Great Books and more

Q&A Patrons ask; librarians answer: Starting School

Q: My daughter is starting school in a few days...what books about school do you have that we could read together?

A: We have so many!* No matter what age or grade, we've got something for you to read abocover of Richard Scarry's Great Big Schoolhouseut school, to set the stage so that your child's anticipation is more likely to stay positive. Some kids need to know exactly what will happen, some are looking forward to joining the world of their older siblings, and some have worries or anxieties. Thankfully, authors & publishers have recognized the recurring need, and we have plenty of books to fill it.*

Click here to see an extended list of First Day of School books for Children at OPL.

Reading a book or two about the school experience gives you an opportunity to talk about it together. With so many books at the Oakland Public Library to choose from, you may want to narrow it down to the right age-level for your child/children. That makes the search a little trickier, but here are some book lists for different age-ranges. You can click on the age you want, below, or talk to your local children's librarian to get favorites.

Preschool          

Cover of Llama Llama Misses Mama cover of Maisy goes to preschool cover of See You Later, Alligator  cover of My Preschool by Rockwell  cover of Making Friends by Fred Rogers

Llama Llama misses Mama by Dewdney  // Maisy goes to preschool by Cousins  // See you later, alligator! by Kvasnosky  // My preschool by Rockwell  //  Making friends by Fred Rogers

Kindergarten

cover of Vera's First Day of School  cover image of Annabelle Swift, Kindergartner  cover image of The Kissing Hand cover of Miss Bindergarten Gets Ready cover of My Kindergarten by Wells  cover of Bilingual English/Spanish Look Out Kindergarten  cover of How to be a Friend

Vera's first day of school (Rosenberry)  // Annabelle Swift, Kindergartner (Schwartz)  // The kissing hand (Penn)  // Miss Bindergarten gets ready for kindergarten (Slate)  // My kindergarten (Wells)  // Look out kindergarten, here I come! = Prepárate, kindergarten! Allá voy! (Carlson)   // How to be a friend : a guide to making friends and keeping them (Krasny & Brown)

Elementary school

cover of First Day Jitters  cover of It's Back to School We Go cover of Feelings  cover of Judy Moody (#1)   cover of Monster Frights    

First day jitters (Danneberg)  // It's back to school we go : first day stories from around the world (Jackson)  // Feelings (Aliki)  // Judy Moody (McDonald)  //  Monster School : first day frights (Keane)

Middle School

cover of A Smart Girl's Guide to Middle School cover of Too Old for This, Too Young for That cover of Middle School Survival Guide cover of Amelia's School Survival Guide cover of Dork Diaries (#1) cover of Middle School the Worst Years of my life  cover of Stuck in the Middle

A smart girl's guide to starting middle school : everything you need to know about juggling more homework, more teachers, and more friends! (Williams)  // Too old for this, too young for that! : your survival guide for the middle school years (Mosatche)  // The middle school survival guide (Erlbach)  // Amelia's school survival guide (Moss)  // Dork diaries series (Russell)  // Middle school, the worst years of my life (Patterson)  // Stuck in the middle of middle school : a novel in doodles (Young) 

 

Usually when parents or kids ask for books about school, it’s simply to celebrate or take a moment to focus on the occasion. Sometimes, however, it’s because they’ve got some anxieties about it. Like any life transition, starting school can bring up some pretty big issues for a person. Helping your child understand her thoughts and feelings -- and explore the thoughts and feelings of others -- helps her grow and understand. Reading books together gives you a way to start a conversation and find out how you can support your child.

Children each have their own point of view, and their own inner thoughts to sift through. The themes within back-to-school stories often include important life lessons about some or all of the following:

    • Being a friend
    • Getting along with new people cover of A Friend for Dragon
    • Accepting differences
    • Mending relationships with difficult people
    • Protecting yourself from dangerous people
    • Calming general anxiety
    • Conquering specific fears
    • Facing new situations
    • Accepting separation from loved ones
    • Celebrating accomplishments (your own & others')

           …and…

  • Being ready for and open to learning

Even if the book you read together doesn’t match your own thoughts and feelings, it could spark a discussion that helps clarify your observations, or helps your child relate to the other students she meets. As usual, I encourage everyone to make time to talk to and listen to your child.  cover of Going to School in India

* NOTE: We do have many books about starting school – but given the fact that Oakland is home to almost 16,000 children ages 3 to 5, and about 47,200 students are enrolled in the Oakland Unified School District, we may not have the book you want on the day you want it. You can place a hold on the title you want by clicking the “Request It” button and using your library barcode and pin number; or, let us help you place a hold! 

