Monthly Archives: May 2014

Summer Sunday Specials

Enjoy selected artists and entertainers on three Sunday mornings this summer. Shows are at 11:00 a.m. in the Main Reading Room. All ages. No sign-up needed.

IMG_2144 copy2June 15: Throckmorton Theatre Youth Showcase
Musical numbers from The Wizard of Oz, Footlosse, Jesus Christ Superstar, Cinderella and Annie Kids, plus songs by a cappella group, Throckapella.



July 20: Corner Laughers
The Corner Laughers play catchy and clever pop music, full of harmony, hooks and intelligent lyrics.



August 10: Fratello Marionettes
Fratello Marionettes performs the classic fairy tale The Frog Prince. Will the princess keep her word to the frog? Join us to find out!


Middle School Summer Reading

spark-teen-english-poster-rgbIntroducing a summer reading program just for you! If you’re entering grades 6 through 8 this fall, keep track of what you read over the summer on our reading log and you’ll earn raffle tickets for fantastic prizes! You’ll receive one raffle ticket for each book you finish this summer. The more you read, the more chances to win!

Register online, in person, or by phone. Then come in to the library after June 23 and pick up your prize just for signing up! You’ll also get entered into the raffle, and prizes include: an iPad mini, two tickets to a Giants Game, iTunes gift cards, gift certificates and more!

Thursday Night @ the Library | 7:00pm – 8:30pm
All programs are for kids entering 6th, 7th, and 8th grades. Advance sign-up required for most programs. All programs meet in the Creekside Room.

June 26: Maker Air Force
The Maker Air Force needs YOU! Get hands on and learn how to build powered aerial vehicles: planes, helis, airships and more! Then take to the skies and pilot your aircraft all around the library airspace. Creekside Room. Advance sign-up required. This program is currently full. Click here to be added to the wait list.

July 10: Life-Size Clue
It’s an exciting night of murder mystery when we bring the classic game of Clue to life. But there’s no stuffy old Col. Mustard here. You’ll be a great book character like Katniss, Percy or Harry as you move yourself around the giant board and solve the mystery. Advance sign-up required. This program is now full. Click here to be added to the wait list.

July 17: Pizza & Pages Middle School Book Club
Come together to dine and discuss Scott Westerfeld’s steampunk thriller Leviathan. In an alternate 1914 Europe, fifteen-year-old Austrian Prince Alek, on the run from the Clanker Powers who are attempting to take over the globe using mechanical machinery, forms an uneasy alliance with Deryn who, disguised as a boy to join the British Air Service, is learning to fly genetically-engineered beasts. Advance sign-up required. This program is currently full. Click here to be added to the wait list.

July 24: Jewelry Making
Join artist Chelsee Robinson for a 90-minute class of jewelry-making instruction and construction. All materials are provided, including tools, beads, stones, crystals and gift bags. Creekside Room. Advance sign-up required. Click here to sign up.

July 31: Create a Video Game with Scratch
Learn coding by creating a simple game in Scratch! Learn basic computer science concepts and create a game that you can play and share. Creekside Room. Advance sign-up required. Click here to sign up. This program is currently full. Click here to be added to the wait list. 

August 7: Movie Night and Raffle
Celebrate your summer of reading at our Middle School Movie Party. We’ll watch Catching Fire (PG-13) and chomp on some freshly popped popcorn before we announce our raffle winners! Creekside Room. No advance sign-up required.

Get a free PeRL!
Want help deciding which books are perfect for you? Sign up for a 30-minute appointment with a librarian and get personalized book recommendations. Participants must be entering grades 5 through 8 in the fall.

Need community service hours? We need help with program prep (cutting, sorting, counting, etc.) and assistance with afternoon programs. Shifts are either 10:00 a.m. to noon or 2:00 to 4:30 p.m. Must be good with kids, responsible, and be willing to do tasks assigned. If you’re interested, click here to join our volunteer list, or email or call us at or 415-389-4292 x4741.


