E Is For Ethics: How to Talk to Kids About Morals, Values, and What Matters Most by Ian James Corlett is a cute book to teach kids about values and morals. It's a perfect book for busy working parents. It works like a chapter book for a first or second grader. Each value takes only three pages to cover, with one full-page picture to illustrate the mentioned value.
It is a fun book for parents to read and to achieve the purpose the book was aiming for: to teach kids to be kind, generous, considerate, fair, courageous, helpful, responsible, patient, etc. Then, along the way, parents can learn about themselves as well.
Are you a teen or preteen that has a math learning disability or simply a deep hatred of mathematics? You should take a look at this book from the author and actress (The Wonder Years, The West Wing), Danica McKellar.
Hot X: Algebra Exposed is the third title in the math series directed at teen (and preteen) girls. Like the first two books, Math Doesn’t Suck: How to Survive Middle School Math Without Losing Your Mind or Breaking a Nail and Kiss My Math: Showing Pre-Algebra Who’s Boss, the author makes algebra both intriguing and fun. Each chapter tackles a different algebra “Hot Topic” with a step-by-step breakdown of how to solve the problem as well as “Takeaway tips” to help to reader remember what they have just learned. The book covers everything from rational expressions, absolute value, linear equations, functions, polynomials and square roots. The reader can either go directly to the chapter with the topic they want to study or read the whole book.
I loved the testimonials from successful women who describe in detail how math skills are essential to careers as varied as chef and TV advertising account executive. Preteen girls will love the entries from “Danica’s Diary” although they may not appeal to the non-preteen. What Danica McKellar accomplishes with this title is making Algebra accessible to the “I Hate Math” crowd. I would recommend any of these books to middle school or high school girls, especially those who need a self-esteem boost when it comes to their math skills.
Jeff Kinney's new Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Cabin Fever (No AR rating yet, but most likely in the 3.0 points and 5.2 range) will not be released until November 15, but kids are already chomping on the bit to find similar read-a-likes. This librarian must admit that I am also chomping on the bit, as well. Kids, you are so lucky because there is a whole range of similar titles!
Dav Pilkey's Captain Underpants' novels are an old favorite (starting with Captain Underpants, An Epic Adventure (AR 1.0, Level 4.3), and very similar to the tone and style in the Wimpy Kid series. Follow fourth graders George and Harold and their transformed principal, Captain Underpants through various hilarious adventures.
Cressida Cowell's How to Train Your Dragon (AR 5.0, Level 6.6) series is about Hiccup Horrendous Haddock the Third, a somewhat scrawny Viking, who somehow manages to succeed despite larger peers and opponents. Aided by his trusty sidekicks Toothless the dragon and Fishlegs, Hiccup can do no wrong!????
Like Diary of a Wimpy Kid (AR 3.0, Level 5.3), Lincoln Pierce's Big Nate (AR 2.0, Level 3.1) started as an online daily strip. This series is probably the most similar to Jeff Kinney's novels in style and tone. Nate Wright has a somewhat elevated image of himself that does not match reality. Kids will enjoy the problems that sixth grade faces. In the first novel, Nate finds himself getting detention for ALL of his classes. Find out why in this hilarious book!
Rachel Renee Russell has created a girl-centric series called Dork Diaries (AR 5.0, Level 5.4), which is like Jeff Kinney's books, except for girls. Personally, I did not find this title especially funny. However, my sounding board at home assures me that this is a very funny series of books. Some other girl-centric series include Dear Dumb Diary (AR 1.0, Level 6.1) and Allie Finkle's Rules for Girls (AR 6.0, Level 5.0).
Previously, I reviewed James' Patterson's Middle School: The Worst Years of My Life (AR 4.0, Level 4.5), which is another title reflecting about the downsides of middle school.
First, let me make it clear that I do not normally dress in medieval garb and go to a wine tasting. Heck, I’m not even a big fan of wine. So, why did I find myself doing exactly that at Castello di Amorosa castle and winery recently? Because I never quite outgrew my love of dressing up, that’s why. When I was a kid, I tried on my Mom’s old clothes and Grammy’s “fancy” rhinestone jewelry; I travelled miles out of my way to attend Renaissance fairs as a young adult, and I still enjoy getting into a costume just to stay home and answer the door on Halloween. I can’t really explain it except to say, costumes are just…FUN!
Unpack your own sense of whimsy this Hallowe’en; it’s just around the corner, waiting to say Boo! I suppose you’ve got your costume already. If not, the Library is the perfect place to get started. Time is short, but you want a costume that will make people scratch their heads? Try The Original Duct Tape Halloween Book by Jim and Tim, the duct tape guys, full of wacky ideas to turn yourself into a refrigerator magnet or the gum on the bottom of a shoe.
Do you sew a little but your budget is lacking? Take a look at The Halloween Handbook: 447 Costumes by Bridie Clark and Ashley Dodd. On the other hand, if you want a more standard costume, but still not store-bought, try Elegantly Frugal Costumes: The Poor Man’s Do It Yourself Costume Makers Guide by Shirley Dearing. This book starts with a piece from the back of your own closet or from the thrift store and will guide you through turning it into a one-of-a-kind costume.
Whatever you do, don’t lose the sense of FUN that you had as a child dressing up and playing make-believe! Even if you do pack it up and bring it out just once a year.
Lately we have had a number of smaller earthquakes in the Bay Area.Last week, when my whole house shook, my husband thought it was the wind.But news reports confirmed a 3.8 quake on the Hayward Fault.
If you do feel a quake, go to Did You Feel It to register your experience.This crowdsourcing tool sponsored by the United States Geological Survey records the data and maps it.You can look back over the past 24 hours or even further back to see where earthquakes are occurring all over the world and also see how many people reported feeling it and how far away they were from the epicenter of the quake.
