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  Santa Cruz Parent Santa Cruz, CA

December 13, 2012

Happy Chanukah!
Christmas in 20th Century Californio
Favorite Boy, Favorite Girl
A List of Christmas Books
This Week
How to Give Joy with Fewer Toys
Some of the Year's Best Kids Books, 2012
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(Books/Products) BorntobeWild_EveBabyElephant.jpgFor an enchanting,  family friendly documentary movie definitely see Born to be Wild. It follows orphaned baby elephants and orangutans in their journey toward independence in the wild. You can view it by dvd or go to the Imax at The Tech.

"Born to be Wild is an inspired story of love, dedication and the remarkable bond between humans and animals. This film documents orphaned orangutans and elephants and the extraordinary people who rescue and raise them--saving endangered species one life at a time. Stunningly captured in IMAX 3D, "Born to be Wild 3D" is a heartwarming adventure transporting moviegoers into the lush rainforests of Borneo with world-renowned primatologist Dr. Birute Galdikas, and across the rugged Kenyan savannah with celebrated elephant authority Dame Daphne Sheldrick, as they and their team rescue, rehabilitate and return these incredible animals back to the wild."

One of my earliest experiences in Santa Cruz was a rainy day visit to Wilder Ranch.  Inside the kitchen a docent was baking cookies and sharing them!  This Saturday should be very special at the ranch!

Of course you are giving a special book to each of your children.  I was thinking of recommending a certain "big name" list of books for children, but as I reviewed the content I realized the books were rife with violence and dark themes.  Then I discovered Bookshop Santa Cruz's list for children so we share that with you.  Also, for some good, extensive lists, go here.

  Happy Chanukah!

(Holidays) Hanukkah_LightandChildandMenorah.jpgChanukah is an eight-day festival celebrating the recapture of the second Temple from the Syrian Greeks, and its rededication, marked by the kindling of lights on a menorah. Despite having very little oil, the menorah burned for 8 days beginning the 8 day celebration of Chanukah.

Chanukah celebrations are based on the Jewish calendar. This year Chanukah is Dec. 8-16, 2012.

Since Chanukah commemorates an oil-based miracle oily foods are eaten to commemorate Chanukah. Most families eat fried potato pancakes, latkes, and/or sufganiyot, deep-fried doughnuts.

During Chanukah it is customary to give gelt (money) to children to teach them to give some of it to charity. Each year the Bank of Israel mints special Chanukah coins featuring a Jewish community from around the world.

The Greek oppressors outlawed Torah schools, so the children would study in the forests, posting a sentry to alert them of Greek patrols. When the alert came, the children would hide their texts and start playing with dreidels (spinning tops). Dreidel games on Hanukkah commemorate the courage of these heroic children. The four Hebrew letters on the dreidel are an acronym for "Nes Gadol Hayah Sham"-a great miracle happened there. So playing dreidel keeps us mindful of the Hanukkah miracles even during fun and games.

Hanukkah Books for Children

1. Hanukkah, Oh Hanukkah by Susan L. Roth
2. Hanukkah at Valley Forge by Stephen Krensky
3. Light the Candles by Joan Holub
4. Hanukkah! by Roni Schotter
5. Happy Hanukkah, Curious George by H.A. and Margret Rev
6. D is for Dreidel by Tanya Lee Stone
7. Other Hanukkah Books for Children
8. Hanukkah Moon by Deborah Da Costa
9. My First Hanukkah Board Book (My 1st Board Books)
10, Biscuit's Hanukkah by Alyssa Satin Capucilli
11. Shalom Sesame: Chanukah Special

  Christmas in 20th Century Californio

(Ads 2012) Wilder_holidaysattheRanch.jpg"What better way to celebrate the spirit of the holidays than a trip back in time at Wilder Ranch! This December 15th, Wilder Ranch will be filled with the holiday cheer of days gone by as they recreate the holiday traditions and activities of the Californio, Victorian and early 20th Century residents who inhabited the ranch during its many years as an active dairy farm. There's so much to do and learn, it's fun for the whole family!

