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Kids take Jurassic lesson

Molly Shore

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

as children.”

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.