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Monday Children’s Book Reviews for December 28, 2015

whatever happenedWhatever Happened to My Sister by Simona Ciraolo

“A young girl sets out to find out exactly what happened to her sister. Who is this new sister? Why does she never want to play anymore?

“For anyone who has ever felt left behind, Simona Ciraol, paints a touchingly sweet portrayal of the transience of childhood and how adolescence and growing up can be a truly mystifying experience.”    [JPB CIRAOLO,S]

lola levine is not meanLola Levine is Not Mean by Monica Brown

“Lola loves writing in her diario and playing soccer with her team, the Orange Smoothies. But when a soccer game during recess gets ‘too competitive,’ Lola accidentally hurts her classmate Juan Gomez. Now everyone is calling her Mean Lola Levine!

“Lola feels horrible, but with the help of her family and her super best friend, Josh Blot, she learns how to navigate the second grade in true Lola fashion–with humor and the power of words.

“In this first book in a series, Lola’s big heart and creative spirit will ring true.”                      [ J BROWN,M]

you cant see the elephantsYou Can’t See the Elephants by Susan Kreller

“When thirteen-year-old Mascha is sent to her grandparents’ for the summer, she spends her days bored and lonely at a nearby playground. There she meets Julia and Max, two young siblings who are incredibly shy and withdrawn. Mascha soon begins to suspect that they are being physically abused by their father, a prominent member of their small community. She tells her grandparents and the authorities, but they all refuse to believe her.

“Mascha can’t let the abuse go on, so she takes matters into her own hands.”             [J KRELLER,S]

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Traditional Folk and Fairy Tales


In the twentieth century, fairy tales (and their close relatives, folk tales and myths) have had their ups and downs. There have been decades in which they were champi
oned and other decades in which they were downgraded or even vilified. This usually happened because of the changing attitudes of educators and parents. Some believfairytale2ed fairy tales were of little value or even harmful to children. Others were convinced that the strong response fairy tales brought out in most children was an indication that the tales had key importance in child development, yet they weren’t sure exactly why.

What does psychology have to say about the fairy tale?….Read the article Traditional folk and fairy tales. By: Pellowski, Anne, Nees, Susan, Ladybug, 10514961, Jul95, Vol. 5, Issue 11 Library Database:Primary Search

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Write Your Story …Christmas Eve 1940

battle of englandChristmas Eve 1940”

A fiction in England

By Bruce Haase / Senior Library Member 

Dec. 2015

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

From the prompt: A child is doubting Santa for the first time, on Christmas Eve there’s a thud on the roof…


~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

It was the first Christmas that I wasn’t sure if there was a Santa Claus. In December of 1940 I was ten years old and we lived on the Royal Hendon Road, not far from the Royal Air Force airfield. The Battle of Britain had just slowed down in October, but we weren’t sure if it was safe then, just weeks later.


My only brother, George, was fourteen and he and his friends had fun convincing me that there wasn’t a Santa. They had pretty much succeeded in their efforts. I felt a little sad, but more grown up with my new knowledge. During the war, my Dad was a civilian, but was gone most of the time, traveling the country, fixing electronic gear and training soldiers.


On that Christmas Eve and my Mom and Dad and George were down at the local pub for a couple of hours. I was home alone with our ancient cat, Prissy, she would fall asleep too close to the coal heater and would have to be moved away before she caught fire. I had moved Prissy and was dozing in the parlor with the wireless on low.


Far overhead there was the sound of a few Merlin engines, those Merlin’s were comforting music to our ears back then. The German engines never had a smooth and pleasant sound to them. We called the Germans, hienies, or Fritz or just plain nazis in those days. We didn’t hate them exactly, but we were very afraid of them, no one ever spoke of that fear though.


I heard one of the Merlins get a choppy sound, that got me on my feet. I checked Prissy and climbed the stairs to listen better. My ears were straining and I was barely breathing when the engine quit. While thinking about the young man, high above, alone in the dark and cold, I started counting off seconds and waited for a sound. Mom’s wind up Porcelain wall clock read ten:fifty-three when there was a big thud and swooshing sound on the roof.  There was a rattle outside the window, on opening it I was face to face with a man hanging from parachute cords.


