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  Santa Cruz Parent Santa Cruz, CA

December 9, 2015
Books Make Lasting Gifts

Ami: Giving Presence

Give the best: Classics!

Jenny: Why Science Fiction Matters

Jingle Shells Arts and Crafts Festival
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  Books Make Lasting Gifts

(A Dec) BookPresents.jpg 'Tis the season to give  books for gifts.   We're including Jenny and Becky's list of classics for the tweens and teens.  There are a few on their list that I haven't read and intend to!  Jenny makes the case for science fiction.  Since we last wrote about the delightful The Dangerous Books for Boys and The Daring Books for Girls, the authors have written more in the same vein.

Ami, who is writing a monthly column for us, has written an inspiring article on "Presence", a welcome message in a season that can sometimes be too hectic.

Two of my favorite "to-go-to's" are Mulan Jr play at Mount Madonna School and the Jingle Shells Festival at Seymour.

(A Buttons) Button_Weekend.jpgHave 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!



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  Ami: Giving Presence

(A Oct) Ami-Chen.jpgAs we cross the threshold from the holiday of giving thanks to the holiday of giving presents, I offer encouragement to include in your giving this year-in addition to whatever actual "presents" you may give-the gift of your actual presence both to your loved ones, to strangers and lastly, but not least, to yourself.

"Easy for you to say!" you may well respond. "It's the $@#! Holidays!" (Or: "Have you seen my $#@! in-box??")

How do we find our own presence within; how do we re-discover what some would call our higher Selves, our own souls ... in the midst of the busy-ness of this season, and of our overall lives?

We know when we have touched this place of quiet feeling, a sense of assurance arises within, and our problems seem smaller, solutions more evident, or we are content to simply enjoy life as it is, now, no matter what our circumstances.

"We know when we have touched this place of quiet feeling, a sense of assurance arises within, and our problems seem smaller, solutions more evident ... "

Our children benefit, our spouses, our families, our colleagues.

I have learned for myself that the how is as simple as stopping. In my work of late, I've been using the term "surrender." Surrender in the very best sense, meaning we stop trying to control everything around us (a futile task!), and even what is within our own minds. We stop. Emotions may continue, energies in the body. Chaos may swirl, still, for a while. But we do not need to continue to feed our thoughts, which add complexity to the storm. We can stop.

What is here, under this surrender, within this stopping? Under thoughts of what must be done, what we must do, what we must achieve, or change, and how we can prove our worthiness, or disprove our unworthiness? What is under, beneath, within, before and after our "to do" list, whether accomplished or not? ...continue reading>>>

Ami Chen Mills-Naim is author of The Spark Inside and State of Mind in the Classroom (revised, 2nd printing due in 2016). She leads the "Everyday Satsang" drop-in class through Santa Cruz Yoga. Next class is Sunday, Dec. 13, 2-4 pm at 1010 Fair Ave. Suite E. Class fee is $15. Ami also provides personal and professional coaching, is a global speaker, and leads retreats, webinars and trainings via the Internet and in person. Find more at


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  Give the best: Classics!

Everyone, children and parents alike, should read every book on this  wonderful list from our local literary lovers, Becky Clendenen Kimball and Jenny Clendenen Walicek, Sisters, Friends, and Partners in Litwits (A Dec) LITWITSBLACKLOGO2.jpgWorkshops.  If you're not the right age (tweens and teens) for one of their workshops. no problem, just read these anyway, and at the very least make sure your children, nieces and nephews have them on their shelves.

