In 1973, Marianne Carus was deep into the world of editing children's books when she had a hunch. Some research proved her speculation correct: No children's magazines offered original stories, not a single one. Realizing that she was in the right place at the right time, she resolved to start a smart, funny, ad-free publication for tykes, and Cricket was born.
At "Celebrate Cricket: 30 Years of Stories and Art," Carus and friends discuss, through the book of the same name, the magazine's growth and the obstacles it has overcome: distributors who called the logo "black and ugly" and New Yorkers who wondered whether a serious publication could emanate from (the cornfields of) Illinois. But the staff's optimism and commitment to turning out quality reading for young people produced a smashing success. With respected contributors like T.S. Eliot, Nikki Giovanni, and Isaac Bashevis Singer, Cricket remains a dependable way to divert and stretch a growing mind. The discussion begins at 6:30 p.m. at the Main Library, Koret Auditorium, 100 Larkin (at Grove), S.F. Admission is free; call 557-4200 or visit www.sfpl.org.
-- Hiya Swanhuyser
Sugar at Your Service
Sugar's more than a sweet tooth's best friend. Plain old granulated sucrose (and its close relative, honey) has been used since Roman times to disinfect and help heal wounds. Seems sugar, mixed with a sticky ingredient such as grease or a liquid antiseptic, draws out bacteria to help cuts, scrapes, bedsores, and other traumas get better faster. If you find this obscure fact fascinating, hotfoot it over to the Sweet Health Fair to learn about sugar's practical uses and related health issues. Through hands-on activities and demonstrations, candy-lovin' kids and adults can become versed in the way the body handles sugar, from the first taste of sweetness to digestion. One tip: After a long look into Bob's Mouth, that chocolate bar may not seem as appealing. The fair starts at 3 p.m. at the Lawrence Hall of Science, Centennial & Grizzly Peak, Berkeley. Admission is free-$8.50; call (510) 642-5132 or visit www.lawrencehallofscience.org.
-- Joyce Slaton
Join a Glowing Parade
With homelessness taking center stage in city politics, now is a perfect time for the San Francisco German School's Lanternfest. The century-old Teutonic tradition commemorates St. Martin, who gave his cape to a beggar on a bitter winter night, cementing his reputation as a bringer of loving warmth and light. The good Samaritan is celebrated each year by children who walk the streets carrying colored lanterns, singing songs, and enjoying refreshments. Get in on the brilliant holiday starting at 6 p.m. at West Portal Playground, 131 Lenox (at Taraval), S.F. Admission is free; call 586-9060 or visit www.germanschool.com.
-- Jack Karp