ms.Kalman does not take the usual route with “A is for apple”, “B is for baby” or “Z is for zebra.” Instead, “A is for accordion” and Pete the not-so-perfect pooch eats the accordion. After that he swallows a bouncing ball, a camera, a doll’s head, an egg-beater and he continues eating his way through the alphabet.


Kalman’s fanciful flowing verses, “When I turned my back for an itsy iota of time, he ate my beautiful pink ice pop” are placed beside her playful and spirited illustrations creating a lively scene. Kalman’s books inspire an imaginative and creative view of life. Visit her website for more information on her work for children and adults.

Nowhere Boy ... John Lennon's Adolescence

Nowhere Boy, a riviting biopic, focuses on John Lennon's teen years and relationship with mother Julia and aunt Mimi. Well-paced, beautifully photographed, and wonderfully acted, this is an revealing look at the creative, unpredictable, and genius that John Lennon would come to soon be. 

Đọc cho con nghe một câu chuyện hằng đêm

Man reads book to childMỗi đêm ấm cúng quý vị có thể đọc một câu chuyện ngộ nghĩnh trong quyển sách 365 Chuyện Kể Hằng Đêm, bản dịch nguyên văn tiếng Pháp 365 Histoires Du Soir (2006) của nhà xuất bản Hemma (Belgium).  Mỗi câu chuyện ngắn chỉ khoảng nửa trang, dễ đọc với hình màu thật đẹp, kể về những sinh hoạt của các loài vật biết nói.  Có nhiều khi câu chuyện dạy trẻ về đạo đức và sự khôn ngoan trong cuộc đời.  Trong 365 đêm hay một năm tròn, trước khi ngủ quý vị sẽ đem lại niềm vui, trau giồi trí tưởng tượng và khả năng Tiếng Việt của con trẻ qua từng câu chuyện đầy thú vị với hình màu tuyệt đẹp.


Every cozy night you could read one cute story from this wonderful book, 365 Chuyện Kể Hằng Đêm, a Vietnamese translation from the French version 365 Histoires Du Soir (2006) by Hemma Editions Belgium).  Every short story, which is about half-page and easy to read with gorgeous color illustration, tells the daily activities of talking animals.  Some stories contain moral implications and life wisdom.  Before bedtime in 365 nights or year round, bring happiness and a wealth of imagination, and enrich your child's Vietnamese language skills through these wonderful tales.

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