SV Reads events explore impact of family history on identity


Best-selling author A.J. Jacobs is scheduled to discuss his book “It’s All Relative” 7:30 p.m. Jan. 25 at the Los Altos main library, 13 S. San Antonio Road. The event is the first of 10 library programs in the next few weeks focused on the Silicon Valley Reads 2019 theme “Finding Identity in Family History.”

No tickets or reservations are needed for the free discussion, presented in partnership with the Los Altos Library Endowment.

Jacobs’ book describes his three-year adventure in learning more about his family tree after he received an email from an unknown eighth cousin. The book – on the New York Times best-seller list for weeks – touches on genetics and genealogy, tradition and tribalism, identity and connection. Jacobs often appears on national news and talk shows discussing his humorous books that combine history, science and self-help.

“We think this theme and this book will resonate with the Los Altos community and be the start of some interesting dialogue among our diverse residents,” said Judy Mitchell, president of Los Altos Library Endowment board. “We have been longtime supporters of Silicon Valley Reads because we recognize its value in encouraging literacy and community engagement.”

Other Silicon Valley Reads events scheduled at the Los Altos Library include:

• “Learning About DNA,” a program for school age youth, 4 p.m. Jan. 29.

• Screenings of two award-winning documentaries – “Twinsters” at 7 p.m. Feb. 12 and “Farewell Herr Schwarz: An Intimate Family History” 7 p.m. March 12.

• A talk by Gayle Greene, Ph.D., highlighting her book “Missing Persons,” a memoir chronicling how she tried to untangle her knotty family history after the death of her last living family member, 7:30 p.m. Feb. 20.

• A program for families, “Tell Your Family Story,” with nationally known bilingual storyteller Olga Loya, 11 a.m. March 2.

• A visit with children in grades 3 and up and their parents/caregivers from Brenda Woods, author of “The Blossoming Universe of Violet Diamond,” 4 p.m. March 7.

• A presentation by Jane Lindsey of the California Genealogical Society, “Genealogy Is Not Just for Genealogists,” 7 p.m. March 18.

• The class “Preserving Family Photos, Photo Stories and Documents,” 7 p.m. March 20.

• Storytimes for young children and families, spotlighting “Alma and How She Got Her Name” by Juana Martinez-Neal, the Silicon Valley Reads pick for children in grades pre-K to 3. Some storytimes may feature celebrity readers and crafts activities. For details on times and dates, visit

Altogether, more than 140 free Silicon Valley Reads events will be offered in February and March throughout Santa Clara County, including appearances by the authors of the other two featured 2019 books for adult readers – Paula Madison, author of “Finding Samuel Lowe,” and Bill Griffeth, author of “The Stranger in My Genes.”

Silicon Valley Reads is an annual community engagement program presented by the Santa Clara County Library, the Santa Clara County Office of Education and the San Jose Public Library. It selects books that reflect a theme relevant to the region and asks everyone in the community to read, think, discuss and share their diverse perspectives.

For more information on Silicon Valley Reads programs, visit

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