Monthly Archives: August 2014

Stories & Science for Kindergartners

Stories&Sciencebodyp_s 007Does your kindergartner love science? Join us on four Thursdays in October from 2:00 to 2:45 p.m. for stories about the science topic of the day. After the stories, kids will break into groups and do hands-on science experiments. Sign-up for all four or just come to one. Parents can stay or drop-off depending on their child’s comfort level. Registration required. Please sign-up for each session separately. Creekside Room. Cost: Free!

Stories & Science is currently full. Click here to be added to the October 2 wait list.
Click here to be added to the October 9 wait list.
Click here to be added to the October 16 wait list.
Click here to be added to the October 23 wait list.

Adventures and Mockingbirds: New Books for Older Readers

mockingbirdI Kill the Mockingbird, by Paul Acampora
Didn’t you know that it’s a sin to kill a mockingbird? So who is trying to kill the mockingbird? And why? First in West Glover, Connecticut, then across states and online: Harper Lee’s beloved book, To Kill a Mockingbird, is disappearing from bookshelves. In it’s place is a flier that looks like a ransom note: “I KiLL thE MoCkInGBiRD.” Literary terrorists Lucy, Michael and Elena started this underground project to spark people’s interest in their favorite book before they start high school. But what happens when their plan becomes known as the “summer reading sabotage”? This short novel is ideal for fans of Carl Hiaasen’s novel, Hoot, and middle graders who enjoy realistic fiction. It has themes of activism, going against the grain, friendship, and handling the uncontrollable parts of life with the people you love. Last but not least, it will inspire you to read one of the greatest pieces of American literature! (ages 10-14)

beckyThe Actual & Truthful Adventures of Becky Thatcher by Jessica Lawson
Becky Thatcher is a cherry spittin’, overall wearing, bold young girl who is as superstitious as she is a darn good friend. She throws spitballs at Tom Sawyer for being a goody-goody, and sneaks out in the dead of night to meet the notorious Old Widow “witch” of the neighborhood. Becky has a promise to keep to her deceased brother Huckleberry: to go on wild adventures with his marbles in her pocket. But what happens when Becky’s adventures meet the Pritchard Brothers, the infamous, grave robbing, and murderous outlaws? Written in an old-timey Southern dialect of the 1860’s, The Actual and Truthful Adventures of Becky Thatcher is ideal for readers who appreciate a strong female character. An interesting twist on the American classics Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn, this story presents the so-called “real” versions of the people who inspired Mark Twain’s stories, who are vastly different from their more famous counterparts. This historical fiction novel is set in Mississippi and has strong themes of loyalty, navigating grief, and being your true and honest self. (ages 8-12)

savinglucasbiggs-typeSaving Lucas Biggs by Marisa de los Santos and David Teague
When Margaret O’Malley’s father is wrongfully accused of murder and sentenced to death by the hardened Judge Biggs, Margaret knows she has to do something, even if it means using the forbidden family trait: time travel. With the guidance of her best friend’s Grandpa Joshua, Margaret will use her time traveling gift to save more than just her dad. She is also trying to save Judge Biggs, who was once an idealistic boy who stood in solidarity with the oppressed people of the local mining corporation, and who saved Grandpa Joshua’s life. What happens to Luke Agrippa during these years will change him forever, into the cold and resentful Judge Lucas Biggs who is too bitter to see the truth. But Margaret is about to discover that time does not like to change. With a combination of historical fiction, adventure and a dash of magic, this versatile book should suit many reader’s fancies. Written from multiple perspectives, this book does a fantastic job of showing how important it is to walk in another person’s shoes. Full of empathy, collective consciousness, politics, and history, it would not surprise me if this novel won a Newbery Award. (ages 9-13)

forbidden libraryThe Forbidden Library by Django Wexler
Everything went downhill when Alice hid in a closet and saw a fairy threatening her father. She thought there was no such thing as fairies. Suddenly her father has vanished, supposedly killed on a shipping expedition, and now she must live with her mysterious but kind Uncle Geryon. When Alice meets a blasé cat who lets her in to her uncle’s forbidden library, she discovers that her family has kept her in the dark about what she is. Alice is a reader. When Alice reads the lines of special books, she finds herself in the book. The only way out is to defeat a character in a book, imprisoning them within her. Alice can use the character as a weapon forever when she is back in the real world. But nonetheless, the creature is a prisoner. Are readers the good guys or the villains? This fantasy novel is very action oriented, and will suit readers who like J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series, and Rick Riordan’s Percy Jackson books. The Forbidden Library ends with a cliffhanger, leaving the reader yearning for more!


Middle School Fall Programs

The library is hosting some great programs this fall, just for middle schoolers (grades 6-8 only). All programs take place in the Creekside Room and require advance registration.

Lego Mindstorms Robotics

131217_Lego_Mindstorms_robot_05-660x440In this five-week introductory series, middle schoolers will work in teams of two to build and program a Lego Mindstorms robot that performs various challenges.

