Category Archives: homepage gallery

First Thursday: FanPop!

Dr. Who? Harry Potter? Supernatural? (Or maybe you just really like decorating things). Get down with your fan-person self at this Fanpop night!

We will have blank totes, socks (hey, you wanted ’em), backpacks, and other items for you to decorate for your next concert, Comic-Con, holiday gifts, or just to add to your collection. Get crazy with fabric pens, glitter and take care of your holiday gifts all at the same time!

For your entertainment, Katie will also read a selection of the worst fan-fiction the internet has to offer. Food and beverages provided!

For high school students only.

Registration strongly recommended. Click here to register.


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MyCast: Your Story, Your Voice, Your Podcast

What’s your story?2mycast_postcard

The radio show is making a comeback with the increasing popularity of podcasts like Serial, Radiolab, and Welcome to Nightvale. Now it’s your turn. Whether you want to interview someone, write and record an opinion piece, or perform an original One Act with your friends–MyCast gives you the opportunity to voice what matters to you.


Over four classes, you will write, edit, record  something to share with the world.

In MyCast, you’ll learn essential writing, editing, and technology skills. Your story, as well as the stories of the other students who participate, will be available for download as a podcast on iTunes and on the Library’s website.

Space in this exciting (FREE) program is limited and is open to high school students only.   Please make sure you can attend all the classes prior to registering.

Register here

MyCast classes will take place from 2-4 PM on the following Saturdays: 1/16, 1/23, 1/30, and 2/6.


Read the Mill Valley Patch’s article on the program here. Additional cycle scheduled for spring. Details to come.

The Mill Valley Library is located at 375 Throckmorton Ave, Mill Valley, CA 94941

Contact the Young Adult Librarian at 415-389-4292 x 4727

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Late Night Study Hall

December 14th, 15th, 16th and 17th from 9-11 PMlatenightstudyhall2015

It’s finals week and all you want is some place where you can study (either in groups or alone) after school closes, refuel (with sweets and coffee), and take a break every now and then to catch up with your friends. Well, you’re in luck! The Mill Valley Library will be staying open, just for high school students, an extra two hours: from 9-11 PM. Grab a friend and a cup of coffee and get your finals-acing self down to the Library. For high school students only.

Contact Katie with any questions.

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Creative Writing Workshops; Wednesday nights from 7-8:30 PM


Forget about essays and homework and discover means to truly write creatively at these weekly workshops. In these drop-in, informal, supportive workshops, we will read and discuss poetry, fiction, non-fiction, slam poetry, and any other type of writing that strikes our fancy. These workshops offer the opportunity to explore your writing skills in a relaxed, fun environment. Creative Writing Workshops aren’t about getting a good grade or writing a critical analysis, they are about trying new things and creating something exciting to put on a blank page.

313393_283129255049078_100000560186552_1070834_1377457794_nIf you don’t feel like writing, that’s fine too, you are always welcome to just hang out, eat candy, and listen to what others have to say. 

Student writing can be found here.

Like our Facebook page here.

Creative Writing links of interest can be found here.

Contact Katie (workshop facilitator and Young Adult Librarian) here. 

Workshops are open to high school students, including rising freshmen and recent high school graduates only

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Abbotts Lagoon, Point Reyes by Maxine Flasher-Duzgunes

Got a look at innocence on the

Road today, when a baby

Coyote stopped our car, and no

One felt “missing” like those


Neighborhood cats. People were

Learning to make cheese down at

The creamery while we bought

Sandwiches and drove to the


Beach. It was a colorful

Tundra; hills you might see

Under the feet of Teletubbies,

Cow paddies tinting the air.


The reeds became chorus girls,

The dragonflies hummed “Little

Mermaid” covers, and the wind

Conducted angrily. To a point


Where the footsteps on the dunes

Re-scattered every few minutes,

The lagoon rippled, as always:

Passing clouds betraying their


Positions, the possibility of a rogue

Cow writing the tide. She was a

Black and white creature from

One of the pastures: must


Have yielded the poison oak,

Jumped the fence…I bet her

Mother worries. It was sur-

Prising to make out egrets


Instead of sheep through my

Binoculars. To find the

Geese silent and the gulls

Screeching “bloody murder”.


For Hitchcock was wise

When he specified which

Bird he wanted, and which

Auditioner would go off-screen.


