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Skating in a Winter Wonderland

This holiday season try taking the entire family out for a fun-filled day of ice skating around the Bay Area!

The folks over at BayAreaParent.com (http://bayareaparent.com/article/where-to-ice-skate-around-the-bay-area.html) have put together a great list of places to go this holiday season and skate. Check out their website for the entire list, but below you will find locations for Alameda and Contra Costa County.

come on down from aboveDO

Alameda County

 Little Ice Rink  – Get a jump on the winter season as Alameda’s outdoor ice rink returns. Nov. 8- Jan. 19. Mon.-Thu., 3-10pm; Fri.-Sun., 12-10pm. $15 ages 9 and up with skate rental, $10 bring your own; $10 ages 8 and under with skates, $6 bring your own. South Shore Center parking lot, Park Street and Otis Drive, Alameda. 510-629-1423. thelittleicerink.com.

Oakland Ice Center – Bring the family to practice skills on the ice at a public open skate, offered during multiple times daily throughout each month. Check website for times. $9.75 adults, $8.25 youth (12 and under); skate rental $4.25. 519 18th St. 510-268-9000. oaklandice.com/index2.html.

Dublin Iceland Open Skate – People of all ages and abilities hit the ice to learn to skate or practice their skills. Check website for times and dates. $7 adults, $6 ages 5-17, $4 ages 4 and under; skate rental $3. 7212 San Ramon Road. 925-829-4445. dubliniceland.com.

Sharks Ice at Fremont – Public skating sessions are scheduled daily. Visit from Nov. 22-Jan. 4 for Holiday Ice and skate to holiday music. $9.75 adults, $8.25 youth (12 and under); skate rental $4.25. 44388 Warm Springs Blvd., Fremont. 510-623-7200.



Contra Costa County

Walnut Creek on Ice – Glide across 8,000 square feet of ice in a charming winter wonderland scene. Nov. 7-Jan. 11. Check website for hours. $11 weekdays, $15 weekends. Civic Park, 1375 Civic Drive. iceskatewalnutcreek.

Brentwood Holiday on Ice – Have a blast at this season’s Holiday on Ice, open daily through Jan. 12:30-10:30pm. A two-hour skating session for all ages is $15 with skate rental, $10 without. Brentwood Holiday on Ice, 2485 Sand Creek Road. 925-513-1702. brentwoodholidayonice.com. 


 Once you have skated to your hearts content, head home for a cup of chocolate and a family storytime including these great books.

 A perfect day by Carin Berger

Call Number: JPB BERGER,C



Mice on ice by Rebecca Emberley and Ed Emberley

Call Number: JE EMBERLEY,R


Frozen noses by Jan Carr ; illustrated by

Dorothy Donohue

Call Number: JPB CARR,J


Kid-Friendly Craft: Coasters

Whether you need a home-made accessory to help set your Thanksgiving table or want a fun activity for your kids to do, these coasters are easy to create and make wonderful gifts for the holiday season!



This craft offers a lot of room for you and your little one to get creative and gather whatever kind of materials you would like to decorate your coasters. Spend time brainstorming together about what you should use for your unique coasters!


  • Tissue paper cut into whatever shapes you would like (such as Fall leaves)
  • Family photos
  • Stickers
  • Art made by your child
  • Holiday themed art
  • Glitter
  • The list goes on!


Once you have decided upon a decorative element (that will fit on a 4”x 4” space) gather the following supplies:

  • 4”x 4” ceramic tiles (these can be purchased for less than a doller each from stores such as Home Depot or Lowes)
  • Mod Podge in any finish you like
  • Mod Podge Clear Acrylic Sealer
  • A Sponge brush (enough for each crafter)
  • Small felt floor protectors (the kind that you would put under the legs of chairs to protect your chairs)
  • Newsprint
  • Enough decorations for however many tiles you purchase.

coaster 2


  1. Make sure your ceramic tiles are cleaned of any dirt or grit, and dried completely.
  2. Using your sponge brush, sponge Mod Podge onto the back of what you are putting on your coaster. For example, spread it on the back of a family photo, OR put an entire coat of Mod Podge on the tile and sprinkle your glitter all over it.
  3. Let the Mod Podge dry completely.
  4. Once you have made sure your decoration is secure on the tile, use your sponge brush put a coat of Mod Podge over the entire tile.
  5. Let that dry as well, and try a couple more layers of Mod Podge to help create a even surface for drinks to rest on.
  6. Once your final layer of Mod Podge is dry, place the tiles on your newsprint (in a well ventiliated area) and spray them thoroughly with the clear acrylic sealer.
  7. Once that is dry, attach a felt floor protector to each corner or your tiles and let dry for 48hrs before using or wrapping as gifts.