The program meets on five Sundays: September 28 through October 26 from 3:00 to 4:30 p.m. Participants must plan to attend all five meetings. Advance registration required. Click here to register.

Pizza & Pages, Middle School Book Club: Monster by Walter Dean Meyers

monsterA teenager’s life is turned around by one single event… Does this make him a monster? Read the award-winning book Monster by Walter Dean Meyers, then come for a lively discussion, plus pizza and dessert.

While on trial as an accomplice to a murder, sixteen-year-old Steve Harmon records his experiences in prison and in the courtroom in the form of a film script as he tries to come to terms with the course his life has taken.

Tuesday, October 14 from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. Advance registration required. Click here to register.

Playwriting Workshop

playCalling all middle school playwrights! Learn the nuts and bolts of playwriting with a Marin Theatre Company professional. Participants will collaborate on a project over five weeks. No experience necessary! Program meets on Thursday evenings between October 16 and November 13, 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. Please plan on attending all five meetings. Advance registration required. Click here to register.

The Magical Moments of Summer

Really, summer’s almost over? But, I feel like we just got started! Yes, we are in our final week of summer programming, and I must say it’s been a wild, but spectacular ride. This was my first summer heading up the Children’s Room, and I am so proud of what we’ve accomplished. We encouraged kids to keep reading throughout the summer, and we provided programming that taught them more about STEAM-related topics such as astronomy, paleontology, physics, engineering, computer science and math. In all, we had 600 children who participated in the Full STEAM Ahead Reading Program and promised to read for three hours a week. If every reader did what they promised, that’s 14,400 hours of reading over eight weeks!

I am sure each member of the Children’s staff has their own magical moments that they witnessed this summer, but these are mine.

I loved watching the kids’ faces as I opened their reading logs to see what they had read for the week. They were so proud and eager to tell me about at least one of their favorite books.

DSCN2030In Cosmic Creations, Jenny made a comet with dry ice, dirt, ammonia and root beer and then used a blow dryer to simulate the tail of the comet! We had many future scientists in the audience who were eager to share their knowledge of space with Jenny. She listened to one boy tell her about black holes and other mysteries of space for about 30 minutes after the program ended.

On the day of our Elephant & Piggie party day, four-year-old Avery brought her favorite Elephant & Piggie book, Are You Ready to Play Outside?, to proudly read to Lauren. Even though Lauren was minutes away from needing to start story time, she happily sat and listened to every word of Avery’s sweet telling of the story.

DSCN2277While the Balloon-powered Raceway was probably one of our most challenging programs, the kids who participated learned a valuable lesson: making things often involves many failed attempts so patience is essential. The children built from water bottles or cardboard, straws, skewers, bottle caps, tape, and a balloon. When the races began, many of the cars needed major adjustments, but in time, we had many that rolled past the finish line! Success!

We created PeRLs (Personalized Reading Lists) for 108 kids entering grades 5 through 8 this summer. This program takes a lot of staff time, but is worth it. Not only do participating kids each get a list of books tailored just for them, but they also gain experience articulating their reading preferences to us. For some, it’s easy, but for many it’s the first time they’ve talked to an adult this way and it takes a lot of thought and courage.

DSCN2692Our Wednesdays on Stage performances offered many wonderful moments, but my favorite was during our last show when Steve Lucky and the five members of the Rhumba Bums paraded through the audience with instruments in hand and got the kids to follow them. This inspired many of the children and parents to dance for the remainder of the show. It was a great end to a wonderful series of magicians, musicians, acrobatics, theater, and storytelling.

This Friday, August 22, is our End-of-Summer Party, and it’s a fantastic way to bring the summer to a close. We’ll have crafts, face painting, free ice cream, hula hoops, bubbles and drummer Mika Scott who will lead a drum circle with the kids. The party is from 2:30 to 4:00 p.m. in the Peter Dreyfus Garden and Outdoor Amphitheater. Hope to see you there!


Read to a Dog

SHARE-a-Book Dogs
Saturday, September 13, 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 October 11, November 8, and December 13.

Basketball and Big Rigs: New Items for Younger Readers

BIG RIGBig Rig by Jamie A. Swenson, illustrated by Ned Young
Fans of I’m Fast and I’m Dirty by Kate and Jim McMullan are sure to blast their horns for this new picture book by Jamie A. Swenson. A big-rig semi truck introduces himself and invites the reader to accompany him on the road. This multi-wheeled guy is friendly, but tells it straight: “Do I have a horn? Ha! What do you think? Go ahead: pull down — URRRRNNNT-URRRRNNNT!” From there, the sounds of the brakes, the wipers, and, oh no!, a blowout tire punctuate this brightly colored and enjoyable read. Guaranteed to be a big hit for storytimes, Big Rig will also satisfy avid readers of our Things That Go! section. (ages 3-6)