In the Comments below, please leave us the title of a back-to-school book you especially enjoyed, including the age of the student. We want to share what you like best! 

Great Graphic Novels for Kids

From superheroes to manga to comic strips and beyond, we have all sorts of excellent graphic novels and comic books for kids in the library. Ask library staff to help you find the 741.5s! Here, young readers will find interesting characters, awesome art, and fascinating stories full of humor, action, adventure, history, mystery, and emotion. Graphic novels are incredibly popular, especially among kids who like stories but aren't ready for long chapter books and students who are visual learners.
Here are some of our favorite / most popular graphic novels for kids. Let us know in the comments which of your favorites we may have missed!:
American Born Chinese book coverAmulet book coverAriol book coverThe Arrival book coverBabymouse book coverBig Nate book coverBone book coverGarfield book coverGreat American Dust Bowl book coverJedi Academy book cover Book One book coverMeanwhile book coverNaruto book coverOdd Duck book coverPoseidon book coverSidekicks book coverSmile book coverToon Books book coverZita the Spacegirl book cover
// American Born Chinese by Yang // Amulet series by Kibuishi // Ariol series by Guibert // The Arrival by Tan // Babymouse series by Holm // Big Nate series by Peirce // Bone series by Smith // Garfield series by Davis // The Great American Dust Bowl by Brown // Jedi Academy by Brown // March: Book One by Lewis // Meanwhile by Shiga // Naruto series by Kishimoto // Odd Duck by Castellucci & Varon // Olympians series by O'Connor // Sidekicks by Santat // Smile by Telgemeier // Toon Books series // Zita the Spacegirl trilogy by Hatke //

Q&A: Patrons ask; librarians answer: How do I teach my child not to fear the dentist?

Q: Do you have any books about visiting the dentist?  It’s my son’s first trip to the dentist, and I don’t want him to have the same phobias I have!  Do you have any great books that will put both of us at ease?

A: Yes, as a matter of fact we do.  To quote Mr. Rogers, “Learning to take good care cover image of Mr. Rogers book Going to the Dentistof yourself is an important part of growing. No matter how much you grow, though, there will always be times when you’ll need help keeping your body healthy. That’s true for everyone – children and adults.” His is still my favorite book, even though it was published in 1989. (The waiting room furniture is retro-trendy now.) Why did anyone bother publishing anything else after that?

Okay, okay, despite the multi-cultural kids, dentists of both genders, and spot-on child-friendly language of Fred Rogers, you still believe there might be other books for you!  If you want more books that tell your child what happens at a dental visit, and show more modern equipment, try these:

cover of book Dentist by Stockham            

In between visits, if you’re trying to make sure everyone in the family keeps up their dental hygiene practices, try some of these books about self-care:

     

If your child has reached the age where baby teeth are coming out, he or she might like some of these books – some are just silly, some are about the Tooth Fairy, and some give us an opportunity to learn about world cultures:

               

Oh! ¿Quieres leer un libro en español? Prueba con estos: Oh! You want to read a book in Spanish? Try these:

      

Finally, if you’re way beyond your first visit, here are some suggestions for readers ages 6 & up, and some for kids even older & into orthodontia:

      

As a person who experienced dental anxiety, I can tell you this; I now love my family dentist, our orthodontist, and even our periodontist. However, if I can, I want to help you keep your family away from the endodontist! Seriously.  I spent too many hours in the dental care world this summer. 

Okay, here's 2 bonus books because you made it to the end:

 

Give us a big smile, now!

Percy Jackson Read-Alikes

Every day in the library, we meet young readers who just can’t get enough of Rick Riordan. The author’s exciting blend of reality and mythology has exploded in popularity, with kids clamoring for books in his Percy Jackson & the Olympians series, as well as his Kane Chronicles and Heroes of Olympus series. Riordan superfans who are hungry for more fantastical action and adventure may want to give these books a try:

Gregor the Overlander book coverSea of Trolls book coverPandora Gets Jealous book coverAkhenaten Adventure book coverSkulduggery Pleasant book coverSavvy book coverGods of Manhattan book coverFablehaven book coverMagyk book coverAlchemyst book coverDusssie book coverShadow Thieves book cover Earth Shaker book coverTreasury of Egyptian Mythology book cover