I’m told you can ask just about anybody who’s over the age of 30 where they were when the Loma Prieta Quake happened in October of 1989. I wasn’t in California then, but I was in 2007 on October 30th when the King Library was shaken so hard that hundreds of thousands of books fell off the shelves.
Are you ready for the next big quake? Have you reviewed your emergency plan with your family? Do you have an out of town relative that everyone can call to relay information if local phone connections don’t work? If you haven't, don't put it off. There is nothing more comforting that being ready just in case something goes wrong. There are many sites with good tips on preparedness and the very best are sponsored by government agencies. Ready.gov and FEMA both have concise and useful information on what to do to stay safe in case you feel the earth move under your feet!
Ethan loved to bounce on his pogo stick and he was also a trivia nut. He loved to read, so he checked out every book in the library on pogo sticks. One day he found out about Boyd "Boing" Bower who traveled across the U.S. using a pogo stick. Boyd immediately became Ethan's hero. Ethan determined to bring fame to Boyd's achievement. Read the book to learn how Ethan discovered that Real Heroes Don't Wear Capes.
You can learn about heroes through books found in the library. One book which is not too hard to read is: Freedom Walkers: The Story of the Montgomery Bus Boycott.
Another book, The Children's Book of Heroes, edited by William J. Bennett, comprises of real and fictional heroic deeds, and is a delight to read. It is illustrated on every page, and that enhances the characteristics of each hero portrayed.
Eily, Michael and Peggy O’Driscoll are hungry. They are growing up in Ireland during the Great Famine. The potato crop has failed year after year, so their Father has gone looking for work, their baby sister died recently, and now their Mother is also leaving. She’s determined not to let her three remaining children go hungry, so she walks to town to try to sell her last few personal possessions, her wedding dress and lace shawl.
Mother returns with a little food and stories of famine and fever, both of which left many of the townspeople dead. In some cases entire families have fled the town, some leaving Ireland for other countries. After a few days Mother decides she must leave again to search for her husband, as once more the family is close to starvation. When she doesn’t return, as expected, the children are threatened with eviction from their home and are to be sent to the workhouse. The three children leave a message for their Mother with a neighbor and begin the journey to a far off town where they hope to find relatives to care for them.
The remainder of the book takes us along on this very difficult and challenging journey as the children try to reach their Mother’s family. They walk through all types of weather, finding food along the way, while trying to avoid anyone who might wish them harm. They are amazingly resourceful as they deal with illness and wild creatures.
The author has written a fictionalized, but historically based book of what we now call the Irish potato famine. It can be difficult to read some of the situations involving the children, but throughout the book they encourage each other and overall remain hopeful. Marita Conlon-McKenna provides a brief history of the Great Famine of 1845-1850.
Since the death of Steve Jobs, there’s a surge in interest about his life. San José Public Library has biographies about him available for borrowing. Here is a selection of books which at present do not have a waiting list:
If your neighborhood library doesn’t have a copy of the book you’re looking for, the staff can assist you to make a request. A copy will be routed to your library.
Are you looking for new hikes and walks within driving distance? Have you had difficulty finding places to go with the entire family? Are you tired of the same places you've been and looking for new areas? Read Best Hikes with Kids San Francisco Bay Area and learn about trails you've never been to!
This book covers the counties of Santa Clara, San Francisco, Alameda, San Mateo, Contra Costa, Marin, Napa, Sonoma, Santa Cruz, and Solano. It includes driving directions, highlights to look for, ease of hiking, and the best trails for different seasons. The maps are great, and there are lots of interesting tidbits of information on flora and fauna. Take advantage of the great scenery nearby, and check out this new and informative book from San José Public Library!
Shop San José is a new initiative that will be coming soon this fall that will be great for local business and the local economy. The City of San José wants you to spend your dollars in San José to support local businesses and bolster city tax revenues. As I am sure you know, San José's coffers could use a boost. This initiative will hopefully encourage folks to spend their money where they live instead of surrounding cities. Businesses that are interested in participating should visit the Shop San José website to find out more and to get the latest updates.
San José has a lot of great places to shop and dine so let's support our local economy, businesses, and city services!
IMLS Press Contacts
Natasha Marstiller, firstname.lastname@example.org
Mamie Bittner, email@example.com
San José, CA—The Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) has selected the San José Public Library (SJPL)as one of only ten libraries and museums to receive the 2011 National Medal for Museum and Library Service. The National Medal is the nation’s highest honor for museums and libraries that demonstrate extraordinary innovative approaches to public service and community outreach.
San José Public Library is the first city library in California to receive the award and was selected for meeting the information and learning needs of its ethnically diverse community, stellar innovative and educational programs, and for providing its customers with on demand services and self-service options that enhance their library experience such as self-checkout machines and online account services.
“Congratulations to the San José Public Library on receiving the National Medal for Museum and Library Service. The work you have done is an inspiration to libraries and museums throughout the nation,” said Susan Hildreth, IMLS Director. “With innovation, creativity and a great deal of heart you have achieved an outstanding level of public service.”
“I am pleased that the San José Public Library System is receiving this distinguished recognition from the Institute of Museum and Library Services,” said Congressman Mike Honda, who nominated San José Public Library for the award. “Here in Silicon Valley, we pride ourselves on innovation. SJPL is an international model for providing traditional and cutting edge library services to all Silicon Valley residents. Under the direction of Jane Light, the SJPL developed new programs and methods which have positively redefined the role of libraries in our community.”
As the recipient of the National Medal for Museum and Library Service, San José Public Library will be honored during the National Medal ceremony in Washington D.C. later this year and receive a $10,000 award. Story Corps will also be visiting San José Public Library to document community members’ stories about the medal-winning library and its impact on their lives.
