Noe Valley Voice November 2011
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People Are Fascinating

By Susan Higgins, Adult Services Librarian,
and Catherine Starr, Children’s Librarian,
Noe Valley/Sally Brunn Library

 

This month, we’re featuring memoirs, biographies, and other books about people. These books give us the opportunity to put ourselves in someone else’s shoes, gain new perspectives on historical events, or learn about life during a particular era. Biographies give us a closer look at people we admire and can help us understand those we loathe. Plus, we can find inspiration from reading about the lives of everyday people who overcame challenges or who made positive contributions to society. 

Biographies and memoirs are located in various sections of the Noe Valley/Sally Brunn Library, so be sure to check the catalog to find books written by or about a particular person.

 

Books for Adults

 New York Times senior financial writer Diana B. Henriques explains the riveting details of Madoff’s Ponzi scheme and how he was able to get away with it for so long, in The Wizard of Lies: Bernie Madoff and the Death of Trust.

 Pulitzer Prize–winning biographer Stacy Schiff turns her extensive research into an entertaining biography of the Queen of the Nile in Cleopatra: A Life.

 Carolyn Burke’s No Regrets: The Life of Edith Piaf brings the singer to life and gives us a colorful picture of life in Paris during the first half of the 20th century.

 Nelson Mandela‘s personal archive of letters, diaries, notebooks, and interviews provides a compelling view of his remarkable life in Conversations with Myself.

 In I Was a Dancer: A Memoir, Jacques d’Amboise looks back on his 35 years with the New York City Ballet and shares stories about the great dancers and choreographers who influenced him.

 Johnny Appleseed: The Man, the Myth, the American Story, by Howard Means, explores the real life of John Chapman, the man who became a folk hero.

 Willie Mays: The Life, the Legend, by James S. Hirsch, is the authorized biography of the baseball legend, providing details about his personal and professional life.

 Novelist Anne Roiphe recounts her difficult marriage to a playwright and her relationships with important writers of the ’50s and ’60s in Art and Madness: A Memoir of Lust Without Reason. 

 Fans of popular entertainer Dick Van Dyke will enjoy the many anecdotes in his memoir My Lucky Life In and Out of Show Business.

 Modigliani: A Life, by Meryle Secrest, presents a revised image of the artist whose complex and fascinating life was sensationalized in books and film.

 Molly Birnbaum was hit by a car, causing her to lose her sense of smell, just as she was about to begin courses at the Culinary Institute of America. Her moving and informative memoir is Season to Taste: How I Lost My Sense of Smell and Found My Way. 

 

Books for Children

 Having learned to be creative in drawing pictures at home, young Tommy is confounded when he goes to school and finds the art instruction very rigid, in The Art Lesson, an autobiographical picture book by artist/storyteller Tomie DePaola. Ages 4 to 8.

 Planting the Trees of Kenya, by Claire A. Nivola, is the story of Kenyan Wangari Maathai, the first woman from Africa to receive the Nobel Peace Prize (2004). Ages 5 to 8.

 Carole Boston Weatherford’s Before John Was a Jazz Giant: A Song of John Coltranefocuses on the childhood of jazz saxophonist John Coltrane. The story will resonate with children, “who will recognize the music in their daily lives” (Booklist). Illustrated by Sean Qualls. Ages 5 and up.

 Lou Gehrig: The Luckiest Manby David A. Adler, illustrated by Terry Widener, is about the New York Yankees star who considered himself lucky throughout life, despite being diagnosed at 36 with a rare and fatal disease. Ages 6 to 9. 

 A 2002 Caldecott Honor book, The Dinosaurs of Waterhouse Hawkins: An Illuminating History of Mr. Waterhouse Hawkins, Artist and Lecturer, by Barbara Kerley, introduces a little-known 19th-century artist who spent three decades building the first life-size models of dinosaurs. Drawings by Brain Selznick. Ages 6 and up. 

