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The Case of the Deadly Desperados

Front cover of book has title printed on large black cowboy hatThis book has one of the best openings I have ever read! I was hooked before I turned the first page.


Read The Case of the Deadly Desperados, by Caroline Lawrence, and you, too, can experience the world of the American Frontier in 1862. Join twelve year old P.K. Pinkerton in his attempt to escape from truly dastardly desperados who are after a piece of paper he inherited. Find out about life in Virginia City during the heyday of the silver mines, when people from all over the world came there to find their fortune. Experience the chills and thrills with P.K., who must think like a detective if he is to survive. Enjoy the oddly formalized language used, a special treat for those who liked the book True Grit.


This book is the first in the Western Mysteries series. 

Career and College Pathways

Dear 2014 College Students and High School Graduates,

 graduation hat and book  

graduation hat and book 

Congratulations on your success!


Did you know that the San Jose Library has resources that can help direct you toward the next step in your career or college pathway?


  • Try the Learning Express Library to practice college entrance tests over the summer or use it to practice career entrance exams.  (To access this service you need a library card and pin number, and will need to set up an account the first time).


Still need help? Call your library or come to any branch of the San Jose Public Library and ask to talk to a librarian.


Book Trailer Contest

Have a book you really love? But are tired to telling people what's it about? Then why not show them? Make a book trailer and enter your video in the San Jose Public Library's book trailer contest to win prizes!


Need some inspiration for your video? Check out the book trailer I made for The Maze Runner by James Dashner right here:&


Think you can do better? Sumbit your video to youtube and tag it with SJPL2013SRC and cite any images, audio, pictures etc, that isn't yours.


Check this link for rules, regulations, and more information about the contest (and Summer Reading!):


Good luck to you all, and may the odds be ever in your favor!

2013 Book Trailer Contest

Check out the top 3 winning entries of the 2013 Book Trailer Contest below:


1st place (winner of an iPad Mini): Hannah V. -  Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children


2nd place (winner of a $50 iTunes gift card): Terrick E. - The Things They Carried 


3rd place (winner of a $25 Jamba Juice card): Linh N. - Lord of the Flies


Thank you to everyone who submitted such creative and fun videos!






The San José Public Library invites teens to create a book trailer for our Summer Reading Celebration during the months of June and July. Upload a short clip, no longer than 4 minutes, to YouTube. Be creative! The contest is open to all participants in the Teen Summer Reading Celebration.


How to enter:

Think of a favorite book you read for Summer Reading and envision it as a short video, one that will capture the interest of your audience. Create your own book trailer, reviewing the book. You can submit more than one video, but each video has to be for a separate book.


  • Sign up for Summer Reading starting on June 1, 2013.
  • Post the video on YouTube using the tag: SJPL2013SRC
  • Submit the YouTube link to your book trailer along with your name, age, contact information (either a phone number or email) and your library branch to:
  • All entries must be submitted by July 31, 2013
  • Book trailers may not be longer than four minutes in length
  • Story being reviewed should be a young adult or adult fiction or non-fiction book.
  • Cite all images, video and audio that you did not create

A panel of judges (staff at San José Public Library) will review all entries and select the top three winners, to be announced in August 2013. The panel of judges will use the following criteria when reviewing book trailer entries:


  • Content: Clear introduction; strong hook; summary without dominating narration; fresh and interesting commentary with strong conclusion
  • Voice/Sound: Interesting; well-rehearsed; smooth delivery; holds audience attention; easy to hear narration over soundtrack; voice sounds natural and helps convey meaning; soundtrack adds to tone/feel of presentation
  • Images: Crisp, clear, engaging, enriching, extending details and meaning; appropriately cited.
  • Presentation: All elements (color and graphics) work together seamlessly to create an interesting book trailer

Need some examples? Check out the winning entry from last year's Book Trailer Contest, created by K. Rai.


