Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Ms. Suzy Reads | A Bear Called Paddington

Hello, gentle readers! It's been quite a while since I've posted here, but I'm back with a bit of a twist. From today forward, this little blog shall be a place for me to share my absolute favorite read-aloud books. 

Sometimes I will share a great preschool storytime book, other times a great book to read aloud to the whole family. If I'm feeling particularly creative, I'll throw in some related activities to make the reading experience even more fun!

Whatever book finds itself in this little blog, I hope you will enjoy sharing the love of reading with the young people in your life.

Let us begin.

A Bear Called Paddington, by Michael Bond, is a delightful story to read aloud to children of all ages. And older children (ages 7 and up) can read it on their own!

It tells the tale of Paddington, an unusually small bear from 'Darkest Peru' who is discovered by the Brown family at London's Paddington Station and quickly becomes an unforgettable part of the family. Paddington is the center of many laugh-out-loud escapades -- from the almost disastrous bath to the accident in the store window. Children will love this endearing little bear with wonderful manners and a great thirst for adventure!

Paddington's adventures are coming to film! The movie is slated to hit theaters later this year. 

In the meantime, explore Paddington's London a little more in M. Sasek's This is Britain. The first pages feature beautiful drawings of and interesting fact about London, including Buckingham Palace, Piccadilly Circus and Trafalgar Square. 

"The single most important activity for building the knowledge required for eventual success in reading is reading aloud to children." --Report of the Commission on Reading.

Share the love of reading with a child!

Monday, October 20, 2014

Just Life| Madam President. Oui Oui

In my opinion, we need a woman president ASAP.  Here is a wonderful picture book called" Madam President" that gives the little ones a glimpse into the life of a president.

The book starts with: " A president has many duties.....There are daily briefs to review, photo ops to shoot, treaties to negotiate and things to veto etc etc".

There are also many new Secretaries. For example, Secretary of Naps and Secretary of Soccer.

Take a look at the Secretary of Interior. He is a character.

I am hoping this book is going to encourage more girls to get into politics. 

That would benefit us all. 

For example, paid maternity leave in the U.S should be much more than what it is now.

In Sweden, parents are allowed to take off 480 days per child and get paid 80% of their salaries. 

U.S is nowhere near that.

Anyway, I should stop digressing from the topic. This book is short and sweet. 

Madam President is written by Lane Smith. You can find his books in your local library.

Grandpa Green
Abe Lincoln's dream

It's a book 

Signing off until next Monday- Mother of a future president.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Learning | You say Biro, I say Bic

I had to look up the word biro last week. I saw it in an eBook, as part of the description of the items on a desk. (I wish I could remember which book, but I read several eBooks around that time.)  

Anyway, I learned that biro is a word for a ball point pen in the United Kingdom.  Biro was a brand name, that came to be used for all ball point pens.  You know; like how we have a tendency to refer to all facial tissues by the brand name of Kleenex.  

Insist on genuine Biro (cropped) from John Lord's photostream on Flickr.comSome rights reserved.

As I already said, I can't remember which of the eBooks I read last week had the word biro in it. But I can wholeheartedly recommend one of those books, if you are looking for a scary story for a student in grades 5-8. 

That book is Neil Gaiman's The Graveyard Book. I read it when it was first published, in 2008, but it was so good, that I read it all over again in eBook form. I just might read it again some day. It's about a little boy named Nobody Owens, who is raised by ghosts in a graveyard. My co-worker, Amy, pointed out the similarity to Mowgli, who was raised by wild animals in Rudyard Kipling's The Jungle Book. Neil Gaiman recommends that his readers also read The Jungle Book.

If you decide to read, or reread, The Graveyard Book, keep your eyes peeled for the possible use of the word biro. Let me know if you see it.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Just Life| Bonjour Golden Gate Bridge

Last Sunday, I had to drop off my dad at the San Francisco airport. After that, my daughter and I drove 20 minutes to the Golden Gate Bridge.

We got lucky and found a parking spot right underneath the bridge.

We paid for two hours of parking and headed toward the bridge. 

We walked to the end of the bridge and back. It took us more than an hour to do it. 

We stopped many times along the way to admire the view and to try to locate a great white shark under the bridge...no luck.

It was a beautiful sunny day and there were plenty of sail boats on the water. 

The last time I walked on this bridge was about 15 years ago with my husband.  Now I was walking on that same bridge with my daughter.

On the bridge, we came across this odd fellow with a sign that read: " Free hugs." 

Since we didn't want to give or receive any free hugs from a stranger, we kept walking faster and faster to outrun the guy.

To my surprise, I saw at least two women who stopped and gave that guy some hugs. They were very generous if you ask me.

Then we ended up spending an hour on the beach under the Golden Gate. 

There was a gift shop on the beach and I got the coolest coffee mug. A mug with a white shark inside. How cool is that?

There is a white Shark inside my coffee mug

Then it came the dreaded drive back and my stupid phone GPS took us to Zambia before showing us the way to Stockton. It took us two hours to get home. I tell you, I prayed a lot that night.

The whole time driving, I was hoping that we won't cross paths with any crazy cannibals roaming around the wilderness looking for chubby preys like us. :)

Finally, around 8:30 pm, we finally landed in Stockton. I almost kissed my driveway.

