Saturday, May 11, 2013

Teens Only | Read This If You Want To Make a Difference

Good afternoon!

Today I am presenting an opportunity that is sure to make you feel good, look great on your college application and future job resumes, and really, truly help others.
This summer, the Cesar Chavez Central Library is hosting a Book Buddies program for children entering 1st, 2nd, and 3rd grades. This program is geared to those kids who are really struggling with reading. Reading, as you know, is the foundation for academic success. So we are trying to help these kids now so that their futures are bright!!

Summer Book Buddies needs volunteers! Teens must be 14 years of age and show proof of a 3.0 GPA or provide a letter of reference from a teacher or principal. All you have to do is fill out a volunteer application and show up for this exciting program.

The program will be held Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 3:30-4:30 pm from June 10 through August 16, 2013. Of course, we realize volunteers will have other things going on in the summer, but we hope you'll be able to come to most of the sessions.

A mandatory training will be held Saturday, June 8 from 11 am to 1 pm at the Chavez Library. The training will be repeated Saturday, June 15 as well. Lunch will be provided.

And did I mention that volunteers who attend at least 15 sessions receive a special gift at the end of Summer Book Buddies? It's true. I wouldn't lie.

Here's a chance to do something really positive this summer. And we'll give you training and all the materials you'll need. You'll see. It will even be fun.

If you are interested, please contact me at or call me at (209) 937-7012. Phone lines are open. :)

Still thinking about it? Consider this quote from Winston Churchill: You make a living by what you get, but you make a life by what you give. 

Make a difference!


Books On Film | The Great Gatsby

The newest film adaptation of the 1925 novel The Great Gatsby was released this past Friday. The novel details the extravagant life of a fictional millionaire during the roaring 20s.

I think just about everyone was assigned The Great Gatsy as required reading in high school, but how many of you actually read it? Be honest!

For those who didn't, now is the time! And for those who did, you can re-read it and picture Leonardo DiCaprio as your main character in preparation for the movie.

Of course, this isn't the first adaptation of the book. It is considered a classic tale and has been adapted several times for television and for the big screen. The most famous previous adaptation would be the 1974 version starring Robert Redford and Mia Farrow. 

Watch the trailer!

Cover courtesy of LibraryThing

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Book Bucket List | The Westing Game

I love any kind of puzzle, riddle, or word game.  Once I see or hear one, I will go crazy until I either figure it out or cheat and look up the answer.  (I won't say which happens more often...) So when a coworker was telling me about Ellen Raskin's The Westing Game, I was immediately interested.

 After mega multimillionaire dies, 16 heirs are called together to compete against each other for his $200 million dollar estate.  They are put into pairs and given clues about who murdered Mr. Westing.  And don't get me wrong, this may be labeled as a children's book, but man, is this game hard!  The key here is attention to detail, and a basic knowledge of patriotic songs.  I think that the game played in this book would make an excellent reality TV show. It would be similar to the Amazing Race, but every challenge would involve impossible riddles and brain teasers... but the prize wouldn't be $200 million... that's too much even for network shows.

I read this book really quickly... I couldn't put it down because I wanted to figure out the answer to this great mystery.

So I will leave you with this riddle:  Two mothers and two daughters walk into the library, and each check out a book.  Why were only three books checked out?

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Learning | Maker Faire, Part I

My family discovered the Bay Area Maker Faire a few years ago. I was so intrigued to hear my husband and teenage son rave about the 2011 event, that I decided to go with them in 2012. It was even bigger and better than they described.  

They had told me about the robots, and narrowly missing seeing Mythbusters star Adam Savage. (We listened to Adam Savage's presentation in 2012. He appeared in an Indiana Jones hat, and told a compelling story of a boy who liked to make his own props for imaginary play, then had a career in creating special effects for movies--which led to his phenomenal success on the Mythbusters television show.)

I expected to see robots everywhere, but I didn't expect to walk into a room full of R2-D2 replicas! Apparently, the cute little droid from Star Wars is one of the most popular subjects for amateur projects.