Today, I said the waves

Were “course”, and they over-

Lapped like insufficient data.

The snowy plover was not


Found, the finch was hidden,

And the people were just

Plain unnecessary. Someone

Smoked, someone brought their


Five-year-old boy, not much

Variation. There were empty

Boats and photographers

And farm houses that looked


Futuristic. Population signs

Remained under 3 digits, and

The sand indeed sunk under

My shoes. I could see ten


Miles in all directions.

The baby ice plant carpeted

My understanding in deep

Red. The crab shells gave me


A sense of distance, because

They were, in all perspective,

Graves above ground. And the

Sea bubbles shaped the sand as if


Logic had finally materialized,

And the un-gas stationed

World was free from harm.

I was thinking, my mother driving


Us home, and I noticed the fields

Were not green. What I failed

To realize was this: though the

Fields were not green, they were


Still in conversation.

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New Books for October!

Lizard Radio
by Pat Schmatz
Published 2015 by Candlewick Press (MA)

Hardcover, English. ISBN: 9780763676353

Find this book in our catalog.

Jacket Notes:

In a futuristic society run by an all-powerful Gov, a bender teen on the cusp of adulthood has choices to make that will change her life and maybe the world.

Fifteen-year-old bender Kivali has had a rough time in a gender-rigid culture. Abandoned as a baby and raised by Sheila, an ardent nonconformist, Kivali has always been surrounded by uncertainty. Where did she come from? Is it true what Sheila says, that she was deposited on Earth by the mysterious saurians? “What are you? “people ask, and Kivali isn t sure. Boy/girl? Human/lizard? Both/neither? Now she s in CropCamp, with all of its schedules and regs, and the first real friends she s ever had. Strange occurrences and complicated relationships raise questions Kivali has never before had to consider. But she has a gift the power to enter a trancelike state to harness the “knowings” inside her. She has Lizard Radio. Will it be enough to save her? A coming-of-age story rich in friendships and the shattering emotions of first love, this deeply felt novel will resonate with teens just emerging as adults in a sometimes hostile world.”

I Crawl Through It
by A S King
Published 2015 by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

Hardcover, English. ISBN: 9780316334099

Find this book in our catalog.

Jacket Notes:

Four teenagers are on the verge of exploding. The anxieties they face at every turn have nearly pushed them to the point of surrender: senseless high-stakes testing, the lingering damage of past trauma, the buried grief and guilt of tragic loss. They are desperate to cope, but no one is listening.

So they will lie. They will split in two. They will turn inside out. They will even build an invisible helicopter to fly themselves far away…but nothing releases the pressure. Because, as they discover, the only way to truly escape their world is to fly right into it.

The genius of acclaimed author A.S. King reaches new heights in this groundbreaking work of surrealist fiction; it will mesmerize readers with its deeply affecting exploration of how we crawl through traumatic experience-and find the way out.

Trouble Is a Friend of Mine
by Stephanie Tromly
Published 2015 by Kathy Dawson Books

Hardcover, English. ISBN: 9780525428404

Find this book in our catalog.

Jacket Notes:

“Sherlock “meets “Veronica Mars” meets “Ferris Bueller s Day Off” in this story of a wisecracking girl who meets a weird but brilliant boy and their roller-coaster of a semester that s one part awkward, three parts thrilling, and five parts awesome

When Philip Digby first shows up on her doorstep, Zoe Webster is not impressed. He’s rude and he treats her like a book he’s already read and knows the ending to. But before she knows it, Digby–annoying, brilliant and somehow attractive?–has dragged her into a series of hilarious and dangerous situations all related to an investigation into the kidnapping of a local teenage girl. A kidnapping that may be connected to the tragic disappearance of his own sister eight years ago.

When it comes to Digby, Zoe just can’t say no. Digby “gets” her, even though she barely gets herself. But is Digby a hero, or is his manic quest an indication of a desperate attempt to repair his broken family and exercise his own obsessive compulsive tendencies?

A romance where the leading man is decidedly unromantic, a crime novel where catching the crook isn’t the only hook, a friendship story where they aren’t even sure they like each other–this is a contemporary debut with razor-sharp dialogue, ridiculously funny action, and the most charismatic dynamic duo you’ve ever met.”

by Smith Andrew
Published 2015 by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers

Hardcover, English. ISBN: 9781481418294

Find this book in our catalog.

