Saturday, May 18, 2013

Teens Only | Don't Believe Everything You Hear

You've seen that commercial -- and I can't even remember what it's advertising -- with the woman who says "It's true...I read it on the Internet."

We don't believe everything we read or hear, right?

Made me think of those urban legends. What's an urban legend, you ask? According to Merriam-Webster, an urban legend is an often lurid story or anecdote that is based on hearsay and widely circulated as true

The Library has quite a few books on urban legends, or urban folklore as the library catalog likes to say. One of them you might want to check out is Ngaire Genge's Urban Legends: The As-Complete-As-One-Could-Be Guide to Modern Myths. It's cool to figure out whether those legends are really true...or totally false!

I had always heard a "rumor" that there is a private club in Disneyland. When I went there a few years ago, I searched high and low for this private club. Couldn't find it. But then I asked my Disneyland expert, Amy, and she confirmed that one does exist! It's called Club 33 and it's in Disneyland's New Orleans Square. And not that I can't trust everything Amy tells me, but I checked just to make sure; it's true. There is a private club in Disneyland. Who knew!?!

Then I started thinking about other things I've been told over the years. Are they really true or just some silly made up story? You probably remember being told by a parent or other adult not to swallow your chewing gum because it takes 7 years to pass through your digestive system. It freaked me out completely the first time I accidentally swallowed a piece of Juicy Fruit gum. That thing was going to be inside my digestive system for 7 years? OMG! So I went to to check this out. 

Whew! Not true. You can find the explanation for the debunking of this childhood myth here. (But it's still not a good idea to swallow gum.)

If you're wondering what this thing is, let me explain. is a website which researches urban legends, Internet rumors, e-mail forwards, and other stories of unknown or questionable origin. It is a well-known resource for validating and debunking such stories in American popular culture.
I think there's a good lesson here: don't believe everything you hear. You can always check or, novel thought, visit the library and do the research on your own! Every library branch has a reference section filled with dictionaries, encyclopedias, and a whole bunch more.
And if you need another reason to visit the library, check out the calendar of events for exciting programs at a library near you, or if you want to volunteer to be a Summer Book Buddy at the Cesar Chavez Central Library, give me a call at (209) 937-7012.

Have a great week!

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Book Bucket List | The Very Hungry Caterpillar

As the staff at the Tracy Library already know, one of my favorite picture books is Eric Carle's The Very Hungry Caterpillar.  I carried this book around everywhere as a kid, and I think the cover was even on one of my birthday cakes once. So this week, I'm going to feature the classic and ever so cool books by Eric Carle.  Eric Carle was "discovered" by author Bill Martin Jr after Martin saw an advertisement Carle had drawn.  They collaborated on Martin's Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What do you see? and then Carle published his first book, 1, 2, 3 to the Zoo.  Carle went on to publish what are considered to be some of the best and well-known children's picture books.

The Very Hungry Caterpillar follows the life of a newly hatched caterpillar on his way to becoming a butterfly.  That's it!  Check out the author reading this below.

We have a lot of Eric Carle's other books in our system including:

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Learning | Running


If you are not familiar with the 1991 winner of the Newbery Award, you're in for a treat. Maniac Magee tells the tale of orphan Jeffery Magee's quest for a home.  He loves to run (and wake up early and do the dishes!) 

It turns out he has a talent making friends--and bringing people together. Jeffery has been miserable living with his aunt and uncle, so he leaves. He arrives in a segregated town, with black people and white people living on different sides. He appears to belong on the white side of town--but he is accepted on both sides.

There's humor in the story, and a satisfying ending.  This story would be best for children ages 8-12. It can also be a good choice for reluctant readers.


Jeffery Magee used running in a positive way.  We all know running can be good for your health, and it can feel great.  But there are some places where running is not a good idea. Running inside the library is a bad idea.  It disturbs people who are trying to read, use the computer or do homework.  It is also dangerous.  We don't want our customers to get hurt. Please walk in the library. 

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

4 Kids | If You Can Read This...

...thank a teacher. I'm not trying to be funny here; I'm totally serious.