A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court
by Mark Twain

A Wrinkle in Time
by Madeleine L'Engle

Adam of the Road
by Elizabeth Janet Gray

All Creatures Great and Small
by James Herriot

All-of-a-Kind Family
by Sydney Taylor

Anne of Green Gables
by L.M. Montgomery

Around the World in Eighty Days
by Jules Verne

Black Beauty
by Anna Sewell

Blue Willow
by Doris Gates

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
by Roald Dahl

by Laurence Yep

Fahrenheit 451
by Ray Bradbury

Fantastic Voyage
by Isaac Asimov

Follow My Leader
by James B. Garfield

From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler
by E.L. Konigsburg

Hans Brinker, or The Silver Skates
by Mary M. Dodge

by Johanna Spyri

I Am David
by Anne Holm

Island of the Blue Dolphins
by Scott O'Dell

Johnny Tremain
by Esther Forbes

Journey to the Center of the Earth
by Jules Verne

King Solomon's Mines
by H. Rider Haggard

Little Women
by Louisa May Alcott

My Side of the Mountain
by Jean Craighead George

by Carlo Collodi

by Eleanor Porter

Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry
by Mildred D. Taylor

Summer of the Monkeys
by Wilson Rawls

Swallows and Amazons
by Arthur Ransome

The Big Wave
by Pearl S. Buck

The Enchanted Castle
by E. Nesbit

The Good Master
by Kate Seredy

The Hobbit
by J.R.R. Tolkien

The House of Sixty Fathers
by Meindert DeJong

The Old Man and the Sea
by Ernest Hemingway

The Phantom Tollbooth
by Norton Juster

The Railway Children
by E. Nesbit

The Secret Garden
by Frances Hodgson Burnett

The Tempest
by William Shakespeare

The Trumpet of the Swan
by E.B. White

The Trumpeter of Krakow
by Eric P. Kelly

The Wheel on the School
by Meindert DeJong

The Wind in the Willows
by Kenneth Grahame

The Witch of Blackbird Pond
by Elizabeth Speare

The Wizard of Oz
by L. Frank Baum

Tom Sawyer
by Mark Twain

Treasure Island
by Robert L. Stevenson




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  Jenny: Why Science Fiction Matters

by Jenny Clendenen Walicek

When I was 9-12 in the 1970s, I spent hours each day abroad in the galaxy. Science fiction wasn't just a great source of exotic adventures, or an escape from ever-confusing Planet Earth. It was my new mythology. I was centered by the companionship of noble creatures saving entire species from annihilation. Science fiction refocused my self-centric perspective, and showed me that problems much bigger than mine could be solved.

Not only could they be solved, they should be. The great writers of sci-fi helped me see that this conflict-ridden world was worth saving.  They showed me the necessity of nurturing respectful relationships - intergalactic, interspecies, interracial, interpersonal. They made me aware of the hope and terror that science could bring to our world. They taught me to keep a critical eye on "progress," to look for each remedy's poison as well as its cure. Their works embodied reassuring ideals of protection and preservation.

(A Dec) JulesVerne.jpgSci-fi affected my inner world, too. Thanks to H.G. Wells, Ray Bradbury, Jules Verne, Arthur Clarke, Robert Heinlein, Frank Herbert, Isaac Asimov, Clifford Simak, Ursula Le Guin, and oh yes Gene Roddenberry, I could depart their works and re-enter the atmosphere of pre-adolescence with a reshaped sense of self. Sci-fi distinctively made me aware that I was a human being - incontrovertibly part of something bigger than any group or clique, something that might need saving from itself. As such, I had bigger things to do than worry about what to wear, or who to sit with at lunch. My fantastic excursions actually grounded me. I had a role. I was on a mission. It was my duty to pay attention to things that mattered.

Like reading more great books, and learning more great things.

To this day, the lingering influence of science fiction permeates my perspective. That's why I shared the best of it with my kids when they were 9-12. And that's why LitWits shares sci-fi with your kids too.


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  Jingle Shells Arts and Crafts Festival
(A Dec) JingleShells_square.jpgSeymour Marine Discovery Center (at Long Marine Lab)
Join us for our annual winter holiday celebration, featuring local artists and crafts people who will tempt you with their ocean
Date: 12/13/2015 from 12:00pm to 5:30pm
Ages: 10 years of age and older. Admission Fees: General admission fees apply.


(A Dec) Seymour_Whale-Significant-Otter-300x288.jpgSunday, December 13, 12 - 5:30 PM

Join us for our annual winter holiday celebration, featuring local artists and crafts people who will tempt you with their ocean- and nature-inspired gifts. Find some great gifts for the holidays and save 10% in the Ocean Discovery Shop!

Enjoy a cup of hot apple cider, while listening to music and browsing for the perfect gifts. Children will enjoy crafts, musical performances, and our exhibit hall during the excitement of the holidays.

(A Dec) Seymour_LightedWhale.jpgThe festivities typically culminate outdoors at dusk (about 5:45 p.m.) as we light up the night sky with Ms. Blue, our awesome blue whale skeleton!

