Archive for March, 2015

Celebrate Earth Day!

..earth-dayThe year is rushing by us at a phenomenal speed, at it least it seems so to me! Spring is here, and with it, comes warmer weather, blooming plants and new life. The mourning doves that have taken residence in a plant on my deck, have two new babies, and it’s fun to watch their little heads peek up and beaks open for the food their parents have collected.It reminds me that we are affected by everything in our environment,  and in return, the  environment is affected by our actions.

It’s the responsibility of all of us to take care of our environment in our homes,  yards, on our streets and everywhere we go.  Our actions determine whether our home, Earth, will survive.  Recycle,  use water carefully, respect wildlife.  These are just a few things you can do to help our Earth.

You can go also go to Earth Day 2015: http://www.earthday http.org/2015 and learn about events in our area to celebrate our wonderful planet. While you are there take the Ecological Footprint quiz.  I did, and I was shocked how much I use on a daily basis in the way of the earth’s resources.  And I think I’m pretty careful.  I learned about things I can do to decrease my footprint, and take better care of my environment and our Earth.

Last, but certainly not least, check out our Event Calendar online at http://www.aclibrary.org. You will find many fun events that are  celebrating Earth Day, and in the process, learn how you can help take better care of our Earth.  The Alameda County Library wishes you a very happy Earth Day!

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untitledWe spend a lot of our lives searching for happiness, running from one thing to another, worrying about the past and being anxious about the future. All the while the world around us is overflowing with the wonder and contentment we seek. This beauty calls to us every day, yet we rarely are in the position to listen. If we don’t have silence in ourselves, if our minds and bodies are full of noise, we can’t hear beauty’s call. “Excerpts from the book”

Books by Thich Nhat Hanh @ library

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Something happens and things don’t work as well as they used to. However, there’s help. Karen Marshall, the “Gadget Lady,” will discuss “Making Daily Activities Easier” on Wednesday, March 25, 2015, at the Fremont Main Library at 1:30 p.m. Karen Marshall is Assistive Technology Coordinator at Community Resources for Independent Living (CRIL), located in Hayward

Hear about magnifiers, openers and grippers, listening devices, and more. Attendees will have opportunities to try out these helpful devices.

Did you know? CRIL is one of 13 California agencies selected as an AT (Assistive Technology) Device Loan Site by the CA Department of Rehabilitation. As an AT Loan Site, CRIL receives funding to create and maintain a lending library of various AT devices that can be loaned out to disabled individuals, and their family members, school counselors and teachers and businesses. Loan durations are from 2 to 12 weeks, depending upon the individual need.

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It is not often that we get a chance to meet a living legend. Fremont residents will be able to do that on Saturday, March 14, from 2-4 p.m. when Afghanistan’s icon Ustad Farida Mawash will give a community concert at the Fremont Main Library.

As Afghanistan’s most popular female singer in the 1960s and ’70s, her beautiful vibrant voice was heard daily over Radio Kabul. Mawash’s career in Afghanistan came to an abrupt end with the occupation of the Russian army in 1979 and the new regime of the Taliban which forbade any kind of musical expression. Her many recitals and performances at the national and local levels in the United States eventually put her in the limelight again. Her music is still sold globally in Afghan communities and major world capitals.

Mahwash is the only Afghan woman to attain the title of “Ustad” meaning “master,” which was bestowed on her by the Ministry of Culture in 1977. Mahwash’ contributions to the musical tradition of Afghanistan was recognized and honored during the golden era of Afghanistan.
She endured the Soviet invasion and the Taliban ban on music in her country until 1989, when she fled its civil war and became a refugee, but now she calls Fremont her home away from home.
Ustad Farida Mahwash, was born Farida Gulali Ayubi, in 1947, Kabul, Afghanistan into a conservative Afghan family. Her mother was a Quran teacher, and inspired Farida with her beautiful voice and a religious upbringing. Upon completing her studies, Farida found support and inspiration at Kabul Radio, whose director discovered her talent for singing.

