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  Santa Cruz Parent Santa Cruz, CA

December 3, 2015
Traditions

Steve: Five Themes for the Holiday Season

Books to Give and Treasure

For parents of young children

Winter Open House
Holiday Camps
Notable Children's Books of 2015
Click to view our Business Directory
  Traditions

(A Nov) Christmas_BeachSandman.jpgSo many of us in California have a heritage of holiday traditions developed in colder climates and other cultures. No problem! We adapt, blend and create new traditions! We make a snowman from sand, add tamales to our menu, and still read classic stories and sing songs, put up Christmas trees and lights, sing carols, light the menorah in the window and go ice skating or surfing.

Just look at the great variety of holiday events in our communities, so many that there is something for everyone. We parents balance exciting adventures with making warm memories at home. Here are a few!

Read classic Christmas stories, no matter how old the children: Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol, Hans Christian Andersen's The Fir Tree, Santa Mouse by Michael Brown and Elfrieda De Witt, 'Twas the Night Before Christmas by Clement Moore, Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas, The Chanukah Story

(A Dec) Christmas_TheFirTree.jpgTell the children stories about your childhood Christmas or Chanukah traditions:  Traditions can evolve with the times; let them see that.

Play Christmas music. Introduce the children to traditional Christmas songs in addition to Christmas pop music. Sing with the children! Join Ben Jammin and Friends Dec. 5 or 18.

Make gifts: Go to craft shows early and find items that make you think "I could make that".  Even easier, go to Pinterest and search for "Christmas crafts forkids to make" or Chanukah crafts for kids to make  or Kwanza crafts for kids to make.

(A Dec) Christmas_TheFirTreeCraft.jpgGive each child his own new ornament each year so that when they are adults they will have some sentimental ones to start their tree.

Buy the kids new pajamas to wear on Christmas eve.

Decorate cookies or gingerbread houses with the children and friends.

Make latkes and Chanukah cookies with your children.

Make the tree decorating a special event: play Christmas music, drink hot chocolate, string popcorn, etc.  Turn off all the lights except the Christmas tree and enjoy the lovely warm lights.

Explore neighbors' holiday lights... Walk around your neighborhood, or drive to nearby neighborhoods.

Mix and match holiday traditions from several cultures.  It's the American way!

Have wonderful holiday preparations with your family.  I am thankful for you, our readers.  Please recommend our newsletter to new friends so they won't miss any fun events!

Parmalee

 

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  Steve: Five Themes for the Holiday Season

(AAA_Feb 2015) SteveSpitalny.jpgAs a continuation of my previous post, I want to offer some more thoughts for the season. Many religious traditions point to the specialness of this time of year. What the many traditions speak of at this time of year are light and love. Because of the shorter days and often cooler weather, there is a tendency toward inwardness. This can manifest as quiet reflection, contemplation and meditation, and can thereby be a time of a birth of the true self, that core part of our psyche that we want to guide us to awake responsiveness.  We adults must make the time for this crucial self development activity!  So here are my five guiding thoughts.

1. This is a time of year to remember our human connectedness, human community, and the warmth and love of human relationships. 
Phone or write cards (actual paper in envelopes with stamps) to reconnect with family and friends who you may have neglected reaching out to over the year or years. Sit down and eat meals together without electronic distractions. Experience the warmth of human gatherings.

2. Remember your deep and true human values of giving, compassion, caring, generosity, sharing, warmth, and love.
Out of your care and compassion, what support and help can you offer others who may be in need? A hug for a friend or a meal for a homeless person?

3. How can you help your child toward these through your example.
Rather than a mood of getting, frantic shopping, stress, and the over stimulation of malls, movies, and consumerism, create quiet times reading stories, singing and making things together and simply being together.

4. How about making time for cooking together. 
Surround your child with warmth of the modern hearth, the smells of cooking, the warmth of your activity, the giving of cooking for others, cooking as a gift? Maybe make some sandwiches that you can bring downtown and give away to folks who have less to eat that you.

