What to Make?

Your library has plenty of ideas and activities for things to make with your kids.

Want to make something with your kids, but need some ideas?  If you're tired of browsing online, come in and ask our staff to show you the arts and crafts section.  You'll find plenty of books to page through for ideas.

You can also check out our events listings this month for arts and crafts, knitting, and other hands-on activities.   Tomorrow, try:

Afternoon Crafts at the Melrose Library, Wednesday Dec 5th and Dec 18th at 2:30pm

Weekly Art with MOCHA, Wednesdays at 2pm (this month through December 18th), at the 81st Avenue Branch, the

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Thank You

What am I grateful for? I'll tell you.

Cover of Giving ThanksTwo of my favorite books in the Oakland Public Library children's collection are Thank You by Felicia Walker and Giving Thanks: a Native American Good Morning Message by Chief Jake Swamp. The gratitude expressed is with different words and for different things, but it is real and heartfelt. It occurs to me that this is a good time of the year for giving thanks.

So, here goes. Thank you to the

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All seasons and spaces for play

Your library offers a variety of play for your child, rain or no rain.

girls playing in libraryAs fall weather sets in and we get news of that rare thing called rain, it gets harder to plan for outdoor play with your child. How about stopping at your library?

Check out our kids events listings for storytimes for your baby, toddler, or preschooler...or just come in play with them in our picture book areas, where you'll find comfy floor space and toys near the picture books.  Ask the librarian for a new book to read with your child--though it's good for them to hear their favorites over and over, it's also good for them to hear you having fun with a story.  

We also offer all kinds of out-of-school activities for your school-age child, from art to

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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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