Park Interpreters and volunteers will busy your hands with holiday wreath-making, invite you to join in an old-fashioned sing-along around the player piano, and provide you with materials to make Victorian and Mexican holiday crafts.

Play games like dreidl, take a draft-horse carriage ride, decorate the tree or create ornaments to bring home to your own tree while spending the day on the grounds of the cultural preserve at beautiful, historic, Wilder Ranch State Park."

  Favorite Boy, Favorite Girl

(Photos General) SukiwithBook.jpgMy daughter has started to refer to her brother as "Favorite Boy." You might think that this is not an epithet, but you would be wrong. She is skilled at turning any fine word into an insult, when her brother is the one she's referring to.

In this particular case, after years of not pulling the "you love him more than me" line on me, suddenly she has started to say that I favor my son over her. She'll take any excuse: If I ask her to stop hitting her brother, he is "Favorite Boy." If I tell her to pick up her shoes in the middle of the floor, it's because he is "Favorite Boy." Heck, I bet if I asked her to hit her brother, she'd find a way to turn it into favoritism.

Watch out for little sister!

I remember feeling this way. I remember telling my friend-perhaps I was the same age she is now-that my father hated me. I remember this as being very matter of fact. He hates me, and I have proof. I remember that we would sit on our beds and discuss these weighty matters: who had a loving parent, which of us had the more evil sibling, what we'd do if we ever found a way to get away from our miserable families.

Of course, the ironic thing is that... Read more>>>>

  A List of Christmas Books

(Holidays) Christmas_SantaReadingtoChild.jpg1. How the Grinch Stole Christmas!
2. A Wish to Be a Christmas Tree
3. A Charlie Brown Christmas (Running Press Miniatures)
4. Merry Christmas, Curious George
5. Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer (Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer) (Little Golden Book)
6. The Little Christmas Elf (Little Golden Book)
7. Fancy Nancy: Splendiferous Christmas
8. Charlie and the Christmas Kitty
9. The Very Fairy Princess: A Fairy Merry Christmas (Passport to Reading Level 1)
10. The Mitten 20th Anniversary Edition
11. Mr. Willowby's Christmas Tree
12. Olivia Helps with Christmas
13. Pete the Cat Saves Christmas
14. Room for a Little One: A Christmas Tale
15. Llama Llama Holiday Drama
16. The Year of the Perfect Christmas Tree: An Appalachian Story
17. The Nutcracker
18. The Christmas Story
19. The Polar Express
20. The Sweet Smell of Christmas (Scented Storybook)
21. What Is Christmas?
22. A Bad Kitty Christmas
23. Flight of the Reindeer: The True Story of Santa Claus and His Christmas Mission (15th Anniversary Edition)
24. The Night Before Christmas


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  This Week

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Submit your event!

Check the Events Calendar for More Fun!


Best Holiday Camps!

(Photos General) SoccerCatalystBoyBallon.jpg

Robotic Camp at Makers Factory


Catalyst Soccer


Holiday Workshops and Camp at The Art Factory


Santa Cruz Gymnastics


Watershed Art at The Tannery


Camp Flip at Gymnastics Learning Center


Holiday Fairs, Events and Fun!


(Holidays) ChristmasCarriageRides.jpg

Carriage Rides Downtown Santa Cruz

(Holidays) ChristmasBeachTreasures.jpg

Finding Beach Treasures

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(Holidays) Christmas_VasonaLightScene.jpg

Vasona Lake Park lights

(Holidays) Christmas_RoaringCampTreeWalk.jpg

Roaring Camp Tree Walk

All Holiday Events are in the Calendar!


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 How to Give Joy with Fewer Toys

(Ads 2012) LorrainePursellBanner.jpg

How to Give Joy with Fewer Toys ~ Complimentary Live Teleclass

Wednesday, December 19, 7pm PDT,
Hosted by Tracy O'Brien of Radio

If you are tired of your child having an Entitlement Mentality, and are feeling STRESSED OUT already about spending money on JUNK this year, then this class is for YOU!