“We are extremely proud of our libraries here in San José and I’d like to thank the Institute for Museum and Library Services for this distinguished honor,” said Mayor Chuck Reed. “This award is a testament to the many staff, volunteers and supporters who have helped San José libraries continue to provide excellent services during these tough budget times.”
The other institutions that received the 2011 National Medal for Museum and Library Service are:
“I am truly honored and delighted that IMLS has chosen San José Public Library as one of the ten institutions to receive the National Medal,” said Jane Light, SJPL Library Director. “It is indeed a recognition that could not have been achieved if it weren’t for the dedicated and friendly staff members that work very hard every day to provide the much needed and heavily used library services the community desires.”
IMLS is the primary source of federal funding for museums and libraries. The National Medal for Museum and Library Service was created to highlight the vital role these institutions play in American society. Recipients are selected by the director of IMLS following an open nomination process and based on the recommendations of the National Museum and Library Services Board.
About San José Public Library
San José Public Library system (SJPL) is the largest public library system between San Francisco and Los Angeles on the West Coast of California, serving a culturally diverse population of approximately 946,000 in the nation’s 10th largest city. SJPL is recognized across the country for its innovation and leadership in the field and is one of the busiest library systems nationwide, with an annual checkout rate of more than 13.5 million items through 19 currently operating locations. For more information, visit www.sjpl.org.
Rat Island by William Stolzenburg shows the darker side of endangered species conservation. Islands make up just 3 percent of the Earth's landmass, but contain more than half of its endangered species. These ecosystems historically existed in isolation, their flora and fauna developing in ways not found on the mainland. The island ecosystems have been catastrophically disrupted either by humans or the animals humans bring with them- rats, cats, goats, and pigs primarily. To save these island ecosystems and their native inhabitants, ecologists have teamed up with a variety of people including professional hunters, semiretired poachers, and many more. Goats are shot from helicopters, rat poison is dropped onto mountainous islands. Rat Island reveals the modern "cruel to be kind" philosophy of conservationism.
Did you know that great white sharks lurk just off the California coastline? On a nasty group of
islands just a few hours boat ride from San Francisco are the Devil's Teeth, also known as the Farallon Islands. Devil's Teeth features Susan Casey's memories and experiences on the islands, which are a seasonal nesting ground for many seabirds, marine mammals and the hunting ground of the great white shark. There are many fascinating anecdotes in the book, such as Casey's attempts to sleep in a boat off the islands stormy coast, the biologist's clash with local "shark seeing" tour boats, and one scientist's mission to be the first man to surf the waves at the Farallons despite the presence of 20-foot great whites known as "The Sisters."
Without sea otters, sea urchins are stripping California's coastline of its kelp. Without wolves to hunt deer and elk, those species are eating Yellowstone's fragile population of young trees. Without large meat eaters to check their populations, smaller predators such as raccoons and opossums are eating through the United States' population of songbirds and other small animals. The disappearing bear and cougar has resulted in an explosion of deer, which have out-competed many other fauna for food and are stripping our wilderness of its flora. Where the Wild Things Were explains how ecosystems depend on these top-tier predators as "keystone species." The removal of these species due to humanity's attempts to manage the wilderness causes the rest of the ecosystem to crash. The book is written well, and in language that doesn't require a degree in biology to understand.
Reviews by volunteer Robert D.
According to Reuters - "An international team of scientists had recorded sub-atomic particles traveling faster than light -- a finding that could overturn one of Einstein's long-accepted fundamental laws of the universe."
Scientific American states that "an experiment has unveiled evidence that fundamental particles known as neutrinos can travel faster than light. The finding would overturn the most fundamental rule of modern physics – that nothing travels faster than 299,792,458 meters per second."
Read what Michio Kaku thinks on this topic and find more of his books in the library! One of them is: Einstein's Cosmos: How Albert Einstein's Vision Transformed Our Understanding of Space and Time.
Eva Nine lives alone in an underground sanctuary with MUTHR, a robot who takes care of her. Eva Nine would love to leave the sanctuary, and see the outdoors. One day, Eva gets her wish in a rather unexpected way. Outdoors for the first time, Eva faces adventure, danger, and even makes some new friends. Do you want to know what kinds of adventure Eva faces? Come to the library and check out The Search for WondLa written and illustrated byTony DiTerlizzi. This book is also available in audio cd format, narrated by actress Teri Hatcher. More about The Search for Wondla can be found on Tony DiTerlizzi’s website. This is a great book for middle school students as well as anyone who enjoys science fiction with a twist.
Do your children need help with homework? If yes, bring them to the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Library's Homework Club. The King Library's Homework Club meets on Mondays from 3:00-5:00PM in the Exploration Room and is for children in Grades 1-8. Our wonderful volunteers will be on hand to give students homework assistance in many subjects.
It's been about 2.5 years since The Last Olympian (AR 13, Level 4.3) came out. Since then, a mediocre movie and two books in the Kane Chronicles (Red Pyramid AR 18, Level 4.5; Throne of Fire (AR 17, Level 4.8) have come and gone. Carter and Sadie Kane are good characters, but I sure did miss the spunky adventures of Percy, Annabeth, and his friends!
As revealed in The Lost Hero (AR 19, Level 4.5,) there is a Roman camp. The Roman camp is the counterpart of the Greek camp, Camp Half-Blood. Camp Jupiter is where Percy soon finds himself after being chased by several undying monsters in The Son of Neptune (AR 17.0, Level 4.7). Like Jason, Percy has been mind-wiped by Juno. Joined by Hazel and Frank, Percy must save Death. The heroes venture to our northern-most state to find Gaea's minions, who are confident that the great Percy Jackson will finally be conquered! Once again, Riordan has created a "can't put it down" novel that Percy Jackson fans will enjoy.
