Archive for November, 2011

 Do you know someone who is struggling with limited Englsih?  Do you know that you can find free English classes in our community?

Other than the Adult Literacy Program that offers many English classes in different libraries, the Fremont Adult and Continuing Education also hosts free English classes at different locations.

For classes in the libraries, call (510)745-1480 for more information.

For classes offered by Fremont Adult and Continuing Education, click here.


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Recently I’ve read two books, one recommended to me by a stranger i the library and the other by a coworker. They were very different books, but one word that describes both of them is ‘charming’.

The  sweetness  at  the bottom  of  the  pie is  a  mystery  novel  set  in England, 1950. Alan Bradley introduces Flavia de Luce an 11-year-old girl with an interest in chemistry and a passion for poison. When she finds a dead body in the garden and then her father is accused of murder , there is nothing for her to do , but solve the crime.

The marriage bureau for rich people is a very different story . A retired gentleman in India decides to open a marriage bureau . He is very successful and hires an assistant with a secret. I’d say that is where , the fun begins, but the book is fun from the beginning,  full of  interesting characters.

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Staying around the Bay Area this holiday week? Looking for something to do with kids that doesn’t involve shopping on Friday morning? Why not take a trip to the Monterey Bay Aquarium?

The aquarium is located in beautiful Monterey, CA on historic Cannery Row. The street itself has many fun shops and restaurants, as well as beach access (if you are brave enough to sit in the cold!) The Monterey Bay Aquarium offers plenty of activities for everyone in the family. You can watch daily animal feedings, watch live presentations with some of the animals, visit the tidepools and touch some of the wildlife and more.

My favorite exhibit for many years has been the jellyfish exhibit. I love sitting and watching the jellies float through the water (and their colors are just amazing!)

The new exhibit at the aquarium is amazing as well – The Secret Lives of Seahorses. The variety of seahorses and sea dragons is amazing in and of itself, and watching the creatures move about their tanks is fascinating.

So even though it is a bit of a drive down to Monterey, it is well worth the trip. The aquarium is still one of my favorite places to visit, and if you still want to get in a little holiday shopping, the stores on Cannery Row are sure to have something you’ll enjoy.  

  (All photos taken by Mary Ayers).

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HolConcert2011Fmt 12 17 11 JLHoliday Concert with the Gerry Winn Singers At the Fremont Library Saturday, December 17, at 2:00 p.m.


The Gerry Winn Singers are back to celebrate this holiday season with their beautiful voices.  The singers are all students of Gerry Winn, a local voice coach.  They represent a cross-section of ages and abilities.  This concert is free and a wonderful experience for all ages.  No registration is required.  See you on Saturday, December 17, at 2:00 p.m. at the Fremont Main Library, Fukaya Room.



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The Invention of Hugo Cabret, by Brian Selznick

If you are a fan of the Brian Selznick book, The Invention of Hugo Cabret, then you might like to view the film, Hugo, coming out November 23. The story is set in France in 1931: orphaned Hugo lives in the subways of Paris where he meets Isabelle and they to try to solve the mystery surrounding an automaton Hugo’s late father had been working on before the museum fire. Isabelle has the key to wind up the mechanical man—but where did she get it? And does Papa Georges (Isabelle’s Godfather) know about it? Directed by Martin Scorsese, the film stars Asa Butterfield as Hugo Cabret, Chloe Grace Moretz as Isabelle, Jude Law as Hugo’s father, and Ben Kingsley as French filmmaker Georges Melies. Rated PG for “mild thematic material, some action/peril and smoking.”

Check the book out at your local library. View the Hugo website/trailer at: http://www.hugomovie.com/

To go with the Scorsese film there is a movie-tie in book that is worth a look.  The Hugo Movie Companion, by Brian Selznick contains chapters talking about the original book, how Melies A Trip to the Moon and other elements inspired author/illustrator Selznick (who is a relative of

Hugo Movie Companion, by Brian Selznick

movie mogul David O. Selznick) to write the book, how Martin Scorsese became involved, bios of others who worked in and on the film, and colored photos depicting scenes from the film.  Scholastic, $19.99. Also available on library shelves, it is cataloged J791.4372 at the Alameda County Library.

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Thanksgiving always makes me think of family, friends, food (and football!).  Most of us picture turkey on the table for our holiday meal, along with cranberries and pumpkin pie.  However it may surprise some to know that it’s not even certain if turkey was on the menu of the Plymouth Colony members back in 1621 when they shared a feast with the Indians in the region.  Actually, according to Godfrey Hodgson, author of A Great and Godly Adventure, it’s pretty unlikely that turkey was even available in the area and probably the larger part of the meal was deer brought by the Indians.  If there was bird at the table at that time, it was most likely geese or duck.  The Oxford Companion to Food by Alan Davidson agrees with this scenario but does say that turkey was probably on the menu at the next recorded Thanksgiving in 1623.

