Friends of the Libraries: Resources available for children's books of all levels

You may have read Monday's article in the Los Angeles Times about James Patterson and his goal to steer children to reading.

He considers himself "an evangelist for reading who believes in the power of reading to improve the school experience and transform them into better citizens leading quality lives."

I was unaware that he wrote children's books as well as novels for adults, so it was a pleasant surprise to see that he has written children's books that are on the New York Times bestseller list.

And he has a website, ReadKiddoRead, which offers book suggestions for children ranging from infants to 18-year-olds. I was happy to see that even for the youngest children (birth to 8 years old) the books are divided into three or four levels of "Great Illustrated Books" and also "Just the Facts" books.

Knowing that not all children read at the same level, the "Great Transition Books" are for ages 5 to 10 years old. "Great Pageturners Books" are for ages 8 and 9, and "Great Advanced Books" are for 9 and up.

Further divisions are "Action/Adventure/Mystery," "Real World Fiction" and "Fantasy and Other Worlds," so those searching can find what they want faster.

Of course, there are also other helpful websites, and you can always ask your library's children's librarian to suggest books. Sources like this are great when trying to find books for your children or grandchildren, nephews and nieces, either to check out at the library or to purchase at a book store.

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Finding a writer's agent

The last session in a series for writers will be from 7 to 8:30 p.m. June 21 at the Neighborhood Community Center, 1845 Park Ave., Costa Mesa.

Handling rejection and "if at first you don't succeed…." will be discussed in depth, with examples of what to expect when you are hoping for the best.

From experiences as a would-be actress, tour guide, graphic artist, and newspaper reporter to award-winning author, Jeri Westerson knows first-hand the long and sometimes agonizing process of finding that light at the end of the tunnel.

A $25 check payable to the Costa Mesa Library Foundation and mailed to Box 2864, Costa Mesa, CA, 92628 will register you. Or visit http://www.costamesalibraryfoundation.org and register online.

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At the Costa Mesa Donald Dungan Library

The Adult Summer Reading Program will soon be starting at this library at 1855 Park Ave. The first program for this series, from 4:30 to 5:50 p.m. on June 12, is local architect Richard Dodd's presentation "Evolution of Architectural Styles in Orange County, 1776-Present."

In this free presentation, Dodd charts the history of residential architecture in Orange County. These homes tell stories about the development of Orange County communities into the world we know today. Richard Dodd is the author of the book "Architectural Styles: Orange County." This book is available for checkout at the library.

The next program in this series will be the eReader Open House on June 14. From 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., trained staff will show you how to download library books to your eReader device. If you don't have one, you can learn on one that belongs to the library. For more information about this program, call the library at (949) 646-8845.

The Costa Mesa Book Club will meet at 6:30 p.m. Monday to discuss "Sarah's Key" by Tatiana de Rosnay. The book, the author's first in English, has been made into a movie with the same name. It is easy to see how the author's background may have provided fodder for the book.

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At the Mesa Verde Library

Wednesdays mean Miss Amber's Pajama Storytime at the Mesa Verde Library, 2969 Mesa Verde Drive East. At 7 p.m., children and their families are welcome to join in a lively mixture of stories and songs before bedtime.

The Summer Reading Program will soon begin and the library is looking for teen volunteers, ages 12 to 18, to help out. Ask at the Children's Desk for an application, or call (714) 546-5274 for information.

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 Orange County Public Libraries.

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