Jacket Notes:

Ryan Dean West is back to his boarding school antics in this bitingly funny sequel to “Winger,” which “Publishers Weekly “called “alternately hilarious and painful, awkward and enlightening” (“Publishers Weekly,” starred review).

It’s his last year at Pine Mountain, and Ryan Dean should be focused on his future, but instead, he’s haunted by his past. His rugby coach expects him to fill the roles once played by his lost friend, Joey, as the rugby team’s stand-off and new captain. And somehow he’s stuck rooming with twelve-year-old freshman Sam Abernathy, a cooking whiz with extreme claustrophobia and a serious crush on Annie Altman–aka Ryan Dean’s girlfriend, for now, anyway.

Equally distressing, Ryan Dean’s doodles and drawings don’t offer the relief they used to. He’s convinced N.A.T.E. (the Next Accidental Terrible Experience) is lurking around every corner–and then he runs into Joey’s younger brother Nico, who makes Ryan Dean feel paranoid that he’s avoiding him. Will Ryan Dean ever regain his sanity?

From the author of the National Book Award-nominated “100 Sideways Miles,” which “Kirkus Reviews “called “a wickedly witty and offbeat novel,” “Stand-Off “is filled with hand-drawn infographics and illustrations and delivers the same spot-on teen voice and relatable narrative that legions of readers connected with in “Winger.”

Show and Prove
by Sofia Quintero
Published 2015 by Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers

Hardcover, English. ISBN: 9780375847073

Find this book in our catalog.

Jacket Notes:

“A must-read for fans of Walter Dean Myer’s “All the Right Stuff” and other lovers of proud urban realism.” “Kirkus Reviews”

The summer of 1983 was the summer hip-hop proved its staying power. The South Bronx is steeped in Reaganomics, war in the Middle East, and the twin epidemics of crack and AIDS, but Raymond Smiles King and Guillermo Nike Vega have more immediate concerns.

Smiles was supposed to be the assistant crew chief at his summer camp, but the director chose Cookie Camacho instead, kicking off a summer-long rivalry. Meanwhile, the aspiring b-boy Nike has set his wandering eye on Sara, the sweet yet sassy new camp counselor, as well as top prize at a breakdancing competition downtown. The two friends have been drifting apart ever since Smiles got a scholarship to a fancy private school, and this summer the air is heavy with postponed decisions that will finally be made.

Raw and poignant, this is a story of music, urban plight, and racial tension that s as relevant today as it was in 1983.

What You Left Behind
by Jessica Verdi
Published 2015 by Sourcebooks Fire

Paperback, English. ISBN: 9781492608745

Find this book in our catalog.

Jacket Notes:

Jessica Verdi, the author of My Life After Now and The Summer I Wasn’t Me, returns with a heartbreaking and poignant novel of grief and guilt that reads like Nicholas Sparks for teens.

It’s all Ryden’s fault. If he hadn’t gotten Meg pregnant, she would have never stopped her chemo treatments and would still be alive. Instead he’s failing fatherhood one dirty diaper at a time. And it’s not like he’s had time to grieve while struggling to care for their infant daughter, start his senior year, and earn the soccer scholarship he needs to go to college.

The one person who makes Ryden feel like his old self is Joni. She’s fun and energetic-and doesn’t know he has a baby. But the more time they spend together, the harder it becomes to keep his two worlds separate. Finding one of Meg’s journals only stirs up old emotions. Ryden’s convinced Meg left other notebooks for him to find, some message to help his new life make sense. But how is he going to have a future if he can’t let go of the past?

“Ryden’s story is a moving illustration of how sometimes you have to let go of the life you planned to embrace the life you’ve been given. A strong, character-driven story that teen readers will love.”-Carrie Arcos, National Book Award Finalist for Out of Reach

Notorious Pagan Jones
(First book in the Pagan Jones series)

by Nina Berry
Published 2015 by Harlequin Teen

Hardcover, English. ISBN: 9780373211432

Find this book in our catalog.

Jacket Notes:

Pagan Jones went from America’s sweetheart to fallen angel in one fateful night in 1960: the night a car accident killed her whole family. Pagan was behind the wheel and driving drunk. Nine months later, she’s stuck in the Lighthouse Reformatory for Wayward Girls and tortured by her guilt–not to mention the sadistic Miss Edwards, who takes special delight in humiliating the once-great Pagan Jones.

