Fun at Foster's blog

Read Me A Story & More @ Foster Library

Susan Mikula, Children’s Services Manager, will be presenting Read Me A Story & More, an early literacy educational workshop for parents and/or caregivers of children ages 0-5 on April 30 at 6 p.m. in the E.P. Foster Library Topping Room.

Modeling reading to parents and caregivers during a weekly storytime is just the beginning to help children develop early literacy skills. This early literacy education workshop will give parents and caregivers more tools to become totally engaged with their children.

Susan will share research, developed methods, and the basic supplies needed to take this information home and actually be able to share it with your child. In this workshop, you will learn the value of reading to your child, including the six early literacy skills and five practices. Not only will you learn why it is important to read to your child but how to select materials that include dialogic reading.

This workshop will take parents and caregivers beyond books with activities incorporating art and creativity, discovering the world, language development, exploring concepts, playtime, and oral storytelling. Susan will demonstrate how to transform your child’s favorite book into a flannel board story. Each participant will receive a free bag filled with information, activities, flannel figures, a flannel board, and a free book.

The Read Me A Story & More workshop is limited to ten participants per session. Sign up for this session by calling Star Soto at (805) 648-2716.

Font to Film: "Fantastic Mr. Fox"

Typically when a book is adapted for the screen the general tone and thematic content remain the same, even if specific events or characters are shuffled around. Fantastic Mr. Fox is a rare exception to this rule. Originally a children’s book written in 1970 by Roald Dahl, it was adapted to film by Wes Anderson nearly forty years later—and anyone who is familiar with Anderson’s other works will be unsurprised with how his version turned out.

Roald Dahl’s story is fairly straightforward: Mr. Fox makes his living by stealing chickens and other delicacies from three local farmers who despise him as a result. The farmers begin to hunt Mr. Fox, who must use his fantastic wit to protect his family and the other inhabitants of the forest. Bearing in mind that this is a book for children, there are still a couple of pretty strong themes present which merit some discussion. For instance, while Dahl’s farmers are presented as disgusting, vindictive men clearly destined to be the antagonists of any narrative, the fact remains that Mr. Fox is, at the end of the day, a thief. Concerns over whether glorifying such a lifestyle is appropriate for a young audience tend to be dismissed on the grounds that stealing is not, in fact, all that bad if it is a.) done to feed one’s family and b.) the victims are bad people. But Fantastic Mr. Fox is also a book about obsession, specifically on the part of the farmers, whose actions not only drive the plot but solidify their position as corrupt—or at least corruptible—characters. From a child’s perspective, it’s easy to see that they are villains, and to believe that villains deserve to be bested by heroes as clever and capable as Mr. Fox.
It should be mentioned right off the bat that Wes Anderson’s version of Fantastic Mr. Fox expands the narrative substantially, taking a children’s book of under a hundred pages and turning it into a fairly intricate and frantically-paced comedy. A simple example of this expansion is the portrayal of Mr. Fox—voiced by George Clooney—as a far more complex character, one who struggles to support his family while wrestling with an overblown sense of pride. Anderson interprets the book’s title ironically; Mr. Fox is less fantastic than flawed, leaving room for a significant transformation that simply wasn’t present in Dahl’s version. The supporting characters are fleshed out as well; Mrs. Fox (Meryl Streep) is no longer one-dimensionally unwavering in her devotion to her husband, and the four fox children are replaced by one brooding son and a curiously-enlightened nephew. Overall, the plot is the same: Mr. Fox makes his living stealing from three farmers who make it their mission to eradicate him and his family from their property. However, the addition of several new scenes and a more fleshed-out cast allows for the exploration of a few additional themes, such as coming to terms with one’s nature and intrinsic value while trying to develop a place in the world relative to those around you—be they friend or foe. 

Roald Dahl’s Fantastic Mr. Fox is available to borrow at E.P. Foster Library as part of the second-floor juvenile fiction collection. Wes Anderson’s film version is available at several branches of the Ventura County Library; if the book or DVD is not on the shelf at your local branch, you can request for it to be delivered to the branch of your choosing in person, over the phone, or online through our catalog.

 

Released into the wild by Ronald Martin.