You will learn:

*The #1 Reason you should live within your means this Holiday!
*How Giving Joy with fewer Toys can solve your child's "entitlement mentality'
*New ways to give Joy that will last a lifetime
*Why your child will actually WELCOME your new ways of giving joy!
*The vital life lessons you will supply your child by giving joy with fewer toys

Really Enjoying the Holidays
click to view website
  Really Enjoying the Holidays
view all details >>
Really Enjoying the Holidays
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  Really Enjoying the Holidays
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Really Enjoying the Holidays
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  Really Enjoying the Holidays
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Guided Elephant Seal Walks
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  Guided Elephant Seal Walks
State Park Ano Nuevo
Date: Every day (Dec 15-Mar 31) from 8:45am to 2:30pm
Ages: All: (Lots of walking)
Details: Elephant seals galore! 3 mile hike to see thousands of elephant seals, including newborn pups, their mothers, and bulls
Special Instructions: Dec 15 - Mar 31
City: Pescadero Phone: (650) 879-2025 view all details >>
Really Enjoying the Holidays
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  Really Enjoying the Holidays
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Candle Dipping
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  Candle Dipping
State Park Mission
Date: 12/02/2017 from 1:00pm to 3:30pm
Details: Hand-dip a wax candle!
Special Instructions: Dec 2 & 22
City: Santa Cruz Phone: 831.425-5849 view all details >>
Really Enjoying the Holidays
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  Really Enjoying the Holidays
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Really Enjoying the Holidays
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  Really Enjoying the Holidays
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Really Enjoying the Holidays
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  Really Enjoying the Holidays
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  Some of the Year's Best Kids Books, 2012

 Bookshop Santa Cruz Staff

(Photos General) Reading_4Boys.jpgThese are just a sampling of this year's many wonderful new books.

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
"It's not a cancer book, because cancer books suck," says Hazel, the singular voice of John Green's newest and greatest young adult novel. The Fault in Our Stars is a love story, true, but it's more than a love story. It's a book that will shake you to the foundations and you will like it. The characters settle in on your living room couch, playing bloodthirsty videogames, arguing over literature, asking you why and what for is this life given or taken away, and you will be glad you opened this impossible genius of a book and will never entirely shut it again-I promise you. Grades 9-12. Reviewed by: Tera

Seraphina by Rachel Hartman
In this enthralling new world where dragons and humans coexist under an uneasy truce, Seraphina is an oddity: a talented girl musician with a cranky, elusive mentor-an orphan who doesn't know her parentage-and the carrier of a secret that lies literally embedded in her skin. When the crown prince is killed, Seraphina is pulled into the treacherous hunt for the true murderer and into the chaos that ensues when two vastly different intelligent beings question each other's right to exist. The best fantasy debut of the year. Grades 8-12. Reviewed by: Tera

The False Prince by Jennifer A. Nielsen
With a murdered royal family and a country on the brink of civil war, Connor, regent of the crown, has a treasonous plot to train one of four orphans in order to pass him off as the long-lost prince. From the start, it's impossible not to become attached to the orphan, Sage. He is the narrator of this tale, and you never know if he is lying to us, to himself, or to everyone else in the book, but you need to find out. This book was so hard to put down that I had to keep it in my backseat so I wasn't tempted to read it at stoplights. It will appeal to fans of Megan Whelan Turner, Suzanne Collins, and Mark Twain. Grades 5-9. Reviewed by: Nate

The One and Only Ivan
Ivan, a silverback gorilla, has lived behind glass walls at the derelict Big Top Mall and Video Arcade for 27 years. Alone except for a handful of friends, Ivan turns to art-crayons and finger paint accidentally acquired-to travel beyond his cage. But when a baby elephant arrives, newly captured from the wild, Ivan realizes that his domain is pinched beyond endurance. Thus begins a desperate, valiant quest for freedom. The One and Only Ivan is a hero's tale of escape and self- discovery that will inspire readers to rethink human kinship to animals and the reality of whatever domains, or cages, we unthinkingly inhabit. It will break your heart, but it's wonderful. Grades 5 & up. Reviewed by: Eileen

