Ranger Rick's editors probably never guessed how important one article would prove. When a group of Afghan kids found a copy of the children's magazine in their Pakistan refugee camp containing a piece on the international youth poetry and art contest River of Words, they discovered a lifeline. They decided to enter -- and ended up establishing relationships that opened up a new world to them and their new American friends.
See the fruits of their labors at "From Kabul to San Francisco: The Art of Refugee Children," a special portion of a larger River of Words exhibit of verse and art from children around the world. Lecturer Tamim Ansary, author of West of Kabul, East of New York: An Afghan American Story, helps makes sense of what you're seeing with a slide show. The talk begins at 3 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 24 (the exhibit runs through March 31), at the Presidio's Crissy Field Center, 603 Mason (at Halleck), S.F. Admission is free; call 561-7752 or visit www.crissyfield.org. -- Joyce Slaton
In 1884, a bunch of artists grew tired of the French government's official salon. With a defiant, do-it-yourself attitude, the group began the "Salon des Indépendants," an unjuried show still held annually in Paris. Now Oakland's wonderful children's art museum has put together a similarly democratic exhibit, also called "Salon of the Independents." For it, kids up to age 17 were invited to bring one piece of art to the museum; all of the pieces are on display in the gallery. The first "Indépendants" in France featured government-rejected artists such as Van Gogh, Cézanne, and Toulouse-Lautrec. What famous artist's early work might be on display in Oakland? Find out through Feb. 1 at the MOCHA Gallery, 538 Ninth St. (at Clay), Oakland. Admission is free; call (510) 465-8770 or visit www.mocha.org. -- Hiya Swanhuyser
Meet the Noble Eagle
Little kids simply adore animals of all kinds -- even the stinky, unattractive, and downright unfriendly ones. The folks at the San Francisco Zoo accommodate this egalitarian predilection with the "Fun for Little Learners" series of classes for tykes aged 31 months to 3 years. Children and their caretakers learn about a different creature each week (this time it's eagles; future courses cover rhinos and prairie dogs) through stories, games, songs, and animal-oriented crafts. The merriment starts at 9 a.m. (and again at 11) at 1 Zoo (at Skyline), S.F. Admission is $15-20; call 753-7080 to register or visit www.sfzoo.org. -- Joyce Slaton