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The Magic Tree House

Magic Tree House: Knights at Dawn Book CoverMary Pope Osborne's Magic Tree House series is one of the most popular children's series found on the shelves of the San Jose Public Library.  Jack and Annie are siblings who discover a tree house near their home in Frog Creek, Pennsylvania. The tree house is filled with books and turns out to be a portal to other places and times. Throughout the series, Jack and Annie find themselves mingling with the likes of dinosaurs, knights, and Vikings, as well as real-life historical figures such as Clara Barton and William Shakespeare.


The first 28 Magic Tree House books are the perfect reading level and length for kids who are just starting to read chapter books on their own. Starting with book 28 in the series (Christmas in Camelot), readers advance to longer adventures and a higher reading level with the Merlin Mission books, in which Jack and Annie are sent throughout the world in both geography and history to complete quests for the legendary magician Merlin.


While the Magic Tree House series obviously takes the reader on some fantastic flights of fiction, there is a companion non-fiction Fact Tracker series written by Mary, her husband Will Osborne and her sister Natalie Pope Osbore. If the fiction books pique the reader's curiosity about the real-life subjects of dinosaurs, knights and castles, Abraham Lincoln, polar bears and the Arctic, etc., they can discover the joy of research with these Fact Trackers.

The True Meaning of Smekday

cover of book, in blues and grays, shows title superimposed on tops of downtown buildingsIf you were writing an essay for inclusion in a time capsule to be opened 100 years from now, what would you write about?


After the alien invasion of earth, twelve year old Gratuity "Tip" Tucci was asked to write about "The True Meaning of Smekday" in a nationwide contest. The winning essay was to be included in a time capsule. Gratuity won the contest.


If you want to find out what "The True Meaning of Smekday" is, you’ll need to read the book of the same name by Adam Rex. He was kind enough to include both the essay and its illustrations in his book. You can also check out the website for more illustrations and an excerpt from Gratuity’s essay. Discover the True Meaning of Smekday for yourself!

Get Ready to Fly!

Planes book coverIf you are looking forward to the upcoming August 2013 release of Disney's movie, Planes, the library has a flight plan for you!  We have already ordered the book version of the movie Put a hold on it if it's not in right now. 


We have lots of other books about planes you can check out.   But don’t stop there, how about a DVD about planes as well?

Celebrate Independence Day

Our Independence Day will be on Thursday, July 4th. The library has several books and resources to help your child learn more about this special holiday and discover fun and memorable ways to celebrate it! Here are some recommended titles:


Independence Day: Birthday of the United States by Elaine Landau

Learn about the meaning and history of Independence Day, the day when the United States declared its independence from England in 1776. This is a substantial book that contains historical facts about this holiday, information on how it is celebrated and two fun projects that you and your child can work on to celebrate: "Glitter Sparklers" and "Celebration Ice Cream Sundae."


Fourth of July Fireworks by Patrick Merrick

Ever wonder how Fourth of July fireworks are used and made? This book contains intriguing information about the Independence Day holiday and the fireworks that are used to make this holiday exciting, festive and memorable.


Star Spangled Crafts by Kathy Ross

Have a fun Independence Day by creating something special! This book will teach you and your child how to make a variety of Independence Day themed crafts, such as a firecracker lapel pin, a flag mosaic, an American eagle magnet and much more!


Ways to Celebrate

Here are fun ways to celebrate Independence Day:

  • Attend the Rose, White & Blue Parade! Enjoy live music, arts & crafts booth, antique & classic car show and picnic on the Alameda. The parade starts at at 10:00 a.m. at Lincoln High School on Dana Avenue on Thursday, July 4th.
  • Attend one of several fireworks shows that will be happening throughout the Bay Area!

Please see a librarian at your library for more recommendations.

Cover of Independence Day : birthday of the United States by Elaine Landau Cover of Fourth of July Fireworks Cover of Star-Spangled Crafts

Flat Stanley

Flat Stanley enters a room by slipping UNDER the doorI had heard of Flat Stanley, but never met him until he arrived at my sister's house one day, sent by a mutual friend in New York. Our instructions were to take him around to the iconic sites of San Francisco, photograph him, and then send him back.  We did so, along with my favorite photo taken from the Marin Headlands, where it looks like Flat Stanley is holding up the Golden Gate Bridge.


Flat Stanley's air fare was surprisingly affordable, thanks to the United States Postal Service. How can that be, you ask? Well, Flat Stanley is... very, very flat. In fact, he's as flat as a piece of paper! That makes it easy to slip him and his photos into an envelope.


Many Flat Stanleys travel around the world, sent by schoolchildren to friends, and returning with photographs of his trips. He certainly gets around! (To learn more and view some of these photographs, go to


To discover the real story of this intrepid traveler, read Flat Stanley by Jeff Brown. You can continue reading about his adventures in the other Flat Stanley books by the same author. Check it out... at San Jose Public Library!