But all of that is about to change. Pagan’s old agent shows up with a mysterious studio executive, Devin Black, and an offer. Pagan will be released from juvenile detention if she accepts a juicy role in a comedy directed by award-winning director Bennie Wexler. The shoot starts in West Berlin in just three days. If Pagan’s going to do it, she has to decide fast–and she has to agree to a court-appointed “guardian,” the handsome yet infuriating Devin, who’s too young, too smooth and too sophisticated to be some studio flack.

The offer’s too good to be true, Berlin’s in turmoil and Devin Black knows way too much about her–there’s definitely something fishy going on. But if anyone can take on a divided city, a scheming guardian and the criticism of a world that once adored her, it’s the notorious Pagan Jones. What could go wrong?

Everything, Everything
by Nicola Yoon
Published 2015 by Delacorte Press

Hardcover, English. ISBN: 9780553496642

Find this book in our catalog.

Jacket Notes:

If you love Eleanor and Park, Hazel and Augustus, and Mia and Adam, you ll love the story of Maddy, a girl who s literally allergic to the outside world, and Olly, the boy who moves in next door . . . and becomes the greatest risk she s ever taken. This innovative and heartfelt debut novel unfolds via vignettes, diary entries, illustrations, and more.

My disease is as rare as it is famous. Basically, I m allergic to the world. I don t leave my house, have not left my house in seventeen years. The only people I ever see are my mom and my nurse, Carla.

But then one day, a moving truck arrives next door. I look out my window, and I see him. He’s tall, lean and wearing all black black T-shirt, black jeans, black sneakers, and a black knit cap that covers his hair completely. He catches me looking and stares at me. I stare right back. His name is Olly.

Maybe we can t predict the future, but we can predict some things. For example, I am certainly going to fall in love with Olly. It s almost certainly going to be a disaster.”

Another Day
by David Levithan
Published 2015 by Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers

Hardcover, English. ISBN: 9780385756204

Find this book in our catalog.

Jacket Notes:

The eagerly anticipated companion to David Levithan s”New York Times” bestseller”Every Day”

In this enthralling companion to his “New York Times” bestseller “Every Day,” David Levithan (co-author of”Will Grayson, Will Grayson”with John Green)tells Rhiannon s side of the story as she seeks to discover the truth about love and how it can change you.

Every day is the same for Rhiannon. She has accepted her life, convinced herself that she deserves her distant, temperamental boyfriend, Justin, even established guidelines by which to live: Don t be too needy. Avoid upsetting him. Never get your hopes up.

Until the morning everything changes. Justin seems to “see” her, to want to be with her for the first time, and they share a perfect day a perfect day Justin doesn’t remember the next morning. Confused, depressed, and desperate for another day as great as that one, Rhiannon starts questioning everything. Then, one day, a stranger tells her that the Justin she spent that day with, the one who made her feel like a real person . . . wasn’t Justin at all.”

Down by Law
by Ni-Ni Simone
Published 2015 by Dafina Books

Paperback, English. ISBN: 9780758287748

Find this book in our catalog.

Jacket Notes:

Lesson #1: You come for me, I come back even harder for you. Fair exchange. No robberies.

Isis Carter got schooled early on in surviving the streets. When some girls put a beatdown on her, she took back what was hers. When her brother was killed and her mom, Queenie, bailed, Isis fought to stay strong. And when her dad abandoned her for his new family, sixteen-year-old Isis buried the hurt by looking out for herself and hookin up with bad boy Fresh until a run-in with the law shatters Isis s world and threatens to destroy her future.

Now the only person Isis can rely on is herself until her secret crush K-Rock steps in. But when Isis lets her guard down, will she be given a second chance to get her life straight or will it cost her everything? “

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Some of Steinhart’s Favorite Books

If you are truly lucky, you will one day have the great Jonah Steinhart as a teacher. I, sadly, have not been so fortunate, because I am old. If you do not get a chance to be in his class, do not despair–you can read some of the great books he recommends.

