Babies Are Smart & Learn Through Play

Alison Gopnick, professor of psychology at Berkeley and the author of The Philosophical Baby recently wrote an op-ed piece in the N.Y. Times, “Your Baby Is Smarter Than You Think,”  Children learn through play and “play with those things that will teach them the most.”   One of the ways that Clayton County babies can “Play with a Purpose” is to participate in the weekly “Baby Talk” sessions conducted most Thursday mornings at 10 a.m. at the Clayton County Headquarters Library for infants–from newborns to age 20 months. Most series last 8 weeks and a parent (or grandparent or other individual adult) needs to register for the entire series. Activities consist of  playing with educational toys and bubbles,  singing songs and rhymes, and sharing simple stories and books with “cardboard” pages. Staff also uses the Souns letter system,

In order to ensure the safety of the infants, no older siblings may attend and the number of babies who participate in a series is limited to 20. Both parents may attend if they wish but child care providers should speak with staff about scheduling a separate story time. Toddlers ages 21-36 months are invited to register for the weekly  10 a.m. series on Tuesdays and ages 3-6 are invited to register for the preschool story time on Tuesdays at 11 a.m.

To register for the series, call 770 473 3850 and ask for the Youth Services desk or email Bea Mengel,

Published in: on August 31, 2009 at 6:58 pm  Leave a Comment  

Jonesboro, GA. Middle School Students Select Books to Read

According to an article in the August 30, 2009 Atlanta Journal Constitution, “New Method to Teach Literature,” teacher Lorrie McNeill encourages Jonesboro, Georgia, Clayton County School District  middle school students to their own titles to read and discuss.  This article originally was published in the N.Y. Times, with the title, “The Future of Reading A New Assignment Pick Books You Like,” . Her method called “The Reading Workshop Classroom” is featured in a slide show posted on the N.Y. Times webpage. This method will encourage teen readers to enjoy reading and become lifelong readers.  The six Clayton County Public Libraries invite all middle school students to visit the libraries’ “Young Adult” sections, which are filled with popular titles. The library staff also encourages teens to let staff know about books they think the library should add to their collections. Teens are encouraged to drop suggestions in the suggestion boxes or at public desks or to email suggestions to

Published in: on August 31, 2009 at 4:33 pm  Leave a Comment  

Julia Child Tribute at Forest Park


Inspired by the movie Julie and Julia and the renewed interest in Julia Child, the Forest Park Branch offers a new display in tribute to America’s first celebrity chef.

The display features copies of Child’s most popular cookbooks Mastering the Art of French Cooking and The Way to Cook, both from the Branch Manager’s personal collection, and food and cooking utensils that reflects her legacy of good food and enjoyment through cooking. 

The tribute is on display through the month of September, after which we’ll bring another haunted house diorama featuring models from the Haunted Dimensions website!

See photos of the display on the CCLS photostream.

Read the previous blog to learn about Julia Child.  The blog contains several links to related sites and holdings of her books.

Published in: on August 29, 2009 at 4:55 pm  Leave a Comment  

The 641 Project – Julia Child

In light of the new movie Julie and Julia, the internet and other media is abuzz with renewed interest in Julia Child.  The movie combines Child’s memoir My Life in France with Julie and Julia, Julie Powell’s anecdotal account of the year she attempted to make every recipe from Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking.  The movie parallels the two women’s journey to self-discovery, finding themselves in their passion for cooking.

Child’s own journey began in Pasadena, California in 1912.  A member of a well-to-do family, Child attended a prestigious college before working as copywriter, and later a spy for the Office of Strategic Services!  She met Paul Child, who also worked for OSS, whom she married in 1946.  She went with him when he was assigned to work in Paris, France.  It was there that she developed an appreciation for French cuisine.  She enrolled in the Cordon Bleu culinary school, and developed the skill that changed her life and the culinary world.

Child went on to author several cookbooks, including Mastering the Art of French Cooking (co-authored), and host a number of celebrated cooking shows on the Public Broadcasting System, the first being the landmark series The French Chef in 1962.   I don’t remember any of the episodes that I watched as a kid (only Dan Ackroyd’s parody on Saturday Night Live), but I recall a moment from a later series where Child observed a chef preparing a decadent chocolate pastry.  Upon sampling a bite, Child was overcome with ecstasy and burst into tears.  It was a moment that demonstrated Child’s genuine love of good food:  Pure joy without pretense and conceit.  Through her shows and writings, the 6 ‘ 2” woman with an easy going manner and funny accent brought a style to the kitchen that made the techniques of fine cooking accessible – perhaps demystified – for the home cook, with humor and fun to boot.  Over a career lasting over forty years, Child’s single-handedly changed the way we think about food in the US (, 2004)

Child’s influence was not lost on the professional chef, either.  Mastering the Art of French Cooking is considered a standard guide for the culinary community (, 2004).  She was a member and founder of several professional organizations, and received numerous awards and recognitions for her work in food preparation and knowledge.  At her death in 2004, many Food Network celebrity chefs testified to how she influenced their decision to pursue culinary careers.

Readers and foodies are rediscovering and embracing one of the world’s most influential chefs and best known cooking show personality.  Five years after her death, and at a time when Americans are seeking safer and more wholesome foods for the table, Child is poised to mold more generations in the way to cook and the fun in making a good meal.


Julie and Julia opens in theaters on August 7, 2009.

Check out Julia Child’s PBS site devoted to her cooking series.

While she declined offers for a series on Food Network, Child made appearances on its shows, and was appreciated with an episode of the Chefography series.  Watch the episode here.

View her kitchen from her Massachusetts home, which she donated to the Smithsonian Institute in 2001.

Read Julie Powell’s Julie/Julia Project blog on the web (Warning:  Contains profanity)

More information on Julia Child, including biographies, news articles, blogs and video clips, can be found on the world wide web.  Simply search her name in your favorite search engine.

Find cookbooks by Julia Child in CCLS and PINES by searching “Child, Julia” in the PINES catalog.

Published in: on August 8, 2009 at 5:55 pm  Leave a Comment