The Lost Hero was the first Riordan children's novel told from the third person point-of-view. I was used to the first person point-of-view in the original Percy Jackson series, so I had to quickly adjust my perspective! Riordan is also using another storytelling technique he used in the Kane Chronicles: multiple points-of-view. If you enjoy fan fiction (fanfiction.net,) this is a technique commonly used to tell stories from the point-of-view of secondary characters. This technique is especially useful in this series because there are seven heroes who are central to the guiding prophecy. Through this storytelling device, I have become familiar with the perspectives of Jason, Piper, Leo, Hazel, and Frank. In the upcoming third book, we will finally see the story from Annabeth's perspective.
Most of us remember being told fairy tales as children. Themes from these stories form the archetypes that are repeated over and over in popular culture - both books and films. During the past decade or so, authors have been re-telling classic fairy tales in full novel format. These aren't your Disney versions of the stories. They are gritty and compelling adult reads.
Interested? Here are some to start with:
Bill Cunningham New York (coming soon to San José Public Library I hope!)
In both films the subjects are avid collectors (minimalist art and fashion photography) who live in small, cramped New York City (NYC) apartments packed to the rafters with their collections. What seems even more remarkable are their humble backgrounds. Although they hobnob with the fashion and art worlds’ most famous denizens, they are not wealthy or born into famous families.
Herb & Dorothy Vogel are an endearing art-amassing couple. Dorothy was a librarian (Yay for librarians!) and Herb was a postal worker. They collected minimalist and conceptual art before it became popular and rather than selling their massive collection (over 4000 pieces, worth millions of dollars) they donated all of it! They continue to collect art and never miss a gallery opening. They are personal acquaintances with hundreds of artists (including Christo and Chuck Close, who both appear in the film) with whom they visit and select their favorite pieces. See the PBS website for a few clips of the movie.
Cunningham is a photographer for the New York Times and produces a weekly narrated slide show “On the Street” documenting fashion in NYC. Although he does occasionally photograph models, most of his images are of people walking on the streets in NYC who dress stylishly and sometimes outlandishly. Cunningham is over 80 years old and has been capturing NYC’s street fashion for over 50 years. He gets around by bicycle and over his career has had 28 bicycles stolen. You can visit the film's website for more information.
Did you know that there are easy to read books for adults at the San José Public Library? You can go to the Pearl Avenue, Santa Teresa, Evergreen, and Edenvale branch libraries to find many interesting books. Some of them are about music, including an African American ragtime musician named Blind Boone who is pictured here. Imagine what it was like to travel around the U. S. after the Civil War. This book is one example of many. There are also books about sports, hobbies, including car collecting, history, and many other subjects. Take a look and check one out. Ask library staff to help you find interesting books. While you are there, think about becoming a Partners in Reading volunteer tutor or work on your reading and writing skills. You can call (408) 808-2361 to find out more about these books or about the program.
It’s class picture day and Fancy Nancy is ready with a pink and purple outfit complete with ruffles. Very fancy! But what about her hair? It needs to be fancy and flattering too. Nancy puts a lot of thought into how she will style her hair. She comes up with an idea that unfortunately results in disaster. What will poor Nancy do to turn a bad hair day into a fine and fancy one? Fancy Nancy: Hair Dos and Hair Don’ts is a Stage 1 Beginning Reader in the I Can Read! series. It features short sentences, familiar words, and simple concepts for children eager to read on their own. Fancy Nancy fans can visit fancynancyworld.com, the official source for all things Fancy Nancy !
Do you want to a fun way to promote math literacy with your school age kids? Try 65 Short Mysteries You Solve with Math! These 65 one minute mysteries will help you develop logic and reasoning skills. The authors, a father and daughter team Eric Yoder and Natalie Yoder, manage to equate math with fun and excitement rather than making it boring and difficult. The everyday situations require the reader to use their math knowledge to solve mysteries involving shapes, measurement, calculating money and other concepts.
Did you just invent the next great product and need to locate packaging for it? Perhaps you are working on a prototype and need an O-Ring? But, where oh where, does one& find these odds and ends, random parts, and doodads?
ThomasNet is where you can find manufacturers and distributors for just about any part. ThomasNet is available online and easy to search. Each manufacturer or distributor listed contains contact information and most have a viewable product catalog where you can see pictures of the items. It's a great one stop site to find all your missing pieces to your puzzle.
In celebration of the 100th anniversary of China’s Revolution that ended the rule of Qing Dynasty, Chinese Historical Society of America and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Library present a series of programs at the Library. On Tuesday, October 18, at 6 pm, Connie Young Yu presents her video documentary Dr. Sun at Liberty’s Door which features the story of Sun Yat-sen in America and how he inspired Chinese in America toward civic engagement and leadership.
There is also the “The American Legacy of Sun yat-sen“ exhibit on King Library 2nd floor (Exhibit Area) in October, 2011. The exhibit showcases documents, photos and memorabilia on the role the Chinese in America played in the 1911 revolution (Curated by Connie Young Yu.)
Historian and storyteller, Charlie Chin, performed “Sun Yat-sen and the Three People’s Principles” at the Library on October 9. This theatrical performance will be repeated in various Bay Area locations this fall as shown on the CHSA events page. For a pleasant surprise, you may view a map of Sun Yat-sen 1911 U. S. Fundraising Tours on this page.
For movies with the theme of the 1911 revolution, there is a new feature film 1911 directed by Jackie Chan, now showing in theaters; then there is an older one titled Road to Dawn. Some videos of Dr. Sun’s Speech in “Road to Dawn” are available on Youtube.