(A Dec) CandlelightGirl.jpg5. Create an environment of less stimulation for your young child!
The world of stores is so bright and loud ad intentionally overstimulating. Find ways to leave your young child at home if you must enter the rushing shopping world. Grandma or Grandpa would be so happy to have time with your children, or maybe you can trade off with other parents.

Do you know that the closest light source with the same spectrum as sunlight is candle light? Have less bright lights (including colorful screens) and less loud music for your young children. Read and sing by candlelight. It can be such an enriching experience for you and your children.

Steve Spitalny, local author, speaker and experienced teacher of young children, is available for Parent and Teacher Mentoring and Consulting, in-person, or via skype or phone. Email for details to: stevespit@gmail.com

 

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  Books to Give and Treasure

(A Nov) Book_thejacket.jpgThe Jacket: A Sweet Illustrated Meta-Story about How We Fall in Love With Books, A gentle reminder that to be somebody's favorite thing in the world requires a certain quality of thingness.

The Lion and the Bird:  A Tender Illustrated Story About Loneliness, Loyalty, and the Gift of Friendship, An ode to life's moments between the words.

The River: Exploring the Inner Seasonality of Being Human in Gorgeous Watercolors by Italian Artist Alessandro Sanna, A beautiful reminder that despite its occasional cruelties, life is mostly joyful, radiant, and above all ever-flowing.

Little Boy Brown:  The Loveliest Ode to Childhood and Loneliness Ever Written, Illustrated by Legendary Graphic Designer André François,
A timeless story of humanity and belonging, wrapped in a charming time-capsule of a bygone era.

Mister Horizontal & Miss Vertica:  A Minimalist Picture-Book about How We Become Who We Are, A brilliant conceptual graphic story about how we get our stripes of character and identity.

Wednesday: A Minimalist, Maximally Imaginative Geometric Allegory for the Essence of Friendship and Creativity, What a circle and a square can teach us about empathy, collaboration, and the origin of great ideas.

(A Nov) Book_AdvicetoLittleGirls.jpgAdvice to Little Girls: Young Mark Twain's Little-Known, Lovely 1865 Children's Book, "Good little girls always show marked deference for the aged. You ought never to "sass' old people unless they "sass' you first."

Why Dogs Have Wet Noses: An Irreverent Illustrated Reimagining of Noah's Ark, Forty days and forty nights of loyalty and love.

The Blue Whale: A Loving Science Lullaby for Our Planet's Largest-Hearted Creature, An affectionate tour of an alternate universe right here on earth, where it's possible to grow by nine pounds an hour and never sleep.

Thank you to Maria Popova, a reader, writer, interestingness hunter-gatherer, and curious mind at large, who blogs at Brain Pickings for this very special list.

 

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  For parents of young children

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Delayed Kindergarten Enrollment Dramatically Reduces ADHD In Children, Study Shows If you've watched a succession of siblings go through kindergarten, you may have noticed that things have changed, and are still changing. As Motoko Rich writes in Kindergartens Ringing the Bell for Play Inside the Classroom, after a national movement toward more academics in that first year of school, many kindergartens are bringing back play: sand tables, blocks, easels, toy kitchens.  Click here

Delay Kindergarten at Your Child's Peril  THIS fall, one in 11 kindergarten-age children in the United States will not be going to class. Parents of these children often delay school entry in an attempt to give them a leg up on peers, but this strategy is likely to be counterproductive.  Click here

A Kindergarten Designed to Let Kids Be Kids  Architect Takaharu Tezuka observes that "children love running in circles." That's why he designed this Tokyo kindergarten in the round, with a roof that is basically one big running track, but low enough so kids can easily be seen from the ground. Click Here

