Here are some resources to help you and your families cope with the recent tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary. I hope you can find comfort in a good book... I've been hugging my toddler even more than usual this past week.
Please share any tips in the comments - what's your go-to book when things are looking grim in the world outside?
Do you have enough things in your life? Do you have too many things, or do you need more? How do you know when you have too much? During this season of giving and any time, it might be interesting to consider reducing the amount of stuff you have and consume, and giving it to others. The Power of Half by the father/daughter team of Kevin and Hannah Salwen describes their family's journey from having a lot of stuff that they thought they really needed to their group decision to get rid of a lot of it. They chose as a family to downsize by half and give the proceeds to charity.
The Salwens changed many things about the way the live when one day co-author Hannah Salwen noticed a homeless man looking for food and other help at a busy city intersection and the expensive luxury car that was stopped in front of them. She asked her dad what would happen if the driver in front of them didn't have such a nice car. Would the homeless man then be able to eat? As a result, the family started having weekly, in-depth discussions about what they needed to live comfortably as opposed to what they wanted. Soon the discussions turned to whether they should sell their large house and get rid of a lot of the things in it that they had collected. They soon discovered that much of the stuff that they had invested in was holding them back. They barely missed it at all.
This award-winning video from Hannah's brother, Joseph shows what they gave up and what they gained. It describes the family's desire to help people in a small village in Africa while keeping in mind the homeless man they had seen at the intersection.
It's a very interesting story. While you're reading it, you might want to think about how you could make a significant difference, or even a small difference, by giving back to your community. You don't have to sell your house to help others. Each chapter ends with suggestions from Hannah about activities that families can do together to give back.
If you're like most parents, your iPad or smartphone is often handed to your kids to keep them entertained. My toddler loves looking at photos on my iPod - and he figured out the zooming feature on his own!
There are a lot of apps out there for kids, but the best ones incorporate educational components. So how do you choose the best apps? Just like you would be critical in choosing a good book for your child, try out the apps and ask some questions. Does the interactivity add or distract from the content? Are the controls easy to use? Can you record your own voice?
One great resource is this Apps for Kids weekly podcast from BoingBoing.net; a father and daughter team evaluate apps every week. The School Library Journal also just published their list of top 10 apps for 2012; here is the list of top apps from Parents' Choice. Here's a Pinterest board from a children's librarian that includes her top apps.
Do you have a favorite app for your kids? Please share it in a comment!
Girls Like Us: Fighting for a World Where Girls Are Not for Sale, an Activist Finds Her Calling and Heals Herself is an account of a human being in high spirit. After surviving a period of being a victim of the commercial sex industry, she broke free of her pimp and her past, went to college and a graduate program, and founded a nonprofit organization - GEMS, Girls Educational and Mentoring Services - to help other girls who endure the same circumstances.
Chapter 4 "Recruitment" details how young girls are recruited into the trade, and explains "why the Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000 and its reauthorizations in 2003, 2005, and 2008 have all supported a definition of child sex trafficking where children under the age of eighteen found in the commercial sex trade are considered to be victims of trafficking without requiring that they experienced 'forced, fraud, or coercion' to keep them there."
Rachel's book is indeed a significant contribution to the motto "Human Trafficking: Fight It. Expose It. End It."
Although not available in the SJPL system, Somebody's Daughter: The Hidden Story of America's Prostituted Children and the Battle to Save Them can be requested via the LINK+ system with a SJPL library card.
This book tells stories of girl victims of the sex trafficking trade from many different angles; it gives us the points of view of the judge in "Courtroom 18", the police officers, the social workers, and the activists who all work together to try to rescue and help these young victims. It mentions the sin cities Las Vegas, New York City, Phoenix, and Dallas as urban cities where this trafficking epidemic is found to happen.
Guy Jacobson, founder of Priority Films and RedLight Children Campaign (RLC), and his Priority Films partner, the Israeli actress Adi Ezroni were bestowed by Condoleezza Rice with the "Global Heroes" Award in the U. S. Department of State Trafficking In Persons (TIP) Report 2008 to recognize their efforts trying to rescue young children who are victims of the global sex trade, lots of whom are under the age of 6. Read more about it on the U. S. Department of State page (under the paragraph of "United States").
The Affordable Learning Solutions Campaign promotes low-cost, high-quality alternatives to expensive textbooks as quoted on library.sjsu.edu/als.
San Jose Public Library has free classes and free study materials for learning languages.
Learning English Language
Go to the museum with our free tickets from Discover & Go.
San Jose Public Library Collections
Art in San Jose Public Library
Have you ever wondered what your baby is trying to say to you? Find out how to communicate with your baby by learning the basics of baby sign language at the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Library. Stefanie Jatta an American Sign Language (ASL) trained instructor will teach you the benefits of and how to do signing with your baby. Workshops will be held on the 4th Friday of each month from January through April at 11:30am.
Also returning in January to the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Library is our Baby Lapsit storytime for non-walkers. This storytime is especially tailored to babies 0-12 months old with an accompanying adult. Enjoy age appropriate books, rhymes and music. The program will be held on the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd Fridays of every month at 11:30am with a Stay and Play session following.