Mystery and Fantasy: New Books for Older Readers

bunnyOperation Bunny by Sally Gardner, illustrated by David Roberts
Operation Bunny is the first book in the WINGS & Co. fairy detective series that follows Emily Vole, a young girl who was abandoned in a train station when she was a baby. Now she is the adopted daughter of the horrible Dashwoods who have delegated her to a life of washing dishes and changing diapers. When Emily befriends the elderly lady next door and her talking cat, Fidget, she becomes entangled in a magical world or fairies and witches. She must help Fidget defeat a wicked fairy-capturing witch who is turning everyone that gets in her way into pink bunnies. Short chapters and plenty of quirky illustrations make this book a perfect choice for a child’s first juvenile novel. (age 7-10)

cover-half-a-chanceHalf A Chance by Cynthia Lord
For twelve-year-old Lucy, making new friends is never easy, even though she gets plenty of practice. Her family has moved many times following her adventurous father around the country, this time ending up in New Hampshire. When Lucy is asked to join her neighbors  to monitor the loons on the lake next to her house, she gets a chance to make friends with Nate, his sister, and grandmother. Her budding friendship with Nate is tested when they decide to enter a photography contest and Nate disagrees with one of the photos she has decided to enter. Lucy is forced to learn some hard lessons about what it means to be a friend and how to trust her own judgment. Half a Chance is a moving story about getting to know yourself and what life is like around someone with dementia. (age 8-12)

sevenSeven Wild Sisters: A Modern Fairy Tale by Charles de Lint, illustrated by Charles Vess
In Seven Wild Sisters, the companion novel to The Cats of Tanglewood Forest, tomboy Sarah Jane befriends Aunt Lillian, a slightly eccentric woman who lives in the forest close to her family’s farm. Sarah Jane loves listening to Aunt Lillian’s stories of fairies and magical creatures that live in the surrounding forest but she never expects them to be true until she finds a ginseng fairy who is dying from poisoned arrows. When she decides to save the little fairy’s life, she steps into the middle of a fairy war that threatens her entire family. Sarah Jane and her sisters take readers on an adventure to the fairy world that no one will want to leave. (age 8-13)

large_Under_the_Egg-copyUnder the Egg by Laura Marx Fitzgerald
Theodora Tenpenny is an unusually resourceful thirteen-year-old, but then again, she has had to be since the death of her grandfather, who left her only $463 and his last words: “look under the egg.” Since then she has been solely responsible for taking care of her mother and their crumbling 200-year-old home. The money is quickly dwindling and the painting that she finds under the egg has set her in the middle of a mystery that began during WWII. Theo must use all of her knowledge about art and any help she can get to put the pieces of her grandfather’s puzzle together before she loses everything. Young readers will love helping Theo solve her mystery while learning something about the art world in the process. (age 8-12)

-Sarah Beth

From Carnivors to Early Birds: New Books for Younger Readers

earlybirdEarly Bird by Toni Yuly
The old adage “the early bird gets the worm” is given new life in this brightly colored picture book. Early Bird cannot wait to start her day! After waking up early, she races ahead, going through, over, and around all kinds of objects to get to her goal: the worm. Full-page illustrations and flowing texts take readers on Early Bird’s journey, which concludes with a surprisingly sweet ending. This fun new take will leave young readers happy and wanting to share their own breakfasts. (ages 1-3)

princess penelopePrincess Penelope and the Runaway Kitten by Alison Murray
Since her parents are busy, Princess Penelope decides to play with the new kitten near her mother’s pink, shiny yarn. All of a sudden the kitten abruptly runs away, trailing sparkly yarn behind her! Penelope and Doggy chase the kitten all throughout the castle, the gardens, and the kitchens. More and more animals join Penelope and Doggy as they run after the mischievous kitten. The chase ends when the kitten is where he wants to be, much to the delight of Penelope. Rhyming text and a glittery, tactile yarn bring this charming story to life. (ages 3-7)

sparkySparky! by Jenny Offill, illustrated by Chris Appelhans
When her mother finally promises she can have a pet, “as long as it doesn’t need to be walked or bathed or fed.” one little girl gets creative with her choice. After consulting her school librarian, the little girl decides to adopt a sloth, an animal that sleeps for most of the day and is considered one of the laziest animals in the world. When the sloth arrives, she names him Sparky and he immediately falls asleep. Despite Sparky’s nature, his owner is determined to have a pet to play with and train and, as the little girl preps for a show Sparky will star in, she realizes that being a good pet owner accepts her pet’s personality and quirks. A sweet tale for animal lovers and would-be pet owners.

carnivoresCarnivores by Aaron Reynolds, illustrated by Dan Santat
The lion, the shark, and the timber wolf are three of the most feared creatures in the wild, but being scary doesn’t mean they’re feelings can’t be hurt. Movies and folktales give these carnivores a bad rap! Just because the lion has eaten most of the animals around, the shark is a fast eater, and the timber wolf is sneaky doesn’t mean they’re horrible — does it? The three begin meeting regularly to discuss their woes and how to fit in with the other animals. After several failed attempts to change their ways, the unlikely friends ask for the owl’s wise opinion on the matter. A fun story reminding everyone to be who they are and not try to change into someone they’re not. (ages 5-8)


SHARE-A-Book Dogs

Saturday, June 14, 1:00 – 2:00 p.m.