Many Children Under 5 Are Left to Their Mobile Devices, Survey Finds  The American Academy of Pediatrics had recommended total screen abstinence for children younger than 2, but lately has softened its stance. It now advises setting time limits, prioritizing what it calls unplugged play and not using devices as pacifiers to calm toddlers. Click here

Steve Jobs Was a Low-Tech Parent  "So, your kids must love the iPad?" I asked Mr. Jobs, trying to change the subject. The company's first tablet was just hitting the shelves. "They haven't used it," he told me. "We limit how much technology our kids use at home."  Click here

Easing the Fear of Childhood Nightmares "Children usually begin having nightmares between the ages of three and six years old," says Thomas Dunigan, M.D., a Mayo Clinic Health System pediatrician.   Click here

 

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  Winter Open House

Santa Cruz Museum of Natural History
Explore the Museum of Natural History this winter!
Date: 12/05/2015 from 11:00am to 4:00pm
Ages: All ages Admission Fees: Free

(A Nov) Christmas_SaltDoughOrnamants.jpgEnjoy free admission, free hot apple cider & cookies, and drop-in nature craft activities for the whole family. Make salt dough ornaments, holiday cards, popsicle stick snowmen, and star ornaments to give as gifts to friends and family. Plus don't miss out on our annual Holiday Sale in the Museum Store, happening all weekend 12/4-12/6


Location: 1305 East Cliff Drive, Santa Cruz Map  Phone: (831) 420-6115 •website

  Holiday Camps

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Mount Madonna PreK-12, Mulan Jr. Curtain 12/12-13

 

All School Events

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Happy Hanukkah

 

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Ice Skating at Circle of Palms
San Jose Downtown


  Every day, 11/13-2/7


Skaters never tire of circling, twirling and gliding beneath 32 palms that stand majestic by day and twinkle by night


(408) 291-0525

view all details

Have lost or stolen items?

Check this link.

Thank you,

Boulder Police!

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How to Calm

a Crying Baby

in Seconds

 

 

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Community Open House
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  Community Open House
Monterey Bay Aquarium
Date: Every day (Dec 3-Dec 11) from 10:00am to 5:00pm
Details: Free admission for Monterey, Santa Cruz, and San Benito County residents
City: Monterey view all details >>
     
Watsonville Holiday Factory Sale
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  Watsonville Holiday Factory Sale
City of Watsonville
Date: 12/03/2016 from 9:00am to 4:00pm
Details: Sale with a delightful array of products... save the date, it happens only once a year!
City: Watsonville view all details >>
     
Make Memorable Traditions
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  Make Memorable Traditions
Date:
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Lucia Festival of Lights
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  Lucia Festival of Lights
The Scandinavian Cultural Center of Santa Cruz
Date: 12/04/2016 from 4:00pm to 6:30pm
Details: Celebrate the pageantry of the candlelit procession with Lucia, her attendants and star boys
City: Santa Cruz view all details >>
     
 Working Together
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  Working Together
Library Central
Date: 01/05/2017 from 10:00am to 11:00am
Details: Work with an information advocate on any information problem, access issue or obstacle of your choice.
City: Santa Cruz view all details >>
     
Annual Children's Holiday Craft & Food Fair
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  Annual Children's Holiday Craft & Food Fair
Boys and Girls Club of Santa Cruz
Date: 12/03/2016 from 11:00am to 2:00pm
Ages: All
Details: Art, crafts, baked goods by the children!
City: Santa Cruz Phone: (831) 423-3138 view all details >>
     
Make Memorable Traditions
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  Make Memorable Traditions
Date:
view all details >>
     
Exploratorium Free Day
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  Exploratorium Free Day
Exploratorium
Date: 12/06/2015 from 10:00am to 5:00pm
Ages: All
Details:
Special Instructions: Pier 15, which is on the Embarcadero at Green Street
City: San Francisco view all details >>
     