He was badly hurt and I said that I would go for help. He said no, please don’t leave him alone. He asked me my name and I told him, “Johnnie”. He said he was a Canadian Flight Officer named Carson and he wasn’t going to make it.


He told me of his wife in Ontario and his three children, all younger than me. He asked me to take his wrist watch and to make sure they got it. His grip on my arm was weakening and his voice became too soft and garbled to understand. His eyes closed and he died. It was ten:fifty-eight. I had only known him for five minutes. I took his watch off of his wrist, it was broken and very bloody.


That Christmas Day I washed his watch and carefully wrapped it, I wrote a letter to his family. I told them how much we children appreciated the people like Canadian Flight Officer Carson. People that came from another country to help save us from the Nazi’s.


The next day my brother and I went to the airfield and we found a Pilot Officer that would make sure that Pilot Carson’s family would get his watch and my letter. A couple of months later I received a letter from his wife and parents. They thanked me for my letter and the watch, they had given him that watch on the day he got his wings at flight training. Now they had it back and it meant a lot to them. They told me that they were happy that I was there in his last moments so he wasn’t alone.


During that war George and I and our Mom and Dad and many other children at school wrote many other letters to families of dead soldiers, sailors, and airmen. We received many letters back, all saying how much our letters meant to them. We felt like we were helping those loved ones, heartbroken, so far way. It’s not a lot of effort to write a letter.


I’ve written many more over the decades, and through all of the wars, I’ve written to the families of police and firemen too. My wife and children have done the same. Now the grandchildren carry on. It’s December 2015 now, and I know that on Christmas Eve I’ll think about washing Canadian Flight Officer Carson’s broken watch.


Flight Officer Carson wasn’t Santa, but he taught me about the meaning of giving… Even if the gift is as small as a letter.  

Write Your Story @ the Union City Library

Join our senior library member Bruce Haase and write your memoir. Bruce is a life long reader, he now writes memoire-based, creative non-fiction. These are informal meetings to support each other and organize your thoughts for writing. Sharing is optional.

   Meetings take place the third Tuesday of the Month

December 15, January 19, and February 16

1 — 3 p.m.

For more information: Bruce Haase

                                                         Location: UNION CITY BRANCH – Get Directions


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fairytaleIf someone asked you to name a fairy tale everyone knows, chances are you might say Cinderella. But did you know that the story of Cinderella is found all over the world in many different cultures? In China, she is known as Yeh-Shen. In Appalachia, she is called Ashpet. Some Native Americans know her as Little Burnt Face.

The story of Cinderella has found its way all over the world. Why? Probably because the story expresses fears and hopes that most people can understand. In the story of Cinderella, there is something for everyone: magic, romance, and realism. Cruelty is always punished, and goodness is always rewarded.

to read the full article check  Lusted, Marcia Amidon, Greenfield, Judith C., Appleseeds, 10997725, Feb2009, Vol. 11, Issue 5

  Persian Cinderella@ the Union City Library

Saturday December 12, 2015

persian cinderella2:30 p.m. to 4 p.m. 


Join children’s Librarian Ms. Pat Ryan and Library member Firoza Omar to listen to the story of the Persian Cinderella in English and Farsi!



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Covered California @the Union City Library

  • Covered California and Medi-Cal

    Enrollment period is November 1-January 31

logoThursdays, 5—7:30 p.m.

12/3, 12/17, 1/7, 1/21

For enrollment requirements and other information, visit

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Monday Children’s Book Reviews for November 23, 2015

cornucopiaThanksgiving Day is this Thursday, November 26.

Giving thanks for the Creator’s gifts had always been a part of Wampanoag daily life. From ancient times, Native People of North America have held ceremonies to give thanks for successful harvests, for the hope of a good growing season in the early spring, and for other good fortune such as the birth of a child. Giving thanks was, and still is, the primary reason for ceremonies or celebrations.

“The arrival of the Pilgrims and Puritans brought new Thanksgiving traditions to the American scene. Today’s national Thanksgiving celebration is a blend of two traditions: the New England custom of rejoicing after a successful harvest, based on ancient English harvest festivals; and the Puritan Thanksgiving, a solemn religious observance combining prayer and feasting.”

