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A couple of highlights in this month's book list, provided by San Francisco librarians Pam Ow, Carol Small, and Sharon Dezurick (and Voice bookworm Karol Barske), are a novel about the father of Mark Twain's most famous character, Huckleberry Finn, and a children's story about three little dragons planning a birthday party. To search for these books, or for DVDs and CDs, call or stop by a branch library or visit the San Francisco Public Library online at www.sfpl.org. Be aware that the Noe ValleySally Brunn Library on Jersey Street is closed for a seismic retrofit until early 2008. For information, call 557-4400.
- Using Boccaccio's Decameron as a template, Jane Smiley satirizes a group of Hollywood characters who take refuge in a hillside villa at the time of the U.S. invasion of Iraq, in her new Ten Days in the Hills.
- Jon Clinch's debut novel, Finn, a prequel to Mark Twain's Mississippi River novels, tells the tale of Huckleberry Finn's black-sheep father, a bigoted drunkard who dies a mysterious premature death.
- Dave Eggers' What Is the What: The Autobiography of Valentino Achak Deng, is a partly fictionalized memoir about a "Lost Boy" from the Sudanese civil war, who suffered many perils along his 15-year journey through the refugee camps of Kenya and Ethiopia to his eventual home in Atlanta.
- In the two novellas that comprise Suite Française, Irene Némirovsky recounts life in France in the early 1940s, as the Nazis began their invasion of the country. The author lost her life at Auschwitz in 1942, before completing the five-part work.
- Julie Phillips documents the life of a science-fiction writer who hid her identity, in James Tiptree Jr.: The Double Life of Alice B. Sheldon.
- About Alice is humorist Calvin Trillin's touching tribute to his wife Alice, who died of lung cancer on Sept. 11, 2001.
- Ayaan Hirsi Ali, a Somali-born member of the Dutch Parliament who faced death threats following her collaboration on a film about domestic violence, discusses her struggle with her Muslim faith, in Infidel.
- Rhonda Byrne brings together the fragments of "a great secret," culled from literature and philosophies around the globe, to create The Secret, a bestseller that emphasizes the power of thought and visualization.
--Karol Barske, Noe Valley Voice staff
- Joe and Gram work their vegetable patch through all the seasons and gather the bounty in Kathy Henderson's And the Good Brown Earth, a lovely paean to nature and fellowship. Ages 4 to 7.
- Despite the big messes that result from the three little dragons' efforts to bake a cake and put on a magic show, all ends well in Happy Birthday, Good Knight, a beginning reader by Shelley Moore Thomas, illustrated by Jennifer Plecas. Ages 5 to 7.
- Grandpa Spanielson spins a wild tall tale about battling The Octopus to entertain Barney, who has the chickenpox, in Denys Cazet's comically illustrated reader. Ages 6 to 8.
- How does 8-year-old Rose avert Caddy's marriage at the altar? Read Hilary McKay's Caddy Ever After, the fourth book in a series about the artistic, fascinating Casson family and their friends. The earlier titles are Saffy's Angel, Indigo's Star, and Permanent Rose. Ages 10 to 14. (Recommended by Sharon Dezurick, Children's Librarian, Mission Branch Library.)
- The dream-giver, named "Littlest," nurtures and strengthens an angry boy and an elderly woman and thereby counteracts the destructive actions of the Sinisteeds, in Lois Lowry's novel, Gossamer. Ages 10 and older. (Recommended by Carol Small, Head Librarian, Noe ValleySally Brunn Library.)
- Ms. Frizzle and her students journey back in time to meet some famous scientists to learn how they worked and to gain inspiration for their own experiments, in The Magic School Bus and the Science Fair Expedition, written by Joanna Cole, illustrated by Bruce Degen. Ages 6 to 9.
--Pam Ow, Children's Librarian, Eureka ValleyHarvey Milk Memorial Branch Library
Tuesday Is Song and Story Time
- You and your baby or toddler will enjoy song, rhymes, and finger play at the 10:15 a.m. lapsits, held on Tuesdays, April 3, 10, 17, and 24, at Bethany United Methodist Church, 1268 Sanchez St. Preschool story time, for children ages 3 to 5, follows at 11 a.m., also on April 3, 10, 17, and 24.
- Kids of all ages might want to check out the San Francisco Library's Bookmobile, parked at 665 Elizabeth Street near Diamond Street on Mondays and Wednesdays from 10:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.