Some of Steinhart’s Favorite Books

(*denotes taught in some Tam High English courses)


Sports:King of the World, David RemnickGame of Shadows, Fainaru-Wada and Williams

Summer of ’49, David Halberstam

Moneyball, Michael Lewis

Boys of Summer, Roger Kahn

Paper Lion, George Plimpton

Pitching in the Promised Land, Aaron Pribble



The Prince, Machiavelli

Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail,

     Hunter S. Thompson

The Autobiography of Malcolm X, Alex Haley

War in a TIme of Peace, David Halberstam

Assassin’s Gate, George Packer

The Forever War, Dexter Filkins

Civil Disobedience, Henry David Thoreau

(see also: All the King’s Men and The Fountainhead,

under fiction)



Walden, Henry David Thoreau*

Devil’s Teeth, Susan Casey

Into the Wild, Jon Krakauer


Writing Craft:

The Autobiography of Mark Twain, Mark Twain

On Writing, Stephen King

If You Want to Write, Brenda Ueland

Zen in the Art of Writing, Ray Bradbury



Jazz: America’s Classical Music, Grover Sales

Miles: The Autobiography, Miles Davis

Italian Cinema: Neorealism to Present,

     Peter Bondanella



Business/Finance:Liar’s Poker, Michael LewisThe New New Thing, Michael Lewis

The Big Short, Michael Lewis

Griftopia, Matt Taibbi

The Richest Man in Babylon, George Clason

(see also The Fountainhead under fiction)


The 1960s:

The Electric Kool Aid Acid Test, Tom Wolfe

Dreams Die Hard, David Harris

Dispatches, Michael Herr

The Right Stuff, Tom Wolfe

The Autobiography of Malcolm X, Alex Haley

Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas,

     Hunter S. Thompson



Roughing It, Mark Twain

The Stones of Florence, Mary McCarthy


Generally Awesome Essays:

The Essays of E.B. White

A Supposedly Fun Thing I’ll Never Do Again,

     David Foster Wallace

Naked, David Sedaris

Almost anything by Malcolm Gladwell



In Cold Blood, Truman Capote*

Among the Thugs, Bill Buford



The Price of Privilege, Madeline Levine




Junior High+

The Phantom Tollbooth, Norton JusterTreasure Island, Robert Lewis StevensonKidnapped, Robert Lewis Stevenson

Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, Robert Lewis Stevenson

To Kill A Mockingbird, Harper Lee

Kilkenny, Louis L’Amour

The Sackett Series, Louis L’Amour

Northwest Passage, Kenneth Roberts

The Hobbit, J.R.R. TolkienThe Island of Dr. Moreau, H.G. WellsThe Call of the Wild, Jack London

The Old Man and the Sea, Ernest Hemingway*

Ender’s Game, Orson Scott Card

Ann of Green Gables, Lucy Maud Montgomery

Rebecca, Daphne Du Maurier

Tom Sawyer, Mark Twain




Early High School+

The Lord of the Rings Trilogy, J.R.R. TolkienThe Sea Wolf, Jack LondonThe Three Musketeers, Alexander Dumas

The Count of Monte Cristo, Alexander Dumas

Huckleberry Finn, Mark Twain

20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, Jules Verne

Cannery Row, John Steinbeck

Of Mice and Men, John Steinbeck*

The Chosen, Chaim Potok*

The Catcher in the Rye, J.D. Salinger*

The Beach, Alex Garland

The Godfather, Mario Puzo

Once a Runner, John ParkerAnd Then There Were None, Agatha ChristieThe Shadow of the Wind, Carlos Ruiz Zafon

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy,

     Douglas Adams

Casino Royale, Ian Fleming

     (and all subsequent James Bond novels)

The Foundation Trilogy, Isaac Asimov

The Stand, Stephen King

The Pelican Brief, John Grisham

Jaws, Peter Benchley

A Separate Peace, John Knowles


Middle High School+

The Big Sleep, Raymond Chandler   (and anything else by Raymond Chandler)East of Eden, John Steinbeck

The Grapes of Wrath, John Steinbeck*

A Tale of Two Cities, Charles Dickens*

1984, George Orwell*

The Good Earth, Pearl Buck

Native Son, Richard Wright

Black Boy, Richard Wright

Slaughterhouse Five, Kurt Vonnegut*

Cat’s Cradle, Kurt Vonnegut

     (and anything else by Kurt Vonnegut)