Eastern and Western Perspectives on Health and Well-being

Visit the Topping Room on April 16, 2014, for the next installment of the E.P. Foster Library and CSU Channel Islands Lecture Series!

This event will feature a talk by Dr. Christy Teranishi Martinez, who will examine happiness and well-being from Eastern and Western perspectives.

The talk begins at 6 p.m. We hope to see you there!

The Month of the Military Child

In 1986, Secretary of Defense Caspar W. Weinberger designated each April as “The Month of the Military Child” to celebrate the contributions and inspiration of military children. There are approximately two million military children ranging in age from newborn to 18 years old; 1.3 million military children are school-aged. April is a time to acknowledge the strength and resilience of children who grow up in a unique and often changing environment and to reinforce that the health and well-being of military children contributes to the strength of our Armed Forces as a whole.

As the daughter of a lifetime Army veteran, I know how challenging, as well as rewarding, it can be to grow up as an “Army Brat.” We only saw our extended family in between deployments, if we had enough time. The longest time I ever lived in any one place was three-and-a-half years. I attended three different high schools in three years. This was “normal” for us. I look at the photos from my childhood and I see loving parents who did their best to create a home, no matter where we lived. As long as we were together, we were home.

Military children have a unique heritage and may not always understand civilian life. When asked about our “hometown” we may choose a location where we particularly enjoyed living, the place we lived the longest, or one of our parents’ hometowns. Today’s military children have different dilemmas to deal with than when I was growing up. My mom was a WAC, but she left the service when she married my dad. Today, many military children may have both parents in the service.

Ventura County is home to two military bases, Pt. Mugu Naval Air Station and Port Hueneme Navy Base. There are many families who make use of our libraries, including E.P. Foster. We have a number of materials available that focus on military children and their families.

Resident Photographer Aleta A. Rodriguez

Haiku Poetry Contest @ Foster Library

Come celebrate National Haiku Day with E.P. Foster Library by entering our Haiku Poetry Contest! You can enter at the library or by visiting this link between April 2 and April 16.

Entries should follow the traditional haiku structure: three lines of five, seven, and five syllables. There will be prizes for the winners! Call or visit the library for more details.

For inspiration, check out last year’s winners!

Book Appetit: Sunflowers on the Square

Join us at E.P. Foster Library on Saturday, April 5, in the Topping Room for our next Book Appetit event!

The owner of Sunflowers on the Square, a local Ventura bakery, will be at the event to provide tips on creating delicious treats as well as give a live baking demonstration!

It all starts at 5 p.m. Call or visit the library for details!

The Big Read @ Foster: Captain Luis Carlos Montalván

On April 15, 2014, come by E.P. Foster Library to listen to a talk by Captain Luis Carlos Montalván, author of Until Tuesday: A Wounded Warrior and the Golden Retriever Who Saved Him.

Captain Montalván will be discussing the “war after the war,” the human-animal bond, and an inspirational story of healing and hope.

The event is at 6 p.m. in the Topping Room. We look forward to seeing you there!

The Veterans Home of California—Ventura

On March 7, 2014, Foster Library opened its Veterans Resource Center inside the library. Its purpose is to assist veterans in finding resources they may not be aware are available. The Veterans Home of California—Ventura, which opened in December 2010, is just one of the resources available to veterans who may need assisted-living accommodations. The Veterans Home provides California veterans with a living environment that protects their dignity and contributes to their sense of self-reliance as well as self-worth.


As part of its commitment to provide materials to educate and enlighten, E. P. Foster Library has many items available for veterans.


Resident Photographer Aleta A. Rodriguez

Novelties: “Sycamore Row,” by John Grisham

In 1989, John Grisham’s first novel, A Time to Kill, was released. Though it initially had a modest showing, the novel ultimately became a best-seller, even being made into a feature film in 1996. Twenty-four years later we have Sycamore Row (2013), Grisham’s latest offering, which reunites readers with the time, place, and familiar characters from his incredible debut.

