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Great Resources for Educational Apps for Kids...

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, Somebody's Daughter, and Human Trafficking

Girls Like Us book coverGirls 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."




Somebody's Daughter book coverAlthough 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").

Affordable Learning Solution Campaign

baby readingHave you ever heard about Affordable Learning Solution Campaign?


The Affordable Learning Solutions Campaign promotes low-cost, high-quality alternatives to expensive textbooks as quoted on library.sjsu.edu/als.


Examples: Open Courseware Consortium, Open Academics, Open Educational Resources Center for California, Inkling, BookBoon, College Open Textbooks by Subject



San Jose Public Library has free classes and free study materials for learning languages.


Learning English Language



Learning Korean Language


Learning Chinese Language


Learning Other Languages

Sign Language and Storytime for Babies

 The Baby Sign Language Bible 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…



Hey, Back Off! , You Grow Girl! , and Inside Out and Back Again

Hey, Back Off! book coverWritten 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.



You Grow Girl! book coverWritten 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.


Inside Out & Back Again book coverAfter 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 "Safe Toys and Gifts" Month

toysDecember 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

Additional Resources:

Congratulations to the 2012 Children's Bookmark Contest Winners!

balloons, celebratoryThe 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:


  • Amanda Quach (Holly Oak Elementary, Kindergarten)
  • Mihir Ganeshan (Evergreen Elementary, Grade 1)
  • Zachary Stacy (Holly Oak Elementary, Grade 2)
  • Steven Luo (Tom Matsumoto Elementary, Grade 3)
  • Kristy Regalado (Cedar Grove Elementary, Grade 4)
  • Catherine Mu (Evergreen Elementary, Grade 5)


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.

New Joyce Ellington Library Storytime Schedule ~ ¡Nuevo Horario de Cuentos!


Starting on Thursday, November 8th, storytimes at the Joyce Ellington Branch Library will start on a new schedule!


  • Family Storytime (English) with Stay & Play - Wednesdays - 5:30pm - 6:30pm
  • Bilingual (English/Spanish) Preschool Storytime with Stay & Play - Thursdays - 11am - 12pm
  • Inclusive Storytime with Stay & Play - Last Thursday of the month - 11am-12pm

Please note that there will be no storytime at the Joyce Ellington Library scheduled on Wednesday, November 21st because the library closes at 6pm and will be closed on Thursday, November 22nd in observance of the Thanksgiving Holiday.




¡A partir del jueves, 8 de noviembre, el nuevo horario de cuentos en la Biblioteca Joyce Ellington empiezara con:


  • Hora de Cuentos Para Familias con Quédate a Jugar va ser los miércoles de 5:30pm hasta 6:30pm.

  • Hora de Cuentos Bilingüe y Preescolar con Quédate a Jugar va ser los jueves de 11am hasta 12pm (mediodía)

  • Hora de Cuentos Inclusive con Quédate a Jugar tomará lugar el último jueves de cada mes de 11am hasta 12pm (mediodía)

Por favor tome nota que no habrá hora de cuentos en la Biblioteca Joyce Ellington  porque la biblioteca cerrará el miércoles, 21 de noviembre a las 6pm y todo el día, jueves, 22 de noviembre por el Día de Acción de Gracias (día feriado)

Two New Classes for Partners in Reading

Partners in Reading has two new classes. If you are an adult, think about taking these two classes. They start in January, 2013 and will meet two times a week for 90 minutes each on Tuesdays and Thursdays at the King Library.


  • Spelling is Fun from 9:00 am to 10:30 am
  • ESL Writing Class from 10:45 am to 12:15 pm


Contact PAR for orientation information and to sign up. The classes will be from January 8 to April 4, 2013. They will give you a lot of practice so that you can be a more independent writer. You will be confident that what you write is correct and easy to understand. You can sign up for one or both classes. Call (408) 808-2361 to find out more.


Students in a classroom writing