For books that may interest you, here are a couple titles on Sun Yat-sen, the history of modern China, and Chinese Americans:
Sun Yat-sen by Marie-Claire Bergère; translated from the French by Janet Lloyd
(Translation in Chinese: Sun Yixian 孫逸仙/ 白吉爾著)
Sun Yat-sen, Reluctant Revolutionary by Harold Z. Schiffrin
Chinese American Voices: From the Gold Rush to the Present edited with introductions by Judy Yung, Gordon H. Chang, and Him Mark Lai
Americans First: Chinese Americans and the Second World War by K. Scott Wong
Claiming America: Constructing Chinese American Identities During the Exclusion Era edited by K. Scott Wong and Sucheng Chan
Chinatown, San Jose, USA by Connie Young Yu
The Search for Modern China by Jonathan D. Spence
Wan Qing qi shi nian by Te Kong Tong. 晚清七十年/作者唐德剛
See you in the library!
Image credit: Connie Young Yu.
What does a sycamore tree have to do with a friendship you ask? Read Flipped (AR 8.0, Level 4.8) to find out!
Bryce and Julianna meet when Bryce moves into the neighborhood when they are both in the second grade. Julianna immediately develops a crush upon Bryce, who finds her annoying. The book follows the pair as they move on to middle school.
Through callousness and misinformation, Bryce hurts Julianna many times, until he finally goes too far. Then, we find out why the title is called Flipped! Very amusing and touching, anyone who has ever had a long-term crush will understand the situation that evolves.
Wendelin Van Draanen is known for the Sammy Keyes series (starting with Sammy Keyes and the Hotel Thief) for younger kids. This is an excellent title for middle schoolers. Told from each character's point of view in alternating chapters, the reader will understand both sides of the story!
In these challenging economic times, it’s more important than ever to have a financial plan. Thanks to the Financial Planning Association of Silicon Valley, Santa Clara County residents will have an opportunity to get free financial planning advice and attend educational workshops at the Silicon Valley Financial Planning Day on Saturday, October 29 from 10:00 am to 5 pm at the King Library. Free parking is available at the Fourth/St. John Garage (50 N. Fourth St. between St. John Street and Santa Clara Street), less than two blocks from the library.
The event is open to the public and features more than 50 Certified Financial Planners who will provide no-strings attached services and private consultations on topics such as budgeting, getting out of debt, income taxes, dealing with a mortgage, paying for college, estate planning and insurance, among many other topics.
Educational workshops will also be scheduled throughout the day:
There is no cost for the consultations. Attendees will not be asked for a phone number, credit card or address. Volunteer Certified Financial Planners will not sell products and services, or give out business cards. Walk-ins are welcome, but online registration is recommended.
The West Valley Book Club had a great time last night discussing The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society. They've made their pick for November, so you have a whole month to read and get ready before the holiday season arrives. This time it's a quick read, so reserve your copy today: The Uncommon Reader by Alan Bennett, also available as an audiobook. Like last month's pick, this is another story that celebrates the power of books and reading, and this pick comes on the heels of last summer's royal wedding hoopla:
Briskly original and subversively funny, this novella from popular British writer Alan Bennett sends Queen Elizabeth II into a bookmobile in pursuit of her runaway corgis and into the reflective, observant life of an avid reader. Guided by Norman, a former kitchen boy, the queen gradually loses interest in her endless succession of official duties and learns the pleasure of such a "common" activity. With "the dawn of her sensibility... mistaken for the onset of senility," plots are hatched by the prime minister and the queen's staff to dispatch Norman and discourage the queen's preoccupation with books...There are lessons packed in here, but Bennett doesn't wallop readers with them. It's a fun little book. (From Publishers Weekly)
The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks is perhaps the best-reviewed non-fiction book of recent years. In the official trailer for the book, the author, Rebecca Skloot, says that the book she started out writing is not the one she ended up with. And, fortunately, the reader gets to take this journey with her.
At first, the reader follows the author as she exposes an amazing tale of medical science and ethics. In 1950, doctors at Johns Hopkins harvested a poor, dying black woman's cancer cells without her knowledge or consent. Those cells, multiplied by the billions and used in labs worldwide, have led to an astonishing number of medical breakthroughs, from the polio vaccine to modern chemotherapy treatments. Some in the medical field became very rich from these discoveries, made under questionable ethical circumstances.
But the story turns slowly into a family saga, one filled with tragedy, loss, and longing. The author becomes entwined in the complicated lives of Henrietta's children and grandchildren. Henrietta was a sharecropper most of her life, and the family still suffers from slavery's legacy of poverty, racism and ignorance. The beauty of the story is witnessing how the family finally comes to some sort of redemption as they uncover, with the help of the author, Henrietta's incredible gift to all of us. Available from San José Public Library as an e-book, downloadable audiobook, audiobook, and in print, it is San Jose State University's Campus Reads Fall Book Selection for Fall 2011.
I recently read Martin Bridge in High Gear! by Jessica Scott Kerrin because, oftentimes, I help parents find a book for their boy who can't seem to find something they like to read.
Here's a series which should appeal to early readers who like realistic settings. If you have children, who do not like to sit down and whither their time away with a good book, this may be just the book for them, because it is about a high-energy boy, Martin, who is full of action--working on his science project, fixing bikes, going out to clean the beach, or learning to get along with his friends or with his grumpy aunt. The book is full of nice illustrations by Joseph Kelly, and what's even better is that it is good old-fashioned fun. This title would be excellent for young readers in 2nd grade or higher. It's a read-a-like to Beverly Cleary books.
John Wooden's 101st birthday would have been this week, on October 14. So, in honor of him, please take a moment to reflect on his life and what he has done for the game!
Coach Wooden’s Leadership Game Plan for Success: 12 Lessons for Extraordinary Performance and Personal Excellence is a fascinating book to read – even if you are not an athlete or a business major! Wooden teaches the fundamentals for achieving and sustaining success not just on the court, but also in life and at work. This book discusses the pyramid of success and each of the building blocks - what they mean and how to apply them to your life.
