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tv   Mosaic  CBS  January 16, 2022 5:30am-6:00am PST

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(upbeat music) good morning and welcome to mosaic. i'm rabbi eric weis and honored to be your host this morning. the world is so complex and one of the ways we are able to xer act with the complexity is developing the simple art of reading. the way in which we are able to interact in the world by what we learn from what we read. we would like to invite you into a wonderful conversation with vivian who is the program coordinator for pj library and
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howard freed man who is the director of the jewish library here in san francisco welcome. >> thank you so much. >> thank you. let's jump in what is pj library pj stavendz for pajamas and it provides free jewish books and music to kids in the bay area starting at six months through the age of 8. we also have another program that's relatively new in our community called pj our way which or chapter books and graphic novels also free with jewish content for kids 9 to 11 years of age. >> fantastic. is pj library just a local program or something that -- >> it's actually an international program. it was started here in the u.s. but it currently is in 12 different countries and in the past ten years has given away over 12 million books, just in the united states and canada. >> fantastic and i know we'll
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come back to pj library. howard, let's talk a little bit about what the jewish community library here is in san francisco. >> the jewish community library is a full-service library like any other except we are basically only dealing with jewish topics. but that said, it's really with the whole gamut of the jewish experience, not only religion but culture and history and from every perspective imaginable. and we have a small branch at the palo al toe jcc in addition and one other in addition to the main branch in san francisco. >> we can sometimes take reading for granted. that is something we have in the bay area. we have a high degree of literacy with books and reading. and it's something we may take
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for granted. i want you talk about the kinds of programs that you offer and the ways people interact with your books with reading and what does for folks. howard, maybe talk about some of the programs at the jewish community library and then maybe ask vivian. >> from my angle i certainly don't take it for granted we read and actually maybe we can talk later we are have challenges both with time and technology having an impact on the way we read meaningful. one of the things we do at the library is promote read energy brook groups and a lot of the programming is devoted to helping people get together and read books together and also to interact with authors and lecturers with a role of stimulating reading as an activity. >> vivian? >> for pj library what we know reading has a huge impact on brain development and emotional development and language
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development in kids, especially in those critical ages, 5 and under. so pj library really wants to enhance that sacred time of parents reading to their children at bedtime and that's why we call it pj. when you are in your pajamas and listening to stories from your parents and roll infuse the moments with jewish content and stories. there's really jewish values are universal values that so many people can relate to. when you read to a child, you're really connecting with them in a different way. and it is so important for bonding and for really -- for children to just appreciate stories and have their imagination just go different places. and really, just a really with a busy day to just be calm and number a story and be taken away. it's a beautiful time for families. >> we'll take a quick break in just a moment before.
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we do say in a concrete way how does someone actually just sign up for pj library. >> in a variety of ways, the easiest is online we have a website at pj tleet delete you can easily enroll for any child in the family. each child gets the book delivered straight to the home in the mail and it is entirely free. children are thrilled to get their own books. the envelope comes with their name on it and every month they have a new story to read about a holiday coming up or a story about a brave, young girl or boy or something that children can relate to and learn from. >> wonderful. vivian, howard we'll take a quick break and come back to "mosaic" in just a moment. please join us back here on "mosaic" in just a moment.
