Children's Services Blog

Meet Miriam Medow

Picture of MiriamToday, let's head over to Lake Merritt and meet Miriam Medow, the children's librarian at the Lakeview Branch Library

Miriam, what brought you to the Lakeview Library?

I was drawn to the Lakeview branch because of its awesome location in the vibrant and beautiful Grand Lake neighborhood. As you could guess from the branch name, we can see Lake Merritt from our front door!

Give us an example of what a day at work looks like for you.

On the very best days, my work involves singing and dancing and sharing books with kiddos. Each day also includes a lot of asking, "how can I help you?" Last week, I found myself ordering Lego pieces off eBay -- it's fair to say that no days here are identical. But it's typically a satisfying balance of face-to-face, experiential work (leading programs, staffing the reference desk) with computer work and other tasks (placing book orders, sending emails).

What is your favorite thing about the Lakeview Library?

Storytime! Every Wednesday morning, we ROCK OUT at Toddler Time and Baby Bounce. Saturday's Family Storytime is a party, too. Storytimes here are super interactive, joyful, and a little bit wild -- they're definitely the highlight of my week.

Where is your favorite place to visit in Oakland?

Ooooh, how about the Fox Theater, for an amazing show? There are so many places I love in Oakland, it's hard to choose just one! My favorite is taking my little dog out walking in Oakland neighborhoods and finding what there is to discover block by block. Especially when there are trumpet flowers blooming :)

Book cover

What's your favorite book?

It changes daily. This very moment, as I'm preparing to visit some preschool classes, I'll claim Pete the Cat and His Four Groovy Buttons by James Dean and Eric Litwin as my fave.

What's your favorite food?


What's the craziest thing you've ever seen in a library?

A room full of kids, jumping, shrieking and waving arms in the air as the Bubble Lady barraged them with, what else? Bubbles! Sheer mayhem!!

Thanks for sharing, Miriam!

Anytime.  See you soon. 

Picture of Bubbles

Children’s Magazines

Have you discovered the children’s magazine section of your local library?

Zoobooks magazine cover

Babybug magazine coverBoys' Life magazine coverDiscovery Girls magazine cover

Magazines are current, browsable, fun -- and OPL has a huge selection of them available to check-out for three weeks at a time. From American Girl to Zoobooks, magazines cover a broad range of topics for all ages. There’s pleasure reading to be found for everyone here!

Kiki magazine cover  Mad magazines at OPL  National Geographic Kids magazine coverRanger Rick magazine coverSports Illustrated for Kids magazine coverWWE Kids magazine coverYour Big Backyard magazine cover

Babybug // Boys’ Life // Discovery Girls // Kiki // Mad // National Geographic Kids // Ranger Rick // Sports Illustrated for Kids // WWE Kids // Your Big Backyard

Every Child Ready to Read - Playing

Playing is fun! It is also a necessary part of your child's early experience. In fact, while they play they are busy learning that spoken and written words can stand for real objects and experiences. It also helps them express themselves and put thoughts and emotions into words. They can use puppets, stuffed animals, really anything they can find around the house to use for props and develop their imagination. 

"Every Child Ready to Read® @ your library® is a program of the Association for Library Service to Children and Public Library Association, divisions of the American Library Association. Every Child Ready to Read® @ your library® is a registered trademark and is used with permission."

A favorite author

Book cover From the Mixed up FilesE.L. Konigsburg, the author of From the Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler and many other  books, died earlier this week. She was 83 years old.  Konigsburg won the Newbery Medal twice, for From the Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler in 1968, and again almost thirty years later for The View from Saturday, in 1997.  There are a few other authors who have done that...but no one else but she has gotten a gold and a silver Newbery Medal in the same year.  In 1968, along with the gold Newbery medal for From the Mixed-Up Files, she also got the silver runner-up Newbery medal for Jennifer, Hecate, Macbeth, William McKinley, and me, Elizabeth. And they were her very first books published. 

E.L. Konigsburg was one of my favorite authors when I was a kid.  I never wrote her a fan letter least, not until I was an adult.  Five years ago, I served on the Newbery Committee to select that year's winner (this one!).  It meant that for one year I had to read for hours every day, and I didn't get to choose my reading. I had to read A LOT of books I didn't like.  When we finally finished, and I came home, I took a day off to do nothing but read exactly what I wanted.   I chose From the Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler.  I read it all through the day, and through dinner, and way past my bedtime, and finished it around midnight.  And THEN, I stayed up another hour to write E.L. Konigsburg the fan letter I never wrote her as a kid.  I'm so glad I did. (And she wrote me back.)

Who is your favorite author? Have you ever written them a fan letter? Do it today! If they don't have a website with contact information, you can send an old-fashioned letter to them at the address for their publisher, and their publisher will forward it to them. 

What is your favorite E.L. Konigsburg book?  Which one are you going to try next? 

Book Cover Jennifer HecateBook cover the View from SaturdayBook Cover Book CoverBook cover

Children’s Author Spotlight: David Macaulay

When kids have questions, the books of David Macaulay are a solid place to start seeking answers. Macaulay’s nonfiction explores the art, design, and mechanics of buildings, technology, the human body, and more. His books are heavily illustrated and visually engaging, with clear writing that respects the interests and abilities of children. Come to the library to browse his fascinating work for yourself!

Classic Macaulay

New Way Things Work book coverCastle book coverMosque book coverCathedral book coverBuilding Big book coverPyramid book coverWay We Work book cover

Building Big // Castle // Cathedral // Mosque // Pyramid

The new way things work

The way we work : getting to know the amazing human body

New and exciting -- for early readers!