Coach Wooden may well be known as one of the best coaches of the 20th century, according to ESPN. Through his leadership and coaching ability, he brought the UCLA Bruins to victory, winning 10 NCAA championships in a 12 year period – with 7 wins in a row, and winning 88 consecutive games. He was named National Coach of the Year 6 times. He was also named as a member of the Basketball Hall of Fame (1961) as a player, and as a coach (1973) – the first person in both categories!
Some great Wooden Quotes:
“I don’t care how tall you are. I care how tall you play.”
“Failing to prepare is preparing to fail.”
“If you are not making mistakes, you’re not doing anything.”
“Don’t measure yourself by what you’ve accomplished, but by what you should have accomplished with your abilities.”
“Things turn out best for those who make the best of the way things turn out.”
Top of the pyramid of success quote: “Success is peace of mind which is a direct result of self-satisfaction in knowing you made the effort to become the best of which you are capable.”
Veterans Day is a federal holiday we celebrate on its actual day – November 11 – which is on a Friday this year. If you have a long weekend, consider spending part of it acknowledging our veterans. As President Barack Obama stated last year in his Proclamation 8598: “On Veterans Day, we come together to pay tribute to the men and women who have worn the uniform of the United States Armed Forces. Americans across this land commemorate the patriots who have risked their lives to preserve the liberty of our Nation, the families who support them, and the heroes no longer with us.”
Here are a couple of local happenings:
11K and 1-Mile Healthy Walk. Join others in a national event on November 11. The San Jose National Veterans Day Run is an inaugural event, starting near the HP Pavilion, running along the Guadalupe Trail and ending at the Heritage Garden, pending permit approval. A large turnout of veterans and active-duty personnel is expected. The race begins at 7:11 a.m. Other cities participating are Atlanta, Houston, Dallas, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Phoenix, San Antonio, and San Diego.
Downtown San Jose Veterans Day Parade, one of the largest Veterans Day Parades in Northern California, is an annual event produced by the United Veterans Council of Santa Clara County with support from the City of San Jose, the County of Santa Clara and many individuals and organizations. The Opening Ceremony for the Parade begins on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month with a memorial ceremony at Plaza de Cesar Chavez on Market Street in honor of the 1918 Armistice of the “War to End All Wars.” The Parade steps off at 12:00 Noon from Delmas Street near the HP Pavilion and travels east along Santa Clara to Market Street. The Parade then proceeds south on Market, passing the reviewing stand at Park Street opposite Plaza de Cesar Chavez near the Tech Museum, and ends at San Carlos Street. This event has been held yearly since 1919!
And, to get yourself and your little ones informed about the meaning of the holiday once known as Armistice Day, check out these materials through your local San Jose Library branch.
· When did Armistice Day become Veterans Day?
· What did Armistice Day commemorate?
· Who proclaimed the first Armistice Day and in what year?
· In what year did Congress declare Armistice Day a federal holiday?
San José Public Library, as a proud BusinessOwnerSpace.com member, would like to extend to you a complimentary invitation to attend the kick off for the City of San Jose’s new Shop San Jose Initiative at Festiv’ALL on October 12. Over 2,000 business leader attendees are drawn to this annual multi-cultural networking expo and mixer of the region's business and economic development organizations. The event itself will run from 6 pm to 8 pm and will also feature pre-event social media training at 5 pm to help businesses build their businesses using the latest tools. For more information about Festiv'ALL, visit http://festivall.hccsv.org/; for more information about Shop San Jose, visit http://www.businessownerspace.com/content/shop-san-jose.
Tickets are required and can be downloaded from the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce Silicon Valley’s registration site at http://festivall-work2future.eventbrite.com.
Hope to see you there!
Jarrett J. Krosoczka's Lunch Lady series of graphic novels for elementary school kids is very entertaining. The books include a crime-fighting school lunch lady and her gadget-inventing sidekick, Betty. Lunch Lady is assisted by the efforts of three friends known as The Breakfast Bunch.
The first book in the Lunch Lady series is Lunch Lady and the Cyborg Substitute. This small-format graphic novel introduces the Lunch Lady who rides a motor scooter, wears a yellow apron and yellow rubber gloves, and has a gadget-filled hideout in the boiler room. In this book, a popular teacher is unexpectedly out sick, replaced by an enormous, oddly formal teacher. Suspiciously, he turns down fresh cookies! As Lunch Lady begins investigating the substitute, the Breakfast Bunch, decide to learn more about Lunch Lady. The Breakfast Bunch kids (Hector, Dee, and Terrence) have regular problems, mixed in with their dangerous cyborg encounter. Young readers will be able to relate to them.
Lunch Lady and the Summer Camp Shakedown finds Lunch Lady, Betty, and the three Breakfast Bunch kids all attending the same two-week summer camp. This is a departure for the series (generally set in a school). Breakfast Bunch nemesis Milmoe and his minion are at the camp, too. Things get off to a scary start when one of the counselors is attacked by "the terrible swamp monster." Lunch Lady and the Breakfast Bunch independently take it upon themselves to investigate (and naturally save the day). It's a fun read. Lunch Lady and the Summer Camp Shakedown received 2011's Children's Choice Award for Third to Fourth Grade Book of the Year.
In Lunch Lady and the Bake Sale Bandit, everyone is back at school and excited for a bake sale/fundraiser. Until… the baked goods are stolen. Lunch Lady and the Breakfast Bunch investigate a variety of leads before closing in on the culprit.
The Lunch Lady books are perfect for third or fourth graders, including reluctant/dormant readers. They are fun, action-packed, over-the-top fare, while staying true to the day-to-day issues of elementary school kids. Krosoczka's black, white, and yellow illustrations are boy and girl-friendly, and are excellent for relatively new readers.
If you were wondering about the circumstances that led to Captain America's war with Iron Man, read Civil War: Avengers by Brian Michael Bendis, et al.! This is a nicely-bound hardcover book; it's not one of those paperback newsprint books that fall apart after one reading!