Adapted from the following sources:

Gifts for Kids to Make by Cheryl Owen (Call Number: J745.5 OWEN)

Darkroom and Dearly Blog: http://www.darkroomanddearly.com/2012/04/diy-homemade-polaroid-coasters.html

Inner Child Fun Blog: http://innerchildfun.com/2012/09/kid-made-fall-leaf-coasters.html


This craft offers quite a bit of downtime waiting for Mod Podge layers to dry, but rather than watching the proverbial paint dry try reading some of these great holiday titles together to help the time pass.

Jacket de paola

My first Thanksgiving by Tomie dePaola

Call Number: JPB DE PAOLA,T

Jacket bear

Bear says thanks by Karma Wilson ; illustrations by Jane Chapman

Call Number: JPB WILSON,K

Jacket Pie

I know an old lady who swallowed a pie by Alison Jackson ; pictures by Judith Byron Schachner

Call Number: JPB JACKSON,A

November in Japan


Every day there are holidays all around the world that most Americans have never heard of.  This week, Japan celebrated Culture Day (or bunkano-hi) on Monday, November 3rd.  Culture Day is a national holiday in Japan (everyone gets the day off!).  On Culture Day, the Japanese celebrate their culture of course; arts & academic particularly.   Parades and art exhibitions are very common on Culture Day & awards are often given to students and artists.


Japan also celebrates Thanksgiving, but with a different twist.  November 23rd is Labor Thanksgiving Day in Japan.  It’s similar to our Labor Day, celebrating labor and production and giving thanks to all those involved.  Originally it was used as a way to give thanks for the harvest, but post war changed the holiday to celebrate production and human rights.  Many children create artwork thanking local emergency workers.  Some cities have festivals and displays of vegetables celebrating the harvest are not uncommon.





Cucumber Sushi Rolls

1 cup sushi-style rice to 2 cups of water

1 ½ tablespoons sugar

2 English or European cucumbers

2 raw carrots

1 tablespoon rice vinegar

3 tablespoon water

2 large sheets of dried nori (seaweed)

Sweet ginger, sliced

Soy sauce

  1. Under adult supervision, cook the rice according to package directions and let it cool. Add the sugar.
  2. Under adult supervision, peel cucumbers and carrots; cut them into thin strips 4 inches long.
  3. Mix rice vinegar with water.
  4. Place one nori sheet, shiny side down, on a bamboo mat. Moisten your hands with the vinegar-and-water mixture and spread rice evenly, ¼ inch thick, over nori sheet, leaving an inch at each end.
  5. Lay several slices of cucumbers and carrots on the rice.
  6. Carefully roll up the bamboo mat.
  7. Unroll the mat gently and allow the roll to sit 5 minutes or more.
  8. Under adult supervision, carefully cut the roll in 2-inch –long pieces.
  9. Serve with slices of sweet ginger and bowls of soy sauce for dipping.

You can try adding or substituting avocado, cooked shrimp or tofu.

Borrowed from Recipe and Craft Guide to Japan by Juliet Haines Mofford (see below for more information)


Click on the links to go right to our catalog and request the book.

the culture

Japan. The culture by Bobbie Kalman


Jacket (1)

Japanese celebrations:  cherry blossoms, lanterns & stars!  by Betty Reynolds  http://encore.aclibrary.org/iii/encore/record/C__Rb1794181__Sjapanese%20celebrations__P0%2C1__Orightresult__X5?lang=eng&suite=def

Cultural traditions

Cultural traditions in Japan by Lynn Peppas   http://encore.aclibrary.org/iii/encore/record/C__Rb1985852__SHolidays%20–%20Japan%20–%20Juvenile%20literature__Orightresult__X3?lang=eng&suite=def


Recipe and Craft Guide to Japan by Juliet Haines Mofford


Create a Centerpiece Worthy of Fall Feasts!

November is here and with it comes fall harvests filled with delicious foods for holiday feasts. This Thanksgiving, try bringing your family together to make rustic and natural twig vases that can decorate tabletops in your home throughout the holiday season, but especially the Thanksgiving table!



Enjoy the crisp fall weather by taking a nature walk through parks and natural preserves in your area. While out, make sure to point out seasonal changes such at the changing colors of leaves and squirrels hiding away food for the winter!

On your walk, look for twigs of various thickness and length. These will be used to make our vases!


  • An empty can
  • A piece or brown colored paper
  • Glue
  • Twigs- enough to cover the outside of your can when placed side by side
  • 2 Rubber Bands
  • Strong scissors or small plant shears
  • Ribbon, yarn, or any other supply that could be used to tie around your vase


With parental supervision, a hot glue gun can be used to glue each stick to the can. This method will be the sturdiest, and longest lasting method.