A master of the legal thriller, Grisham is also returning to the subject of race relations in Sycamore Row. Jake Brigance is a Mississippi lawyer facing an interesting case. An elderly and extremely wealthy man has hanged himself after penning an alternate will that cuts off his immediate family and leaves the bulk of his estate to his African-American housekeeper. Brigance has been chosen to ensure that the will is faithfully executed—largely due to the reputation he earned in A Time to Kill—which proves difficult once the deceased’s next-of-kin learn they have been passed-over. In working the case he partners with several familiar faces, including Lucien Wilbanks and Harry Rex Vonner from A Time to KillSycamore Row’s place on the New York Times Best Seller List testifies to Grisham’s ability to write complex legal fiction in a way that is engaging and leaves the reader ready for more.
If you can’t get your hands on Sycamore Row right away, consider looking into The Reversal (2010), by Michael Connelly. Being a NoveList Plus read-alike for Grisham’s latest, the two have a lot in common: they are both legal thrillers, they both have fast-paced, suspenseful storylines, and they both revisit a recurring character from their author’s extended universe. Mickey Haller is a defense attorney, first introduced to readers in The Lincoln Lawyer (2005). In The Reversal, however, Haller is called upon to join the prosecution for a case involving a man whose conviction for killing a young girl has been recently overturned. Haller agrees to work on the retrial along with his ex-wife and half-brother, both characters fans of Connelly will be familiar with—Haller’s half-brother Harry Bosch is actually the subject of his own series of books by Connelly. Like Grisham, Connelly manages to write courtroom scenes in a way that turns even routine procedures into page-turning scenes.
Rounding out this legal suspense trio is I Heard That Song Before (2007), by Mary Higgins Clark. When she was a child, Kay Lansing—the daughter of a gardener who worked on an estate owned by the Carrington family—overheard a suspicious exchange involving desperation and blackmail. Now 28 years old, Kay returns to the estate to ask a favor of its present owner, Peter Carrington, and finds herself falling in love with him. But Peter has a shady past, having been suspected of involvement with the death of a teenage girl years before, not to mention the death of his pregnant wife some time later. As the accusations unfold, Kay struggles with the faith she has in her husband on the one hand and a gnawing sense of doubt on the other. Ultimately, she learns that finding the truth might mean putting herself in significant danger. While Clark’s formula may feel familiar to her avid fans, it will most likely keep you guessing until the very end.

Sycamore Row, The Reversal, and I Heard That Song Before are all available to borrow at E.P. Foster Library. You can also access NoveList Plus from our eLibrary’s Reading Suggestions section. If the book you are interested in is not currently on the shelf at your branch, you can always request a copy either in-person, over the phone, or online through our catalog.


Woven together by Ronald Martin.

California Young Reader Medal Nominees

The California Young Reader Medal program encourages recreational reading of popular literature among the young people of our state. Since its inception in 1974, millions of California children have nominated, read, and voted for the winners of the California Young Reader Medal.

Books are nominated for the medal in four categories: Primary (K-2), Intermediate (3-6), Middle School/Junior High (6-9), and Young Adult (9-12). Students may read and vote for books in any and all categories, but they must read all the books nominated in a category to be eligible to vote.

This is a student program and books can only be nominated and voted upon by students. Students read the nominated books from July through March, vote for their favorite, and submit the results to the CYRM committee. All CYRM ballots are due by April 1 of each year.

The Ventura County Reading Association (VCRA), an affiliate of the California Reading Association (CRA) and the International Reading Association (IRA), is a professional organization of teachers, student teachers, administrators, librarians, instructional assistants, parents, and others committed to literacy efforts in Ventura County. Each year, VCRA members work to promote literacy through a variety of dynamic events and educational activities.

Participating in a contest is always exciting! In California, children have the chance each year to nominate, read, and vote for books to win the California Young Reader Medal (CYRM). You can have your children participate in the CYRM voting!  Find out more at www.californiayoungreadermedal.org. The website provides the titles of the 2013-14 CYRM nominees, ballot information, and nomination forms. All CYRM ballots submitted for 2013-14 must be postmarked by April 1.

Even better, bring your children to the CYRM event at E.P. Foster Library in Ventura to hear and vote for the five books nominated in the Primary category. This special event will take place on Wednesday, March 26 from 3:30-4:30 p.m. Come in and vote for these nominees:

Can’t wait to see you there!

Syndicate content