Friends of the Libraries: Children's book hints at Civil Rights Movement

While looking at some newspaper clippings at the Costa Mesa Historical Society recently, I found one from the Globe-Herald (predecessor of the Daily Pilot) for Sept. 29, 1948. Titled "Costa Mesa Library Gives Wide Service," it noted some of the services and collections that were available there. It also listed some of the new children's books that had recently been received.

One of them, for first-graders, was "Two Is a Team" by Lorraine and Jerrold Beim. This book, published in 1945, is mentioned in Elizabeth Goodenough's book, "Infant Tongues: The Voice of the Child in Literature." Goodenough says that this is a time when the Truman Administration had integrated the Armed Forces for the first time in history, and a Civil Rights Commission was appointed.

Some books, including children's books, produced fictional attempts looking at racial prejudice and injustice. "Two Is a Team" "became the first picture book to show an interracial friendship — and without mentioning race in the text. Only Ernest Crichlow's illustrations revealed that one little boy was black and the other white."

Over in Santa Monica

I checked out the website of the new Santa Monica Public Library recently and found that it not only has a café located in its central courtyard, but among the many amenities it has that we would like to have here in Costa Mesa is an exhibition area. At present, it has several paintings on display that are on loan from the Smithsonian American Art Museum. If anyone is interested in seeing the library, docent-led tours are offered the third Friday of each month at 12:30 p.m.

At the Costa Mesa/Donald Dungan Library

I had hoped to be able to give you the opening date of this library by now, but the walk-through with the contractor was scheduled after I turned in this article. When it is shown that the contractor has completed his work, then the janitors will go through to clean the building. Finally, the library staff will have to reshelve books, etc., and get everything set up for the opening. If everything magically falls into place, the library might be open by the week of the 22nd, but there is always a little slippage, so it may be end of the month. Watch for it! The Children's Summer Reading Program will be held at the library from the time the library opens near the end of July through August. So if your children have been having fun at the Mesa Verde Library Summer Reading Program, they can go to the Dungan Library and do it all over again.

At the Mesa Verde Library

Pre-registration is required for PAWS (Pets Are Wonderful Support), a pet-assisted therapy program, at 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Saturday where children can read to a dog. I have seen some of the well-behaved dogs who are available for this program, and I think it would be fun to read to them just to see how the dogs respond. Call (714) 546-5274 for information and to register for this program. Another session of this program is set for July 27.

"Flights of Fantasy" offers a unique style of vaudeville storytelling that celebrates the humor and wisdom of multicultural literature. It should interest children of all ages and grade levels. The program is scheduled from 1 to 2 p.m. Tuesday.

Crafternoon, with arts and crafts, will happen from 3:30 to 4:30 p.m. Thursday.

In a play of words on "The Hunger Games," children will spend three days of outdoor games and fun, including prizes, in "The Hungry Games." And they will do that because the theme of this year's Children's Reading Program is "Reading Is So Delicious!" So work up an appetite, kids (5 to 12 years old), from 1 to 2 p.m. July 23 to 25. Day 1 will include challenges using your hands or feet. Day 2 are games where you can't use your hands OR feet. And Day 3, use your head! You will have fun figuring it all out!

MARY ELLEN GODDARD produced this column on behalf of the Friends of Costa Mesa Libraries, the Costa Mesa Library Foundation and the three Costa Mesa branches of the OC Public Libraries.

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