2015 Sponsor: MISSION INN, Santa Cruz

Special Admission:
Public: $6 adults, $4 kids, Children 2 and under FREE, Members: FREE

Location: 100 Shaffer Road, Santa Cruz Map
Phone: (831) 459-3800 •website Santa Cruz West Side


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Gateway K-8, School Day Tours 12/10


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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For Teens and Tweens

The Dangerous Book for Boys

The Daring Book for Girls

and more!

Full of interesting facts and creative activities, these books are upbeat and engaging. If you want to get your tweens away from video games and into the world of doing and making, these books may help.

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Community Open House
click to view website
  Community Open House
Monterey Bay Aquarium
Date: Every day (Dec 2-Dec 10) from 10:00am to 5:00pm
Details: Free admission for Monterey, Santa Cruz, and San Benito County residents
City: Monterey view all details >>
Story Skills, Like Pixar
click to view website
  Story Skills, Like Pixar
Khan Academy
Date: Every day
Details: The story experts at Pixar will help you learn how to compellingly organize and structure your own stories.
view all details >>
"Live" Village of Bethlehem
click to view website
  "Live" Village of Bethlehem
Santa Clara First Baptist Church
Date: Every day (Dec 7-Dec 11) from 6:30pm to 9:00pm
Details: "Experience the Birth"
City: Santa Clara Phone: (408) 241-7635 view all details >>
Presence, Most Desired Gift
click to view website
  Presence, Most Desired Gift
view all details >>
Rock of Ages Chanukah Concert
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  Rock of Ages Chanukah Concert
Temple Beth El
Date: 12/11/2015 at 6:30pm
Details: Join Temple Beth El at their Rock of Ages Chanukah Concert and Community-wide Candle Lighting Celebration with the Rock Shabbat
City: Aptos Phone: (831) 479-3444 view all details >>
Snake Park Saturday
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  Snake Park Saturday
State Park Rancho del Oso
Date: 10/14/2017 at 2:00pm
Details: Learn about the fascinating world of snakes from a snake expert
Special Instructions: 10am and 1pm
City: Davenport Phone: (831) 427-2288 view all details >>
Presence, Most Desired Gift
click to view website
  Presence, Most Desired Gift
view all details >>
Jingle Shells Arts and Crafts Festival
click to view website
  Jingle Shells Arts and Crafts Festival
Seymour Marine Discovery Center (at Long Marine Lab)
Date: 12/10/2017 from 12:00pm to 5:30pm
Ages: 10 years of age and older.
Details: Join us for our annual winter holiday celebration, featuring local artists and crafts people who will tempt you with their ocean
City: Santa Cruz Phone: (831) 459-3800 view all details >>
Presence, Most Desired Gift
click to view website
  Presence, Most Desired Gift
view all details >>
Step Into Nature with Patrice Vecchione - Session 2
click to view website
  Step Into Nature with Patrice Vecchione - Session 2
Santa Cruz Library Downtown Branch
Date: 12/10/2015 from 7:00pm to 9:00pm
Details: Step Into Nature with Patrice Vecchione - Session 2
City: Santa Cruz Phone: (831) 427-7717 view all details >>
Santa Claus at Marini's
click to view website
  Santa Claus at Marini's
Date: Every day (Dec 5-Dec 23) from 1:00pm to 5:00pm
Details: Santa Claus at Marini's Candies DowntownCome visit the jolly man
City: Santa Cruz Phone: 831.423.3299 view all details >>
Presence, Most Desired Gift
click to view website
  Presence, Most Desired Gift
view all details >>
New Mommy Musical Meet-UP
click to view website
  New Mommy Musical Meet-UP
MusicalMe, Inc
Date: The 2nd Mon of every month from 12:30pm to 2:00pm
Ages: birth - 12months
Details: Join us every 2nd Monday for our "New Mommy Musical Meet-Up"!
City: Santa Cruz Phone: (831) 438-3514 view all details >>
Mad Scientist Experiments
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  Mad Scientist Experiments
Quail Hollow Ranch
Date: 12/13/2015 from 1:00pm to 3:00pm
Ages: 7+
Details: Join us for an afternoon of scientific discovery at Quail Hollow Ranch.
City: Felton Phone: 831-454-7941 view all details >>
Presence, Most Desired Gift
click to view website
  Presence, Most Desired Gift
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 >>
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