Hot off the Presses

A list of our Children’s Librarians’ favorite new books for kids.

Look in the “new” area of your local library to find these and other fresh, excellent books for kids. Let us know in the comments if we missed any of your faves!

Picture Books

Bully book cover

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Readers I Know #3: Heaven

Part of an ongoing series of cartoon blog posts on OPL readers.

Part of an ongoing series of cartoon blog posts on OPL readers.

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The Beauty of Board Books

Board Books are best when they use images and words that appeal to babies and create a playful experiences for caregiver and child.

Book coverAs a children's services librarian, I am always thrilled to see anything about children's books or children's literacy get major news coverage.  So I woke up fast when I caught the New York Times article just over a week ago on the front page, below the fold (for those of who still read the paper paper) about board books.  Board books!  The overlooked and unappreciated format for, as the NYTimes put it, "the teething set."    Yet, my heart sank as I read on. 

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Spooky Stories! Mwah-hah-hahhh

A list of favorite scary books for kids compiled by Oakland Public’s children’s librarians.

Most kids love a good scare, and Halloween is the perfect time to give it to them. Find these spooky stories at a library near you, and let us know in the comments if we missed any of your favorites!

Slightly Spooky (for younger kids):

Humbug Witch book cover

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Sean's Shadows Bring Halloween

Scary stories from China for Halloween!

Sean's ShadowsAre you tired of ghosts, goblins, and scary pumkins? Do you want to hear and see a scary story you've never seen or heard before? Come celebrate Halloween with a frightening tale from China. The Scary Temple will send shivers down your spine. But don't be too afraid; they are only puppets.

Monday, October 28 at 7:00 PM  Piedmont Avenue

Tuesday, October 29 at 6:30 PM Lakeview

Wednesday, October 30 at 10:30 AM Golden Gate

Wednesday, October 30 at 3:30 PM Elmhurst

Thursday, October 31 at 4:00 PM César Chávez

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Make a 90 Second Newbery Video!

The 90 Second Newbery festival is once again accepting submissions!

Book CoverThis past Sunday I went to the East Bay Mini Maker Faire at Studio One Art Center, where I saw kids making new clothes out of of old clothes, rockets out of toilet paper rolls, giant milk crate structures (while strapped into a harness in a crane), terrariums, butter, and more. 

So who is primed and ready to make a "90 Second Newbery" video?  This online contest and festival is starting up its third year.   Upload your video and share it (check out the instructions here) before December 10, to

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Sign Language for Kids

Books and information about sign language for children available at the Oakland Public Library.

For Babies

Adapted from American Sign Language (ASL, the primary form of communication in Deaf communities), baby sign allows children as young as 8-10 months to communicate when they are hungry, thirsty, sleepy, want more of something, are finished with an activity, and much more. Teaching babies to sign can be enjoyable, and presents a chance for adult-child bonding. Best of all, babies who are able to communicate their needs through sign may experience less frustration, which can reduce fussiness. That’s a benefit for everyone!

If you’re interested in exploring sign with your baby, come to the Dimond branch on Saturday, October 26, 2013 at 10:00 am for a Baby Sign Language Introductory Workshop. To learn more, call Rebekah Eppley at (510) 482-7844 or

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Bring Your Child to Storytime

Storytime is for everyone, from babies to adults.

Yuk Yau Preschool StorytimeThis last week I was talking with some teen moms about what they can do to help their babies get ready to read. I had given them the full presentation about five simple activities - talking, singing, reading, writing, and playing - that help a baby, toddler, and preschool child be ready to read by kindergarten.

One of the teen moms said her favorite memory of libraries was all the storytimes she went to when she was a child. She and her parents went to libraries all over Oakland. Her face changed as she talked about the pleasure of hearing stories with her family. It reminded me that when I was young, I spent weeks one summer listening to my librarian read C.S. Lewis's The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. She talked about "being transported to a different world." Being a very literal child, I was disappointed when we all stayed in the garden of the library

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Readers I Know #2

Meet Boris, a reader who got an early start at the library.

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Summer Reading Successes

Oakland Public Library's 2013 Summer Reading Program was a great success, setting a record for children's reading hours.

Bubble PartyThough it may seem a distant memory; we wanted to take a moment to tell you about the great accomplishments of Oakland children in our Summer Reading Program:

6,196 children recorded reading for 8 hours or more this summer, a record!  That's two-thirds of the 9,372 who signed up to participate.  Reading during the summer helps children retain and enhance their reading skills.

Attendance at our special summer programs for children was 13,813.  Wow!  Were you there for one of our Bubble parties? Did you catch the Scraper Bike Workshop at West Oakland?  Did you garden at the Main Library?  Or decorate a flower pot to plant your Summer Reading seed quarters?

8,500 free lunches were

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