Many cultures have a tradition of celebrating the harvest. Even though people have different traditions, family, friends and food are important.

we celebrate thanksgiving We Celebrate Thanksgiving in Fall by Rebecca Felix

“Level 1 guided reader that examines how people celebrate Thanksgiving. Students will develop reading skills while learning about Thanksgiving activities and foods.”     [JE 394.2649 FELIX]

paper crafts for thanksgivingPaper Crafts for Thanksgiving by Randel McGee

“Explains the significance of Thanksgiving and how to make Thanksgiving-themed crafts out of paper”            [J745.5941 MCGEE]

thanksgiving origami Thanksgiving Origami by Ruth Owen

” Origami pilgrim — Oriogami turkey — Origami pumpkins — Origami ears of corn — Origami apple harvest — Origami autumn leaves”              [ J736.982 OWEN]

katie saves thanksgivingKatie Saves Thanksgiving by Fran Manushkin

“When a snowstorm causes the power to go out Katie and her parents think their Thanksgiving dinner with JoJo and Pedro is ruined, but by being a good neighbor, Katie saves the day.”                        [JE MANUSHKIN,F]

happy thanksgiving Happy Thanksgiving by Abbie Mercer

“Describes how people celebrate Thanksgiving, explains when and why it is celebrated, tells the story of the first Thanksgiving, and provides instructions for creating a pinecone turkey and a pumpkin pie.”                     [J394.2649 MERCER]

national geographic kids cookbookNational Geographic Kids Cookbook by Barton Seaver

“Join Barton Seaver—master chef and National Geographic Explorer—on a year-round culinary adventure as he explores what it takes to create the ultimate dish. Barton provides mouthwatering recipes, the ins and outs of healthy eating, awesome crafts and activities, and food-focused challenges, proving once and for all that cooking can be a blast. Follow along as he teaches you to plant a kitchen garden, host a dinner party for your friends, and pack the perfect school lunch. Other highlights include ways to play with your food, festive holiday meals, snow day snacks, and family cooking competitions. With fascinating sidebars, profiles on real people, and cool facts, the National Geographic Kids Cookbook will have you ruling the kitchen in no time!”                    [J641.5 SEAVER]

international cookbook for kids International Cookbook For Kids by Matthew Locricchio

“The International Cookbook for Kids is packed with features that make cooking a snap: 6 classic recipes from Italy, France, China, and Mexico; More than 1 full-color photographs and illustrations; Hardcover with concealed spiral binding that lies flat when open; Easy-to-follow recipe format; Kid-tested recipes; Chef’s tips discussing ingredients, nutrition, and technique; Safety section discussing basic kitchen precautions; Cooking terms and definitions; Special taco-party section; Includes dishes of every kind: Appetizers, Salads, Soups, Main Dishes, Vegetables and Sides, and Desserts.”                            [J641.5622 LOCRICCHIO]

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Write Your Story …Imagine!

Tuesday everyone shared their writing. Joyce read the 16 chapter of her book inspired be her mother friends.

Bruce also announced that how he is going to write his book and read the very first chapter. He has worked on stories for this book  for last two years. He is now working on how to put them together, how he is going to tell the story….he has decided. The title is Cuyahoga.

 Arthur shared with us a philosophical introduction to his story about “why” and he told us that his mother had been a journalist for Ohio Tribune and he was inspired by the fact that journalist should cover     5 W’s of story …that was the beautiful beginning of the story “why”!

Rita responded to the prompt assignment of Imagine by science fiction story of women who is celebrating her 200 years birthday with ordering a pair of artificial legs to dance!

Julia is a new member who shared with us two short essays, one from her childhood and the other from current week, and she was looking for feedback, she shared with me later that she really liked the group.

Terry also read a piece from her respond to the prompt and she shared her website check it out …

Write Your Story program

Write Your Story @ the Union City Library

Join our senior library member Bruce Haase and write your memoir. Bruce is a life long reader, he now writes memoire-based, creative non-fiction. These are informal meetings to support each other and organize your thoughts for writing. Sharing is optional.

  Meetings take place  December 15, January 19, and Feruary 16

1 — 3 p.m. Please bring your pen & paper.

For more information contact : Bruce Haase                             

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