Activities & Tips

Screen-Free Activities for Kids : Around the House

Sheltering in place (while perhaps working from home with kids out of school/daycare) can lead to a lot of screen time. Don't feel guilty about that; these are difficult times and parents need to do what they need to do. Let us help! We're posting suggestions each day this week for how to get away from the screens for a little while.

We've all learned that we can't sit on the couch and watch TV all of the time -- there is plenty that needs to get done to keep everyone going. Involve your kids in the daily activity of your household. Depending on their ages, they can help:

  • make meals
  • set and clear the table
  • wash dishes
  • empty the trash
  • clean and tidy
  • do laundry (or a part of it, like sorting colors or folding)
  • entertain siblings
  • care for pets
  • with a big project like inventorying the freezer or organizing a closet

Little kids like to feel like big kids: independent, responsible, and helpful. Big kids like to have their efforts noticed and appreciated -- and they can really do a lot! If you're asking your older child to do something new -- maybe managing the laundry for the first time alone while you are on an important call or minding younger siblings -- set them up to succeed. Teach them how to do it, explicitly, including all those things that you automatically just know to do from long experience. Don't assume that they know! When the results are less than perfect, praise the effort and encourage them to try again another time. Truth of the ages: There will always be more laundry.

Screen-Free Activities for Kids : Making Connections

Sheltering in place (while perhaps working from home with kids out of school/daycare) can lead to a lot of screen time. Don't feel guilty about that; these are difficult times and parents need to do what they need to do. Let us help! We're posting suggestions each day this week for how to get away from the screens for a little while.

It's hard on humans to be away from groups of other humans, and to handle the genuine fear that might accompany interpersonal interactions right now. One way to feel more human is to make connections with people who live outside your household.

  • Write a letter or postcard to a relative. Talk about the postal system, how to address mail, and the format of snail mail versus email. Why is it important to include a date? A return address? Do you have any old mail to examine the postmark and stamps?
  • Make a card for someone who might not be getting lots of personal contact right now -- like residents of a senior community or assisted living facility -- and then take a picture and email it to them (okay, that uses a screen, but it reduces germ spread).
  • Post a picture in your window to cheer up anyone passing by.
  • Get the chalk out again and write or draw something on the sidewalk to share with your neighbors.
  • Share stories about family members. What did Mom and Uncle Al do for fun when they were kids? How is it different from what we do today? If Great-Aunt Margaret is 84, when was she born? When was she your kids' age? What was happening then in the world and where she lived?
  • Cheer the garbage truck, mail carrier, or any other people you see going by as they do essential work.

Screen-Free Activities for Kids : Play

Sheltering in place (while perhaps working from home with kids out of school/daycare) can lead to a lot of screen time. Don't feel guilty about that; these are difficult times and parents need to do what they need to do. Let us help! We're posting suggestions each day this week for how to get away from the screens for a little while.

Do you have any toys or games on hand? Check the garage or back of the closet for...

  • board games
  • puzzles
  • old newspapers with crosswords or comics
  • beach balls or sand toys
  • jacks, Hula Hoop, string for cat's cradle
  • jump rope
  • exercise bands
  • play-dough or clay
  • dice, dominoes, playing cards
  • blocks or LEGO

No interest in toys? Nothing turned up under the bed?

Get creative.

  • Raid the closet for dress-up clothes. Rehearse and perform a song and dance -- it can be as choreographed as you want.
  • If you're willing to use a screen briefly, gather props and make an impromptu photobooth.
  • Retell a favorite story or fairytale. Everyone may need to play different characters -- or maybe a stuffed animal friend can stand in! Puppet shows highly recommended, too.
  • "I'm thinking of a [category] that starts with [letter]..." Optional: guessers can ask yes/no questions to narrow down the answer.
  • If you have a pocketful of loose change, count how many coins you have and how many cents they add up to. Then hide coins around the house for kids to find. You'll know how many are missing and can make an educated guess as to what denominations they are.
  • Make a blanket fort and have an indoor picnic.
  • How many knock-knock jokes can you remember? This may be just the time to introduce the Interrupting Cow. 
  • Pick any object in the house and make up a story about it. Or have Show and Tell at home, where a child explains what an object means to them and what memories they have relating to it.
  • Read a story aloud! Picturebooks are the obvious choice, but a chapter or two of a longer book can be great for a family with a mix of ages. Maybe you have a good book for taking turns -- every reader plays a character like a play. Make sure to "do the voices"!
  • Tell stories -- scary, funny, real or made-up. Tell the story of what you did yesterday. Tell a story from last summer. You can tell a group story where you all take turns saying what comes next. Toss in a "Uh-oh! But THEN..." or "Ta-daaaaaa!" to help younger narrators.

What you decide to do will depend on the age of your child(ren), the supplies you have on hand, and how much time you can spend supervising. But don't stop here -- go with whatever you're inspired to do! If you discover an especially fun game, share it with us in the comments.

Screen-Free Activities for Kids : Get the Wiggles Out

Sheltering in place (while perhaps working from home with kids out of school/daycare) can lead to a lot of screen time. Don't feel guilty about that; these are difficult times and parents need to do what they need to do. Let us help! We're posting suggestions each day this week for how to get away from the screens for a little while.

Getting those wiggles out is important! It can help with stress, stretch muscles that aren't getting their usual daily activity right now, improve the ability to listen and follow directions, and just be fun.

