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This month's reading list, suggested by Voice bookworm Karol Barske and Children's Librarian Pam Ow of the San Francisco Public Library, includes a collection of fairy tales to read aloud with children, and a surprising survey on Going Gray. To see if a book is available, drop by your local branch or visit the Library online at www.sfpl.org. Note: The Noe ValleySally Brunn Library at 451 Jersey Street is closed for renovation until spring 2008.
- Denis Johnson examines the Vietnam War and its aftermath in Tree of Smoke, a novel which just won the National Book Award.
- A former banker takes a job in a funeral home, where he witnesses a supernatural event, in Ghost by Alan Lightman, author of Einstein's Dreams.
- T.C. Boyle, Ann Beattie, Mary Gordon, and John Barth are among the contributors to The Best American Short Stories, 2007, selected by Stephen King and Heidi Pitlor.
- Anne Kreamer reveals "what [she] learned about beauty, sex, work, motherhood, authenticity, and everything else" when she compared hair-dyeing with Going Gray.
- The late Norman Mailer and Michael Lennon discuss spiritual controversies, including intelligent design, in On God: An Uncommon Conversation.
- In Exposed: The Toxic Chemistry of Everyday Products, subtitled "Who's at Risk and What's at Stake for American Power," Mark Schapiro examines the 2005 CDC tests that found 148 toxic chemicals in the bodies of Americans of all ages.
- Portraits and Observations: The Essays of Truman Capote is a collection of 42 pieces about travel and celebrity, written over the course of 38 years.
--Karol Barske of the Noe Valley Voice staff
- A cloud realizes its dream of becoming a city police officer, but when things don't go well, another line of work saves the day, in The Police Cloud, by Christoph Niemann. Ages 4 to 6.
- One rainy day, a sneaky, finicky, troublesome, wet yellow cat with fleas is found on a doorstep and somehow manages to become Mrs. Crump's Cat, in a gentle, warmhearted story of friendship by Linda Smith, illustrated by David Roberts. Ages 5 to 9.
- In Nate the Great Talks Turkey: With Help from Olivia Sharp, detectives Nate and his cousin Olivia, plus his dog and a friend, are all on the case of a runaway giant turkey. Marjorie Weinman Sharmat and Mitchell Sharmat wrote this longer reader, with art by Jody Wheeler. Ages 7 to 9.
- Mary Ann Hoberman's Very Short Fairy Tales to Read Together ("in which wolves are tamed, trolls are transformed, and peas are triumphant") gives pairs of readers the opportunity to read aloud eight versified fractured fairy tales. Illustrated by Michael Emberley. Ages 7 to 9.
- The Extinct Files: My Science Project, by Wallace Edwards, is a boy's notebook filled with observations and wild pictures of dinosaurs' behavior, which prove his hypothesis that dinosaurs are alive and well! Puns and humor for ages 6 to 10.
- Douglas Florian offers 20 poems and colorful mixed-media paintings in a lyrical, informative introduction to the universe--Comets, Stars, the Moon, and Mars. Additional facts appear in the "Galactic Glossary" at the end. Ages 6 to 10.
--Pam Ow, Children's Librarian
Eureka ValleyHarvey Milk Memorial Branch
Stories, Songs, and Finger Plays
- The Noe Valley Library invites you to enjoy stories, songs, and finger plays with your baby or toddler at the lapsits held on Tuesdays, Dec. 4, 11, and 18, at 10:15 a.m., at Bethany United Methodist Church, 1268 Sanchez Street at Clipper Street. Preschool story time, a read-aloud program for kids ages 3 to 5, follows at 11 a.m.
All Aboard the Bookmobile
- You can get a library card and check out books, CDs and DVDs at the Noe Valley Bookmobile, which parks on Mondays and Wednesdays from 10:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at 665 Elizabeth Street near Diamond.
Films and Afternoon Tales
- Kids ages 3 to 5 will enjoy films, including Red Ball Express, Antarctic Antics, and The Mole and the Hedgehog, on Thursday, Dec. 13, at the Eureka Valley Library, on 16th Street near Market. The branch also hosts an afternoon story time on Tuesdays Dec. 4, 11, and 18, at 3:30 p.m.
Glen Park's Bilingual Story Time
- On Dec. 4, the Glen Park Library at 2825 Diamond Street, offers a bilingual circle time for children of all ages, in Spanish and English. It starts at 10:30 a.m. Meanwhile, the branch continues its regular book group, on Wednesday, Dec. 19, with a 6:30 p.m. discussion of Gilead by Marilynne Robinson.
Homework Help in the Mission
- The Mission Library, 300 Bartlett Street, gives kids in K to seventh grade homework help from 4 to 6 p.m. on most Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays in December.