The Metamorphosis, Franz Kafka*

Death of a Salesman, Arthur Miller*

The Crucible, Arthur Miller*

The Kite Runner, Kahled Hosseini*

The Magus, John Fowles

The Dharma Bums, Jack Kerouac

On the Road, Jack Kerouac*

The Picture of Dorian Gray, Oscar Wilde

For Whom the Bell Tolls, Ernest HemingwayA River Runs Through It, Norman MacLeanThe Monkey Wrench Gang, Edward Abbey

Sula, Toni Morrison*

The Complete Sherlock Holmes,

     Arthur Conan Doyle

Watchmen, Alan Moore (graphic novel)

Maus, Art Spiegelman (graphic novel)

The Scarlet Letter, Nathaniel Hawthorne

Young Goodman Brown, Nathaniel Hawthorne

     (short story)

Collected Short Stories, Anton Chekhov

High Fidelity, Nick Hornby

Frankenstein, Mary Shelley*

Selected Tales, Edgar Allen Poe

Siddhartha, Herman Hesse

Don Quixote, Miguel Cervantes

One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest,

   Ken Kesey*

A Game of Thrones, George R.R. Martin


Late High School+

Infinite Jest, David Foster WallaceBeloved, Toni MorrisonRabbit, Run, John Updike

Lolita, Vladimir Nabokov

The Fountainhead, Ayn Rand

Heart of Darkness, Joseph Conrad*

Lord Jim, Joseph Conrad

The Sun Also Rises, Ernest Hemingway

A Farewell to Arms, Ernest Hemingway

The Sound and the Fury, William Faulkner

All the King’s Men, Robert Penn Warren

Invisible Man, Ralph Ellison*

The Amazing Adventures of Cavalier and Clay,

     Michael Chabon

Telegraph Ave, Michael Chabon

Shantaram, Gregory David Roberts

Cloud Atlas, David MitchellAbsurdistan; The Russian Debutante’s Handbook; and Super Sad True Love Story,                                             (all three by) Gary ShteyngartCrime and Punishment, Fyodor Dostoyevsky

The Brothers Karamazov, Fyodor Dostoyevsky

No Country For Old Men, Cormac McCarthy

All the Pretty Horses, Cormac McCarthy

Angle of Repose, Wallace Stegner

 (and anything else by Stegner)

The Great Gatsby, F.Scott Fitzgerald*

A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius, Dave Eggers

Portnoy’s Complaint, Phillip Roth

Moby Dick, Herman Melville

Middlesex, Jeffrey Eugenides


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Pictures from the End of Summer Party in the Outdoor Amphitheater 8/17

Thanks to everyone who came out for our amazing End of Summer Party, and extra special thanks to Sol Food and Black Troll for providing excellent food and music!EOSF4


audienceEOS1 BT2 BT3 BTpano1 crowdcropped EOSaud2 EOSBT1 EOSBT2 EOScrowd2     EOSlongshot kateEOS pano2


Monday, August 17th at 7-8 PMblacktroll

Enjoy one last hurrah before school starts! This end of summer party for high school students (including rising freshmen and recent grads) in the Outdoor Amphitheater will have free Sol Food, live entertainment by the Black Trolls (a bluegrass band with a blues influence), and the raffle drawing for the teen summer reading program. You do not have to have participated in the summer reading program to attend; we will have door prizes in addition to the summer reading prizes. Registration strongly suggested. Register at

Check out pictures from last year’s end of summer party here.

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Urban Introspections by Maxine Flasher-Duzgunes

There is no difference between compassion and rejection. I learn strategically, crossing the street with the rest of them, when the red hand goes up. I was on 17th and Mission, where the bagels smell like shades of memories—warm, uninterrupted—and the people smell, well, like people. We had to wait for a right turn because a one legged man wouldn’t smile and say, “Go ahead”. We had to cover our heads when we walked under a scaffolded building because we were afraid the nails might rain down. Then again, I guess it was just me that was afraid.

We were parked 3 blocks from the studio, and I was confused when the homeless man yelled “pity” at my shoes. My mother passed a drunken man, when she was alone. He was smiling, the euphoric kind, where the lips are too damn high just to say they’re “happy”. I wondered, if I was there: would I feel drunk too?…would 21 greet me at a green light and I’d feel too young to be a child?…would I be drunk if my shopping cart were my suitcase?…if Japanese tourists were my neighbors 25 hours of the day?

