Play with your Words

A list of recommended word play books available at the Oakland Public Library.

Kids love to play, and librarians love to see kids playing with words! Visit your local library to find these books full of palindromes, puns, spoonerisms, homophones, and much more. And let us know in the comments if we missed any of your favorites!

CDB book cover

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Sean's Shadows

Asian Pacific Islander Heritage Month celebrations at Oakland Public Library

Sean's Shadows brings shadow puppet stories from all over the world. This month we celebrate Asian Pacific Islander Heritage Month with two stories from China: Fool me Once and Bloom Tree. After each performance he shows and demonstrates musical instruments he used during the show.

Join us.  

Martin Luther King, Jr. Tuesday, May 20 at 4:00 PM

Dimond  Tuesday, May 20 at 7:00 PM

West Oakland Wednesday May 21 at 10:30 AM

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DÍA: Great Kids' Books about Asian-Americans

Celebrate DIA, Diversity in Action, with these children's books featuring characters who are Asian or Asian-American.

Holy beans, what a DIA week it's been! The whole world is talking about how #WeNeedDiverseBooks. We hope you've enjoyed the pictures and comments from OPL. We take great pride in our beautiful city, one of the most diverse in the nation.

Now that we've seen how many people want diverse books.... the next step is to buy them. I know that may sound strange coming from a librarian--of COURSE I want you to check out books from our libraries. My dream is that one day I will walk into a library and there will be NOTHING LEFT on the shelves because everything is out there in your living rooms and on your nightstands. But for those times when you want to buy books for yourself or give them as gifts, take a look at the Diversify Your

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DÍA: Great Kids' Books about Differently Abled People

Celebrate DIA, Diversity in Action, with these children's books featuring characters who are differently abled.

Extra extra, bonus list! This afternoon, some great recent children's books about young people who live with disabilities. More on Pinterest!

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DÍA: Great Kids' Books about LGBTQ People

Celebrate DIA, Diversity in Action, with these children's books featuring characters who are LGBTQ.

 Whoa people, have you checked us out on twitter lately? Like yesterday or today? Tons of pictures and personal testimony in support of #WeNeedDiverseBooks --keep it coming for the rest of the week, will you? Take a picture of yourself holding a sign with your reasons why we need diverse books, then email it to sharon@mckellar.org (she's our community relations librarian!). We'll tweet it and you'll be a part of history.

Today, our series of awesome diverse children's books continues with books featuring characters who are lesbian \ gay \ bisexual \ transgender \ queer. As with this week's other post, you'll find lots more titles of note on

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DÍA: Great Kids' Books about Latinos

Celebrate DIA, Diversity in Action, with these children's books featuring Latino characters.

When I first started at OPL, I worked at the César Chávez Branch in the Fruitvale (non-Facebook link here) I could not have a bigger soft spot in my heart for this place. It's sunny, the floors are shiny, the colors inside the branch are radiant. The staff is friendly, and you can get the best veggie burrito in Oakland right across the street.

But for me? It was all about lunch breaks in the staff room with gorgeous old cartoons from Mexico. I dug way into the Spanish-language cartoon section, where there are books you won't find at any other library in Oakland. Also, since Chávez gets the best selection of Latin American DVDs, I brought home

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DÍA: Great Kids' Books about African Americans

Celebrate DIA, Diversity in Action, with these children's books featuring characters who are African-American.

There's lots of buzz right now (as there should be) about the numbers reported by the Cooperative Children's Book Center: of 3,200 children's books they received in 2013, just 93 featured African-American characters. Noted children's author Walter Dean Myers responded in a moving essay in the New York Times, in which he described his own childhood and coming to find himself in books. His son Christopher Myers, a noted children's author and illustrator himself, wrote a companion piece in which he lamented the fact that when African-American children appear in books, too often they "are limited to the townships of occasional historical books that concern themselves with the legacies of civil rights and slavery." 

Today, we

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DIA: Great Kids' Books with Multiracial Characters

This week is DÍA: Diversity in Action! Celebrate with children's books about multiracial characters.

This week is the library holiday with the longest name: Día de los Niños / Día de los Libros; Children's Day / Book Day. It's come to be called just DÍA!--Diversity In Action. Want to come party at the library? Click here!

A lot of people are talking about diversity in children's books right now, which makes me very happy. Oakland is one of the most diverse cities in the nation, and every family

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You and Your Baby @ the Library Pt. 1

At weekly library Baby Bounce programs, you can make new friends and learn best practices for getting your baby ready to read.

Being a brand new parent is a joyous but sometimes scary event.  After all, you have to pass a test to drive a car but no test is required to become a parent.  You want to do your best for your baby and that best is probably pretty sleep deprived right now.  But do not fear - the library is here to help you.

We offer baby storytimes every week.  These lapsit storytimes, called "Baby Bounces" are 15- minutes long and filled with gentle rhymes, songs and movement that will start your baby on the path to reading.  After each Baby Bounce, there is a play time with age-appropriate toys.  This is a great chance to get out of the house, stimulate your baby's brain, meet other babies and their caregivers, share information, and make new friends.  Check out our Baby Bounces at the following times and places: 

  •      Dimond Library.     3565 Fruitvale Ave.               Wed. @ 10:15 am
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Why Diversity Matters in Children's Books

A white paper from the Association for Library Service to Children demonstrates why diversity matters in books and programs for children. OPL will be featuring some favorite books with people of color and of different backgrounds and abilities next week as part of our "Dia" celebrations.

Kids at LibraryThe lack of people of color in children's books has been a recent  topic of discussion.  For those that want to understand the issue more, the Association of Library Service to Children (ALSC), a division of the American Library Association (ALA), has published a white paper on The Importance of Diversity in Library Programs and Material Collections for Children.  

The author, Jamie Naidoo Campbell, recognizes and demonstrates that children need both to see their own culture, and others' cultures, portrayed authentically in their media-rich environment:  

By the

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