Monday Children’s Book Reviews for October 20, 2014

Fancy Nancy’s Fabulous Fall Storybook Collection by Jane O’Connor

“A treasury of six autumn-themed Fancy Nancy stories finds her enjoying the activities and holidays of the season in such tales as Halloween… Or Bust! and Apples Galore!”    [JPB O'CONNOR, J]

5-Minute Spooky Stories

“A collection of Halloween stories featuring Disney characters includes Rapunzel planning a Halloween party, Nemo and his friends searching a sunken ship, and Vanellope and Ralph stumbling upon a haunted house.”                          [JPB FIVE-Minute]

Creating Halloween Crafts by Dana Meachen Rau

“Provides step-by-step instructions, tips, and techniques for creating Halloween costumes and decorations. Whether you’re looking for something to do on a rainy day or making a personalized gift for a friend, crafts are a great way to pass the time. They also provide an opportunity to learn how to draw meaning from technical texts. The activities in this book push readers to read for comprehension, use information gained from the text and illustrations to follow step-by-step directions, determine relationships among steps in a technical process, and build the skills they need to make the perfect crafts for the Halloween season.”                       [J745.59416 RAU]

Trick-or-Treat Safety by Megan Cooley Peterson

“Using simple text and informative photographs, this book teaches children how to be safe while walking around the neighborhood.”                [JE 394.2646 PETERSON]


Leave a comment

Filed under Book Reviews, Children, Reading, Union City Library

Monday Children’s Book Reviews for October 13, 2014

New books are great, but older books also have wonderful ideas! Check these out:

Children’s Costumes: A Treasure Trove of Amazingly Original Designs — Simple to Make and Fun to Wear by Gill Dickinson

Well, what can I add to that? The title says it all!           [J646.478 DICKINSON]

Nifty, Thrifty, No-Sew Costumes and Props by Carol Ann Bloom

“Enhance the power of imaginative play or dramatic productions by creating a full wardrobe of interchangeable costumes—for a wide variety of characters, animals, and creatures—without picking up needle and thread.”             [646.47806 BLOOM]

Dress Up by Moe Casey

“Presents a variety of costumes for all types of occasions, suggesting how to design, make, and use them.”                [J646.478 CASEY]

Fabulous Fun Costumes by Juliet Moxley

“Who needs to pay outrageous prices for boring costumes when you can make them yourself? Basic sewing techniques are all you need to delight any child who wants to dress up like a bunny, ghost, clown, fairy, mermaid, or dinosaur. Four-color photos guide you through the process of making each costume.”                 [ 646.4786 MOXLEY]

Dazzling Disguises and Clever Costumes by Angela Wilkes

“An exciting book offers hundreds of interesting projects to entertain children, including step-by-step instructions for creating funny faces, hats, headdresses, and crafty clothes; how to turn a box into a monster, robot, animal, or bird; and how to create wigs and beards from yarn and cotton.”                                [J646.478 WILKES]

Rosie O’Donnell’s Crafty U by Rosie O’Donnell

“A a fresh and fun collection of 100 easy craft projects for parents and kids (age 5 through 12). Projects include bunny piñatas for spring, tie-dye T-shirts for summer, creepy costumes for Halloween, very merry garlands for the holidays, Valentine’s Day bouquets, and much more. Packed with practical advice, step-by-step instructions, and gorgeous full-color illustrations, Rosie O’Donnell’s Crafty U offers plenty of inspiration for craft projects the whole family can enjoy on holidays, rainy days, or any “crafty” day!”                       [745.5 O'DONNELL]


Leave a comment

Filed under Book Reviews, Children, Reading, Teens, Union City Library

Write Your Story……..On a Bicycle at 84

On A Bicycle at 84

by: Arthur Thistlewood, Library member

Not long ago a text entitled TRAINING THE MIND  came to my attention. In the introduction , the author explains that your mind plays tricks on you, so beware! I thought to myself, how can that be? But then you realize  the tricks are simply ways your mind is not always aware of itself, that you, yourself, never know how old your are. Im my case, being over eighty causes lapses of awareness that causes problems.bicycle

Prepare for a laugh.

For the Independence Day celebration, my nephew and I had camped beside a lake near Sacramento. We cooked and swam and walked lazily, and enjoyed camping before heading back to the city and the daily grind. With the camper ready to haul to storage, Steve noticed his bicycle in the rear view mirror was still standing near the spot where we had parked.
“Would you mind walking the bike over to storage while I drive over there and store the camper?”

“Glad to do it, “I replied, so I got out of the truck and walked back to where the bicycle was still parked.

Jauntily, I began to push the bike. After about seven minutes I had progressed about 75 yards toward the storage area. O noticed a ledge to my left, so I stepped up on the ledge to mount the bike, but couldn’t get my log over the frame. Thant should have warned me, but, unthinking, I continued to push the bike along. Even though I hadn’t ridden a bicycle for many years, I did not realize I might be too old to jump on a bicycle and ride.