She is one of the most beloved singers throughout Central Asia. She sings mostly in Dari, but is universally understood with her underlying tones of emotional soulfulness. Her melodies are sung with such a wistful and supple voice which moves the heart and enlightens the soul.
She reiterates Afghanistan’s deep-rooted musical traditions with romantic ghazals and folk songs, which are her specialty. The lyrics are reminiscent of Rumi’s classical Persian poetry.
Being away from her motherland didn’t prevent her to continue singing. In 2001, Hossein Arman, head of an exiled Afghani band based in Switzerland, invited Mahwash to join the Ensemble Kaboul, with whom she embarked on international tours. This group was composed of fellow-refugees and it opened the doors to countless concerts and the award-winning 2003 album Radio Kaboul. This rich collection pays homage to the disappeared or exiled composers and musicians of Afghan radio’s golden era.

This group performed at some of the most prestigious concert halls in Europe to sophisticated audiences who were bedazzled with this unique musical expression. The world now acknowledged her fame and gave her recognition for her beautiful voice and style. In Europe she received the Golden Voice Award and in the United States the Janis Joplin Award.

Later that year, Mahwash received a prestigious BBC World Music Award, both for her artistic excellence and for her work in speaking on behalf of thousands of orphaned Afghan children.

In 2007, Mahwash followed up with a recording secular and sacred love poems, Ghazals Afghans recorded by Accords Croises /Harmonia Mundi.

In 2012 Ustad Mawash grouped with other local musicians and Voices of Afghanistan was formed. Under the direction of music producer Dawn Elder and Afghan musical director Homayoun Sakhi, these musicians gained recognition for their expertise and professionalism. “Voices of Afghanistan” was nominated for Six Grammy Awards in Folsom, California.

Mahwash, Homayoun Sakhi and the group began recording a new album with renowned world music producer Dawn Elder and Sam Nappi at World Harmony Studios. Ustad Mahwash, Homayoun Sakhi and the group are joined by a host of notable celebrity musicians and singers including Grammy winning singer Angelique Kidjo. The album “Love Songs for Humanity” was released by World Harmony Studios/D E Music Records in 2013.

In 2013, Ustad Mawash together with Kabir Howaida (piano) received the coveted Rumi Awards in Las Vegas. Kabir Howeida is a renowned pianist and composer who will join Ustad Mawash in Fremont for the March 14, 2015 concert.

For most of her years, Mahwash has been Afghanistan’s best-loved singer. Yet its only female Master Musician (Ustad) has lived in exile since 1991. Afghan’s deep rooted musical tradition is carried on by Mawash in her albums. “Ghazal Afghans” which was recorded in 2007 and « Radio Kabul » recorded in 2003 are still available. ‘Art’ says Ustad Farida Mahwash, ‘is about affection and kindness.’

The Afghan traditional music is also still carried on in 2015 with Ustad Mawash’s new team of renowned artists consisting of Khalil Rahgeb (Harmonium), Kabir Howaida (Piano), and Eshan Ahmad (Tabla).

Ragheb is a master of the harmonium. He is also a singer and composer. For 16 years as a television presenter for Afghan Television, Ragheb first played with Mawash in 1977, at the same time as he was working with another Afghan icon, Ahmad Zahir. The event of Zahirs untimely death in his prime in 1979 during political turmoil drove Ragheb into exile, more than a decade before Mahwash herself. So their reunion in this group has a depth of nostalgia which is unparalleled amongst other musicians.

Kabir Howaida is a renowened piano player and composer and brother of the late Zahir Howaida, who was a famous singer and composer in Afghanistan and abroad. The famous and late Ahmed Zahir, as well as Zahir Howaida, Kabir Howaida, and Khalil Ragheb knew and worked with each other as a team. Kabir’s has performed at home and abroad and has received the 2013 Rumi Award together with Ustad Mawash.

Ehsan Ahmad, master of the tabla, is a new member to this group, with the traditional talent and repertoire, Ahmad will take the drums (tabla) to new heights.

Mawash with her spellbound, soulful voice is giving new life to ghazals in her songs. The ghazal is an ancient Persian form of verse. The form is ancient and an integral part of Arabic and Persian poetry long before the rise of Islam. Ghazals were written by Rumi and Hafiz of Persia who have become the dominant figures in Sufi mysticism. Ghazals express the pain of loss or separation and the beauty of love in spite of that pain. They are quite haunting, with long soft syllables, rhymed in two stanzas. Ghazals invoke melancholy, unrequited love, longing, and the metaphysical questions of Sufism.

