The Silicon Valley Voice

Power To Your Voice

First 5 California Asks New Parents to Talk.Read.Sing

At the front of Central Park Library on Aug. 10, library attendees learned about First 5 California (, also referred to as the California Children and Families Commission. Families attending the “First 5 & Pam Donkin Musical Storytime” in the Redwood Room received free “new parent” kits in either English, Spanish or Mandarin. These kits included Roger Priddy’s book “Happy Baby: Puppy And Friends,” Gloria Mayer and Ann Kuklierus’s book “What to Do When Your Child Gets Sick” and a guide about paid family leave.

“First 5 California’s statewide campaign called Talk. Read. Sing. (R) encourages parents and caregivers to talk, read, and sing with young children every day, from day one, to boost early brain development,” said Diane Levin, First 5 California’s Chief Deputy Director. “Research shows that critical brain growth and other developmental milestones take place during the earliest months and years of a child’s life.”

Award-winning musician Pam Donkin sang songs in her show titled “A Hop, Skip, and a Jump” with her guitar and ukulele. She shared a story “Five Fluffy Puppies” through song with puppets. She also performed her signature number, “Planting Seeds of Love.” (This cheery piece can be downloaded for free at


“I’m going to do ‘Clap Your Hands Now’ as a scarf song; so instead of singing ‘clap your hands,’ I’ll sing ‘wave your scarf,’” said Donkin, twirling a bright scarf in the air. “When the children wave the scarf and follow it with their eyes, it helps with reading readiness.”

After Donkin’s program, the First 5 Express paid a visit.

“The express is a mobile activity center that goes all around the state,” said librarian Kelly Quinn Chiu. “It offers activities in English and Spanish.”


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