When I think of the people who have inspired me, believed in me, and encouraged me, most of them are teachers. And since our parents are our first teachers, here's a shout out to my wonderful parental unit -- Norm and Sandra -- for being my first teachers.

Teachers rock. They teach us skills so we can succeed in  life. They encourage our creativity. They help us work through problems, be those math problems or just life problems in general! They teach us the importance of teamwork. They open the doors to the world of learning. Wow!

I know a whole bunch of teachers, and I know how much they do -- beyond the hours in the classroom -- to help students succeed. Heck, I know teachers who buy stuff for the classroom out of their own pockets! Don't believe me? I promise you it's true. I spent Saturday with my BFF (who just happens to be a teacher) who spent money out of her own pocket to buy some much needed stuff for one of her young students. My BFF has a heart of gold, BTW.

And history is full of great teachers!

Annie Sullivan was the pioneering teacher who overcame disability and misfortune before achieving her success as one of the most famous educators of all time. We remember her because she was Helen Keller's teacher. Read about Annie Sullivan in Marfe Ferguson Delano's book Helen's Eyes: A Photobiography of Annie Sullivan, Helen Keller's Teacher.

There's also Mary McLeod Bethune, the black educator who was instrumental in creating opportunities for blacks in education and government. Read all about this extraordinary woman in Amy Robin Jones' book Mary McLeod Bethune

I just saw in the newspaper that my 6th grade teacher -- Mr. Albert Perez -- passed away. It's been a few years (ok, a lot of years) since I sat in his classroom at John Adams School, so I'm a tad bit fuzzy on the details. But I remember him as someone who was always encouraging to me and who made learning fun. To have an adult believe in you at a young age is quite a gift!

So thank you, Mr. Perez. You made a difference in my life.

The message for today? Thank a teacher. The lessons they teach you today will stay with you for a lifetime.

P.S. Check the Library's website later this week for the announcement of the Children's Book Week Writing Contest winners!


Monday, May 13, 2013

Just Life | Persian Carpets

When you get married in Iran, you usually receive a Persian carpet as a gift from your family.

Image from
All the famous houses around the world including the White House are adorned by these hand made beauties.

Image from
Here are some basic facts about Persian carpets. Each and every Persian carpet is made by hand. Persian carpets are made of three types of materials; wool, silk, and cotton. They are all made by hand one knot at the time. Here is an example of a Persian knot.

image from
Which one of you has the patience to make a Persian carpet one knot at a time. 
Not me,

I rather join the Marines instead.

The Persian carpets are named after the regions where they come from. Tabriz, Kashan and Esfahan are the most famous ones.

Carpets coming from Tabriz are pretty sturdy. Carpets coming from Kashan are very delicate and their craftsmanship are legendary. Silk carpets are very delicate and very expensive. The more details a carpet has, the more expensive it is.

When you want to buy a carpet, you count the number of the knots per inch from the back of the carpet.

Persian carpets are also used as investment. Most Persian rugs increase in value as they age. Too much sun isn't good for a Persian carpet. And you better keep your Persian carpet away from moths. Specially if you hang your carpet on the wall, they are more vulnerable to moths.

I remember my grandmother during Tehran's hot summer days would cover her Persian rugs with white sheets to protect them from the sun.

If you have a Persian rug:
  • Don't place it under a heavy furniture (I better take my own advice).
  • Move the position of your carpet frequently and turn it around time to time.
  • Carpet needs air. Don't store it a room that doesn't have any air circulations.
  • If you decide to store your Persian rug, roll your Persian carpet instead of folding it.

A typical Persian rug sells for a few thousand dollars. It is not uncommon to sell a few Persian rugs when you want to buy a house. 

Persian rugs are passed down from one generation to the other. A typical new Persian rugs is a bit prickly to the touch and if you want to take a nap on it, you better put something between you and the carpet. Of course, if you are wealthy enough to have silk carpets at home, then you don't have to worry about it since they feel wonderfully soft.

The following Persian rug is one of the largest carpets in the world. This Persian carpet is housed in the Sultan Qaboos mosque in Oman.

Here are a couple of books on this topic:

Signing off until next Monday- Panteha