Self Publishing? Format Counts.

Self publishing secrets! and how one author did it right.

If you're one of the many children's book creators who've turned to self publishing to get their stories out, pay attention! A small change may improve your book's chances of getting picked up by libraries. 

Brooklyn based author Zetta Elliott self publishes children's books that are transitional chapter books--longer than easy readers, shorter than middle-grade novels. The Oakland Public Library calls them "Moving Up," and they have their own special place on our shelves.

Notice how they're all about the same size? That's on purpose-- major publishers tend to print them all this way. Transitional chapter books represent a reader's transition from easy readers--which are larger, slimmer, and shorter in text than moving ups, and include color illustrations on almost every spread--to middle grade novels

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Sing a Little Song

Singing will improve your mood and will also help your child strengthen his or her prereading skills. OPL has lots of songs in books, cd and online formats for you to try.

musical notesSinging is fun but research has found that it is more than just that; it is also good for your health, lowering stress and releasing endorphins that create a feeling of pleasure.  Singing with your children will make you happy regardless of your musical abilities.  And there is even more reason to sing with them, it puts them on the road to reading success.  How?  Singing helps children, even ones who are very young, hear the sounds that make up words. Researchers call this phonological awareness.  Being able to hear distinct sounds helps children recognize those sounds and syllables when they are learning how to read.

Oakland Public Library can help you find songs and make singing fun in several ways:

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Hands-On Science at Temescal

Starting September 25th BEAM (Berkeley Engineers and Mentors) will be at the Temescal Branch on Thursday at 3:30 to 5:00 doing hands-on science for school aged children.

 Science at Temescal

Last April I was at Cal Day at the UC Berkeley campus and went to many hands-on activities.The standout actvity for me was shooting off water rockets. The group of students who had created this activity was BEAM (Berkeley Enigeers and Mentors). BEAM's goal is to get school age children interest in science and engineering by creating activities for students to work on together.

On September 25th and every Thursday until December 4th at 3:30 BEAM is going to be at the Temescal Branch. Come by and see what is on offer for the day --your kids will have some fun with science that they

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Q&A: Patrons ask; librarians answer: Superhero books for my 4-year-old; bad idea or good idea?

This question comes up frequently: Do you have any superhero books for my preschool-age child? Sometimes it's followed by this: Is it okay to read this stuff to such a young person?

Q: My child wants to read about superheroes, but those DC & Marvel comic books are too violent! Do you have anything for younger kids?  He’s only 4 years old. Kapow by O'Connor

A: Yes, we do! Here's a list of titles you can read aloud to your kids today – all of them about superheroes, most aimed at younger kids, ages 3 to 6.

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Meet Children's Book Author Andrea Davis Pinkney

Author and Publisher Andrea Davis Pinkney will be appearing at the Oakland Main Library on Monday September 22nd

Did you know there are many award-winning children's book authors coming to town next week for the sold-out ALSC National Institute?  That's where a lot of us will be, but we jumped at the chance to ask Andrea Davis Pinkney to stay a little longer in town to meet with you at your Main Library, on Monday September 22nd at 1:30pm

Book Cover Martin and MahaliaMs. Pinkney is a

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Meet Children's Book Author Andrea Davis Pinkney

Author and Publisher Andrea Davis Pinkney will be appearing at the Oakland Main Library on Monday September 22nd

Did you know there are many award-winning children's book authors coming to town next week for the sold-out ALSC National Institute?  That's where a lot of us will be, but we jumped at the chance to ask Andrea Davis Pinkney to stay a little longer in town to meet with you at your Main Library, on Monday September 22nd at 1:30pm

Martin and MahaliaMs. Pinkney is a Coretta Scott King Award-winning and New York Times best-selling writer of

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Exploring with MOCHA!!

MOCHA is coming to 8 different locations for a weekly art program in the library!!! That is 8 different chances for you to explore both art and a different Branch Library.

MOCHA in the Library

Starting this week MOCHA, the Museum of Children’s Artis going to be coming to Oakland Libraries to share art with children. Your family will not want to miss this exceptional program that Oakland and MOCHA have been offering together for over 5 years. Children of all ages have the opportunity to create and engage their minds with music, math, and art. With MOCHA happening in the Library in 8 different locations on 3 different days of the week, you will have plenty of chances to make art with us. Bring your children to this program!!!

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We've All Been Wrong About Something

Hello Kitty's just another human child... who can be found at your local library.

Did you see the news? Turns out Hello Kitty is not a cat.

I know. I'm shocked too.

According to this LA Times article, Sanrio, the company that produces Hello Kitty, emphatically reports that Hello Kitty is a human child, and points out that she has a cat of her own

Surprising. However, if you're a parent of a kid who's obsessed with the red-bowed paragon of cuteness, you probably don't give a Bad Badtz-Maru what she is--you just want to silence the demand for Hello Kitty products that echoes through your home day and night. And you'd

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First Day of School = Your First Library Card

The start of the school year is a great time to bring in your five-year-old to get a first library card and start exploring all that the library offers.

If your child started kindergarten this week, bring him or her in to any Oakland Public Library branch to get a personal library card. Any child, 5 or older, who lives in CA, can get a first card for FREE! Getting a library card will allow your child to check out all of the materials the library offers as well as give your child access to all of the library’s electronic resources. We promise to make a big ceremony out of it too, sticker and all. 

Aside from all of the books, movies, music, and other materials you can take home from the library, your child’s library card opens up a world of electronic resources you can access from home.  Through our website, you can look at: lists of recommended books, electronic games for kids, our calendar of events, resources for homework help,  and Tumblebooks, e-books you can watch and/or read

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And The Winners Are...

Every year about this time, children in Oakland wait in anticipation for the call. Will they be the winners of the Summer Reading Challenge Grand Prize? Here are the lucky two.

Paws to Read logoEvery child who reads during the summer wins!

This summer the Oakland Public Library awarded prizes to children for reading 20 days during the summer.  9873 children participated, and so far 5203 reported reading 20 days or more.  If you have not finished logging the days your child read June 14 - August 8, please stop by your library and we will help you.

In addition to picking out a book, getting a cool badge, and receiving coupons for Oakland attractions, children also received one chance in our raffle for the first 20 days they read (and an additional chance for each additional ten days).  There were many prizes available in the raffle, but we drew our city-wide grand prize raffle after the reading challenge ended on August 8th.

 This year's grand prize winners are:

The 

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