EIEIOcover-330E-I-E-I-O: How Old MacDonald Got His Farm (with a Little Help From a Hen) by Judy Sierra, illustrated by Matthew Myers
We all know the story of Old MacDonald and his many farmyard animals. E-I-E-I-O! But how did the famous homesteader get that farm? Master picture-book writer Judy Sierra tells her version of how Old MacDonald first decided to chuck his lawnmower and begin an honest-to-goodness farm. Using humor and rhyme, Sierra weaves a delightful tale of dirt-digging, heavy-watering, compost-creating, poop-spreading, worm-nurturing, neighbor-protesting mess, leading to a glorious, functional, organic farm. Working as both a funny take on the song and an effective way to teach about gardening, this marvelous new picture book will serve equally well at bedtime and in preschool circle times. (ages 4-8)

CURIOUSJim Curious: A Voyage to the Heart of the Sea by Matthias Picard
Klang! Bong! Bong! Wearing a clunky deep-sea suit and helmet, Jim Curious tottles out of his stone cottage. He teeters down the road and descends a ladder into the sea. As soon as he ducks under water, a voluptuous octopus floats past and a big smile spreads across Jim’s face. For readers of this wordless picture book from France, a big smile is sure to make a similar appearance. Curious comes equipped with two 3-D glasses in the back of the book. With these aids, this sumptuous and innovative tome makes all kinds of exotic underwater life and hidden locales float off the page. Parents, prepare yourselves for many excited shouts of “It looks real!” as your children swim along with Jim Curious. (ages 6-10)

Hoop-GeniusHoop Genius: How a Desperate Teacher and a Rowdy Gym Class Invented Basketball by John Coy, illustrated by Joe Morse
Who could imagine that it took a gym class of sweaty, pushy, out-of-control kids and a last-ditch effort by an audacious teacher to devise one of the most popular sports in the United States today? With vivid writing, John Coy tells the story of how a teacher named Joe Naismith created basketball. Naismith went through indoor football (too rough), indoor soccer (also too rough), and indoor lacrosse (much, much too rough) before arriving at a totally new game inspired by his boyhood sport of “Duck on a Rock.” Joe Morse’s muscular, fresh, and large-scale illustrations provide the perfect complement to this fascinating tale. (ages 6-9)


Movie Fest and Party

Lego1It’s our End-of-Summer Movie and Game Fest! All programs start at 2:30 p.m. and are in the Creekside Room, except where noted. No sign-up necessary.

Friday, August 15: Lego Play Day
Get in touch with your inner engineer! Free play with our more than 10,000 Legos supports creativity, problem solving, and reading skills — and it’s FUN! Grades K and up.

moviesMonday, August 18: Rio 2 It’s a jungle out there for Blu, Jewel and their three kids after they’re hurtled from Rio de Janeiro to the wilds of the Amazon. As Blu tries to fit in, he goes beak-to-beak with the vengeful Nigel, and meets his father-in-law. All ages. (101 minutes. Rated G)

Tuesday, August 19: Muppets Most Wanted
While on a grand world tour, The Muppets find themselves wrapped into an European jewel-heist caper headed by a Kermit the Frog look-alike and his dastardly sidekick. All ages. (107 minutes. Rated PG)

Wednesday, August 20: The Lego MovieAn ordinary Lego construction worker, thought to be the prophesied ‘Special’, is recruited to join a quest to stop an evil tyrant from gluing the Lego universe into eternal stasis. All ages. (100 minutes. Rated PG)

Thursday, August 21: Game and Puzzle Day
Roll the dice, spin the spinner, or work a giant floor puzzle. Fun for the whole family! All ages.

Friday, August 22: End-of-Summer Party!
Fun for everyone! Celebrate the end of summer with your friends and library staff under the redwood trees. Hula hoops, crafts, bubbles, face painting, Mika Scott Drumming Circle, and free ice cream will be available for your enjoyment. All ages! Amphitheater. No sign-up needed. Located in the Peter Dreyfus Garden and the Outdoor Amphitheater.


Asheba: Caribbean Family Music

asheba2Sunday Special: Asheba

Dance, sing or just mellow out to the cool vibes and rhythmic sounds of this Bay Area treasure. Asheba specializes in vibrant songs from the musical and storytelling traditions of Trinidad.

September 14, 2014, from 11:00 to 11:45 a.m.

All ages – No sign-up needed
Cost: FREE
Location: Main Reading Room, Mill Valley Public Library


Stuffed Animal Sleepover!

On Monday, 27 children brought their stuffed friends to the library for a Pajama Story Time and a bedtime snack. We chomped on Walking S’mores (teddy grahams, chocolate chips, and mini marshmallows – so good!), sang our stuffies a lullaby and tucked them into bed. Then the stuffies got to spend the night at the library. These wonderful creatures – including two Yodas, a horse named Thumpy, Ele the elephant and a race car named Robot Face – had quite a fun adventure!

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Pajama Story Time continues year-round, though the sleepover is a once-a-year special event. You can come at 6:30 on the second Wednesday of every month for an evening story time in the Children’s Room.