The Underland Chronicles / Suzanne Collins

The Sea of Trolls trilogy / Nancy Farmer

The Pandora series / Carolyn Hennesy

Children of the Lamp series / Philip Kerr

Skulduggery Pleasant series / Derek Landy

Savvy / Ingrid Law

Gods of Manhattan series / Scott Mebus

Fablehaven series / Brandon Mull

Septimus Heap series / Angie Sage

Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel series / Michael Scott

Dusssie / Nancy Springer

Cronus Chronicles series / Anne Ursu

The Olympians graphic novel series / George O'Connor

Treasuries of Mythology / Donna Jo Napoli

PAWS to Read: Summer Reading Recommendations for Kids

Parenting a Baby Part 2: Parenting Collections @ OPL

Is your baby having trouble sleeping through the night?  Is breastfeeding not going well?  How and when do you introduce food to babies?  What are the appropriate developmental stages babies go through and when should babies go through them?  Can babies learn sign language?  And, of course, a topic close to my heart, how do you read to a baby?

Raising a baby is hard work and we are here to help.  Last month I highlighted  some of the programs we offer babies and their families.  This month, we look at some of the materials we offer.  All of Oakland's libraries have parenting books, magazines and DVDs that can help you figure out how to best care for a baby and answer any questions you might have.  In fact, we have parenting materials for all ages of children and all kinds of families.   Just go to our home page at www.oaklandlibrary.org and key in your search topic or ask a librararian for help.

Here are some of our favorite parenting books about babies.  What are some of yours?

Book Cover

      Book Cover     Book Cover   

 Book Cover     Book Cover     

The Happiest Baby Guide to Great Sleep /Harvey Karp

Feeding the Whole Family/Cynthia Lair

The Nursing Mother's Companion/Kathleen Huggins

The Read Aloud Handbook/Jim Trelease

What to Expect the First Year/ Heidi Murkoff et al.

My First Signs/Annie Kubler

Q&A: Patrons ask; librarians answer: Can picture books fix my kid’s behavior problems?

Q: Is there a Berenstain Bears book about not biting people? My daughter has been biting other kids at preschool. Her teachers say it’s getting worse! Is there a book I could read to her showing how wrong this is?

A: Yes! Your question is a profound one. Children’s authors, publishers, teachers, parents, therapists, and children themselves have been seeing books as bibliotherapy for generations. As a result, there are a variety of books both silly and profound that could help in this siNo More Biting for Billy Goattuation. How can bibliotherapy help?Among other things, kids realize...

  • It's okay to have feelings

  • It's okay to talk about it

  • Other people have faced similar problems

  • There are different solutions available

  • Kids can solve problems 

So, where to start? The easy answer is to look up your preschooler’s particular issue in our online catalog. (...type in biting – or any other behavioral issue – and limit to children's books.) If nothing comes up, we'd take a look at A to Zoo: Subject Access to Children’s Picture Books. It has picture books indexed under 1,215 subjects, including 53 different behaviors, from “animals, dislike of” to “worrying,” although, biting is not there – but we can look through the 35 books about “fighting.” A cool online resourcehas a few more titles. The Berenstain Bears books often have a clear behavioral message, and kids like to hear stories about characters they know and love. Since there isn’t one on biting, you might take a look at this one; The Berenstain Bears and the Trouble with Friends

Berenstain Bears & the Trouble with Friends

I am often asked for books to help a child overcome a particular problem – biting, hitting, whining, lying, stealing, teasing or bullying others, fears, sucking her thumb, screaming or throwing tantrums, etc. Practically every kid does something, sometime! So...is misbehavior a universal experience?

When I was a new parent, I read several parenting books that put forward the view that all children's negative behavior is an attempt to communicate. (Like the 3 below.) These authors proposed that when the behavior annoys, angers, scares, or hurts others, it's very likely an indication that the child has some strong or negative feelings. Therefore, the solution – to all irksome behavior – is to teach the child how to effectively communicate negative feelings & whatever caused them.

   

An adult who spends a lot of time with a child teaches this vocabulary simply by saying aloud what they observe and guess about the child's feelings – but some things just don’t come up until a moment when the parent isn't there to interpret.

