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Saturday, December 4, 2010

Happy Holidays!

Happy Holidays to Everyone!

To make the holidays a bit brighter for kids in NJ, please remember to bring in new-looking children’s and teen books to our Books for Kids Donation box in the lobby outside the Youth Services Room by December 10th.   Thanks for your generosity!

Here is another possibility for giving and sharing -- the annual toy drive run by the Somerset County Jail Chaplaincy. Participation is simple. It involves bringing unwrapped children's toys to the First Baptist Church on East High Street in Somerville between November 29 and December 10. Please call first! 908-725-1016
The families of those who are in jail then come to that church office and choose presents that  inmates can give to their children. This is a gesture of immense importance to the "captives." If you would like to do more, you can also drop off small toiletries such as soap, shampoo and toothpaste as well for the inmates themselves. Every year the chaplaincy program endures cutbacks that limit its ability to tend to prisoners and every year, the need is great.

@ the Library: Displays & Materials

HAPPY HANUKKAH! -- there are still a few days left and the library has lots of books celebrating the Festival of Lights on display -- come check them out! 
For an unusual and very special look at the holiday, check out Hanukkah at Valley Forge by Stephen Krensky.  Based on a true story, it tells of a Hanukkah night when George Washington met a Polish Immigrant soldier in the Continental Army. Hearing the narrative of  the outnumbered Maccabees miraculous victory against the much larger Greek army gives General Washington hope for his own cold & starving army’s success in standing up to the British.  It is a perfect preliminary to a visit to the reconstructed revolutionary soldiers cabins at Jockey Hollow (a site maintained by the park service site just about 20 minutes from Bridgewater at exit 30 off 287.)  Visiting there now might give your kids a little of the sense of the cold the soldiers felt, but a visit in warmer weather is a lot more comfortable!

For those of you eager to get a head start on CHRISTMAS and KWANZAA, those books are up on display now too.  
And we continue our display “THANKS & GIVING: MAKE SOMETHING SPECIAL FOR SOMEONE YOU LOVE” above the children’s magazine shelves.  It has lots of ideas for homemade gifts your family can make and give!)

@ the Library: Programs

In addition to the programs below, Story Times (ages 2-6) are Tuesday at 10 & 1:30, Toddler Times (ages 18mo-3) Wednesday at 10 & 11 and Thursday at 10:30,  and
Baby LapSit is Thursday at 9:30.  See our calendar for more details.

Play With Shapes!
Monday, December 13  Registration Required
SHAPE UP!  (For ages 2 - 6 at 10:00 am)
SHAPE UP!  (For ages 4 - 9 at 4:30PM)
Join us as we share the new book 'Shapes that Roll' then use pre-cut shapes to form original artistic creations!  
(All Ages)  Tuesday, December 14, at 7:00 pm  Registration Required
You've heard of the Teddy Bears' Picnic but this is their sleepover!
Bring your favorite Teddy or another favorite furry friend to a pajama storytime. Then, when it's time for you to go, the Teddys spend the night in the library  for their very own sleepover… no humans allowed!  Pick up your friends the next day after 10:00 am and find out what fun they had in the library overnight!

Wednesday, December 15 at 4:30 pm  (Limited to grades 3 - 4)  Registration required
Year of the Dog by Grace Lin
Pacy, a Taiwanese-American girl, struggles to integrate her two cultures.  As she celebrates the Chinese Year of the Dog with her family, she finds out more about herself and why the Year of the Dog may be  very lucky for her!

Saturday, December 18 at 10:00 am (For ages 3 - 6)   Registration required
Brrrr….its getting cold outside!  Come on in and make a craft to celebrate the coming of winter!

Retro Game Night  For all ages – Families welcome!
Monday, December 20 from 5:00 pm - 9:00 pm   No registration required
It’s a blast from the past!  Come to our Retro Game Night  and play video games from the last 30 years!!

Celebration Sing! (For families with children of all ages)
Tuesday, December 21 at 10:00 am   No registration required
Get ready for holiday celebrations with song!

Around the Community

Gingerbread Wonderland --  Guests, young and old, marvel at the creativity, skills and sense of optimism that characterizes this charming and ecumenical exhibit of over 200 edible structures. Past years' "gingerbreads" have included models of Notre Dame cathedral, Hanukah menorahs, Japanese temples, Chinese pagodas, European castles and neighborhood sweet shops. Date: Saturday, December 4 - Sunday, December 12   Time: Daily 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., and until 8 p.m. on Friday   Location: The Frelinghuysen Arboretum, Morris Twp. Cost: Suggested $2 per person donation   Contact: 973-326-7601

All shows run approximately 40 minutes.
Admission:$6 for one show, $11 for two shows on the same day
Call 908-231-8805 for reservations
The Alien Who Stole Christmas
Saturdays & Sundays, December 4 & 5, 11 & 12, 18 & 19  2:00 p.m. (recommended for ages 6-10)
Discover the stars visible in the winter sky.  Then follow Santa on a trip through the solar system when a friendly alien kidnaps him.  The kids on the other planets need presents too, you know!
Winter Wonder Lights
Saturday and Sunday, December 4 & 5, 11 & 12, 18 & 19  3 p.m. (recommended for ages 6-adult)  
Listen to songs such as “Wizards in Winter,” “Rockin’ around the Christmas Tree,” &“Jingle Bell Rock.”