Here are links to some professional book trailers:



Teens who submit links to their Book Trailer will automatically be entered in the contest. The top 3 winners will receive:


   image of iTunes card   picture of jamba juice card


  • 1st place: iPad Mini
  • 2nd place: $50 gift card for iTunes
  • 3rd place: $25 gift card for Jamba Juice

Graphic Novel Making Contest 2013

Congratulations to all our winners! Check out their work and some pictures from the Awards Ceremony.


Children Ages 6 and Under:

1st place – Shreyas Anand, Age 6, Island of the Robots (Calabazas)

2nd place – Joaquin Albornoz, Age 6, The Inventor (King)

Honorable Mention – Megan Leung, Age 4, What a Teddy Bear Needs (Evergreen)


Children Ages 7-12:

1st Place – Marisa Leung, Age 10, The Fish’s Pearl (Evergreen)

2nd Place – Arianna T. Le, Age 12, Fate Fate (Tully)
3rd place – Cindy Xu, Age 11, The Tale of the Empire State Building (Calabazas)

Honorable Mention 1 – Shreyan Mayukh Mitra, Age 7, Stop It! I Don’t Like It! (Alviso)

Honorable Mention 2 – Nathan Koketsu, Age 12, Aro (Willow Glen)



1st Place – Shirley Huang, Age 14, Midnight Moon (Vineland)

2nd Place – Kelly Lien, Age 15, Was It Innocence? (Evergreen)

3rd Place – Tess Shell, Age 15, Hidden Flowers Circus (Willow Glen)

Honorable Mention 1 – Aeryn Frost, Age 16, Child of Ink (West Valley)

Honorable Mention 2 – Vi Le, Age 17, The Black Book Market (Berryessa)



1st Place – Jared Russell, Colma (Rose Garden)

2nd Place – Kenzi Smith, Blank Spaces (King)

3rd Place – Queena Xu, Finding Our Melody (Edenvale)

Honorable Mention – Michele Cajes, Happiness (Evergreen)






Graphic Novel Making Contest logoIf you have a talent for creating comic/manga style illustrated short stories, you are invited to enter San José Public Library’s Graphic Novel Making Contest for all ages as part of our Summer Reading Celebration, 2013. This contest is sponsored by San José Public Library, Hijinx Comics, San José Museum of Art and TRY Japan Culture Group.



Here’s how to enter …


  • Create your own comic book with a maximum length of 8 pages, including the cover page.
  • Use letter-size paper (8.5 x 11) with black-and-white drawings and text on one side only.
  • Each submission must be the creative and original work of a single individual—the author/illustrator.
  • The contest is limited to amateur authors/ illustrators only.
  • Computer generated images are acceptable as long as they are your original work (no clip art)
  • Consider submitting a photocopy that is an accurate reflection of the original (as submissions are non-returnable).
  • San José Public Library reserves the right to reproduce your work. You can reuse all your work after the contest.
  • Be sure to print and complete the creative works release form. Include your Name, Age, Contact Information and Signature.
  • Entries can be submitted to any San José Public Library location no later than 8p.m. on Wednesday, July 31, 2013. 
  • Entries can also be submitted online to as a jpeg or pdf attachment.
  • There is a limit of one entry per contestant.


Entries will be judged on content and illustrations by a panel of library staff and comic industry professionals. All cash prizes will be awarded as gift cards. 


  • Children (up to age 6): first prize $25; second prize $15
  • Children (7-12): first prize $40; second prize $20
  • Teens (ages 13-17): first prize $100; second prize $70; third prize $50
  • Adults (age 18 and above): first prize $100; second prize $70; third prize $50

Winners will be announced and prizes awarded at a reception to be held at the Seven Trees Branch Library on Saturday, August 24th at 2:00 the Community Room. 


Check out the award winning entries from 2013, 2012, 2011 and 2010.   


San José Public Library staff members are ineligible to participate.

San José Public Library reserves the right to refuse submissions that are not appropriate for a general audience. This contest is open to all California residents.

We Need Your Suggestions for the IMPAC Dublin Award

San Jose Public Library wants your recommendations for the International IMPAC Dublin award now! (Deadline May 16, 2013)


Is there a novel you read last year that you enjoyed? Nominate it for the IMPAC Dublin award!  