Mahwash left Afghanistan in 1991 and has since settled in Fremont. Today, Ustad Mahwash still expresses enthusiam to continue touring the world bringing her country’s music and songs under the spotlight. She is full of personal grace, kindness and goodwill. She is Afghanistan’s Ambassador of Love.

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Have you ever been to Khan Academy which is a database that uses many instructional video to teaches math, science, and computers, art and history …. to name a few?  It also offers practice exercises and a personalized learning dashboard that empower learners to study at their own pace in and outside of the classroom.

Until April 30, Khan Academy is sponsoring a math competition called LearnStorm for students in grades 3-12.  You can earn points or unlock prizes for yourself, for your school, or your city.  You will also have a chance to join the in-person finals event and celebrate with their team.  Best of all, it’s all free.  All  you have to do is create an account, and you are ready to go.

Khan Academy is a non-profit organizaion on a mission to provide a free, world-class education for anyone, anywhere.  For more information, click here.


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A performance during the Woman Suffrage Parade in Washington D.C. on March 3, 1913.

In 1911, International Women’s Day was first celebrated on March 8. It was organized by German socialists and women’s rights activists Clara Zetkin and Louise Zeitz. Many years later, the United Nations officially began celebrating International Women’s Day in 1975.

In 1978, Sonoma County schools decided to celebrate Women’s History Week during the week of March 8.  The events held during the week were received positively by the community and the organizers went on to share their experience at a women’s history conference held at Sarah Lawrence College the following year.  Other conference participants then brought the idea of Women’s History Week to their own communities.

In 1980, Jimmy Carter issued a Presidential Proclamation declaring the week of March 8 to be Women’s History Week in the U.S. In 1987, Congress passed a resolution expanding the celebration to the whole month of March.

Here are a few of the women’s history books available in the library catalog:

Herstory: Women Who Changed the World
edited by Ruth Ashby and Deborah Gore Ohrn ; introduction by Gloria Steinem

33 Things Every Girl Should Know about Women’s History: From Suffragettes to Skirt Lengths to the E.R.A
edited by Tonya Bolden

Damsels Not in Distress: The True Story of Women in Medieval Times
by Andrea Hopkins

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pacific pinballFor some time now I have been thinking of paying the Pacific Pinball Museum in Alameda a visit. I have not discoverandgobeen able to make the trip there yet but, after reading this article, I really must go soon. Of course, I will be using my library card and also encourage family members to use theirs so we can go together to Discover and Go. Consider all the fascinating places you can actually visit just using your library card. How can you resist?  It’s time you Discover and Go too!

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Happy 111th Dr. Seuss!

GreenEggsYesterday was the day we celebrated Dr. Seuss’s birthday, with crafts and fun at the Fremont Main children’s room, and puzzles to solve at Newark. We had teachers looking for books at the last minute on the weekend and even yesterday. What a great time to review some of the great books Dr. Seuss (real name: Theodore Geisel) wrote. A reminder once again of how brilliant he was — making early readers something FUN to read, not just plodding through repetition and dull rhyming words but playing with the words.  Would you eat that green eggs and ham on a boat, in a moat — in a house, with a mouse — here or there or anywhere? With a mild lesson in “try it, you’ll like it.”

A reminder that one of the early literacy (prereading) skills is phonological awareness, the ability to hear and play with smaller sounds in words.  Rhymes and onomatopoeia (“buzz”, etc.) are great ways for kids to realize words are made of smaller sounds and syllables.

Here are some books that may work to read aloud to/with preschoolers to expose them to rhyming and other reading concepts.

great day upDr. Seuss’s ABC (1963)Mr Brown Moo

Go Dog, Go! (1963)

Mr Brown Can Moo! Can You? (1970)

Great Day for Up! (1974)

Longer early readers:

There’s a Wocket in my Pocket! (1974)

Oh Say Can You Say? (1979)

One fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish (1960), and Fox In Socks (1965)

May you continue to enjoy Theodore Geisel’s books with your early readers, as well as his longer stories with a message like The Lorax, The Sneetches & other Stories, Horton Hears a Who, and If I Ran the Zoo.

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