Black History Books for Kids

A list of excellent African-American history books for kids recommended by children's librarians at Oakland Public Library.

If you're seeking children's books that honor and celebrate African-American history, Oakland Public Library has what you need! The following staff recommendations are perfect to share with your kiddos year-round, and especially in observance of African-American History Month. We hope you enjoy our suggestions; let us know in the comments if we missed any of your favorites!

Picture Books

Charlie Parker played be bop book cover

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I'm Going On a Trip! Starring CultureGrams and Transparent Language Online

Want to go around the world? Grab your library card and get started on CultureGrams and Transparent Language Online, two of Oakland Public Library's handiest databases.

I'm going to France next month, for the first time ever! I'm very excited. To prepare for my trip, I'm going to pay a visit to one of Oakland Public Library's friendliest databases, CultureGrams.

Want to come too? Grab your library card and let's go!

We'll start here: Articles and Databases. Now scroll down with me. Come on, I wanna see you scrrooooooolll. All the way down to Country Information, where you'll see the link for CultureGrams.

At this point, you'll need to enter your library card number and pin. (If you have trouble during this step, call any OPL location during open hours--we'll help!)

And here we are:

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More Found!

Check out the latest batch of things we've found in library books!

Did you see all the attention this blog got?  Not only were we featured in the San Francisco Chronicle (hey, that's me!), but KQED had us on the California Report (it's very strange to listen to your own voice on tape).  We even showed up in the Library Journal.  That was all so super awesome and exciting, but not as exciting as when you read and comment on the posts! 

After all that, too much time has passed since I brought you more items found in library books (and around the library).  So, here you go!  Thanks so much to all the Oakland Public Library staff for sending me their treasures.  I hope you enjoy these as

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Eat seafood responsibly with the Seafood Watch Pocket Guide.

Research the most sustainable seafood options with the free Seafood Watch Pocket Guide, available at the Main Library.

The Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch program helps you make the most sustainable choices in seafood to help keep our oceans healthy. You can pick up your very own wallet-sized copy of the Pocket Guide at the Main Library's community information area. Also, if you have a smartphone, you can also download the free Seafood Watch App for Android and iPhones - you can share restaurants with others that have downloaded the app, and also use an interactive Sushi Guide that lists seafood by the by the Japanese name as well as the common market name. 

 

 

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Q&A Patrons ask; librarians answer. The Dangers of Reading Aloud (Reluctant Readers, part 2)

Q&A: Children's Librarians answer questions all day, every day, from children, parents, caregivers, and teachers. This is part two in our series sharing questions from patrons and answers from a children's librarian.

Illustration by Richard Scarry of bunny reading newspaperQ:  You say it's okay to read aloud to my daughter even though she's 9 years old and she thinks everyone in her class is ahead of her, BUT I'm still worried that it's becoming a crutch for her to avoid learning to read on her own. Are you sure I'm not sabotaging her work or impeding her progress by continuing to read aloud to her?

A:  Yes, I'm sure. From my experience – talking to kids, parents, and teachers for the past 18 years, and reading studies on literacy, the only potential down-side of reading aloud to your daughter is that she may do worse on spelling tests. The up-sides, on the other hand, are many:

  • She can relax and enjoy the story. (Enjoying reading is crucial.

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Bombogenesis -- and other new words

New Words and How to Find 'Em

"Bombogenesis."  Did you run across this word last week?  I heard that word on the radio and wanted to know
right away what it meant.  Turns out it's a weather word. 

Remember how the East Coast started January with the "polar vortex" while we basked in our freakishly warm weather?  Well, after the polar vortex had gone away, in came "bombogenesis."  According to AccuWeather.com -- a website that I really like -- "bombogenesis" describes a storm that usually forms over water.  Cold and warm air clash, causing the storm to intensify rapidly.  In a bombogenesis the atmospheric pressure at the center of the storm must drop 24 millibars in 24 hours.  Drops like a bomb. Weather experts also call this kind of storm an "extratropical surface cyclone." 

But back to this nifty new word. What sources do

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10 Great Reasons to Read Fiction in February

Here's a preview of some great new books arriving in February.

Cover of Kinder Than SolitudeCover of BarkCover of Good Luck

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Why do we need the Dewey Decimal system?

A little bit about how the library uses the Dewey Decimal System to organize ALL HUMAN KNOWLEDGE!

If you've been to the library you know we have a LOT of books, and if you've been to the reference desk you know that we can usually guide you directly to the area for a topic you're interested in or to a specific book. This is possible not because librarians know everything, but because we know how to use the Dewey Decimal System. 

The first thing to know about Dewey is that it uses numbers to represent subjects. Almost any subject you can think of has a corresponding Dewey number. We use Dewey to organize nonfiction materials at all of the Oakland Public Libraries. Other sections (like fiction, biography, and test prep) are arranged alphabetically.

Each book in the nonfiction section has its own Dewey call number, which makes it easy to find the area for a topic or to find a specific item. You can browse all the cookbooks or all the sheet music, but you can also go straight to the book you want.

Dewey numbers are formed one digit at a time, starting from the left.

The T

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Super Bowl Sunday's Coming Up!

Super Bowl Sunday is this Sunday. Get ready with some selected reads and films about this major sporting event!

Super Bowl Sunday is coming up! It's this Sunday, February 2. The library has a number of titles to get you ready for the big day. Read about the social customs surrounding Sunday with this book, "Sunday : a history of the first day from Babylonia to the Super Bowl". Or if you're concerned about the future of football in America, you might enjoy "More than a game : the

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ALA Youth Media Awards Announced!

ALA Youth Media Awards have been announced; your Oakland Public Library staff participated in two of this year's award juries.

The new winners of the Caldecott, Newbery, Coretta Scott King and other awards were announced early Monday morning at the American Library Association Midwinter Conference in Philapdelphia.

The winner of the Newbery Award is Flora & Ulysses, a short, graphically illustrated chapter book by Kate DiCamillo, who is also the recently appointed National Ambassador of Young People's Literature. 

The Newbery Honor winners are

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