Archive for March, 2014

If you’ve set foot in any of the Alameda County Libraries this month you know that March is Art is Education Month . This year’s theme is “Tell Us Your Story.”

Have fun with this idea by checking out Wordless Picture Books!

The best kind have intriguing illustrations that allow readers to tell tales in their own words, as they see images unfold. We’ve had a lot of fun at our house with wordless picture books, as each time stories change and evolve depending on the “teller” of the story. I tell a story one way to my toddler, and her father will interpret the same images in a totally different way.

If you have a child who is in preschool or younger this activity fosters observation as well as, narrative skills, and talking, which is a valuable pre-reading ability.

Below is a sampling of books that I’ve come across while working here at Fremont Main Children’s Room:

Beaver is Lost by Elisha Cooper
4 words is all you need to tell a story of beaver finding his way home. Cooper’s watercolor and pencil drawings will fill in the blanks.

Bluebird by Bob Staake
Drawn in a manner similar to cartoon storyboards, this exploration on friendship may be more accessible to school age kids.

Daisy Gets Lost by Chris Raschka
Another cheater on the list, as there are 4 words, 5 if you count the dog barking. Raschka’s follow up to A Ball for Daisy is a sweet tale of being lost and found.

The Giant Seed by Arthur Geisert
To be honest the only reason this caught my eye is because my kid loves blowing seeds off dandelion puffs. This book will probably be more interesting to older children who can make astute observations on how a tiny pig community bands together for survival.

Last Night by Hyewon Yum
Reminiscient of Maurice Sendak’s Where the Wild Things Are, a little girl gets sent to bed early and embarks on evening adventures with her stuffed bear.

The Lion and the Mouse by Jerry Pinkney
My favorite version of Aesop’s fable! This book actually does have a few words, most of which are animal sounds. So I’m letting it slide. Pinkney won a Caldecott Award for his rich illustrations. Check it out and see why!

Red Hat by Lita Judge
Another book with words in the form of animal sounds, but story tellers will laugh at the rag tag group of baby animals and a child’s solution to their hijinks.

Time Flies by Eric Rohman
A Caldecott Honor Award winner. A modern day bird journeys through time and visits ancient dinosaurs.

Unspoken: A Story from the Underground Railroad by Henry Cole
Simply and beautifully told through the eyes of a young girl as she chooses to help a runaway slave.

And there are so many more! Do you have any favorites I missed? List them in the comments below!

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What do you think of when  you read the following: Hidden Valley, Horse Heaven, Peak Meadow.  Book titles?  City names?  Race Tracks?   If you said hiking trails then I know you are a true fan of the East Bay Regional Park District.  The trails  I mentioned just happen to be in nearby Mission Peak.   I’m a big fan of this park district and try to get out  to a park at least once a week.  It’s not hard to do since the East Bay Regional Park District is composed of more than 140,000 acres, 65 parks and 1,200 miles of trails and they offer activities all year long.

If you’re a fan of the Regional Park District or new to the idea of outdoor activity, then consider registering for the East Bay Regional Park Trails Challenge and hike away.  If you’re not in the mood for hiking, then try another activity like  biking, fishing, archery or swimming.  We are so lucky  that so much open space has been set aside for us to enjoy.   Most are just minutes away from your home and many are available by public transportation.  If you’re in the mood to get out and play, or just want to relax and chill out, then step outside your door and onto a trail.  With trail names like Hidden Valley and Horse Heaven, you can’t go wrong.

Check out some of our books and get in the mood for a trip to one of the parks.  Also, don’t forget that with Discover and Go passes, available with your library card, you can get a family pass for the Ardenwood Historical Farm in Fremont.  Ardenwood is another  great East Bay Regional Park District venue just outside your door!

After the Storm Living Landscape Tri Valley Trails

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This exhibit is in celebration of the Art IS Education theme “Tell Your Story.” Art is located above the picture books in the Children’s Area, on walls and pillars in the central portion of the first floor, in the large display case in the hall on the left after entering the library, in the small display case at the end of the “Island” in the middle of the circulation area, in a display case at the top of the stairs on the second floor, and in the exhibit area of the Maurice Marks Center for Local and California History. It will be up throughout the month of March.