 How it Works book cover How it Works book cover

Castle: How it Works

Jet Plane: How it Works

Can’t get enough? Look for David Macaulay’s award-winning picture books on our shelves, and check out this awesome TED talk for a glimpse of his creative process:


Día de los Niños / Día de los Libros - Children's Day / Book Day

GermarCelebrate children and books with bilingual magician Germar the Magician! In this fun show, Germar delights children and invites them to participate. If you miss him at your local branch, you can catch him at another!

Refreshments will be served at many locations (check your local branch), and each child will leave with a new book!

Lakeview Saturday, 4/20/13 11:00 AM

Elmhurst Saturday,  4/20/13 2:00 PM 

Dimond Tuesday, 4/23/13 7:00 PM

Asian Wednesday, 4/24/13 10:30 AM

Golden Gate Thursday, 4/25/13 3:00 PM

Martin Luther King, Jr. Saturday, 4/27/13 11:00 AM

Cesar Chavez Saturday, 4/27/13 3:00 PM

Melrose Tuesday, 4/30/13 5:30 PM

Brookfield Wedesday, 5/1/13 10:30 AM

Eastmont, Wednesday 5/8/13 10:30 AM

READ! Origami Wall for National Library Week

Origami spells READ on library wallIt's National Library Week! Last week you got a sneak peek at preparations for the origami installation at the Main Library.  It went up on Saturday, and now the Oak street face of the library (with the entrance to the Children's Room) reminds you of just one of the many fun things you can do inside or outside your library.  A group of preschoolers are checking it out...arriving for Monday morning storytime.  Come see it for yourself...but don't wait! The installation will stay up through Saturday April 20th. 

Thanks to all of the children who folded origami for this project.

Tis the season…For poetry!

The library circulates poetry books all year long, but April, National Poetry Month, is their time to shine. Whether you’re looking for a traditional poem in picture book form to share with preschoolers, or a collection of silly rhymes for older kids, the library has you covered! Make a visit to the nonfiction section of your local branch – especially the 811.54s – to discover these and other wonderful poetry books for children:

Won-Ton book cover

Joyful Noise book cover

Step Gently Out book cover

A Kick in the Head book cover

Creature Carnival book cover

The Dragons are Singing Tonight book cover

Muu, moo book cover

All the World book cover

Swirl by Swirl book coverWhere the Sidewalk Ends book coverMy People book cover

All the World / written by Liz Garton Scanlon; illustrated by Marla Frazee

Creature Carnival / by Marilyn Singer; illustrations by Gris Grimly

The Dragons are Singing Tonight / written by Jack Prelutsky; pictures by Peter Sis

Joyful Noise: Poems for Two Voices / written by Paul Fleischman; illustrated by Eric Beddows

A Kick in the Head: An Everyday Guide to Poetic Forms / edited by Paul B. Janeczko; illustrated by Chris Raschka

¡Muu, moo!: Rimas de Animales = Animal Nursery Rhymes / selected by Alma Flor Ada and F. Isabel Campoy; English versions by Rosalma Zubizarreta; illustrated by Viví Escrivá

My People / written by Langston Hughes; photographs by Charles R. Smith, Jr.

Step Gently Out / poem by Helen Frost; photographs by Rick Lieder

Swirl by Swirl: Spirals in Nature / written by Joyce Sidman; illustrated by Beth Krommes

Where the Sidewalk Ends / by Shel Silverstein

Won-Ton: A Cat Tale Told in Haiku / written by Lee Wardlaw; illustrated by Eugene Yelchin

Origami Wall at the Main Library

Children at libraries throughout Oakland have been busily folding pieces of paper.  Why, you may wonder?  Well, National Library Week is coming and, as part of the celebration, on April 13th the Main Library's Children’s Room staff will be mounting an origami installation on the outside of the library’s Oak Street entrance. The colorful installation, using more than a thousand origami pieces of varying shapes and sizes, will be attached to the wall so that all can see that Oakland’s kids love to “READ.”  The installation was inspired by the street art posted on the Asian Museum in San Francisco this past August.  The group Upside Up used 550 origami butterflies to write the word “fly” on one of the museum’s exterior walls.  Our installation will remain up for a week.  Come on down and check it out along with some great books.

Here are some pictures of the Wall in waiting.

Preparing the Wall        Origami Installation Waiting to be Hung         

Play and Literacy

Boy playing with LegosPlay has a direct link to early literacy experience. Play and stories work together to encourage creativity, imagination, and dexterity: all skills that help your child learn.  

If you have DUPLOS at home, try some of the acitivities in the the Read! Build! Play! at Home Toolkit developed by LEGO in partnership with The Association for Library Services to Children (ALSC).  

We also have DUPLOS and LEGOS for your child to play with  at many library locations. Bring your child of any age in to one of our monthly LEGO Mania! clubs, where they can play and build with others. 

LEGO Mania! Monthly Lego Clubs

First Tuesdays at 4pm at the Eastmont Library

First Fridays at 3:30pm at the Dimond Library

Second Thursdays at 3pm at the Main Library Children's Room

Second Fridays at 3pm at the Lakeview Library 

Third Fridays at 3pm at the West Oakland Library

Ask your Librarian for other ways for your child to play at the library!

Malik Pedraza-Palomino is ready to fly with his LEGO creation at the 81st Avenue Library.