Somehow deer on the table doesn’t hold the same homey picture as a stuffed turkey in my mind.  If you need ideas on what to serve up for Thanksgiving, check out the holiday cookbooks at your local library and don’t feel compelled to confine yourself to turkey now that you know it probably wasn’t on the table back in 1621.  Whatever you end up serving, be sure to enjoy it with those around you.

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A colleague of mine just came back from a trip to New York state. She brought back a couple of pamphlets about New York state apples and some apple facts. I love eating a nice fresh apple. I especially love an apple with a tuna sandwich. I thought what better thing to write about than apples in the fall? Officially, October is National Apple Month, but since fall is apple harvest time I think this is still a great time to celebrate the apple.

The pamphlets my colleague brought back talked about all the variety of apples that are a specialty in New York State. I thought we must grow apples right here in California, so I headed to my computer to check it out. I found there is a California Apple Commission,

http://calapple.org/?n=1&id=1 , that is full of interesting facts. A few I found interesting: crabapples are the only apple native to North America, apples are fat and sodium free, it takes 2 pounds of apples to make one 9-inch pie, most apples are still picked by hand in the fall, apples are a member of the rose family, and one for Thanksgiving, the pilgrims planted the first United States apple trees in the Massachusetts Bay Colony. If you are interested there’s a lot of more to be found on their website. There is an Education section with teaching materials, coloring pages and games.

If you visit the U.S. Apple Association , http://www.usappleblog.org/, you’ll find apple facts about different regions, including California. Did you know that California is the 5th largest producer in the United States? I also found that California apple growers specialize in four varieties: Gala, Fuji, Granny Smith and Pink Ladies. When you visit there, you will find some great apple recipes. One that caught my eye is Bacon “n Apple Cheeseburger sliders -Yum! Here is a link to that recipe http://www.usappleblog.org/2011/08/featured-recipe-bacon-n-apple-cheeseburger-sliders/. Enjoy!

When you visit the library you will find many books on the story of Johnny Appleseed, who is said to have planted appleseeds everywhere he went. You’ll also find some great storybooks and fact books about apples, http://encore.aclibrary.org/iii/encore/search/C%7CSapples%7COrightresult%7CU1?lang=eng&suite=def . Explore the world of apples and don’t forget: An apple a day keeps the doctor away!

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On the fourth Tuesday of the month, people sign up at the Fremont Main Library to take part in a lottery that awards 15 free minutes of consultation with an attorney.  The Lawyer in the Library program at Fremont Main this year ends on Tuesday, November 22, and resumes in January.  During the break, volunteer lawyers may still be available in other libraries that offer the program.  Since registration methods vary, be sure to contact the host library beforehand and find out how to register.  The Information Desk at Fremont Main can be reached at tel. (510) 745-1401.

If you are researching a legal matter, you may find something useful at the California Courts Online Self-Help Center.   There is also legal information available through the Alameda County Library website.

Incidentally, on a recent trip to Hong Kong, I heard of “villain hitting” for the first time.  I did not have the chance to see how this is done, but apparently here’s how the ceremony goes. I wonder what made me think of this just now?

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If you are a Diary of A Wimpy Kid’s fan, you probably can’t wait until Greg’s return.  The good news is The Diary of A Wimpy Kid Book Six: Cabin Fever is scheduled to be out tomorrow, November 15th.  The publisher, Abrams’ Amulet Books, has announced a six million-copy first printing for this one and, according to the publisher, it will be one of the most significant of 2011.

In this new book, the Heffley family is kept indoors by a major snowfall, and author Kinney said his inspiration was, in part, the “tough New England winter” that just passed last year.

Hope to get a copy to read?  Click here to reserve one.

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All over the world, all year long, there is fun! Think New Year’s, Easter, Christmas, Halloween, Day of the Dead, the winter solstice and many, many more. Some are internationally famous; others are local or personal.

In April, years ago, during my college junior year abroad, I was inSevilla,Spain, for Semana Santa, a spectacular holy week festival. I still remember the expectant silence while standing amidst many celebrants. We were waiting for the neighborhood cofradía to bring out its statue of the Virgin Mary at midnight. Then, there was ecstatic celebration – in fact the whole week is one of celebration.

 This month’s book display features fun, food and festivals; it’s how we celebrate life. We cook special foods — for this reason we have titles about Thanksgiving turkey, Indian festival food, Asian special foods, Christmas cookies and more.

There are two guides to festivals included: The Rough Guide to the World’s Best Festivals (910.20204 World) available in the display and the globetrekker DVD “Great Festivals 2.” And you could also visit the Rough Guide or the Globe Trekker websites to plan your next trip.

And there are even fiction titles. Enjoy!

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