I never followed Captain America's adventures all that much. I prefer the X-Men, to be totally honest. However, I also enjoy reading DC (scandalous, I know, for those who love Marvel!) When DC ran the story about Doomsday versus Superman, I was truly moved by the art and storyline. Of course, the impact of the Doomsday story was reduced by latter events.
The epic storyline of the Civil War is a transparent commentary about the long-lasting effects of the Patriot Act in our world. Like the Patriot Act itself, there are proponents and opponents. Some of the proponents, like in our world, are very surprising. In Marvel's Civil War, Iron Man and Captain America lead the two factions. Iron Man is an extremely conflicted character in these issues; he believes in the cause, but gradually becomes doubtful. The one issue I wish this compendium included were the issues involving Spider-Man, a sometime Avenger. What he did had a tremendous impact on Peter Parker's personal life! However, this is a hefty tome, so I can understand why the storyline was left out.
This was a multi-issue storyline, so you can be sure that at least one of your favorite Marvel superheroes makes an appearance. If you are a big Iron Man fan, you will see another side to Tony Stark!
This week marked the passing of a Silicon Valley legend, whose inventive mind, creative spirit and drive made a world wide impact for the last three decades. Steve Jobs was one of the founders of Apple Computers, now known simply as APPLE.
When I was in high school in rural Minnesota (my graduating class was 30 people, 15 of whom started and finished together) in 1979, our math teacher (a visionary herself) convinced the school administration to purchase an Apple II computer for the school. She even convinced them that that computer needed its own dedicated room. In her upper level math classes every year she spent a few weeks teaching a unit on BASIC programming. We would write very simple programs and thereby learn about algorithms and programming languages and what calculating and graphical capabilities computers had. This one computer was shared among four math classes. She even managed to convince the administration to purchase another Apple II the following year, so our little school had two computers. Now my schoolmates' children (maybe even grandchildren) take for granted the presence of computers in school.
Steve Job's influence is seen everywhere--iPhones, iPad, Nanos, desktop and laptop computers simply referred to as "Macs." How many people own one of these devices or at least know someone who does? He even founded Pixar Studios in Emeryville and, through that studio, produced such titles as Toy Story, Toy Story 2, Finding Nemo, UP, Cars, The Incredibles, Monsters, Inc. and many more, setting the bar for Computer Generated Imagery (CGI). I recall passing that studio many times when I lived in Emeryville when I first moved to California, not knowing until I had lived there 4 months, that that was the home of Pixar.
The library world has certainly benefited from his innovations. You can access the SJPL Library website from your iPhone and iPad, and many electronic materials may be downloaded onto iPods and iPads.
In a 2005 commencement address at Stanford University he told the graduates to go after their dreams and not be discouraged by life's setbacks. To see his address, click on the video below.
If you are considering bicycle touring…do it!
If you are considering bicycle touring in France…do it!
Check out some of these titles to whet your appetite.
Graham Watson’s Tour de France Travel Guide draws from his more than 30 years experience photographing the Tour and highlights the culinary delights of the various regions the Tour passes through. Whether traveling by bicycle or automobile, Watson’s book conveys the experience of following the Tour and acts as a guidebook to the best foods, wines and lodging. It is a quick read and full of Watson’s gorgeous photography.
Another book to help organize your bicycle tour in France is Lonely Planet’s Cycling France. It contains over 6000 kilometers of suggested routes and information relevant to cyclists. France is full of back roads, back back roads and back back back roads and they are all wonderful to cycle. Lonely Planet highlights breathtaking scenery while including information about campgrounds, food stores, tourist information and more.
British author, Tim Moore’s French Revolutions comically details his three week escapade cycling the 2000 Tour de France route several weeks prior to the beginning of the race. Moore morphs from being a near couch potato to donning a cycling kit and eventually cycling up the most challenging climbs the Tour de France has to offer (i.e. Mt Ventoux). His witty writing style has been compared to authors Calvin Trillin, Tony Hawks and Bill Bryson.
Laura loves Tom. Tom loves Laura. So why is Tom marrying Lila? And who are the Romantics anyway? It turns out that the Romantics is a group of college friends so named because of the various and changing romantic entanglements among the members.
Now it is 6 years after college graduation and they have settled into more or less permanent pairs, some already married, others engaged. They reunite for the wedding of Lila and Tom with Laura as the maid of honor. The story takes place over the 24 hours prior to the wedding ceremony but the author skillfully integrates group history into her narrative so readers are up to date on the characters’ pasts and the development of the group dynamics. Hope and despair collide as the ceremony nears. Is this the moment when Laura realizes she has outgrown Tom, or will his impending marriage break her heart? Will Tom go through with the marriage? Read The Romantics by Galt Niederhoffer and find out. Or watch the movie.
Winston Breen loves puzzles - all kinds of puzzles. So when he is asked by his school principal to be on a team to play in an all day puzzle competition for a chance to win $50,000 for the school, he is psyched. Of course he picks his two best friends Mal and Jake to be on the team with him. The only kink in the works is that they are required to have a teacher chaperone them on the hunt - and not just any teacher but one of the most unpopular teachers at school... Mr. Garvey. Still, Winston is determined not to let Mr. Garvey ruin his excitement at the prospect of a day of puzzling.
As the day of the event begins though, it quickly becomes apparent that they are all dealing with more than just solving puzzles. While several of the teams are competitive, someone on one of the other teams is not just competitive but a saboteur... determined to win at all costs even if that means cheating. Will Winston and his friends be able to solve all the puzzles before the other teams do and also learn the identity of the mystery cheater? Read The Potato Chip Puzzles by Eric Berlin to find out.
If you enjoy solving puzzles too, you will also have the chance to play along as Winston and his team come across the puzzles in the story. All answers are provided at the end for you to check yourself.