Can’t make it to the Dr. King Library for these baby programs? Check out your local branch library for materials on Baby Sign Language, Rhymes for Babies and Parenting in general. Here are a few Baby Sign Language suggestions…
Written by two teachers, Jennie Withers and Phyllis Hendrickson, M. Ed., Hey, Back Off! sheds lights on the topics of Teen Harassment and Bullying At School. It helps both parents and teens understand more about the Harassment Law , the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (outlawing harassment), the Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, and the Americans with Disabilities Act (prohibiting discrimination based on disability).
This book helps readers realize different types of bullying: cyberbullying (sending mean text messages), sexual harassment, verbal teasing, and hitting or punching. It explores different cases and different personalities: passive teens (who have passive parents) becoming victims, and bullies being bullies because they have aggressive parents, and it shows how a person can become assertive from being passive or aggressive. It portrays true life experiences of agressive people and how they become that way. After reading the chapters on these cases of Passive Personalities and Aggressive Personalities, I realized that the authors have helped people on both sides of the spectrum: victims of bullying and the bullies.
October was the Bullying Prevention Awareness Month. www.nctsn.org is an important web site to check out. Go to "Resources, "Public Awareness", click on "Bullying Prevention Awareness Month" to learn about "Facts and Tips for Teens" to stay safe from cyberbullying. This site also provides us with links regarding other types of abuse/bullying: "Finding Help for Sexually Abused Children", "National Homeless Youth Awareness Month", and "Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Pride Month". Under "Get Help Now", there are links to crisis hotlines, victim assistance programs, how to deal with school crises, how to help abused or neglected children, and more.
Written by two conselors and moms, Gina Scarano-Osika and KimDever-Johnson, this book You Grow Girl: A Self-Empowering Workbook for Tweens and Teens is definitely a book to be shared with your friends and you parents/teachers/conselors. It helps you build self-esteem and body confidence, understand and maintain healthy eating attitudes, learning about stress management and how to cope with stress, how to nourish positive thinking and eliminate negative feelings. It depicts female role models from various backgrounds and ethnicities. It encourages teens to become beautiful inside and out by giving teens different scenarios and thought-provoking exercises. Issues such as culture and peer pressures, deceptive media images, food/weight, mindfulness, etc. are also explored.
Gracefully prepared by two conselors, this book offers a lot of wisdom to girls ages 9 to 16. Strongly recommended to not just girls, but to Moms and Dads alike.
After hitting the book market in 2011, this book Inside Out and Back Again quickly became a best-seller. The month of October was the Bullying Prevention Awareness Month, and this book once again was actively sought after. Every year thousands of high school students are being bullied due to differences in religion and culture or norm, or the way they portray themselves, dress, talk, or socialize. Among these student victims of bullying, many came from Vietnam. This book is a series of heartfelt poems telling stories of how Ha`, the protagonist, went through years of being bullied by her classmates, and how she coped with bullying.
Her story is symbolic of the high school life of many other Vietnamese students and students of other ethnic backgrounds who came here to America when they were in the ages of 9 to 18. In the end of the book, Ha` delivered a powerful message to the world: she stood up, "gave her bullies a lesson" by becoming an excellent student whom both her family members and the school officials were so proud of.
This book won many awards such as Newbery Honor, National Book Award, and was placed on the New York Times Bestsellers list. You can access the Newbery Medal home page through SJPL (San Jose Public Library) home page, www.sjpl.org, under "Homework, research, articles", then go to "Research Guides", "Books and Literature", "Book Awards", "Newbery Medal".
June was the month to recognize the refugees' plight. Again, check out the web site www.nctsn.org to understand the refugees and the circumstances they have to live through. Go to "Resources", "Public Awareness, click on "World Refugee Awareness Month".
Hopefully you will see the image of yourself and your friends' through these books and the web sites recommended here, and will do your part to foster a better learning environment for your school.
Ha` was one of hundreds of thousands of political refugees who left Vietnam in 1975 when she was 10 years old. She and her family settled in Alabama. Her pen-name is Thanhha Lai. Her first name is Ha`, Thanhha`, or Thanhha.
December is National Safe Toys and Gifts Month, a project led by Prevent Blindness America. The group hopes to educate parents and other gift shoppers through awareness efforts all throughout the month. The rate at which children are being checked into ERs due to choking, eye injuries, or even poisoning is astonishing. Hundreds of thousands of children have undergone unnecessary injuries due to poorly made items and misuse of toys as quoted on meditab.com.
In this holiday season, purchasing age-appropriate Toys helps ensure children’s safety.
San Jose Public Library Resources on Safe Toys and Gifts
San Jose Public Library Programs on Safe Toys and Gifts
The 2012 Children’s Bookmark Contest has now ended. We had a large number of entries returned to us at the Evergreen Branch Library. All the entries were very creative and the judges had a very difficult time picking winners at every grade level. The winners are:
Congratulations to all our winners!
All artwork will be displayed in the Evergreen Library during the month of November. Please take a minute to appreciate and encourage the young artists during your next visit to the library.