Make Memorable Traditions
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  Make Memorable Traditions
Date:
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Streets of Bethlehem
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  Streets of Bethlehem
First Baptist Church
Date: Every day (Dec 7-Dec 10) from 6:00pm to 8:30pm
Details: Experience the streets of Bethlehem's time when Jesus was born
City: Salinas Phone: (831) 422-9872 view all details >>
     
Lighted Boat Parade
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  Lighted Boat Parade
Santa Cruz Harbor
Date: 12/03/2016 from 5:30pm to 9:00pm
Ages: All
Details: 50+ beautifully-decorated power and sailboats parading through the Santa Cruz Harbor
City: Santa Cruz Phone: (831)425-0690 view all details >>
     
Ice Skating at Circle of Palms
click to view website
  Ice Skating at Circle of Palms
San Jose Downtown
Date: Every day (Nov 16-Jan 16)
Details: Skaters never tire of circling, twirling and gliding beneath 32 palms that stand majestic by day and twinkle by night
City: San Jose Phone: (408) 291-0525 view all details >>
     
Chanukkuh Train
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  Chanukkuh Train
Beach Boardwalk
Date: 12/29/2016
Details: Create a new holiday tradition with family and friends as we experience the lights, stories and traditions of Chanukah in a whol
City: Santa Cruz view all details >>
     
Santa's Kingdom Holiday Lights Train
click to view website
  Santa's Kingdom Holiday Lights Train
Roaring Camp Railroads
Date: Every day (Nov 27-Dec 23)
Details: Sing along to seasonal carols while sipping hot-spiced cider, listen to musical entertainment, and enjoy a visit from Santa and
City: Felton Phone: (831) 335-4484 view all details >>
     
Make Memorable Traditions
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  Make Memorable Traditions
Date:
view all details >>
     
     
  Notable Children's Books of 2015

The best in picture books, middle grade and young adult fiction and nonfiction, selected by the children's books editor of The New York Times Book Review.

Picture Books

ASK ME. By Bernard Waber. Illustrated by Suzy Lee.. This posthumous book by the great Waber ("Lyle, Lyle Crocodile") features a long, leisurely, lovely conversation between a father and daughter out taking an autumn walk.

(A Dec) Book_FindingWinnie.jpgFINDING WINNIE: The True Story of the World's Most Famous Bear. By Lindsay ­Mattick. Illustrated by Sophie Blackall. Written by a great-­granddaughter of the Canadian soldier who bought a bear cub from a trapper and took her to Europe in World War I, this delightful account of the story behind A.A. Milne's "Winnie-the-Pooh" is also a family history.

LAST STOP ON MARKET STREET. By Matt de la Peña. Illustrated by Christian Robinson. In this wise, moving story, C.J. is full of complaints as he and his peppery grandmother take a bus ride, but Nana helps him see the other side of things, especially after they arrive to help at a soup kitchen.

THE MENINO: A Story Based on Real Events. Written and illustrated by Isol. Translated by Elisa Amado. Our reviewer, Samantha Hunt, praised "the humor and the poetry" of this original take on the strangeness of babies - the alien sounds they make, the odd way they move - from the point of view of an older sibling.

IS MOMMY? By Victoria Chang. ­Illustrated by Marla Frazee. Children mischievously answer a question about their mommies on each page in this buoyant, refreshing look at ­parent-child love.

POOL. Written and illustrated by JiHyeon Lee. A wondrous, wordless tale of a girl and boy and the magical world they discover once they brave the depths of a pool.

THANK YOU AND GOOD NIGHT. Written and illustrated by Patrick McDonnell. This playful, extraordinarily charming bedtime book features a girl whose stuffed rabbit hosts a surprise sleepover party.

TOYS MEET SNOW. By Emily Jenkins. Illustrated by Paul O. Zelinsky. The three toys from the "Toys Go Out" chapter book series get their own picture book, a transporting look at the wonders of snow.

WAITING. Written and illustrated by Kevin Henkes. Five toys wait on a window ledge, each for something different, in this profound and beautiful take on patience and perspective from the matchless Henkes.