The Christmas Toyshop December 11 - December 19, 2010
at the Villagers Theater, Somerset
General Admission - All tickets $10
Saturdays at 12NOON and 3:00PM, Sundays at 12NOON and 3:00PM.

Branchburg Recreation Department's Creative Theater Program Presents
`Twas the Night Before Christmas  By Kathryn Schultz Miller
Based on the poem A Visit from Saint Nicholas by Clement C. Moore
Join our hero, Mouse as he saves Christmas with Rudolph, Santa and all his elves. Special appearances by Santa & Mrs. Claus.  Friday, Dec. 10 at 7:30PM  Saturday, Dec. 11 at 6:00PM
Whiton Elementary School
Admission is by donation of a new unwrapped toy to benefit  Toys-for-Tots
For more info call the Branchburg Recreation Department at  908-526-1300 X-187

There is also The Life and Adventures of Santa Claus at the Growing Stage Theater in Netcong,  
A Christmas Carol at McCarter Theater in Princeton, and A Holiday Jubilee Cross Cultural Musical Celebration at the Crossroads Theater in New Brunswick.  
There are many more holiday happenings than can be listed here. Check out Macaroni Kid Hillsborough, Macaroni Kid Warren, NJArtsMaven and the RVCC Arts Calendar for more possibilities.
And, for families with Middle & High Schoolers, check these out:

Premiere's Holiday Workshop at Kean University
December 9 - 11
Join Premiere Stages for a special holiday treat: three readings of new holiday-themed plays perfect for the whole family. Admission is free — just bring an unwrapped toy for Toys for Tots. Hot cider and cookies will be served. All performances start at 7pm.
Wooing Milo by Hal Corley (ages 14 and over) - December 9
Charming young Milo captivates three generations of singular women during the infamous Christmas blizzard of '59 that blanketed New Jersey.
The Last Noel by Maureen Clarke (all ages) - December 10
In this moving comedy, set in 1934, local carolers gather together to spread cheer on a cold December night. Confronted by the winds of progress, these hometown friends come to realize that it may be the last holiday celebration for their sleepy little Massachusetts town.
PRONT by Peter Filichia (ages 12 and over) - December 11
In this new comic take on A Christmas Carol, one ghost does the work of three in rehabilitating Willard Pront, a New York City slum lord who makes Scrooge look like Mother Teresa.
Discussions with the playwrights will follow each reading.
For more information, or to reserve tickets: (908) 737-4092

LOGOMANIACS By Paul Fleischman
Like a barker at the circus, this new play by the Newbery Award-winning author dares us to step past the curtain and examine the oddities of life in the form of those whose passion for words carries them to extremes. In quick-change manner, a troupe of four actors narrates, acts, dances, duels, and delights the audience. The tone is light, the style physical as well as verbal, the material progressing from the merely odd to the jaw-dropping.
Describing the work as “a tour of wonders built with words,” Fleischman says, “Logomaniacs is an intellectual freak show exhibiting 26 real-life word-obsessives—one per alphabet letter—in a series of swift scenes.”  From Georges Perec and his novel without the letter “e,” to the Russian futurists and their invented language, “Zaum,” Logomaniacs is a hymn to our instincts to play and create.
WHEN: Thursday, December 9, through Sunday, December 19; 7:30 PM on Thursdays and Fridays and 3:00 PM on Saturdays and Sundays.
WHERE: New Jersey City University’s West Side Theater, 285 West Side Avenue near Culver Avenue), just minutes from Routes 440 and 1-9, and the N.J. Turnpike extension I-78.  
TICKETS: $30 general admission, $15 for students and seniors, and children under 15 pay their age. All tickets for the December 12 opening are $30 and include Meet the Playwright and the reception following the show.  For information, http://www.njartsmaven.com/2010/09/actors-shakespeare-company-inaugurates.html 

Let Your Fingers Do (More) Walking

Gift-giving but not sure whether a particular book, movie, TV show, videogame or music is appropriate for your child?  Thinking about bringing your child to the movies but not sure how age-appropriate it is.  CommonsenseMedia.org provides information to help you decide about the suitability of thousands of titles and tips on how not to give an inappropriate gift.  They also provide tips about everything from avoiding violent TV to online safety and have just released a list of recommended gifts for this holiday season.

Travelling with kids this holiday season or just looking for some unusual ideas for family travel?  Check out this article from Macaroni Kid.

And just a reminder for those new to this blog, check out the “Wonder of the Day” at the new Wonderopolis website!  This site engages and inspires families in the pursuit of education and learning together -- talk about what makes popcorn pop while preparing a snack for a movie, or go stargazing and explain shooting stars.  You can subscribe to the Daily Wonder or find the link on the “useful links” to the right of this blog entry.  Wonderopolis.org  is presented by the National Center for Family Literacy, a not-for-profit supporting literacy and reading for children and families.

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