Celebrate Black History Month with these great reads!

Introducing a handful of wonderful books celebrating black history and culture

With Black History Month upon us, it’s time to shine a spotlight on some terrific books that are in our collection, most of which are recent additions.  This year, we see books that feature themes of diversity and inclusivity, showcasing the vast range of people, experiences and voices within the black community. Come celebrate black history with us this February and all throughout the year with our amazing selection of books that affirm and teach the many ways we show up in the world!


Shirley Chisholm is a Verb! by Veronica Chambers, Illustrated by Rachelle Baker

Get inspired by the story of the first black woman elected to the United States Congress! She stood up for herself and for the people she represented, and never backed down!  

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Black Culture Fest 2021

Black History Month programming for February 2021 and children's book recommendations.

Last February a team of Black library staff at the Main Library came together for a day-long Black History Read-In & Culture Fest. You can view some photos and video from the Verse-atility program. 

This year a month-long celebration includes: 

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What's New: And the winner is NOT...

Middle grade fiction from 2020 that you or your children may have missed

YMA logoYesterday, the American Library Association announced the winners of the 2020 Youth Media Awards, including the Newbery and Caldecott Medals, the Coretta Scott King Awards, the Pura Belpré Awards, and the Asian/Pacific American Award for Literature. The announcement of these awards is an important event for children’s librarians and other members of the children’s literature world--any author or illustrator who receives one of these prestigious honors is just about guaranteed a readership for the rest of their career! Check out the list of the 2020 winning titles as well as those that won honor awards here and place holds on those that might interest you or your child! 

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2021 King Day Celebrations

Recommendations for MLK Day virtual celebrations

Happy Birthday to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., born January 15, 1929, in Atlanta, GA. 

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What's New: Book Suggestions from Your Children’s Librarians

OPL Children's Librarians share some of their favorite books published in 2020.

Miss chatting with your local children’s librarians about their favorite books new to OPL?

Never fear, we’ve collected some of their recommendations below.

Celia from the Temescal Branch Library recommends In a Jarwritten by Deborah Marcero.

Published just before the pandemic separated friends and

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Mindfulness for Kids and Families

Resources for kids and families to learn more about and practice mindfulness.

Got stress? Feeling overwhelmed? We have resources to help you learn and practice mindfulness skills that can support your family's mental and emotional wellness during these extremely challenging times!

Mindfulness is a science-backed practice that trains the mind, body, and heart to be in the present moment with specific mindful skills. Research shows the benefits of mindfulness include~

  • Reduced stress

  • Decreased anxiety and depression

  • Strengthened immune system

  • Improved attention and memory

  • Better sleep

  • Increased self-awareness

  • Improved blood pressure and cardiovascular health

  • Much more!

Last month, Oakland Public Library partnered with JG Larochette from the  Mindful Life Project to present a great series of online Mindfulness For Families programs. Recordings of these sessions are available for you to view~

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Play Winter Bingo Through February 28!

Collect a Winter Bingo Card at sidewalk pick up, download from this page or sign up on Beanstack. Kids who do five activities in a row can win a FREE BOOK. Prize books will be available when Alameda County lifts the most recent stay at home order.

Winter Bingo Prize Book Pick-up available February 1-28 at all Sidewalk Service locations!

Winter Bingo is a fun family literacy game recommended for kids ages 0-12.  To play Winter Bingo, visit your local sidewalk pick up location to collect a Winter Bingo card  (downloads are available below) or register on Beanstack. 

Complete any 5 activities in a row and win a FREE Book!

Watch this video created by Children's Librarian, Patí Moran, to learn more about these fun activities.

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What’s New: 2020 Graphic Novels for Children

Lots of great new graphic novels have come out in 2020! Here are some librarian favorites that will especially appeal to fans of Raina Telgemeier.

smile soverIt’s hard to imagine, but about seven years ago when parents and kids would ask me for graphic novels similar to Raina Telgemeier’s Smile, there wasn’t a lot to choose from. Sure, there were lots of superhero comics, manga series, and Sunday funnies classics like Garfield or Calvin and Hobbes, but Telgemeier was one of the first to realize how much kids would like seeing themselves reflected in contemporary fiction graphic novels. Thankfully, she wasn’t the last!

Today our graphic novel shelves are filled with all sorts of genres from horror to humor—but contemporary fiction still tops the list as one of the most popular! Because you can’t come in to browse our shelves right now to see what’s new, I’m highlighting some good ones that have

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What's New: Children's Books of 2020

Children's librarians introduce new arrivals. You can request them online and check them out with sidewalk service.

One of the joys of my experience as a library patron is the New Books shelf. What treasures can be found here! Sure, if I know something new from a favorite author is due out this year, I get myself on the waiting list right away... but on the New Books shelf I might find something I'd never think to put on hold by myself.

Now that library shelves are closed to the public, though, that kind of discovery from browsing isn't happening. So as a librarian I want to share some of the new arrivals with you here! These titles were recently published, and came to OPL's shelves in 2020. Some have not yet been checked out, even once. You could change that.

Please request one (or many!) using the link to the library's online catalog to place a hold. (Here are some instructions if you're new to that process.) Then, when it is ready at your chosen location, you can come by for socially-distanced

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How to find NEW Children's Books!

We’re still selecting and ordering the latest published books. Check out the “Featured Lists” within our Classic Catalog to see a list of newly arrived materials, ask for a "New Book Bundle" at sidewalk pickup, and check out this blog on the last Tuesday of each month.

One of my favorite library experiences, as both a librarian and a patron, is admiring and purusing the new books that come in to the library.  

I get excited when books that I’ve ordered arrive at my desk for processing...there’s just something about that new book smell!  

As a children’s librarian in the Children’s Room at the Main Library it made me so happy to watch families search the latest books for the perfect read 

Even though we are offering side walk service at many of our locations, we know that it’s been hard not for you not to be able to browse the shelves and

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