 Wash your can to clean away any food residue and remove labels.

  1. Cut the brown paper so that it wraps all the way around your can (it can be a little taller than the actual can, but only by an inch). Glue the paper around the outside of your can.
  2. At this point you can use the hot glue gun to glue each stick vertically to the can, waiting a few moments for each to dry.
  3. If not using a hot glue gun, wrap one rubber band around the upper half of the can, and the second rubber band around the bottom half of the can.
  4. Put your can on a flat surface and hold a twig up against it. Next, use a strong pair of scissors (or hand shears) to trim the twig so that it is no more than an inch taller than the can.
  5. Using this twig as a measuring guide, trim all or your remaining twigs to the desired length.
  6. Slide each trimmed twig under both rubber bands, so that the twig is held up against the can. Repeat with remaining twigs, until entire can is covered.
  7. Take your ribbon or yarn, and wrap two pieces around each can to hide the rubber bands. Tie a bow at the ends, or tuck them back underneath the rubber bands to secure.
  8. Fill with your favorite fall blooms!

Now, that your vase is done, feel free to add any other decorative elements to make it your own!

Adapted from:

Martha Stewart Twig Vase Project- http://www.marthastewart.com/270813/twig-vase &

I Can Make That! : Fantastic Crafts for Kids, by Mary Wallace, Call Number: J745.5 Wallace


Pair this craft with these great seasonal reads!


Fletcher and the Falling Leaves

By Julia Rawlinson ; pictures by Tiphanie Beeke


red leaf

Red Leaf, Yellow Leaf

By Lois Ehlert


Fall Book

By the Light of the Harvest Moon

By Harriet Ziefert ; illustrations by Mark Jones



Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Breast Cancer Awareness

You may have heard about special events, like walks or races, to raise money for breast cancer research.  Maybe you’ve seen people wear those little pink ribbons on their clothes, or the professional football players wear pink cleats.

Breast (say: brest) cancer is a common cancer among women. It occurs rarely in men and it doesn’t affect kids. But kids might want to learn about it because they know someone who has it or because they want to learn how to check for it when they are older.

Alameda County Library has many books about breast cancer but you may want to check out this one written especially for kids like you.

Hope Tree

What Is Breast Cancer?

The human body is made of tiny building blocks called cells. Your body creates them, replacing those that die with new ones. Usually, the body creates healthy, normal cells that do just what they’re supposed to do. This includes cells in the breasts, the two rounded areas on the front of the chest.

But if a cell changes into an abnormal, sometimes harmful form, it can divide quickly over and over again without dying, making many, many copies of itself. When this happens, a tumor, abnormal body cells grouped together in the form of a mass or lump, can start to form and grow.

Breast cancer is a kind of tumor that develops in the cells of a person’s breast. You may think that only women can get breast cancer, but because all people have breast tissue, men can get breast cancer as well — though this is very rare.

Want to know more?  Click here: http://kidshealth.org/kid/grownup/conditions/breast_cancer.html

And, of course, you may visit your local library to get more information.  And remember:Breast Cancer Pink

so don’t forget to wear yours, even if you’re a guy!  Show your support!

Guess Who Bulletin Board Game

Do you like solving mysteries? If so, here is a game for you! The Centerville Library is playing a Guess Who bulletin board game. The library’s bulletin board is decorated with a total of 19 silhouettes of famous characters from children’s books. Can you name them all? The Guess Who Game is open to kids 12 years old and under. Come in to the Centerville Library to solve the mystery of the silhouetted characters and you could win a small prize and be entered into a raffle drawing for a $10 Amazon gift card.  Anyone can have fun guessing the identities of the characters but only kids, 12  years old and under, can win a prize. The Centerville Library will be playing the game through Thursday, October 9th.

If you’d like to see a picture of the whole bulletin board, click on the following link:

Centerville Library’s Bulletin Board

The Centerville Library is located at 3801 Nicolet Ave in Fremont

The library’s hours are:

Tuesdays: 1:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.

Thursdays: 11:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.

For more information give us a call at 510-795-2629

September 15 – October 15 is Hispanic Heritage Month

Hispanic Heritage Month

Hispanic Heritage Month, which began on September 15, celebrates the anniversary of independence for five Latin American countries—Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua. In addition, Mexico declared its independence on September 16, and Chile on September 18.

The term Hispanic or Latino, as defined by the U.S. Census Bureau, refers to Puerto Rican, South or Central American, or other Spanish culture or origin regardless of race.

Test your Hispanic heritage knowledge by clicking on the links below.



To increase your knowledge, don’t forget to check out books at  your local Alameda County Library.  Watching these movies are also a great way celebrate.  You can get them from your local library as well.

Cesar Chavez

A Class Apart


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