It seemed like everywhere I turned, there were people touting their 3-D printers, and talking about things to make with Arduino, a microcontroller that can be used for multiple purposes.  SSJCPL carries a title called Making Things Talk.  It's full of instructions for Arduino-based projects, like these:
  • make a mat that tells you when your cat is sitting on it
  • make a stuffed monkey talk
  • make a simple electronic ping pong game.  
This book is published by the company that organizes the Maker Faire; it's affiliated with a magazine called Make:.

If you like do-it-yourself electronics projects, you might consider checking out some books from the Evil Genius Series. The publisher of this series had a booth at Maker Faire last year; one of the authors was there to autograph books. 

There are so many different kinds of creations and inventions at Maker Faire, that I am having trouble condensing it all into one blog post. One section is devoted to recycled objects and clothing--making something new out of something old. There are accessories and jewelry. Another section is devoted to growing food. And then there are the glowing sharks that seem to soar through the darkness in one pavilion. Families with children really seemed to enjoy the hands-on activities.  I was able to extract DNA from a strawberry at one table! There was an area where kids could learn (hands-on) all about how locks, keys and tumblers work.

One large section of the Faire is devoted to Steampunk.  This is a cultural movement that embraces science fiction concepts like time travel; it is both futuristic and anachronistic. I think it's really fun, but then, I'm a devoted Doctor Who fan. 1000 Steampunk Creations is loaded with pictures of contraptions, art, decor and fashion in the genre.  

The Maker Faire will be at the San Mateo County Fairgrounds on May 18-19, 2013.  Our family purchased our tickets months ago. Maybe I'll see you there.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

4 Kids | It's All In the Game

Good morning!

With yesterday being the deadline for the Children's Book Week Writing Contest, I find myself quite busy sorting the thousands of entries into grade level. The entries will be judged soon, and you'll hear all about it next week -- Children's Book Week.

So please excuse my short post this morning.
I do want to tell you about an exciting new program at the Cesar Chavez Central Library -- The Chess Club! Yep. You heard right. Thanks to volunteer Carlos Moreno, the Chavez Library just started a Chess Club for tweens and teens on Mondays from 6-8 pm. Last night was the first meeting, but we'll be here every week. So come on down and learn all about the game of chess. It's actually good for your brain! No signups are required. Just come to the Children's Program Room (located at the back of the Children's Room on the first floor) and be a part of this great new club!

And if you're in Tracy, stop by the Chess Club there on Saturdays at noon!

There is a whole lot going on at your library! Visit the events calendar to find out what's happening at a library near you!

Monday, May 6, 2013

Just Life | Panteha On Vacation

I am super organized right before a vacation. If I used the same principal in all aspects of my life, I would be a superwoman. I tell you. 

Here is my secret weapon: A couple of weeks before my trip, I type up all the things that I need to take or things to do before the trip and as I accomplish each task, I cross it off from my list. I learned that art from my mom. 

Ok, I am really organized right before a vacation, but I also carry too much stuff on my trips. I usually have the biggest pieces of luggage. My husband on the other hand, carries the smallest piece and it seems like he never runs out of anything on a trip. He has a minimalistic approach and he is content with having less on a vacation. 

Not me.

When I go on vacation, I need to have all the comfort of my home. So if it means taking the bathroom air Freshener with me, so be it.

I recently went on a short vacation with my family. But with the amount of preparation and stuff that I was taking with me, you would have thought that I was preparing for an expedition to Mount Everest. 

I always over prepare for my vacations. The result is that I always have extra food, extra clothes, extra blankets and extra everything in case of an emergency. With the food that I carry, I can feed even another family.

For example, I am pretty sure that I would have changed the course of world history if Napoleon had asked me to be in charge of his troops' logistics when he decided to invade Russia. I would have made sure that his entire troop had enough food and water and even enough clean undergarments to last them until their trip back to France.

I am not kidding. Ok, maybe I am exaggerating a little.

I think my opposite is my cousin who went on a backpacking trip to Europe and took only one backpack and fit all her stuff in it.

I am clueless about how she did it. I suspect that she might have gotten some help from Harry Potter.

There is a down side to my over preparedness. I can't do anything the last minute. I need plenty of advance notice to get ready.

I also have to pay tons of money every time I fly since I am unable to fit everything into one piece of luggage.

So I tell you, for me, any last minute trip to Florence is out of the question. 

How about you?

Signing off until next Monday- Panteha