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. good morning and welcome back to "mosaic" i'm rabbi eric weis and honored to be your host this morning. we're in the middle of a wonderful and important conversation about reading and all the ways reading nungsz our lives especially in a complex world. i would like to reintroduce you to vivian to the program coordinator it the pj library and howard who is the project
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director here in san francisco. welcome back. >> thank you. >> we were talking about the notions of taking reading for granted and how reading is changing and how that impacts, perhaps, the way we even understand the world and so i'm wondering if you can speak a little more to that and the ways in which the programming of the jewish community library actually in the most basic sense, encourages reading. >> sure, from my perspective, you know i sometimes judge it by my experience on the bus. say 15 years ago, a lot of people were reading physical books on the bus. ten years ago, a lot of them switched to kindles. nowadays most people have their head in their phones. part of what that tells me and from speaking from a lot of people, there is less reading of fiction and nonfiction and more sustained reading among adults than there was. a lot of people are doing facebook and communicating on phones and the truth is that our
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time is less than what it once was. manufacture us especially in the bay area which is so tech saavy bring our office home to us we have all the documents in the cloud and we're not making the same kind of leisure time for reading that we once did and i think our reading is suffering. one of the things -- -- and the library is to call attention to the importance of reading and i think it is quite important and create opportunities for people to -- to want to read you can to read in order to share their experiences, to learn about the books they read from other peoples' perspectives and to share experiences with authors. we have lots of opportunities to make -- for people to make reading more central to their lives and that's a priority. >> interesting, you said sustained reading, so meaning that -- part of what you observe is that maybe i'm just sort of thinking this sort of out loud because we vonl a focus for an e-mail duration that's
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not sustained reading and sustained reading is a novel, a story, a book, something chapter after chapter. is that what you mean by sustained reading?. >> correct and there's actually a lot of research being done. i think one of the issues we have with the digital age is a lot of the habits have changed faster than we've sort of had a sense of what the research tells us and -- and the research that's happening now is really telling us that the kind of read thatting we do, that's more leisurely, that's taking information in a more deeper way, effects other brain and enters us in a different way than say the articles we read what we referred to when looking at our tablet or phone. we're substituting one kind of reading for the other kind of reading and our -- our encounter with the world is changing as a result. >> interesting. and so vivian, pj labor rather literally, pj library,
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literally when you sign up your child literally gets a book in the mail. >> yep. >> the assumption that child is going to be sitting down with an adult in their lives, typically a parent but might be a different adult in their lives literally reading the full book to them, out loud. >> yes and -- when they sign up, the books are age appropriate and developmentally appropriate. so babies would get board books and so on and they grow as the child grows. but, yes, in the very early ages, those books would be read to kids and i would say on howard's point about the attention span and technology, it's really important to have books in your home that kids see that. that they see that you're reading as a parent. the reading is important to you and not only reading to your child but read energy general. kids need to see that and they need to see parents off their cell phones at home and off computers. we at pj library have been struggling with the idea of
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putting books on kindles because many families use kindles now than paper books. what we come we are struggling with is that magical to have no pages to talk about the story. it is a way tone gauge the child on a whole different level and have their undivided attention both as a parent and as a child. each pj library book has informational flaps on either side that talks about the content of the story. what the jewish holiday may be that's being celebrated or the value that the book illustrates. it also has recipes or online links if you want to learn more. but the idea is to do hands-on activities at home with your kid based on the story that's being told. so it really encourages downtime, downtime and a time too exclusively that's meant for learning. >> interesting. we're going to come back and
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continue this conversation just des moines a moment here on "mosaic."
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. good morning and welcome back to "mosaic." we're in the middle of a wonderful conversation with vivian, who is the program coordinator for the pj library and howard freed man who is the director of the jewish community library here in san francisco. we're talking about reading and the importance of read energy a complex world. howard, talk a little bit about some of the programs the library such as the one bay, one book, book club program. >> sure. the library does a lot to support book clubs. they are wonderful and one of the great parts of being in the bay area, so many people are
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involved in the informal experiences like book krubz and we try to support them by providing through the book club in a box program, 12 copies of a given title. we have 120 titles for people to choose from and they're available free to any book club that's interested to borrow for a month or two. then we have a program called 'one bay, one book' in which we select one book for a given year and we invite readers throughout the bay area to read and discuss together. our selection this year is called 'septembers of shiraz' a novel set in iran just after the revolution. and it's about a family that's stuck there and the father is unfairly imprisoned. a fine book and the author will be coming to speak both in palo alto and san francisco in june with all the people who have been reading the book this year. >> if somebody has never been a part of a book club or interested in joining a book club or starting a book club,
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what kind of services actually would that person get for constructing their own book club and choosing a book. what do they get from the library. >> one thing we have a droppin book club at the library for people who are not part of a book club and don't want that level of commitment. we also help people set up their own and help people connect to other people and have a guide to holding effective discussions and of course have all the books to choose from, making it easy to start up. >> so we should say that the contact information for the jewish community library is to go on the or to call you at 415-567-3327. >> and one thing i wan men actually done book clubs with kids with the number of the books that are available in pj our way, the program in which vivian runs. for me, this has been wonderful
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because when kids are at that age and we're talking about the late elementary grades primary, they can now engage with jewish history, with aspects of the jewish experience that are much harder to share when the kid is much younger. we've had rich discussions, for instance, in a book called 'the secrets of the house of telgado' experiences during the spanish inn quiz i guess and a -- a book called 'black radishes', about a boy in the 1930s in france and fantastic ways to start ex flooring the jewish historical experience which doesn't get shared generally in school or even in religious school very often. >> vivian, when somebody has a child and sign up for pj library, that child gets their own book once a month from, say, birth until -- >> they can sign up at birth. the books actually start at six
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months and go through the age of 8. so a child that signs up as a baby could get a book, a free book a month until they are through the age of 8. and at that point, we want to continue this beautiful pj library experience and they can sign up for our pj our way program, which howard mentioned which is geared towards kids 9 to 11 years of age. they sign up online at and what's nice about the program, they can choose the book they get every month for free so they can really read reviews of the book and figure out what subject they are interested in and choose that book every month. there are book clubs on online and you can review the books online and it is a nice way to connect online in a safe environment to discuss reading in the books. >> the bay area is so diverse. >> yes. >> one of the things about the bay area is that so many of us are inter connected with family
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nationally and international and so if somebody here in the bay area is listening to -- about pj library but they have a young member of their family in a different state, a different country even, then can they access pj library? >> absolutely. pj library is available in over 200 communities across the u.s. and also in canada, australia, the united kingdom, russia, latin america and so -- they can sign up online and google pj library and they can find the country in which their child is and easily sign them up. in fact, if they go on the website and put in the zip code of the child it will pop up which community they can sign up in so it is easy. >> fantastic, we will take another quick break and come back here in just a moment here on "mosaic."