What Came From the Stars by Gary D. Schmidt
In the formal, patterned language of oral epic poetry (think Beowulf), readers are given details of a battle between opposing forces. To save the essence of civilization, Young Waeglim forges the Art of the Valorim into a chain and hurls it into space. And such is the measure of his desperation and power that the necklace streaks through the galaxies, past stars and comets, and lands on Earth in 12-year-old Tommy's way-too-babyish Ace Robotroid lunchbox (a birthday gift from his grandmother). Two worlds intersect and inextricably combine and nothing will ever be the same for Tommy and his family. There is such beauty and yearning (and humor) in this novel-in all of Gary Schmidt's novels, really-and though this book may rend your heart, I recommend it wholeheartedly. Grades 5-8. Reviewed by: Gā

Liar & Spy by Rebecca Stead
"A seventh-grade boy who is coping with social and economic issues moves into a new apartment building, where he makes friends with an over-imaginative home-schooled boy and his eccentric family. Social rules are meant to be broken is the theme of this big-hearted, delightfully quirky tale, and in keeping with that, Stead creates a world where nothing is as it seems. Yet the surprises are meticulously foreshadowed, so when the pieces of the puzzle finally click in, the readers' "aha' moments are filled with profound satisfaction." -Kirkus Reviews  Although written for a younger audience than her Newbery-winning When You Reach Me, Rebecca Stead has created another odd and compelling mystery. Grades 4-7.

The Lions of Little Rock by Kristin Levine
Marlee only speaks to a tiny handful of people. She's terrified of giving a presentation in class, of standing up to her bullying best friend, or talking to a stranger. But she's also terrified of being voiceless in a family pulling itself apart. When a new girl moves to town, Marlee takes a chance and speaks to her. What unfolds is a friendship that challenges the social fabric of the town of Little Rock in the year 1958, just after the Little Rock Nine have desegregated the schools. Against this tumultuous backdrop, Marlee discovers that finding her voice will mean speaking up for what she knows is right. Grades 5-8. Reviewed by: Tera

Three Times Lucky by Sheila Turnage
"What do you get when you combine Because of Winn-Dixie's heart with the mystery and action of Holes? You get an engaging, spirit-lifting and unforgettable debut for young readers. The novel's opening lines reveal the unflappable Mo LoBeau as a latter-day Philip Marlowe: "Trouble cruised into Tupelo Landing at exactly seven minutes past noon on Wednesday, the third of June, flashing a gold badge and driving a Chevy Impala the color of dirt.' Pairing the heartbreaking sadness of children who don't get their fair share from parents with the hilarity of small-town life, Turnage achieves a wickedly awesome tale of an 11-year-old girl with more spirit and gumption than folks twice her age." -Kirkus. Grades 4-7.

The Mighty Miss Malone by Christopher Paul Curtis
In preparing for the winter newsletter, booksellers in the children's section of Bookshop read all the books published in 2012 that we suspect may be good- suspicions created by publishers' reps, readers we like, children's lit blogs, book reviews we admire, and some less tangible trickle of interest that accompanies a certain book and that publishers refer to as "buzz." The Mighty Miss Malone was published in January. I didn't read it until the day before the newsletter was due at the printers. MMM is a smart, amusing novel about a loving, bookish family's struggle to live together when job possibilities are forcing them apart-a struggle as relevant today as it was in the 1930's setting of Curtis's story. Warmly memorable and completely buzz-worthy. Ostensibly for grades 5-8. And the rest of us. Reviewed by: Gā

Penny and Her Song by Kevin Henkes
On her way home from school, Penny composes a song that she just has to sing. She starts to sing it to her parents, who, worried that she'll wake the babies, tell her to wait. She sings her song to the glass animals in her bedroom, but wishes for a more responsive audience. Penny attempts her song again at supper, but she's asked to eat. Finally, after dinner, the family gathers and Penny sings her song exuberantly and successfully (with encores). The family joins in, singing and dancing until they are all exhausted. For newly independent readers grades K-2. Reviewed by: Gā

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