SHARE-A-Book DogsKids in kindergarten and older can make 15-minute appointments to read aloud to friendly four-legged friends. It’s a great way to increase confidence and improve read-aloud skills in a fun, relaxed atmosphere. Program takes place in the Children’s Room.

Call 389-4292 x4741 to register for a 15-minute appointment.

The dogs will also be here on July 12, August 9, September 13, October 11, November 8, and December 13.

Fun Family Museum Trips

family_at_the_art_museum_4608d6beae15036712b8b29cd38566edOnce I had kids, I basically stopped going to museums. I thought, my kids were too loud, easily bored, and just kid-like to enjoy the museums I wanted to go to, so I stayed away. Then my own parents showed me that even my kids can enjoy museums too. On a trip to Los Angeles, they all went to the Getty, and then later included me in a trip to the LA County Museum of Art (LACMA). I’m quite pleased to say that art museums are back on the menu for my family!

A successful family trip to the museum may take a little preparation.

  • Don’t try to see everything at once. Short and sweet visits leave the whole family much happier than long marches through entire buildings.
  • Visit the museum’s website ahead of time. You can plan your trip to see just the highlights, or even make your own scavenger hunt. Many have photos of their artwork online, along with information on the artists. Choose a handful of pieces and print out pictures to create a scavenger hunt of sorts. The kids can find the art in the museum and learn something as they go.
  • Consider choosing a special exhibit to visit. These are usually well-curated and well-contained, limiting the scope of a visit to something more manageable.
  • Read about museums and artwork. A favorite art series of mine is called Art for Children, which has books on Picasso, Matisse, and many others. Even if you’re not seeing works from these artists, the series gives an appreciation for how art is created in many different styles.
  • Or try fiction. One particularly fun museum adventure is From the Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler, in which a brother and sister run away from home to live in the Metropolitan Museum of Art. You could even watch one of the Night at the Museum movies, where exhibits come to life while the building is closed. Silly fun to be sure, but it shows kids a particular secret: every artifact at every museum is full of stories to share.

Once you’re at the museum, keep it fun!

  • Be enthusiastic – it’s contagious.
  • Play I Spy. Younger children especially will enjoy finding particular images in paintings. Older kids might like to find all the works from one or two artists.
  • Remember the outside too. Many museums, including the Getty and the De Young, have beautiful outdoor spaces full of statues and other pieces of art, and plenty of space to move around.
  • Ask your children for their opinions, and respect them. All art is not to everyone’s taste – that’s part of what’s so wonderful about it. What is their favorite piece in a room? Which one would they like to have on their wall back home?
  • Help them make connections to the art. Kids who like history might enjoy knowing whether an artist lived before or after the Revolutionary War. You could talk about what was happening in the world at the time the piece was created. This helps put art in context as well as showing connections between art and the rest of the world.
  • Take advantage of the educational programs offered. At LACMA we stopped in to the Children’s Gallery where the kids could make their own Japanese-inspired painting that day. Check out some of the resources listed at the bottom of this article for good family programming.
  • Don’t forget time for silliness. My kids love to take pictures, of themselves and of their surroundings. You could have them pose like statues, or take pictures (remember, no flash!) of the art they like best.

In the Bay Area we have some truly wonderful opportunities to share art and museums with our children. named the de Young Museum one of the 10 best art museums for kids. The de Young and the Palace of the Legion of Honor have extensive children and family programming, including kid-friendly tours and interactive exhibits.

The Asian Art Museum offers free Family Programs that allow parents and children to share exploration of Asian history and cultures via storytelling. (Discover & Go participant)

The San Jose Museum of Art has hands-on gallery activities and other family programs and events. (Discover & Go participant)

The Museum of African Diaspora has youth-specific tours that cater to families. (Discover & Go participant)

The Contemporary Jewish Museum offers numerous family programs. (Discover & Go participant)

Be sure to check out the whole list of Discover & Go participating museums, and get out there!


Throckmorton Youth Performers

IMG_2144 copy2Come hear musical numbers performed by Throckmorton Youth Performers and Little Throck from the 2013-14 season including Wizard of Oz, Footloose, Jesus Christ Superstar, Cinderella and Annie Kids.

June 15, 2014,11:00 – 11:45 a.m.
Main Reading Room, Mill Valley Public Library

All ages – No sign-up needed – FREE