My mother said the Mission was never on the city’s restoration list. “Bernal Heights had been checked off,” she told me, “Noe Valley; that was another lucky one.” I nodded, pressing my lips together.

Drained noise, from the insides of the passenger window. The graffiti was ashen, even the murals in the schoolyards. The million dollar apartments, stained with the profanity of strangers (all over garage doors and fire escapes).

We drove down Divisidero. “No traffic,” I said. Despite the construction and the minute hand pointing to rush hour. “The locals keep to the indoors on Wednesdays,” I suggested. Maybe the bachelor didn’t shave his beard. Maybe the hooker didn’t shave her legs. Maybe for once in everyone’s lives, the fog was telling them where to go. I must have been unfamiliar with where it was they were going.

I am astonished at a Golden Gate that would be so much as red if its towers weren’t rusted with the stop and go of foreclosure signs, empty storefronts, and singles protesting social injustice. He stopped us, a white man who brought up starving children and racism all in the same sentence. We were out to lunch, and we said we would come back. “Keep up the good work,” my mom whistled back from an adjoining block. We didn’t come back.

I had a twenty in my pocket—it wouldn’t take much to toss it in a guitar case or a plastic bucket. It wouldn’t take much, I said to myself, to read a cardboard sign that had “God Bless” scribbled in Sharpie. Give a hollow man my takeout. Anything.

But I didn’t. I walked those 3 blocks to the studio. I took class like I was back in Marin County, and I had clothes, and I had an identity that had more or less manifested itself into a journal for 4 or so years. So yes, I am capable of patting an untalented child on the back. I am capable of biting my brother’s arm if he’s watching too much TV. I learned strategically, however, that I cannot ride the MUNI without washing my hands 7 times over after I get off. I cannot stare at a pedestrian without saying that I’ve had a life-changing experience. I cannot observe that green-glass sea without imagining the bodies breathing un-hopefully at the bottom. I cannot live here. I can only look here.

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Pictures from the Wilderness Survival Workshop

Many thanks to Craig Sloan for a super informative and fun evening!


first we covered the basics…

like how to build shelters in any climate, even the snow!

like how to build shelters in any climate, even the snow!

like this fancy compass i already forget how to use...

and use this fancy compass i already forget how to use…


and all kinds of sneaky things about GPS…

do YOU know how to avoid getting eaten by a bear?

do YOU know how to avoid getting eaten by a bear?

essential gear (no playing with the knife!)

essential gear (no playing with the knife!)

you should probably know how to use one of these...

you should probably know how to use one of these…

whatchoo gonna pack?

whatchoo gonna pack?

here's how you can build a thing

here’s how you can build a thing

that will help you start a fire--no lighter or matches needed

that will help you start a fire-

that will help you start a fire--no lighter or matches needed

-no lighter or matches needed

is that smoke? not to worry, Craig's a firefighter, he wouldn't let us burn down the library....right?

is that smoke? not to worry, Craig’s a firefighter, he wouldn’t let us burn down the library….right?

Wilderness Survivalwildnew                                       New date: Monday, June 15th at 7 PM

Summertime means long hikes around beautiful Mt. Tam, camping trips in the Sierras, and generally relishing in the great outdoors. But nature can be just as dangerous as it is beautiful and it’s important to be prepared for whatever might come your way–be a it mosquito or a mountain lion.

Craig Sloan, a Mill Valley Fire Department firefighter, Marine, and all-around awesome human being is going to teach high school students* the essentials of wilderness survival at this free, hands-on workshop. Learn how to create a shelter, trap and forage for food, and how to avoid getting eaten by a bear. If you don’t like being mauled by large animals, this is the class for you!

*Open to rising freshmen and recent high school graduates, as well as current high school students. For high school students only. Registration strongly recommended and greatly appreciated. Register here.

Craig’s bio:craig

Craig started his fire service career with the Mill Valley Fire Department after graduating from Tamalpais High School in 2002.  Shortly after graduating, Craig enlisted in the United States Marine Corps where he served with honor and distinction for 5 years.  Craig was honorably discharged at the rank of Sergeant and rejoined our department in 2010 as a Firefighter-Trainee.  Craig started his new assignment as a Firefighter on November, 11th, 2011 – Veteran’s Day. 

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