Q&A: Patrons ask; librarians answer: Do you have books that explain about the birds & the bees?

Children's Librarians talk with parents, caregivers, and children all day, every day. This week: Human reproduction! If your post-Valentines conversation with your tweens & pre-teens went from lovey-dovey to the birds-&-bees, you might appreciate some literary support. This is a frequently-asked-question...

Shocked dadQ: My eight-year-old son is asking me about how babies are made. I gave him a short-version answer, and now he has a lot more questions. I'm realizing that my older daughter (now 12) probably had a lot of questions she didn't ask out loud when I gave her the simple answers a few years ago. What books do you have for both of them?

It's Perfectly Normal - a book cover.

A: We have plenty of books on this topic for different ages. You will find it much easier to answer your children's questions with the help of some well-chosen books! Whether you read a book aloud to a younger child, give one to an older child to read herself, or simply read

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Books for Wider Horizons Anniversary Party

After 20 years of taking storytimes to Head Starts and CDCs, Books for Wider Horizons marked the occasion with food, cake, and wonderful memories.

As the culmination of the months-long 20th anniversary Books for Wider Horizons celebration, we all partied at the end of January in the Main Library. Current and past volunteers, staff, and community members gathered to share memories and honor the passion, effort, and time that have gone into this simple storyreader program.     

Nina Lindsay Emceeing the PartyAfter we all enjoyed some wonderful snacks, Nina Lindsay, Supervising Librarian for Children's Services, opened the remarks section by reflecting on the impact that BWH has had in the community. This year our 61 volunteers are delivering 91 weekly storytimes at 36 centers, resulting in 1,456 more hours of storytimes a year than the library could possibly offer without these dedicated souls. 

Gerry Garzón, OPL's library director, then thanked the past and present volunteers without whom the

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7 Reasons The 2015 ALA Youth Media Awards Are SO COOL

Kid lit history was made this year, my friend.

Did you see the ALA Youth Media Awards this year? They are SO COOL. Groundbreaking choices were made in every category of these annual awards for children's books. Here's why:

1) Diversity rules!

This year's Medal and Honor recipients are African-American, Latino, Asian, multiracial, deaf, queer, and differently abled. The Newbery and Caldecott Awards have been criticized in the past for being overwhelmingly white; perhaps the #WeNeedDiverseBooks movement is causing a cultural shift in children's literature.

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Groundbreaking Newbery and Caldecott Awards!

Check out this year's groundbreaking Newbery, Caldecott, and other award winning children's books!

Each year the Newbery, Caldecott, and other Youth Media Awards are decided and announced at the American Library Association Midwinter conference.  This year's awards break new ground in recognizing a wider diversity of excellence in literature (the Newbery) and "picture books" (the Caldecott).  Could it have anything to do with OPL's Sharon McKellar being one of the Caldecott committee members?

Look for a fuller recap from us

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African American Literature Read In Hits Oakland Next Week!

Volunteer to read in a school, come to a library storytime, or just check out some of our favorite books to read at home

Book Cover of My PeopleNext week, the Oakland Public Education Fund is sponsoring an African American Literature Read In in the schools and is looking for volunteers. If you can volunteer to read in a school next week, it is not too late to sign up.

Their site includes a great recommended reading list, which we contributed to, and includes many of

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Tuesday is Multicultural Children's Book Day!

Celebrate Multicultural Children's Book Day with author profiles and book recommendations.

The push for diversity is one of my favorite things happening in children's books these days, and grassroots organizations like We Need Diverse Books are jumping to support the cause. Add to that list of organizations Multicultural Children's Book Day, which had its first day in celebration of diverse children's books in 2014.

 

This year, Multicultural Children's Book Day will be celebrated on Tuesday, January 27. Have a celebration yourself by visiting their blog for Author and Illustrator Spotlights, book suggestions,

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Q&A: Patrons ask; librarians answer: Do you have some books to prepare our child for the new baby we’re expecting?

Children’s Librarians talk with parents, caregivers, and children all day, every day. Nearly 5,000 babies are born in Oakland every year! Books can help older siblings cope with the transition from rock-star/minor-deity to has-been.

Erica's daughters - age 3 and newborn!

Q: Do you have some books to prepare my child for the new baby we’re expecting?

A: Yes, we do! Different issues come up for kids who are about to have a new sibling. I’d like to share books that include some different angles on the question. I think of them in these 5 rough categories:

Books that simply explain what welcoming a new baby might include. If you don’t know yet what your child is thinking or feeling about the whole thing, simple books without drama may be a good starting place.

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An Extremely Boring Book You Should Probably Never Read

The picture book everyone's talking about is... not a picture book? Celebrity author B. J. Novak's crowdpleasing hit!

These days I always seem to have a friend on the Caldecott committee, which gives the annual award for best illustration in a children's book, which means every time I go to a bookstore I'm texting pictures of book covers to that friend with a message: "you GOTTA see this one!!" 

It's unusual for a book with NO pictures to send me scrambling for my phone. But... have you SEEN this book?

Okay- wrong question. Have you READ this book? It's pretty much the funniest crowd-pleaser of a picture book I've read in years.

Okay okay- still the wrong question. Have you had this book read to you by

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Celebrate Hat Day!

January 15th is Hat Day! Come to the Library and display your favorite hat or drop in and make a hat to wear.

Start the New Year off in style by celerating Hat Day at the Library.

Come to the Main Library or the Elhmurst Branch on January 15 at 3:30pm and celebrate Hat Day. We will provide everything needed to create memorable headgear. Once your hat is finished you and the other milliners can parade your headgear through the Library and see what the staff are wearing on their heads. Looking for inspiration? Take a peek at Origination's 

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Introducing Karen Lum-Nackley - BWH Volunteer

The Books for Wider Horizons birthday party year continues with an interview with one of our long-term volunteers.

Picture of Karen Lum-Nackley

Books for Wider Horizons (BWH) employs a corps of dedicated volunteers who take weekly storytimes to about forty preschools (Head Starts, CDCs, and private preschools) around Oakland. A couple of months ago, we introduced Gay Ducey, librarian, storyteller extraordinaire, and member of the team that originally thought of and implemented the Books for Wider Horizons (BWH) volunteer program over twenty years ago. 

Today we meet Dr. Karen Lum-Nackley, one of those intrepid volunteers. Karen has been with BWH since 2001. She made time for us the week before Christmas to answer our questions regarding her experience with the program.

What attracted you to Books for Wider Horizons fourteen years ago? 

My own love for books as a child. I grew up in Oakland and visited the Glenview Library on Park Blvd. when I was a child. My parents

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