After pushing along a few more yards, I came to some steps to my  left whick led up to the pool house. This time I thought sure I could manage to ride the rest of the way to storage , and casually threw my leg over the bicycles as if to start riding it.

Well, the bicycle took on a life of its own; I was 40 years too old just to ride a bicycle. I watched in consternation as the bicycle gloriously continued its way with me on it. Instead of proceeding cautiously along the drive, the bicycle twisted this way and that, turning right down the grassy slope into the lake.  PLOP. Although undamaged, I was suddenly wet up to my eyelashes.

Fortunately for me, several people were working nearby; everyone came running to pull the bicycle and me out of the water. Whew!

No one was laughing, but I realized just how lucky it was I hadn’t hurt myself as I attempted to do something I could have done easily twenty years ago.

There It was: my mind had played a trick on me I had not thought for one second that I was incapable of just riding the bike wherever it needed to go. We sometimes hear stories of senior citizens getting themselves into difficulty trying to perform some task that had been quite easy a few years ago. All that’s left to say is, please think a moment, because you might not wind up wet but undamaged as I did.


Write Your Story @ the Union City Library

Join our senior library member Bruce Haase

and write your memoir. Bruce is lifelong reader, he now writes memoire-based, creative non-fiction.

These are informal meetings ,

to support each other and organize your thoughtseiffel_tower_black_and_white

for writing. Sharing is optional.

Meetings take place

The Third Tuesday of the month

October 21, November 18 and December 16

1 p.m. — 3 p.m.

Please bring pen & paper

For more information: Bruce Haase



Leave a comment

Filed under Events, News, Uncategorized, Union City Library

Monday Children’s Book Reviews for October 6, 2014

Shivery Shades of Halloween: A Spooky Book of Colors by Mary McKenna Siddals

“What color is Halloween? Why, it’s as green as an “eerie glow, evil grin, vile brew, clammy skin,” as white as “cobwebs clinging, a misty trail, a skull, a spook, a face gone pale . . .” Children will learn their colors as they follow a cute little creature on his adventure through haunted halls, moonlit forests . . . perhaps even a Halloween party! Jimmy Pickering’s stylized settings and adorable monsters add a blast of colorful creepy-crawliness that will make kids giggle. Who knew that learning colors could be such spooky fun?”                          [JPB SIDDALS]

Time of the Fireflies by Kimberley Griffiths Little

“When Larissa Renaud starts receiving eerie phone calls on a disconnected phone in her family’s shop, Bayou Bridge Antiques, she finds herself directed to the river bank near her house, where a cloud of fireflies take her on a journey through time to learn the secrets of her family’s past–and save their future.”                              [J LITTLE, K]

Try This! 50 Fun Experiments for the Mad Scientist in You by Karen Romano Young

“Discover what makes science fun in this engaging book, filled with weird, wacky science facts, basic principles, and 50 creative science projects that take interactivity to a whole new level. Dynamic photos and art highlight projects step by step so kids can conduct experiments with confidence and accuracy. Most projects involve kid-friendly subjects like electrical charges, chemical explosions, and food chemistry and are based on materials easily found at home. Bonus projects throughout encourage curious kids to dig deeper and experiment on their own.”                  [J507.8 YOUNG]


Leave a comment

Filed under Book Reviews, Children, Reading, Teens, Union City Library

Psychology & Transformation

How We Learn  

by: Benedict Carey

From an early age, it is drilled into our heads: Restlessness, distraction, and ignorance are the enemies of success. We’re told that learning is all self-discipline, that we must confine ourselves to designated study areas, turn off the music, and maintain a strict ritual if we want to ace that test, memorize that presentation, or nail that piano recital.

But what if almost everything we were told about learning is wrong? And what if there was a way to achieve more with less effort?

In How We Learn, award-winning science reporter Benedict Carey sifts through decades of education research and landmark studies to uncover the truth about how our brains absorb and retain information. What he discovers is that, from the moment we are born, we are all learning quickly, efficiently, and automatically; but in our zeal to systematize the process we have ignored valuable, naturally enjoyable learning tools like forgetting, sleeping, and daydreaming. Is a dedicated desk in a quiet room really the best way to study? Can altering your routine improve your recall? Are there times when distraction is good? Is repetition necessary? Carey’s search for answers to these questions yields a wealth of strategies that make learning more a part of our everyday lives—and less of a chore.

By road testing many of the counterintuitive techniques described in this book, Carey shows how we can flex the neural muscles that make deep learning possible. Along the way he reveals why teachers should give final exams on the first day of class, why it’s wise to interleave subjects and concepts when learning any new skill, and when it’s smarter to stay up late prepping for that presentation than to rise early for one last cram session. And if this requires some suspension of disbelief, that’s because the research defies what we’ve been told, throughout our lives, about how best to learn.

