Archive for December, 2008

storytime-plus-equals-toIt’s storytime and it’s playtime, too. It’s called Storytime Plus. Starting the Winter 2009 session, Centerville Library’s Preschool Storytime and English/Chinese Bilingual Storytime will include a free playtime after the stories. It’s a special time for parents and children to play and learn together. Parents can also chat with each other to share experiences. Both Storytime Pluses require registration. For details please click on the following links.

Regular Preschool Storytime Plus
English/Chinese Bilingual Storytime Plus

To bring more fun to the playtime, we need more toys and games. Your donation of any safe and new or like-new toys for young children, especially preschoolers, will be highly appreciated. Please drop off your donation anytime during the library’s open hours: Tuesdays, 1-8 pm and Thursdays, 11 am – 6 pm. Centerville Library is located at 3801 Nicolet Ave., Fremont, CA 94536. Map. Thank you very much for your support!

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Have a Happy Hogmanay!

Hogmanay (hog-ma-nay) is the Scottish celebration of New Year’s Eve. Or at least that’s the short definition. In places like Edinburgh and Glasgow it’s a huge party. Depending upon where you live, this party can last until 2 January.

All sorts of traditions go along with the celebration of Hogmanay, and differ from town to town. One widespread tradition is called, “First-Footing.” The first person to cross your threshold in the new year sets your luck for the year. The preferred first-footer is a tall dark-haired man bearing a gift of salt, coal, shortbread/black bun, whiskey, or a silver coin. Each gift denotes a different kind of prosperity for the new year. For further information on Hogmanay, see the links at the bottom of the page.

Peter Irvine describes Edinburgh’s Hogmanay in a video here.

Hogmanay Song – Scottish Falsetto Sock Puppet Theatre:

Further information about Hogmanay:
* Hogmanay.net FAQ
* Scottish Hogmanay Customs
* Wikipedia – Hogmanay

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funny pictures of cats with captions
more animals

This season is full of different holidays that folks celebrate. There are so many, in fact, that it’s difficult to keep track of them. (Or…maybe that’s just me.) In any case, as a public service I offer you a listing of where we stand in the holiday season

* Eid al-Adha was celebrated this year from 8 December to 11 December. Next year, this Muslim festival will fall in November.

* Saturnalia is an ancient Roman celebration that falls on 17 December.

* Yalda is a Persian holiday celebrated on 21 December.

* The Winter Solstice was on 21 December. You can watch it happen at Newgrange here. (requires Windows Media player.)

* Festivus is celebrated on 23 December.

* Christmas (25 December) is over. I hope that those of you who celebrate it had a great one.

* Yule occurs on 25 December, but may include celebrations that occur on the Solstice or other nearby days.

* Boxing Day was on 26 December. Did you find any good sales?

* St. Stephen’s Day is either on 26 December (for the Western church) or 27 December (for the Eastern Church.)

* Hanukkah began at sundown on 21 December and ends at sunset on 29 December.

* Kwanzaa runs from 26 December to 1 January.

* Hogmanay begins on 31 December, but these days it can last a couple of extra days…

* New Year’s Day is always on 1 January.

* Twelfth Night falls on either 5 January (the night before Epiphany) or 6 January (Epiphany) depending upon whom you ask.

* Sankranti falls on 14 January and is celebrated a bit differently depending upon where you live.

Did I miss a holiday? Please let me know, and have an fabulous holiday season.

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Seeing Santa

i_see_santaImagine the dismay you might feel if everywhere you went (and I mean everywhere) you saw Santa. Would you head for the doctor’s office? Seems like a good idea. And you’d lie down on the couch with a box of tissues while the doctor sat in his large green chair with his back to you. And he’d just listen while you told him all about your little trouble: Santa at the movies, Santa at the skating rink, Santa at the pet store, Santa under the kitchen sink. Santa is absolutely everywhere; he’s even bugged your teddy bear! Now that might be going a bit too far. And what advice do you think the doctor will give you? You’ll have to wait and see. It’s sure to be good advice. Even if he won’t let you see his face. Wonder why that is?
I See Santa Everywhere is a wondeful book to share with your family. It’s a holiday book, yes, but it isn’t too holiday, if you know what I mean. And while Santa is certainly predominant, it isn’t the sort of Santa you’re used to seeing. Glenn McCoy’s drawings have great details that add hilarious commentary to his well-rhymed text; Santa’s disguises are numerous and sure to make you smile. There’s plenty here for children and adults to appreciate. Barbara, one of my colleagues here at the library, gave me this book to read. It made her laugh, it made Gail (another colleague) laugh, and me too. I’m sure you’ll get a kick out of it as well. Merry Christmas!

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Scarlet Moon by Debbie Viguie is a retelling of Little Red Ridinghood. It opens with Ruth and Stephen walking through the woods , heading home from their grandmother’s house. Just before they reach the village, they are attacked by a wolf with green eyes. Ruth is badly bitten; Stephen fights off the wolf, stabbing him in the chest.