Anyway, to all you fellow adventurers:

If you are planning a trip, keep in mind that you can find plenty of travel books at your local library...hold the free hugs. ;)

Here are a few examples of what you can find in your library:

Top 10 San Francisco 

Fodor's 2013 Walt Disney World


Signing off until next Monday- Panteha

Thursday, October 9, 2014

The Wanderlust Librarian | Drive the car , unload the car, and tune out

Camping is one of those little luxuries that everybody should try at least once. I started my camping career pretty late in life. It was about 10 years ago and my friend invited me and Scout to spend a long weekend in Bodega Bay. Having never camped, I brought a borrowed tent and an additional (borrowed) sleeping bag.

Camping: evoking memories of singalongs by the campfire, s'mores and the woods, waking up and looking grungy (and liking it!)

This looks like a house. Seriously. There's a side table. :/

Glamping: real beds, a couch, a heater and something resembling a living room under something resembling a gigantic tent

I've done my share of tent camping. I'm proud to say I've learned to cook outdoors (thanks to my friend inviting me to many camping trips and cooking alongside an amazing chef), pitch a tent (albeit with help) and build an effective campfire (thanks YouTube!). 

Our (tent) cabin in the woods
The beds were comfy! 
A while back, I went to the Big Basin Redwoods Campgrounds in the Santa Cruz Mountains with my daughter Scout and our friends Emma and Taylor. It was a long ride but worth every foresty minute. As the crow flies, it's about 40 minutes outside of San Jose...but as the car rides 25 miles per hour around windy mountain passes and blinding sunlight, it felt like 2 hours away from creation! It was one of the only times I've felt nauseous driving. Like a small child, when I got to the campsite, I was cranky, hungry... and needed a nap. Luckily, I was met with a tent cabin. A no frills wooden structure with 2 queen beds and a wood burning heater. Emma and Taylor had arrived before Scout and I did so they had set up a lot of the standard camping things.   

This left us time to do other things like cook great food and hike. This bloggess did NOT go on a hike with her friends and offspring. I stayed behind and cleaned camp. And read Gone, Girl. And napped. And made a sandwich. And napped. 

Oh.. and I scared away a big crow that was trying to attack our food. When it flew towards me, I ran away. 

C O O K I E!!! 
Camp oven! 
Lizzie brought her trusty camp oven. It's an amazing metal box that goes over the camp stove. The stove heats the oven and you bake things as you would at home. We had biscuits for breakfast and dinner and she made a huge, warm cookie that we had for dessert by the fire. It was fabulous. It broke the monotony of the smores that most people enjoy (we had them on another night). 

New Polaroid pictures are teeny tiny! 
Camping is always about relaxing in the quiet, having fun and enjoying the company of friends and family WITHOUT smartphone interruption. It was hard to not have pictures to share at the very moment things happened, but we survived. Taylor brought a Polaroid camera. Yes... they're back! We were able to take pictures of us and give them to the Camp Host next door as a Thank You for being so sweet to us over our stay. 

Our pictures are few but the memories are abundant! Take a camping trip nearby! The library has some fantastic books to help you plan your outdoor adventure.

Outdoor adventure is...outdoors! 

Do you have any camping tips or questions about our trip? Leave them in the comments below. 


The Bloggess
The picture is blurry, but the food was fantastic! 
Trees. Awesome. Smell. Good. 

Scout on a log. Over a bog. Being weird. 

A pretty waterfall on the hike

Book Bucket List | Frankenstein Makes a Sandwich

I love October.  It's the beginning of fall, it's finally cooling off, and we have the holidays coming up.  This year, the county wide reading program, One Book One San Joaquin is also in October!  This year we are featuring the Gothic classic, Frankenstein, by Mary Shelley.  For kids, we are promoting an awesome picture book by Adam Rex called Frankenstein Makes a Sandwich.  There are many stories and poems in this book and the art is pretty amazing.  This book has been flying off our shelves here in Manteca and will also be the theme to many craft programs throughout the county.

If you want to get in the spirit of Halloween and celebrate this creative book, join us at one of our Frankenstein Makes a Sandwich programs!

Friday, October 10 at 3:30 pm - Cesar Chavez Central Library

Tuesday, October 14 at 4:00 pm - Manteca Branch Library

Thursday, October 16 at 4:00 pm - Tracy Branch Library

Monday, October 27 at 6:30 pm - Mountain House Branch Library

So come to your local branch and check out your copy of Frankenstein and Frankenstein Makes a Sandwich.  Also check out our website for more One Book, One San Joaquin program information!

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Learning | Ombudsman


Recently, a co-worker stumbled across the word ombudsman while she was helping the customer look up some federal government job titles.  We talked about what an odd word it is.  

I remember an Ombudsman's Office at my undergraduate alma mater; it helped people get through red tape with things like housing, financial aid, legal matters, and so forth. But I never really looked up the word, and wondered where it came from.

I did look the word up in the dictionary; you will find the definition and etymology at the end of this post.  I'm hiding it at the end, because I want to show you a few things about using SSJCPL's website, www.ssjcpl.org.

Consulting the library catalog

I started by searching the catalog. I used both the classic and shiny new beta catalog, and found the same results in each of them. (Try out the shiny new catalog, and let us know what you think! We are still testing it and tweaking it a little bit, but it won't be long before it's the default search on our site.)

The only result from a keyword catalog search for ombudsman was

The catalog suggested trying the term ombudspersons, which yielded a 1973 document from the United States Department of Health, Education and Welfare: Child advocacy : report of a national baseline study