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. good morning and welcome to "mosaic" i'm rabbi eric weis and honored to be your host. we are about to end, unfortunately a wonderful conversation about read energy a complex world with vivian the program director at pj library and howard freed man the director of the jewish community library. welcome back.
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>> thank you. >> we've been talking about the power of reading and trends of reading and the diversity of the books that are actually in the library also and within the context of pj library and the in the books of a child six months to 8 years old can receive every month. i'm wondering if you can talk a little bit about what trends you see in children's literature in the kinds of books being written and kinds of books that are being read and kinds of books people are interested in. i'm wondering, maybe howard, we can start with you and vivian you can chime in and also maybe talk a little bit about the actual diversity of the books available through pj library. >> absolutely, howard. >> it's an important question. we had a survey of the bay area jewish community that found about a quarter of bay area jews live in-house holds of people of color who may be jewish themselves and may not be. it's very important we realize and act on the knowledge that we
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are very diverse community. i know jewish books pretty well and they have not historically reflected that fact and it is a wonderful thing to see we're really starting to see the emerge evens of many more jewish children's books that reflect the ethnic and national and religious diversity of jews so kids can grow up with a sense -- that dark-skinned jews are no different as jews from jews would light skin. that's a very important thing for people to grow up with and we're seeing that now. and i'm very happy. >> and for pj library, absolutely we embrace the diverse jewish community that's really reflected across the country but i would say no moreso than in the bay area. we know this is our community. we welcome it and we want to embrace it and so we want that reflected in our books as well. and so it is a priority to not only have diverse families but also female-driven main characters which is something families are looking for.
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they've always looked for and especially now when we're really embracing the power of women to have little girls read about bravery and all these wonderful jewish role models we have in history of women that stepped up n. terms of diversity, there was a book that came out in november, in honor of hanukkah. it's brand new and i received several e-mails about it from local families about this book called 'the queen of the hanukkah dosas' it is about a hindu jewish family that incorporates the indian dosas which are similar to latkasn. this stare there is a little sister that ends of saving the day. it reflects this lovely family that roll represents all of the -- you know different skin colors and what makes up a
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family. no family is alike these days and it is important for not only parents but also for kids to see themselves reflected in our books. it makes them feel valued and it makes them feel like they are a part of the community and we want that. it is important for families to know that the jewish community embraces them. >> it seems important when we're talking about children's books that when we talk about diversity, that's a big word. >> yeah. >> it seems to me when we get really -- creative what it breaks down to is an illustration reflects a child of color, a ju of color. >> yeah. >> and a diversity of let's say skin color in a family but also reflects behaviors so there are ways in which we give significant analysis, a diversity is wonderful by the way the story reflects cooking and food or a celebration or outing or something they go do. >> mm-hmm. >> in terms of interacting with
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the world around them. are their other ways in which you think the book reflects diversity for a child's mind that build those building blocks of inclusion. >> absolutes absolute. . i think think of a certain book called the only one club' it's about a little girl that goes to public school and she feels she's the only jew in the class what she soon discovers but there are other children only ones with red hair or freckles and everyone has their own uniqueness and to embrace that in a real way. >> howard and vivian, believe it or not we've come to the end of the conversation together. we put a comma in the conversation so to speak and we encourage to please pay attention to reading and books and particularly to the children in your lives. thank you so much for being with us here on "mosaic."
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