Ruth recovers slowly and just before she completely recovers, Stephen and her cousin Peter feel ‘the call’ to join the crusades. Ruth must help her father in the blacksmith shop. Over time, Ruth becomes a strong fighter, with only one fear- the fear of wolves in the woods. She is an unusual woman and she meets an unusual man with green eyes…

I picked this book up at about 11pm and didn’t sleep until I finished it. Short, quick, fun read. Scarlet Moon is available through the Alameda county library. Before Midnight, another book in the Once Upon a Time series is also available.

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Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs by Judi Barrett and illustrated by Ron Barrett is another of my all-time favorites. Although it is a picture book, I wouldn’t generally recommend it for children under the age of two, as it is quite wordy and takes a bit of effort to follow. That being said, my friend’s three year old loved it, and actually stayed focused for the whole thing. I suppose that you can’t go too far wrong with a story about a place where food rains from the sky instead of being cooked.

The story of the town of Chewandswallow is told by a Grandfather as a bed-time story. It’s the best bed-time story ever as far as the kids are concerned. I agree with them. This story is one of my favorites, and I have been known to read it to anyone who seems slightly interested. The artwork in this book is very detailed, but not very colorful. I’ve never been certain about whether or not I like their sketchy style. In any case, the scenes which appear in the art are hilarious. Where else will you find a picture of a football game called on account of pie? What can I say but: Try it, you’ll like it. (Just don’t eat the book.)

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Season’s Greetings

I’ve been inundated by seasonal links of late, as I’m sure you all have been, too. So, I’ve chosen four of the most fun to share with you. If you have any great ones, please let me know.

Reminder: The Fremont Main Library will close at 5pm on 12/24/2008 and will be closed on 12/25/2008.

Happy Holidays.

UK Parliament’s Christmas Tree:

You can watch the Solstice live from Newgrange via the web – here.

How some libraries celebrate during this time of year – Library Christmas Tree.

Need a bit of silliness in your day? Why not Elf Yourself?

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Thursday Thirteen #49

The Agatha Awards (named after Agatha Christie, mystery writer extraordinaire) are given for material first published in the United States by a living author. They are specifically for more traditional mysteries (no sex/gore, generally amateur detective/localized setting). Next Thursday will be Christmas, so the library will be closed. Have a safe and happy holiday season!

13 Winners of the Agatha Award for Best Novel:
1. If I’d Killed Him When I Met Him by Sharyn McCrumb (1995)

2. Up Jumps The Devil by Margaret Maron (1996)

3. The Devil In Music by Kate Ross (1997)

4. Butchers Hill by Laura Lippman (1998)

5. Mariner’s Compass by Earlene Fowler (1999)

6. Storm Track by Margaret Maron (2000)

7. Murphy’s Law by Rhys Bowen (2001)

8. You’ve Got Murder by Donna Andrews (2002)

9. Letter From Home by Carolyn Hart (2003)

10. Birds of a Feather by Jacqueline Winspear (2004)

11. The Body in the Snowdrift by Katherine Hall Page (2005)

12. The Virgin of Small Plains by Nancy Pickard (2006)

13. A Fatal Grace by Louise Penny (2007)

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With the remake of The Day the Earth Stood Still in theaters now, I thought it would be fun to post a clip from youtube of the original 1951 version. In this clip, you can see what the spaceship landing looked like so many years ago, without the benefit of computers or the amazing special effects moviemakers have at their fingertips now. The original film was directed by the immensely talented Robert Wise and starred Michael Rennie as the peaceful alien invader, Klaatu. Michael Rennie, a British actor, was relatively new to Hollywood when he made this movie. I always enjoyed seeing Rennie in films; he was never a big star, but I think he’s a great actor. The very beautiful Patricia Neal plays Helen Benson in the film. She was a Fox contract player at the time, and while she is quite good in this movie, she would go on to be in some really excellent films. Hud and A Face in the Crowd come to mind. If you’re in the mood for some more classic sci-fi, you might also take a look at Howard Hawk’s 1951 film, The Thing from Another World and the 1956 film Invasion of the Body Snatchers. They’re old, yes, and the special effects may not be on par with what you’re used to, but the tension and suspense created by the superb storytelling is hard to beat.

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If you are a frequent visitor of Centerville Library, you might remember seeing Filene, a therapy dog from Ohlone Humane Society’s “Hug-a-Pet” Program. She visited our library a few times last year during the Read-With-Me hours. She has returned on December 9th and this time, brought along two of her friends–Kula and Ernie. Many of the Read-With-Me children had a great time reading to their special guests. Some visiting children also greeted the dogs and watched Filene perform her flip trick. “Please come again”, says Andrew. Here is the good news–yes, they will be back in 3 weeks. Non Read-With-Me participants are also welcome to read to the dogs. Just bring your favorite books between 4 and 5 P.M. on Janurary 6th, 2009.

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