Noe Valley Voice July-August 2010

Free Books: Oh Say, Can You See

By Susan Higgins
Noe Valley Adult Services Librarian

July is a big month for national holidays. According to's "National Holidays Around the World," more than 25 countries and territories will be celebrating independence, revolution, or founding days this month. Among these countries, Canada celebrates the creation of the Dominion of Canada in 1867 on Canada Day (July 1), and France observes Bastille Day, La Fête Nationale, on the 14th. Our own Independence Day on July 4 may inspire reading about U.S. history or a desire for books that will improve your barbecue skills or teach you how to make a batch of homemade ice cream. Here are some of the books and movies available at the Noe Valley/Sally Brunn Library that can help you enjoy the holidays, history, culture, and food of the United States, Canada, and France.

Adult Fiction

- Elizabeth Hay's Late Nights on Air tells the love stories and adventures of the employees of a small radio station in the Canadian North during the 1970s.

- Too Much Happiness is the latest collection of stories by Canadian author Alice Munro, recipient of the Man Booker International Prize.

- In The Year of the Flood, Canadian author Margaret Atwood returns to the nightmarish future first described in her book Oryx and Crake.

- On DVD, Slings and Arrows is a witty Canadian television series about a dysfunctional Shakespearean theater troupe.

- Victor Hugo's final novel, Ninety-Three, translated by Helen B. Dole, explores the terror of the French Revolution.

- On DVD, Marie Antoinette, Sofia Coppola's film based on the book by Antonia Fraser, tells the story of the ill-fated queen of France.

Adult Nonfiction

- Unlikely Allies: How a Merchant, a Playwright, and a Spy Saved the American Revolution, by Joel Richard Paul, studies three forgotten characters and their roles in determining the outcome of the Revolutionary War.

- Historian George C. Daughan examines the origins and development of the Navy in If by Sea: The Forging of the American Navy--from the American Revolution to the War of 1812.

- Former Chez Panisse pastry chef David Lebovitz offers recipes and practical advice for making great ice cream in The Perfect Scoop.

- Weber's Way to Grill: The Step-by-Step Guide to Expert Grilling, by Jamie Purviance, is full of recipes and illustrated techniques for grilling all types of meats and fish using a variety of grilling equipment.

Teen Fiction

- The adventures of four American teen exchange students in Paris are featured in Lucy Silag's Beautiful Americans.

- Readers will find romance, history, magic, and mystery in The Red Necklace: A Story of the French Revolution and the sequel, The Silver Blade, by Sally Gardner.

- Young people in a small Ontario town are the victims of a soul-stealing monster in Bonechiller by Graham McNamee.

- A young woman disguises herself in order to serve in the Continental Army in Soldier's Secret: The Story of Deborah Sampson, by Sheila Solomon Klass.

Picture Stories for Young Children

- Mice travel to a Paris circus in a hot air balloon in Johanna Wright's Secret Circus.

- The classic series about Parisian schoolgirl Madeline, by Ludwig Bemelmans, is still a favorite of children and their parents.

- A Chinese-American girl tells her parents that no one wants to eat Chinese food on the Fourth of July, in Janet S. Wong's Apple Pie Fourth of July.

- Harriet Ziefert's Hats Off for the Fourth of July shows a day of celebrations and parades in small-town America.

- Ruby plans a Fourth of July picnic in Bunny Mail by Rosemary Wells.

- A Seaside Alphabet by Donna Grassby helps young readers learn the alphabet while looking at scenes from the coasts of Maine, Nova Scotia, and Prince Edward Island.

For Older Children

- The Invention of Hugo Cabret, a novel in words and pictures by Brian Selznick, is the Caldecott Award-winning story of an orphan who lives in a train station in 1930s Paris.

- Tim Wynne-Jones explores the Cold War era from the perspective of a Canadian boy in Rex Zero and the End of the World.

- Strange things happen after a Canadian family inherits a Scottish castle in Susan Cooper's The Boggart.

- On DVD, Best of the Best--Especially for Kids, from the National Film Board of Canada, is a collection of nine animated short films for ages 8 years and up.

- Newbery Award classic Johnny Tremain by Esther Forbes is the story of a silversmith's apprentice in the days before the American Revolution.

- Ron Roy's Fireworks at the FBI, part of the Capital Mysteries series, finds K.C. and Marshall investigating unauthorized Fourth of July fireworks at the FBI building.

- Amie Jane Leavitt's Declaration of Independence in Translation presents this historic document in its original and in everyday language.

- American Revolution by Stuart Murray, an Eyewitness Book published in association with the Smithsonian Institution, is a visual guide to the events of the war for independence.

Read International News Online

- You can read cover-to-cover digital replicas of today's newspapers from the U.S., Canada, France, and more than 75 additional countries at PressDisplay. View more than 650 national, regional, and local newspapers in 38 languages. French news sources include Le Figaro, Liberation, and International Herald Tribune. Among the dozens of Canadian newspapers you'll find are The Globe and Mail, Toronto Star, the Gazette, and the Vancouver Sun. You can find PressDisplay by going to Click on eLibrary, and then Articles and Databases. Then look for PressDisplay.


Down by the Riverside

- Singer/songwriter Gary Lapow sings songs about water as a tie-in to the Summer Reading program, on Tuesday, July 6, 3 to 3:45 p.m.

Circus Workshop

- On Tuesday, July 13, 4 to 4:45 p.m., Patti Gelinas, a circus instructor, will teach kids 5 and up how to move like a circus performer. Space limited; call for reservations: 355-2813.

The Art of Seeding

- Learn how to plant and care for seeds at a hands-on workshop led by the Victory Farmer on Tuesday, July 20, from 3 to 3:45 p.m. Children 3 and up welcome.

How to Talk to a Dog

- SPCA volunteer Cathy Brody and her service dog will show children how to approach, communicate, and make friends with a dog. Tuesday, July 27, 3 to 3:45 p.m..

Toddler Tales

- Toddlers 18 months to 3 years old will enjoy songs, rhymes, and finger play at Toddler Tales, held Tuesdays, July 6, 13, and 27, from 10:15 to 10:45 a.m.

Films for Children

- On Tuesday, July 20, the library will have two screenings of films for children to age 5, at 10:15 a.m. and at 11 a.m.

Preschool Story Time

- Preschool Story Time, which features books, songs, and movement for kids 3 to 5--happens on Tuesdays, July 6, 13, and 27, from 11 to 11:30 a.m.

Summer Reading

- Summer Reading programs for children, teens, and adults end on July 31, but it's not too late to sign up. Register at the library.

All events take place at the Noe Valley/Sally Brunn Library, 451 Jersey Street near Castro Street; 355-5707.