So it turns out Three Sheets, besides being a reference to the phrase “Three sheets to the wind” is also the name of a popular travel show focusing on drinking customs around the world. The show is hosted and created by Zane Lamprey, author of the book also aptly named Three Sheets. For those not familiar with the show, the book's subtitle “Drinking Made Easy! 6 Continents, 15 Countries, 190 Drinks, and 1 Mean Hangover” gives a hint at what lies between its covers.
You will learn many useful things in this book such as: How to open a champagne bottle with a saber (pictures included!), How to properly pour a Guinness, and Why the Irish spell whiskey with an “E” and the Scottish without. Of course the book also gives instruction on how to make a variety of drinks and cocktails… and also what to eat or drink the day after.
The journey starts fittingly in Ireland – a country known for and proud of its claim to fame as a land of intoxication – and then moves on to other locales with a focus on their alcoholic specialty. You will find out how to make Sake in Japan, all about Vodka in Poland, Tequila in Tequila Mexico, Beer in Belgium, Rum in Jamaica and much more.
But the book is not just all fun and games…. Take the description of Snake Alley in Taiwan, where you can get liquor that contains not just the blood, venom and bile of snake, but even all that marinated in a bottle along with snake penises and testicles. (Picture included). The experience of drinking this concoction is described in excruciating detail along with its after effects. Read at your own discretion.
There are so many new experiences, emotions, and responsibilities as you move from childhood to adulthood. Sometimes it feels like you're all alone or that no one really understands what you're going through. For teens that are gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, or maybe still questioning, it can be even harder to navigate through adolescence due to ignorance, bullying, and exclusion. No matter what you may encounter on your journey to self-discovery, don't forget to be true to yourself and love who you are.
Check out these novels featuring LGBTQ characters coming to terms with their identity, falling in love, grappling tough issues, and more. Whether you're gay, straight, or still not sure, reading stories like these will open your eyes to the experiences of others.
Almost Perfect by Brian Katcher
The Arizona Kid by Ron Koertge
Bait by Alex Sanchez
Boy Meets Boy by David Levithan
Down to the Bone by Mayra Lazara Dole
Empress of the World by Sara Ryan
How They Met, and Other Stories by David Levithan
Keeping You a Secret by Julie Anne Peters
Parrotfish by Ellen Wittlinger
Skim by Mariko Tamaki
Tips on Having a Gay (Ex) Boyfriend by Carrie Jones
The Vast Fields of Ordinary by Nick Burd
What They Always Tell Us by Martin Wilson
Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green & David Levithan
If you're seeking additional support, the DeFrank Youth Space is an excellent local resource in San Jose that offers counseling, support groups, classes, volunteer opportunities, and fun events just for teens, such as their annual Masquerade Ball for Halloween.
Don't you wish you had books to address some bothersome childhood issues? Well, here are some that I found that work well with my child.
If you have any other suggestions, send a reply, and I will add your suggestion to this blog.
In this haunting and comic tale, the Volnik family inherits an old castle in Scotland and soon experiences strange occurrences after returning to their home in Canada. Furniture and other objects fly in the air and unusual sounds are heard during the day and night. Emily and Jessup investigate and discover that a devilish boggart is somehow trapped in a piece of furniture from the castle and wishes to go home. Soon, Emily and Jessup go on a daring and risky mission to help the boggart return home.
Readers who wish to continue reading the eerie tale of The Boggart should check out the sequel, The Boggart and the Monster by Susan Cooper at your library today! In this sequel, the Boggart goes on a mission to help save Nessie, the Loch Ness Monster.
Why do I love these bear books by Karma Wilson?& I love the way the different animals are able to interact with each other beautifully, but still show varying traits particular to their species. I love the way the animals genuinely seem to care for one another. I love the way the characters collapse into naptime after their hair-raising adventures at the end of the stories. I love the repetitive phrases, which make for a fun participatory way for kids to interact during storytimes. But most especially, I love the way the author introduces childhood fears and experiences in a fun way for kids to understand: being noisy, sharing, being afraid of the dark. And, in Bear's Loose Tooth (AR .5, Level 2.2): being afraid of losing that first tooth!
One of the rites of passage, is the loss of that first tooth, somewhere in kindergarten or first grade. Well, in this story, bear is the not so little guy who loses that first tooth! He proceeds from tooth-losing fear, to trying to pull it out with the help of his friends, to finally pulling it out. Our friend, the tooth fairy, makes a small but brilliant appearance!
Enjoy reading this to that fearful child who is just losing their first tooth!
JENA: I know it was you. I recognized the handwriting on your letter.
SKYE: What was me?
JENA: I found your note at Paradise. The one by the hot tub.
JENA: Skye? Are you still there?
JENA: Skye? Are you getting these? Please say something.
This is not the Disney movie. This is Tangled, the novel about intersecting lives.
Told from four points of view at four different points in time, enter into the minds of the sunny girl, the jock, the beautiful one, and the geek. All seem to be different as can be, yet their lives meet in Paradise and can never be the same.
The saying that "everyone carries baggage around" is profoundly evident in this novel by Carolyn Mackler. Each character thinks the others have a much better life than their own. After interacting with each other, though, each person helps another person in a life-changing way. Self-consciousness, survivor's guilt, deep depression, and body-image issues are dealt with in realistic ways.
Carolyn Mackler is the author of the often censored book, The Earth, My Butt, and Other Big Round Things. Here she speaks to teens about issues that affect them, but in a non-judgmental way. The tone of this book varies from light to dark, depending upon which character is speaking. In the author's note, Mackler says that books often let her see that "the world was bigger than my high school," which she hopes to convey to her audience.
I look forward to reading her collaboration with Jay Asher, author of Thirteen Reasons Why. Look for their upcoming collaboration about Josh and Emma!