Agent, publisher put 'Trust' in local author Wang

Courtesy of Kathy Wang
Kathy Wang of Los Altos has released her debut novel, “Family Trust,” about how wealth can complicate family values in the time of death.

Los Altos resident Kathy Wang’s new book, “Family Trust,” is a Silicon Valley story of how wealth can complicate family values in the time of death. The dramatic novel uses humor to tackle the subjects of gender, race, family and wealth relations.

Released Oct. 30 by HarperCollins Publishers, the book isn’t based on true events, but it’s influenced by the world Wang has lived in.

Reading and leading: Morning Forum speaker highlights presidential literacy


When President John F. Kennedy faced a potentially disastrous standoff with the Soviets over nuclear missiles in Cuba, he received urgent and determined advice to bomb from his military and political staff. But Kennedy thought of an example from ancient history he had read and did not bomb, saving the world from a catastrophe.

From the earliest part of American history, leaders who were well versed in literature used their exposure to books to guide their world-shaking decisions. That was the focus of a Nov. 6 Morning Forum of Los Altos presentation by Joseph Luzzi, Ph.D., professor of comparative literature at Bard College, who spoke on “The Presidential Library: Books That Shaped Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln, Roosevelt and Other Commanders-in-Chief.”

Winner named in Spooky Stories contest

Talinn Hatti is this year’s Town Crier Spooky Stories contest winner. The 11-year-old sixth-grader won for the story “Gargoyle’s Trick,” about a father-son experience at Ghost Mansion.

The Town Crier asked readers to weigh in on their favorites, and Talinn’s entry received the most praise. Honorable mentions go to John Allan’s “Something Fishy,” Laura Allan’s “The Doll” and Scott Klusaw’s “A Halloween Ribbing.”

East Palo Alto Kids Foundation: Serving disadvantaged students

Courtesy of East Palo Alto Kids Foundation
Children enjoy a field trip to the California Academy of Sciences, funded through the East Palo Alto Kids Foundation. The foundation serves approximately 4,000 underserved students in pre-kindergarten through 12th grade in East Palo Alto and eastern Menlo Park.

• Mission: The East Palo Alto Kids Foundation (EPAK) was formed by Faye Brown, Nicki Smith, Tricia Berke Vinson and Jacqueline Widmar Stewart, four local residents who became appalled when per capita funding for California schools plunged in the 1990s.

“Without school parents’ participation, children had no gym, art or music classes, and the library and classrooms were woefully understaffed,” Stewart said. “We agreed that the best way to benefit students in individual classrooms was directly through their teachers. Teachers were best positioned to identify their students’ needs.”

Hidden Villa Summer Camps: Getting children outdoors, no matter their background

Megan V. Winslow/Town Crier
Children care for animals and enjoy other valuable learning experiences at Hidden Villa Summer Camps. Holiday Fund proceeds help provide scholarships for financially challenged children to attend the camps.

• Mission: Hidden Villa aims to inspire a just and sustainable future through programs, land and legacy.

• 2018 update: Hidden Villa added the Outdoor Innovators program, which focuses on engineering in the outdoors. In the one-week overnight camp for youth entering fourth and fifth grades, participants stayed in a geodesic dome, Viking tent, carousel tent or teepee and studied hands-on engineering in nature ranging from structure building to how termites construct homes with natural air conditioning.

Sunday Friends: Enabling families to break the cycle of poverty

A little girl receives a new backpack during a Sunday Friends back-to-school shopping day in August. In 2019, Sunday Friends plans to offer programs during the week at one of its school sites.

• Mission: Sunday Friends empowers families to break the generational cycle of poverty by fostering positive development in children while educating and guiding parents to support their children’s life success.

• 2018 update: James McCaskill joined Sunday Friends as its new executive director. Rather than trying out new things, McCaskill said the nonprofit organization is working on investing more in the existing aspects of the program, including literacy (both reading and writing), financial literacy, health and wellness, parent engagement, digital literacy and educational opportunities.

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