Every year San Jose Public Library, along with other major libraries from around the world nominates a work of fiction written or translated in English published the preceding year for the International IMPAC Dublin Award. From the Long list of recommended books, a short list of 10 books is chosen by a jury of authors. From this list of finalists a winner is chosen and announced the following June.


The book must be a novel, published in English between January 1 and December 31, 2012 or an English translation of a book originally published between 2008-2012.


Post your recommendations below no later than May 16.


For more information on the IMPAC Dublin award:

The California Gold Rush

Imagine that you are living in America in 1849, and that you start hearing rumours about a gold strike in far-off California. They say you can pluck gold right out of the river, and can easily become a rich man! However, the road to California is hard. Why, 3 years ago, the Donner Party became snowbound on the way, and they say the survivors ran out of food and ate the dead!


How will you find out what's really happening? You’ll read the newspapers (or find someone to read them to you). Newspapers are the only significant media source you have. Those newspaper accounts are the best (and sometimes only) source of information around. Read the stories, and make your own decision on whether to go prospecting for gold in California!


Back in the 21st century, you can still get a taste of what people were reading about in 1849 and the following years. Newspaper accounts from that era are compiled in the book To the Golden Shore: America goes to California – 1840, by researcher and editor Peter Browning. These are the very stories that stoked gold rush fever in the U.S. Check it out, at San Jose Public Library!

Getting Old is Murder, by Rita Lakin

 Getting Old is Murder coverAre you looking for an engaging mystery, a Florida locale, and a bunch of elderly retirees doing the investigating? Then this book is for you! Gladdy Gold and her trusty Gladiators, with the help of others in the housing development as well as the local library staff, work to find out what has REALLY been happening to the neighbors. Although Gladdy and her group sprinkle their conversation with Yiddish, everyone will be able to relate to these ladies who lunch, bedevil, and support each other. Read Getting Old is Murder for an enjoyable visit with these intrepid detectives!

Posted by Helen Kahn on Apr 25, 2013 | Comments: 0 |

Sophia's War : A Tale of the Revolution

Sophia's War book coverIf you are looking for an exciting, fast paced, suspenseful and action packed historical fiction read Sophia’s War:  A Tale of Revolution written by Newbery Medalist Avi.  Twelve year old Sophia lives with her family in British occupied New York City in 1776. Her brother William joins the Patriot cause against the British and enlists in the rebel militia.  Sophia’s mother and father must hide their support of the Patriot cause simply because they are surrounded by loyalists and must house British officers in their home.  When Sophia’s brother William is injured in battle and then dies in a British prison, Sophia vows to avenge his death.  Sophia soon finds herself in a very challenging situation:  working as a spy for the Patriot cause.  Her task is to warn General Washington of a British plan to capture West Point, a strategic Patriot stronghold overlooking the Hudson River.  Benedict Arnold, a Patriot traitor, is involved in this plan but only Sophia discovers this.   Sophia is a determined and strong heroine as she sets off on a perilous journey to warn General Washington of the British plan and of Benedict Arnold's treason. Short chapters and excellent writing make this thrilling tale of espionage and courage a great read for 6th graders as well as Young Adults.    

25th Annual San Jose Children's Faire

25th Annual San Jose Children's Faire Explore the Possibilities, Saturday, April 13, 2013 10:00 AM to 3:00 PM

Celebrate the Month of the Young Child at the

25th Annual San Jose Children's Faire! 


Saturday, April 13, 2013

10:30 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.


The Faire is expected to draw over 5,000 attendees to the outdoor festival, held at Discovery Meadow (in front of the Children's Discovery Museum), in downtown San José.


The theme this year is "Explore the Possibilities" and features family-oriented stage entertainment, special attractions, and activity booths offering hands-on activities for children ages 2-12.  Families can obtain information about education, child care, recreational programs and health and safety resources. 


For more information call 1-408-808-2617 or visit