This art event is part of a series of 150 free Art IS Education events for youth and families presented by Alameda County Library in partnership with the Alameda County Arts Commission and the Alameda County Office of Education to celebrate arts education and creativity. Art IS Education is a project of the Alameda County Office of Education in partnership with the Alameda County Arts Commission.

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Frida Kahlo

Frida Kahlo

Artist Frida Kahlo is famous for doing self-portraits—she told the story of her life in oil paintings. Born in Coyoacan, Mexico in 1907, Kahlo endured much pain in her life—she contracted polio at the age of 6, and in 1925, was in an accident where the bus she was riding ran into a trolley car. The injuries from that accident lasted a lifetime, and were reflected in her work. Kahlo started painting while recovering, and gave up the study of medicine: “I paint myself because I am so often alone and because I am the subject I know best.” She painted her first self-portrait in 1926, and went on to do 55 very personal self-portraits. Some say painting helped her deal with the tragedy and pain in her personal life (she was married to muralist Diego Rivera twice), as a form of therapy.

Frida Kahlo died in 1954 at the age of 47, but will live forever in her paintings.

For further reading:

Frida Kahlo (2003), by John Morrison


Frida Kahlo (c2006)

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untitledHave you ever wonder how smart today’s youngsters are?  Come to the Alameda County Science and Engineering Fair which is scheduled on the weekend of March 22 and March 23 at the Alameda County Fairgrounds in Pleasanton.

You will be amazed how much effort and how deep and thorough the research these participants put into their projects and how well their projects are presented.  It will be an eye opener to all of us.  If you were looking for ideas for your own science projects, make sure that you don’t miss this opportunity!

Sponsors of the science fair include some of the largest science and technology companies and organizations in the Bay Area such as Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, Intel, Oracle, and Cisco to name a few.

Check here for more info.


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This week is the 16th annual National Consumer Protection Week.  Actually,  NCPW2014every week should be Consumer Protection Week.  And why not?  We read or hear about massive security breaches that expose our personal information to unpalatable use.  We may be drawn into scams, lured by advertising claims that are too good to be true, that leave us deep in debt, and then we wonder what we can do to protect ourselves.  Educating ourselves is one way.  At the National Consumer Protection Week site, federal, state and local agencies and organizations come together as partners to bring to consumers, as the FTC Consumer Protection Bureau’s director puts it, “practical and timely information to help you recognize and report scams, manage debt, use technology wisely, evaluate products and services, fight identity theft and see the truth behind advertising claims.”  Take a look and learn.

And this being tax season, the California Franchise Tax Board warns taxpayers to be careful of scammers.  Here is the FTB’s Top 12 Tax Scams.

NCPW Banner

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Dr. Seuss Day

March 3 was Dr. Seuss Day. We celebrated here at the Fremont Main Library with a story and some fun crafts. Celebrate at home by reading some of Dr. Seuss’ funniest and silliest books (they can be found here: http://bit.ly/1exN5cF).

Our crafts were fun and silly!  Try them at home:

  • Rainbow goo!
    1 1/2 cup clear glue
    1 1/2 cup liquid starch
    Liquid food coloring
    Mix the glue and liquid starch until it feels slimy. Separate into four equal portions and add a few drops of food coloring to each portion.  Mix again.  Place on a flat surface and mix, play, and get messy!
  • Painting Graham Crackers
    1 package graham crackers
    Vanilla pudding
    Liquid food coloring
    Separate the vanilla pudding into a few small containers. Mix a few drops of liquid food coloring into each container.  Use your fingers to paint the pudding onto your graham cracker canvas.
  • Monster Feet (Grinch Feet)
    2 sheets of any color foam
    1 sheet of another color foam
    Make a stencil of your child’s foot while in shoes.  Then add as many crazy elements as you want to the stencil: only three toes, pointy toes, spikes on the side, etc. Trace that to the 2 sheets of foam and cut out.  Cut out an oval-shaped hole for your child to put their feet through.  Use the other foam sheet to add nails, spikes, or designs.

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