The brain is not like a muscle, at least not in any straightforward sense. It is something else altogether, sensitive to mood, to timing, to circadian rhythms, as well as to location and environment. It doesn’t take orders well, to put it mildly. If the brain is a learning machine, then it is an eccentric one. In How We Learn, Benedict Carey shows us how to exploit its quirks to our advantage.

Conscious Parent : Transforming Ourselves, Empowering Our Children

by: Shefali Tsabary, PhD

Instead of being merely the receiver of the parents’ psychological and spiritual legacy, children function as ushers of the parents’ development. Parents unwittingly pass on an inheritance of psychological pain and emotional shallowness. To handle the behavior that results, traditional books on parenting abound with clever techniques for control and quick fixes for dysfunction. In Dr. Shefali Tsabary’s conscious approach to parenting, however, children serve as mirrors of their parents’ forgotten self. Those willing to look in the mirror have an opportunity to establish a relationship with their own inner state of wholeness. Once they find their way back to their essence, parents enter into communion with their children, shifting away from the traditional parent-to-child “know it all” approach and more towards a mutual parent-with-child relationship. The pillars of the parental ego crumble as the parents awaken to the ability of their children to transport them into a state of presence.

Leave a comment

Filed under Reading, Union City Library

Monday Children’s Book Reviews for September 29, 2014

Giant Vehicles by Rod Green

Get up close to some monster machines with the master of the cross-section!

“Internationally best-selling illustrator and undisputed master of the cross-section Stephen Biesty will have young readers enthralled by this lift-the-flap exploration of some of the world’s most enormous vehicles, including the double-decker Airbus, the biggest submarine on earth, the planet’s largest dump truck, and the most enormous helicopter ever to take to the air.”                  [JPB GREEN]

Life on Mars by Jennifer Brown

“Twelve-year-old Arcturus Betelgeuse Chambers comes from a family of stargazers and his quest to find life on other planets is unstoppable. But when Arty’s family announces they’re moving to Las Vegas, the City of Lights threatens to put an end to his stargazing dreams forever—especially when he has to stay with his scary next door neighbor while his parents look for a house. As it turns out, ‘Mr. Death’ isn’t terrifying at all—he’s actually Cash Maddox, a bonafide astronaut! But when Cash falls ill, will Arty find the courage to complete his mission by himself? And might he actually prove, once and for all, that there is life on Mars?

“For fans of Frank Cottrell Boyce’s Cosmic and Jack Gantos’s Dead End in Norvelt comes a heartwarming story of true friendship—earthly or otherwise.”                                    [J BROWN]

A Kid’s Guide to Awesome Duct Tape Projects: How to Make Your Own Wallets, Bags, Flowers, Hats, and Much, Much More! by Nicole Smith

“It is a known fact of the universe that duct tape can fix anything. If it’s broken, just add duct tape! For generations this has been the case, and now thanks to, there’s one more thing duct tape can fix?boredom!

“Duct tape has come a long way since being a simple metallic roll that you’d find in your grandparent’s basement. Walk into any craft or DIY store and you’ll have your senses bombarded with all sorts of colors and patterns, like argyle, zebra print, and even penguins! And unlike fancy origami paper or glitter, duct tape is inexpensive and lasts forever.

“Only in this all-in-one Instructables collection can you find some of the most unique duct tape projects that will make you the coolest person you know. Everybody will be talking about your duct tape art, with projects including:

“The classic duct tape wallet, a dapper duct tape bow tie, a fabulous duct tape clutch, duct tape lilies for your valentine. and so many more!

“Making paper snowflakes and beaded bracelets are so twentieth century; the future is here and it’s made from duct tape. Impress your friends, entertain guests, keep your creative juices flowing, and save tons of money on Christmas presents all at the same time! With A Kid’s Guide to Awesome Duct Tape Projects, you’ll be the talk of the town before you even know it.”                 [J745.5 KID'S]



Leave a comment

Filed under Book Reviews, Children, Reading, Teens, Union City Library

Meet the Authors @ the Union City Library

Sunday, September 28, 2014

3:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.

Please join us for an afternoon talk with Yvetta Franklin and Ramona Thomas, the co-authors of The Code Switch,Code switch

Ramona Thomas often reflecting on her child-hood experience after publication of her second edition of Grandma’s Brown Cookies, had the idea for this story.  Her idea was to write a story about two best friends, one would speak slang primarily, and the other Standard English. She engaged Yvetta Franklin, who agreed to work on the book with her.

Yvetta Franklin is a Hayward Unified Schools Teacher who LOVES teaching. She ignites and excites her students to learn. “I try to color the lives of my pupils with joy, values and confidence.” Yvetta has been written up in several local newspapers and The California Educator Magazine. Yvetta has been nominated and included in Who’s Who among Teachers two years consecutively. These nominations can only come from prior elementary students who are now in college on the Dean’s List of their universities.

Leave a comment

Filed under Events, Reading, Union City Library