National Safety Month

June is National Safety Month! Learn the tips and best practices on how to stay safe by checking out the following titles!



SafetySafety by Liz Gogerly

This book contains helpful advice about staying safe in today's fast-paced world. Learn about the real concerns to pay attention to at various places: at home, at school and more.




SafetyPlay it Safe Online by Phyllis Cornwall

Learn how to avoid certain hazzards and dangers online. This book provides tips and advice on how to remain safe online such as not posting certain pictures, how to limit personal information, choosing secure sites and more.



Traffic SafetyTraffic Safety by Nancy Loewen

Traveling this summer? This book will help you discover common transportation hazards and learn how to avoid or handle them.




Safety at HomeSafety at Home by Mary Lee Knowlton

This book provides helpful tips and advice for kids on how to stay safe at home. Learn how to avoid common home-related accidents and injuries by reading this book.




Safety in Your NeighborhoodSay No and Go: Stranger Safety by Jill Donahue

Even though your neighborhood might appear safe, dangerous incidents may randomly occur. This book will help you know what they are and how to handle them. Learn how to effectively know your neighbors, watch out for strangers and dealing with people at the doorstep.


For more recommendations, please see a Youth Services Librarian at your library.

Magic at the Library!

Magic is at the library! Chiquy Boom brought her silly magic show to Seven Trees Library in June 2013 and made pictures magically appear and disappear in a coloring book. How did she do it? (In July, Chiquy Boom will be perfoming at Biblioteca Branch Library, at the King Library, and at Calabazas Branch Library.) On July 27, Dan Chan, Magic Man will be performing in the Seven Trees Library, inspiring both children and adults with magic, illusions, comedy, juggling, and stunts. (See the SJPL event calendar for dates, times, and locations of more Dan Chan performances.)


But the library isn't just a place to watch magic. It's also a place to learn magic! At Seven Trees and our other SJPL branch libraries you can find some great books to help you learn how to perform your own tricks. Check out a magic book and start learning tricks that will amaze your friends and family.


Book cover for the book Amazing Magic TricksCover image for the book The Jumbo Book of Magic TricksCover image for the book Mind Reading Card TricksCover image for the book Stand-Up Magic and Optical Illusions

Missy Violet & Me

Book cover Missy Violet & MeHere are two very entertaining, short chapter books to cuddle up with on a quiet afternoon.  Start with Missy Violet & Me, and then read the sequel: Letters to Missy Violet.   Viney is an eleven –year- old African American girl living in the Old South of the early 1900’s.  How does Viney spend her summer vacation?  She works for the local midwife, Missy Violet.  Missy Violet is a wise, warm and caring woman who teaches Viney how to collect roots and herbs to use for medicinal purposes.  And Vinebook cover for letters to missy violety is proud and privileged to assist when Missy Violet has to deliver babies ("catchin’ babies") for neighbors.  You will come to love Missy Violet and Viney as they live a life that was typical of the Old South.  A cast of colorful characters, crackling dialogue, humor and memorable events make this book move right along in a rhythmic way.  Before you know it, you will have finished Missy Violet & Me and will be eager to start reading the sequel: Letters to Missy Violet.  These books capture a unique way life that was lived by African Americans in the United States, a long time ago.   

The Case of the Deadly Desperados

Front cover of book has title printed on large black cowboy hatThis book has one of the best openings I have ever read! I was hooked before I turned the first page.


Read The Case of the Deadly Desperados, by Caroline Lawrence, and you, too, can experience the world of the American Frontier in 1862. Join twelve year old P.K. Pinkerton in his attempt to escape from truly dastardly desperados who are after a piece of paper he inherited. Find out about life in Virginia City during the heyday of the silver mines, when people from all over the world came there to find their fortune. Experience the chills and thrills with P.K., who must think like a detective if he is to survive. Enjoy the oddly formalized language used, a special treat for those who liked the book True Grit.


This book is the first in the Western Mysteries series. 

The Heroes of Olympus by Rick Riordan

The Lost Hero book coverFinished with the Percy Jackson series? But dying to read more?  Have no fear, Rick Riordan has written a sequel series to Percy Jackson and the Olympians!  The first book in the Heroes of Olympus series, The Lost Hero, starts off with three kids on a school trip who discover encounter something entirely out of their world.  Leo, Piper, and Jason soon discover that they have a godly parent and are demigods (half-human, half-god).  Although Percy Jackson is not present in the first book, Percy is definitely mentioned and will come back later. They are also three of the seven demigods destined to fulfill an ancient prophecy.  Follow their journey, discover their secrets, and find out what they were born to do; find out in The Lost Hero.


Finished with The Lost Hero? Read the sequels: The Son of Neptune (#2), The Mark of Athena(#3), and The House of Hades (coming Fall 2013) 




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