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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Children’s Author Spotlight: Nic Bishop

Information about author and nature photographer Nic Bishop, including his books that may be found at the Oakland Public Library.

Vivid. Colorful. Captivating. Nic Bishop’s nature photography is all this and more! His exciting insect and animal books, effectively designed for young readers, feature eye-popping images that satisfy children’s curiosity about the natural world. These are, quite simply, some of today’s best science books published for kids, and they’re available at your local library!

Bishop has been creating kids’ books for over 25 years, and is an experienced photographer both in the studio and in the field. Check out the trailer for his book, Spiders, for a glimpse into his creative process:

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Therapy Pets Dogs Help Children Learn to Love to Read

Dogs in Lakeview Library??? Bark!

Child reading to dogIs your child shy about reading out loud? Is he or she shy about reading at all? Join us on Wednesday afternoons in October. Therapy Pets in Oakland is bringing dogs to the Lakeview Branch to give your child a easy way to practice reading. These gentle dogs do not judge children; they only love them. Research has shown that children gain ease in reading when they read to dogs.

Sign up for a 20-minute session at Lakeview

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New Series: Readers I Know

Introducing a cartoon series of readers I've worked with as an Oakland librarian. First up: two sisters who rhyme.

This week, I'm starting something new: cartoon portraits of some of my favorite readers. Readers, get to know your librarian-- knowing you is one of the best things about this job.

For those interested, the book we're reading is DON'T SQUISH THE SASQUATCH, a small marvel by Kent Redeker.

--Miss Amy

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