Books provide extra scenarios to absorb or to discuss feelings – the characters’, your own, and your child’s – so you don't have to wait for something to surprise you. Any book that shows characters having any feelings can start a conversation. The language of feelings is complex and may take a lifetime to fully explore. Here are my favorite books on the general topic of expressing feelings, in order from those for the youngest kids (2 years) to the oldest (about 9+ years):

         

In addition, the popularity of some rather uncomfortable books illustrates how negative feelings are human and common– it really is a comfort when someone else (even a character in a book) struggles through similar feelings. Here are a few that are wonderful to read to a child. They convey that you will love her and take care of her, even when she has so-called bad feelings, and even when she makes mistakes:

     

All these books (and many others on unrelated topics) show characters feeling something and being heard – by the reader if not by the other characters in the story!

You may not need a book about a biter, a hitter, a screamer, a liar, a thief, or a tantrum thrower. Children's books, by providing a wide range of situations and responses, build the child's repertoire of familiar life experiences. Each book, on any topic, can build understanding, empathy, and self-awareness, and allow your child to witness or imagine possible responses.

 

Play with your Words

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 coverDear Deer book coverE-mergency book coverFollow Follow book coverOn Beyond Zebra book coverPalindromania! book coverPhantom Tollbooth book coverRrralph book coverRunny Babbit book coverSix Sheep Sip Thick Shakes book coverSmart Feller Fart Smeller book coverWumbers book cover

C D B! / William Steig

Dear deer: a book of homophones / Gene Barretta

E-mergency! / Tom Lichtenheld, Ezra Fields-Meyer

Follow follow: a book of reverso poems / Marilyn Singer; illus. by Josée Masse

On beyond zebra / Dr. Seuss

Palindromania! / Jon Agee
Phantom tollbooth / Norton Juster; illus. by Jules Feiffer
 
Rrralph / Lois Ehlert
 
Runny Babbit: a billy sook / Shel Silverstein
 
Six sheep sip thick shakes: and other tricky tongue twisters / Brian P. Cleary; illus. by Steve Mack
 

Smart feller fart smeller: and other spoonerisms / Jon Agee

Wumbers: it's a word cr8ed with a numbers! / Amy Krouse Rosenthal; illus. by Tom Lichtenheld

DÍA: Great Kids' Books about Asian-Americans

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 Shelves campaign. Make a pledge to buy books by people of color from your favorite local bookstore. At OPL we buy as many books by and about people of color as we can, and if we're ever missing something you think we should have... tell us about it!

Today: children's books featuring characters who are Asian or Asian-American. As with the others, more on Pinterest!

Take me Out to the Yakyu, by Aaron Meshon. Catch a baseball game in America AND Japan, side by side.
Grandfather Gandhi, by Arun Gandhi. The grandson of Mahatma Gandhi remembers a time he lost his temper with the famous pacifist.
Big Red Lollipop, by Rukhsana Khan. Rubina has to bring her little sister to a birthday party--no fair!
Cora cooks pancit, by Dorina Gilmore. This is one of the three picture books I know of about a Filipino-American family. If you know of others, let us know! Warm family story that includes a recipe.

For slightly older readers:

Ling and Ting Share a Birthday, by Grace Lin. The twins are back, and guess what day it is! Part of a terrific series for new readers.
The Year of the Baby, by Andrea Cheng. Wouldn't a baby sister make a great science project?
Alvin Ho: Allergic to babies, burglars, and other bumps in the night, by Lenore Look. First sympathetic pregnancy in the history of child lit.

For even-a-little-bit-older readers:

The Thing About Luck, by Cynthia Kadohata. Beautifully written and funny story of a girl whose family spends summers as traveling threshers--but her grandmother is ailing, and her little brother is getting out of control.
Where the mountain meets the moon, by Grace Lin. Almost a folk tale, bold and engaging, terrific as a family read-aloud.

And for definitely-older readers (and I mean adults too, you will LOVE this book):

Eleanor and Park, by Rainbow Rowell. Possibly 2013's greatest teen romance. The story of a music-loving loner who falls for a strange girl with a terrible secret. Trust me--this is NOT a manic pixie dream girl story.

Thank you so much for reading along this week! As always, click through to Pinterest for a longer list of books about Asian-Americans.

DÍA: Great Kids' Books about Differently Abled People

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

A splash of red, by Jennifer Bryant.
King for a Day, by Rukhsana Khan
The Pirate of Kindergarten, by George Lyon
A Boy and a Jaguar, by Alan Rabinowitz (this one's newly ordered and will be available for holds later in May)

Out of My Mind, by Sharon Draper.
Wonder, by R. J. Palacio
Al Capone does my Homework, by Gennifer Choldenko (third in the trilogy!)

Rose Under Fire, by Elizabeth Wein.