Middle Grade

CIRCUS MIRANDUS. By Cassie Beasley. ­Illustrated by Diana Sudyka. An orphaned fifth grader, falling under the spell of his dying grandfather's tales of a magic circus, attempts to cash in a deferred wish in this shimmering debut novel.

ECHO. By Pam Muñoz Ryan. Muñoz Ryan's enchanting novel sends a harmonica traveling across years and over continents and seas to touch, and possibly save, the lives of three music-obsessed children, each facing serious struggles.

FIRSTBORN. By Tor Seidler. In this artful and affecting novel, a solitary magpie travels with and becomes attached to a family of wolves who are repopulating the remote Lamar Valley in Yellowstone National Park.

GOODBYE STRANGER. By Rebecca Stead. A seventh grader recovering from a near-fatal accident navigates changes in herself and her tight group of friends in this moving novel, which our reviewer, Meg Wolitzer, called "masterly."

(A Dec) Book_ListenSlowly.jpgLISTEN, SLOWLY. By Thanhha Lai. The funny, gently heartbreaking story of a 12-year-old Vietnamese-American girl who travels reluctantly to Vietnam with her grandmother and learns to love the fractured country and culture her family came from.

THE MARVELS. Written and illustrated by Brian Selznick. Half wordless illustrated tale, half prose narrative, this captivating hybrid novel set over several centuries follows a family of theater legends who may or may not have really existed.

MOST DANGEROUS: Daniel Ellsberg and the Secret History of the Vietnam War. By Steve Sheinkin. A riveting and remarkably effective account of Ellsberg's life, his release of the Pentagon Papers and America's tragic history in Vietnam.

NIMONA. Written and illustrated by ­Noelle Stevenson.. A shapeshifting girl becomes a sidekick to a would-be villain in this winning, genre-convention-busting graphic novel that charts the terrain between magic and science.

ROLLER GIRL. By Victoria Jamieson. In this spiky, winning graphic novel, a summer at roller-derby day camp helps a 12-year-old girl learn to rechannel her anger and let go of her former, more uncertain self.

STELLA BY STARLIGHT. By Sharon M. Draper.. An ­African-American girl in the Jim Crow South, a budding writer, witnesses a frightening Ku Klux Klan event and decides to fight with her family for change in this stirring, heartfelt novel.

THE THING ABOUT JELLYFISH. By Ali Benjamin. A shattering debut novel about a grieving, lonely girl, stung by the treachery of middle-school social alliances, who tries to use the scientific method to explain her former best friend's death by drowning.

Young Adult

(A Dec) Book_HiredGirl.jpgTHE HIRED GIRL. By Laura Amy Schlitz. Set in 1911, this transcendent novel features a literature-loving teenage narrator, raised poor and Catholic, who flees an abusive home and gains acceptance and worldly knowledge working as a servant for a Jewish family.

SHADOWSHAPER. By Daniel José Older. "Magnificent," our reviewer, Holly Black, called this sharp urban fantasy set in Brooklyn, about a young muralist - a shadowshaper, able to channel friendly spirits into art - facing an assortment of dangers.

SYMPHONY FOR THE CITY OF THE DEAD: Dmitri Shostakovich and the Siege of Leningrad. By M. T. Anderson. A gripping, thoroughly researched biography of the Russian composer that illuminates the horrors of World War II along with the eternal hope music can provide.

SIX OF CROWS. By Leigh Bardugo. This crackling first book in a new series by the author of the Grisha Trilogy assembles a team of outcasts who must band together to pull off a heist in order to save the Grisha, a tribe with magical powers.

BECOMING MARIA. Love and Chaos in the South Bronx. By Sonia Manzano. In prose that shines brightly, the "Sesame Street" star recounts her path from a poor Nuyorican family ravaged by her father's alcoholism to a scholarship at a prestigious college theater program.

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