Best Illustrated Books of 2014--with a raffle!

What's YOUR favorite illustrated book of 2014? Leave a comment to enter the raffle!

Wow, "Best Of" season has started already! Last week, the New York Times released its annual "Best Illustrated Books" list, ten illustrated books NYT staff felt outdid all the others this year. You can see the slideshow here.

We here at OPL like their choices, but are sad that some of our favorites didn't get picked. (I mean, have you seen Viva Frida?!) Below are the books that made the NYT's list--you can get the first six from OPL, and the last four you can get through Link+... also at OPL*. Either way, visit your local branch and ask for these--they're all treats.

We want to know--what's YOUR favorite illustrated book of the year? What would be on your "Best Illustrated" list for 2014? Leave a comment with your choice(s), and you'll be entered in a drawing to win a signed copy

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You Too Can Play the Ukulele

Want to learn to play the ukulele? Do you already play and want to learn more tunes? The Oakland Public Library’s music collection has many ukulele instruction scores/CDs and songbooks you can borrow.

You Too Can Play the Ukulele

The ukulele is back! This instrument is experiencing a renaissance, big-time.

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Even Monsters Deserve a Nice Name

Frankenstein was the name of the doctor not the poor nameless creature. I'm gonna call him Creature.

It's Halloween, let's talk monsters!

For Book Club this month, we read Mary Shelley's Frankenstein. Before I get into my book rant, I'll fill you in on a few details of the author's life. Her biography is arguably more scandalous than the book's plot.

Mary Wollstencraft Shelley was the daughter of a famous feminist and a well known author who were too hip to get married. Her mom died shortly after her birth, so Mary grew up with her dad, her mean stepmom, her mom's daughter from a previous relationship (an affair with a soldier), her stepmother's kids from her

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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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House Concerts: A New Twist on a Centuries-Old Tradition

House concerts are once again gaining in popularity. Performing artists are looking to find creative approaches to reaching new and appreciative audiences, and ways to make a living doing what they love.

Throughout history, from the early consorts of the European Renaissance (fourteenth through seventeenth centuries) to the rent parties of the Harlem Renaissance (1920s and 1930s), having “house concerts” has been a way to introduce an audience to new chamber music compositions and play for an appreciative audience in an intimate space. The rent parties that flourished in New York, Chicago, and Detroit (among other places) in the early to mid-twentieth century were just that: a way to help pay the rent! And let’s not forget the tradition of folk music house performances and sing-alongs that are also part of the house concert’s long and varied history.

Today house concerts—albeit in a more refined form than the rent parties—are once again gaining in popularity. Performing artists in the current generation are looking to find not only creative approaches to reaching new and appreciative audiences but also ways to make a living doing what they love.

The Oakland Public Library is delighted to present a program—“

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Literary Hauntings

Have you read a good ghost story lately? Check out these haunted tales just in time for Halloween.

As children my friends and I liked to tell scary stories with the goal of eliciting shrieks from one another. I also have fond memories of reading Great Tales of Horror by Edgar Allan Poe before bed. Perhaps this isn't the best reading for a sound sleep, but I loved the suspense as I eagerly anticipated the end of the story and the scare it would bring.    

Have you read a good ghost story lately?  Here are some haunted tales for adults, just in time for Halloween.

 Ghosts of Old Edo    

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November Is National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo)

November is National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo)

 

Maybe you've seen it: NaNoWriMo?  Maybe you've thought to yourself: What does NaNoWriMo mean?  Why do I keep reading about it all over Facebook and the internet?  What does NaNoWriMo have to do with ME?

NaNoWriMo is National Novel Writing Month!  It is an international event that happens each November. NaNoWriMo is a fun, seat-of-your-pants approach to creative writing. On November 1, participants begin working towards the goal of writing a 50,000-word novel by 11:59 PM on November 30. NaNoWriMo is for anyone who has ever thought seriously, or even fleetingly, about writing a novel. NaNoWriMo works to encourage writing and vibrant creativity around the world.  While you create your novel you earn badges at the website!  Last year 310,095 participants started the month of November as pastry chefs,

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Throwback Thursday: An Old Fashioned Hallowe'en Party Circa 1905

A 1905 issue of the San Francisco Call offers some tips for a "Old Fashioned Hallowe'en Party"

Thinking of having an old fashioned Halloween Party, but find you "must sigh vainly for farmstead kitchen and big new barn"?  Marion Harland published a few suggestions on how to "retain the spirit of the time-honored festival" in the San Francisco Call in 1905. When planning your costume remember that "a fine chance is offered here for the display of jaunty aprons and short-sleeved blouses." And for diversions, you can simply bob for apples or have your fortune told through a cabbage stalk, a goblet of vinegar, or a flaming raisin!

Read all of her suggestions in the newspaper images below.

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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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Books We Love: The Known World

A book to check out: The Known World, the Pulitzer Prize-winning historical novel about slavery by Edward P. Jones.

Book coverThe 2003 novel The Known World by Edward P. Jones tells a haunting, heartbreaking and complex story of slavery in America. An enslaved African American man saves the money he makes as a carpenter to purchase and free himself, his wife, and later, their son. To the amazed disappointment of his parents, the son maintains a connection with his former master, and then becomes a slave owner himself. And a white sheriff, despite his anti-slavery views, has a job that requires him to apprehend runaway slaves. The sheriff reluctantly accepts a slave girl as a wedding gift, but prefers to treat her as a daughter. These are just two strands of the interwoven stories

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