 Barbara Kerley’s picture biography What to Do About Alice?: How Alice Roosevelt Broke the Rules, Charmed the World, and Drove Her Father Teddy Crazy tells how President Theodore Roosevelt’s spirited daughter Alice captured the Washington spotlight. Illustrated by Edwin Fotheringham. Ages 4 to 8. 

 The Voice That Challenged a Nation: Marian Anderson and the Struggle for Equal Rights is Russell Freedman’s biography of African-American singer Marian Anderson, who in the 1930s performed for kings and queens in Europe but was barred from singing at Constitution Hall just because she was black. Ages 9 to 14.

 The Lincolns: A Scrapbook Look at Abraham and Mary, by Candace Fleming, uses letters, photos, engravings, and cartoons to explore the lives of President Lincoln and wife Mary Todd Lincoln, from childhood through the Civil War and beyond. Ages 10 and up.

 

LIBRARY EVENTS

 

Choosing a Public School

Researching, deciding, and applying for schools can seem overwhelming. This workshop, by Parents for Public Schools of San Francisco, will explain the SFUSD’s student assignment system, provide tips on enrollment, and share ways to prepare for school. Thursday, Nov. 3, 10:30 a.m. to noon.

One City One Book

Join your neighbors for a discussion of Mary Roach’s Packing for MarsThe Curious Science of Life in the Void, San Francisco’s 2011 “One City One Book” selection. Funny and thought-provoking, the book explores many aspects of space travel, such as how astronauts are chosen and how zero gravity affects eating, eliminating, and mating. Saturday, Nov. 12, 3:30 to 5 p.m.

What Are You Reading?

Chelkash, a story about a thief and his accomplice, by Russian writer Maxim Gorky, will be featured at the Great Books Discussion Group on Wednesday, Nov. 9, 6: 15 to 8:15 p.m. A week later, on Wednesday, Nov. 16, members of the Noe Valley Book Discussion Group will trade ideas from 7 to 8:30 p.m. All are welcome.

                       

CHILDREN’S EVENTS

 

Science and Solubility

UCSF and the Bay Area Science Festival sponsor a hands-on Science Workshop where kids 8 to 14 can learn about cells and solutions, and how to extract DNA from strawberries. Thursday, Nov. 3, 4 to 5 p.m.

Create a Comic Book

Do you love to draw? Learn how to create your own cartoon characters and story, and to begin a comic book. For ages 7 to 12. Friday, Nov. 4, 4 to 5 p.m.

Talespinning for Toddlers

Toddler Tales offers two sessions of storytelling, fingerplays, rhymes, music, and movement for children 18 to 36 months. Tuesdays, Nov. 1, 8, 22, and 29. 10:15 to 10:45 a.m., and 11 to 11:30 a.m.

Films for Preschoolers

Kids ages 3 to 5 are invited to come watch films based on their favorite picture books. Tuesday, Nov. 15, 10:15 to 10:45 a.m., and 11 to 11:30 a.m.

All events take place at the Noe Valley/Sally Brunn Library, 451 Jersey St. near Castro Street. For information, call 415-355-5707 or go to www.sfpl.org.


BRANCH HOURS

Noe Valley/Sally Brunn Branch Library

451 Jersey St., 355-5707

Sun
Mon
Tues
Wed
Thurs
Fri
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1-5

10-9
1-9
10-6
1-6
10-6


Eureka Valley–Harvey Milk Branch Library

1 José Sarria Ct. (3555 16th St.), 355-5616

Sun
Mon
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12-6
10-9
12-9
10-6
1-6
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Glen Park Branch Library

2825 Diamond St., 355-2858


Sun
Mon
Tues
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Thurs
Fri
Sat

10-6
10-6
12-8
1-7
1-6
1-6

Mission Branch Library

300 Bartlett St., 355-2800

Sun
Mon
Tues
Wed
Thurs
Fri
Sat
1-5
1-9
10-9
10-9
10-6
1-6
10-6