My Desk for Day of the Dead

I keep thinking that I will be able to clean my desk but I just don't think it will ever happen.

 At the Library we offer more than just books and reference material. During the week, OPL children's librarians offer numerous storytimes, bring performers in, support community events or present crafts. Part of my job is to help bring these programs to the library. Which brings me to my desk.

                          

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Book Characters Make Great Halloween Costumes

Dress up as your favorite book characters for Halloween. Here are some ideas.

Halloween is fast approaching.  Still need a costume for your child and/or for yourself?  What about a favorite children’s book character?  Last year, Children's Room Librarian Laura Gravander and I dressed up as Elephant and Piggie of Mo Willems fame. See the resemblance?

   

Uncanny, isn't it?

One Halloween, all of the Children's Room staff dressed as different Rainbow Fairies.

Rainbow Fairies

And, of course there was the infamous training where six Children's Librarians

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Screen Time and Story Time

E-reading vs.reading with young children is a hot topic; your library is developing its services around this content, and how we deliver it to you.

Did you catch the article in the October 11th New York Times: Is E-Reading to Your Toddler Story Time, or Simply Screen Time?  There were several responses in today's Letters to the Editor section, but we are curious about your thoughts. 

This is something librarians have been talking about for quite a while*.  The Amercian Academy of Pediatrics "strongly recommends no screen time for children under 2, and less than two hours a day for older children," according to the Times article.   But we know that apps and ebooks can play an important role, along with picture books, in the

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Q&A: Patrons ask; librarians answer: Do you have true information about dragons?

Children’s Librarians talk with parents, caregivers, and children all day, every day. Kids who ask for information don’t always differentiate between fantasy and reality. Why not believe in dragons, if you're going to believe in dinosaurs - Right?

In the following scenario, Q is a boy, age 4½, accompanied by his mother, known here as Q(mom), and A is the children’s librarian. (btw: When Q says, “Guys!” he’s looking straight at the librarian. This is a bit unusual, but only because it’s plural. “Hey, you!” is more common.)

Q: Guys! Do you have a book about a dragon? A fierce dragon! A real, live, true dragon! Dragonology

A: So, you don’t want one of those stories where the dragon turns out to be friendly, I see. You want to know about real, fierce dragons! Okay, I think we can find something. Tell me, would

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Books for Wider Horizons - Taking Storytimes to Young Children for Twenty Years

Books for Wider Horizons is celebrating twenty years.

Books for Wider HorizonsThis year is our 20th anniversary of taking storytimes to young children in Oakland preschools, including Head Starts and CDCs, through the efforts of our trained volunteer storyreaders. We will be celebrating all year with posts on the history and future of Books for Wider Horizons.

Picture of Gay DuceyFirst up is an interview with Gay Ducey. Gay is a nationally-known storyteller and has been training our volunteers since the beginning. Her commitment to this program is legendary within the library, and she is a beloved mentor to all our volunteers.

We interviewed Gay on Saturday, October 11.

How and why did Books for Wider Horizons start?

As a group, OPL’s children’s librarians were not happy

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Concept Books for Kids

A list of books recommended by Oakland Public Library that help to teach concepts such as the alphabet, numbers and counting, colors, size and shape, opposites, etc.

Of all the picture books in the library, concept books are arguably some of the most useful. Alphabet books help young readers recognize letters and learn their ABCs, while counting books support early math skills. Toddlers and preschoolers may strengthen their understanding of many more concepts, such as color, size, shape, time, and opposites, through books at the library. Some branches have a special section for children's concept books; ask a staff member to help you find them!
Here are some of our favorites to get you started:

ABCs

Calavera Abecedario book cover

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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 could
 remember for years to come.

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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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