Alec O’Brien might be 10, but he knows more about dinosaurs than most
Alec, a fifth-grader at Bret Harte Elementary School, was among
about 50 children who attended a story and craft program centering on
the prehistoric stegosaurus Wednesday at the Central Library.
“Actually, stegosaurus means roofed lizard, and its brain is small
like a walnut,” said Alec as he busied himself painting a plaster
model of the giant lizard.
Hubert Kozak, the children’s librarian who conducted the program,
said youngsters love dinosaurs because they are large and powerful
“Kids feeling defenseless and small can identify with them,” Kozak
said. “It gives them a sense of empowerment they don’t otherwise have
For the first 30 minutes of the program, Kozak read several pieces
of poetry and presented a brief slide show on the stegosaurus.
The children seemed puzzled when Kozak asked them if Abraham
Lincoln knew about the stegosaurus. He explained to them that the
existence of dinosaurs wasn’t even known until late in the 19th
century, after Lincoln was assassinated.
“We haven’t really known about them that long,” Kozak told his
young audience. “We have only discovered about a third of the
dinosaurs of the Mesozoic era.” The stegosaurus lived during the
Jurassic period of the era.
Maghali Silva, 8, a third-grader at Toluca Lake Elementary School,
said this is the fifth time she has come to the after-school program.
“I get to paint here and it’s fun, and I get to learn new things
at every program,” Maghali said.
Anahit Nazarian, whose 7-year-old son, Dante, attends third grade
at St. Robert Bellarmine School, comes to the library every day after
school to do his homework. But on Wednesday, he wanted to take time
to attend the program.
“I couldn’t say no to him,” Nazarian said. “Kids love activities
like this. It’s like a party for them.”
In addition to the plaster model that the children painted and
took home, they were given a box containing a dinosaur magnet and
pencil and a copy of the poems read.