  • What songs and fingerplays do you remember from library storytime? Here's somewhere to get started: our beloved Jbrary videos on YouTube. (This is where children's librarians get THEIR ideas!) Once you've jogged your memory, put away the screen and use your whole body.
  • What songs do you (or your kids) know by heart? Belt them out! Singing makes your brain happy. If it has a particularly infectious chorus, time it and see if it's long enough (at least 20 seconds) to wash your hands to.
  • Start every day (or every transition) with a dance break! Put on some of your favorite tunes and get moving to the beat. No dance move too silly -- just keep feet going and incorporate the upper body, too.
  • Stretch at least once a day and encourage your kids to join you. Shake out your hands and arms; roll your neck, streeeeeeeeetch up to the ceiling and down to the floor. Reach toward each side and then reach toward each side with your opposite hand. Stand like a superhero. Open your arms wide and breathe deeply. Then wrap your arms around yourself and squeeze.

What's your favorite song to dance to? Tell us in the comments. More tips on screen-free fun and learning coming tomorrow!

Screen-Free Activities for Kids : Exercise

Sheltering in place (while perhaps working from home with kids out of school/daycare) can lead to a lot of screen time. Don't feel guilty about that; these are difficult times and parents need to do what they need to do. Let us help! We're posting suggestions each day this week for how to get away from the screens for a little while.

If you're able, remember that you can go outside for exercise (staying at least 6 feet away from anyone not already in your household). Fresh air and sunshine go a long way toward improving the quarantine experience.

  • Take a walk around your neighborhood and identify colors, letters, and numbers. What do you spy with your little eye?
  • Practice running, skipping, and hopping to build motor skills. 
  • Do a lap or a block with a silly walk.
  • For older kids, try drawing a map of your immediate area; label the houses of people you know, street names, fruit trees, etc. Update it every time you go out. Maybe you can mold it in clay or trace the paths in sand or rice. 
  • Pass a ball back and forth. With younger kids, start close enough to hand the ball to each other, then take one step back and try again. See how far apart you can get before someone misses a catch.
  • Got chalk? Time for a hopscotch or foursquare grid.
  • Use a blanket or tablecloth as a parachute if you have enough people in your household; bounce light objects (crumpled paper, scarves, ping-pong balls) on top and take turns running underneath.
  • Make a list of objects to spot for a scavenger hunt during your walk.

You can also exercise inside:

  • Do your kids know how to do push-ups and sit-ups? How about lunges and wall-sits? Lots of exercises use only bodyweight and don't need extra equipment or a lot of space.
  • Make an indoor obstacle course (can be as simple as a loop with stations at various stopping points, or a long line with something at each end). Whenever you reach an obstacle, you have to do something like a jumping jack, put a stuffed animal into a bin, turn around three times, or touch your toes and then your nose.
  • Make shapes with your body. See what you can make with another person. Can you do the whole alphabet?

How to Learn at Home During School Closure

So schools are closed! Possibly for several weeks or months. First things first: Don't panic. You can do this. Kids are made to learn; they learn new things every day just by interacting with their world. You can help them by providing a little structure and access to tools that will encourage their curiosity. (Read this article from KQED to get started.)

Know that you don't have to recreate a school classroom in your kitchen. Start with whatever work your child's school has sent home. It might not take very long to complete worksheets or do assigned reading. What else can you do to keep your family occupied? Well, we know that kids learn when they are interested and having fun. The topic almost doesn't matter. Try one of these free educational sites to find more of what they like.

  • Tutor.com - offers live and FREE one-on-one tutoring in a variety of subjects. Live one-on-one assistance is available everyday from 12pm (noon) until 12am (midnight). OUSD's list of online learning resources is available here in English and Spanish.
  • Scholastic Learn At Home allows open access to daily learning journeys divided into four grade spans—Pre-K–K, Grades 1–2, Grades 3–5, and Grades 6–9+, covering ELA, STEM, Science, Social Studies, and Social-Emotional Learning.
  • Khan Academy’s free library of lessons covers math K-12 through early college, grammar, science, history, AP®, SAT®, and more.
  • Many paid educational services are offering free subscriptions during this time. Here's a long list!
  • Free online coding classes taught BY youth FOR youth: Kids Teach Tech
  • Check out the animal webcams (and DIY lesson plans) from California Academy of Sciences.
  • PBS Kids offers videos and learning games themed with favorite TV and book characters.
  • Practice touch typing with Typing Club (and then send Grandma an email, not a text message).
  • Find fun animal facts, science experiments, and world studies from National Geographic Kids.
  • Tumblebooks: interactive, online picture books and early readers for kids for different reading levels, with games and puzzles.
  • Science Buddies: kid-friendly projects and experiments you can do at home.
  • Brain Pop has learning modules organized by subject. Check out the section on health and social emotional learning.
  • The New York Times provides writing prompts for middle and high school students.
  • Virtual tours of famous museums worldwide - art, culture, and history!
  • Virtual field trips to zoos, farms, state parks, and more prove that learning doesn't have to happen only in a classroom.

Whether you are a seasoned homeschool leader or just looking for something to keep kids busy while you work from home under self-isolation guidelines, Oakland Public Library can connect you to learning every day!

Write a book for Children's Fairyland!

Update: Due to COVID-19, Turn the Page has been postponed. We do encourage kids to continue writing!

 

Dear kids and teens,

Imagine you're at a book festival at Children's Fairyland. As you walk around you see authors and illustrators sitting at tables with their names on them, talking with families and sharing their books. You recognize some names -- there's Lemony Snicket, there's Innosanto Nagara, there's Gennifer Choldenko... but look! YOUR name is on a table! Why? Because you wrote and illustrated a story for children, and you entered it in Fairyland's Children's Book Contest, and you won!Young author posing with copies of her book

If you are younger than 18, now's your chance to create your own book. Children's Fairyland is looking for books written and illustrated by teens and kids. The winners of our third annual Young Writers Contest will share their stories with Oakland families and adult authors and illustrators on May 16 at Fairyland's Turn the Page! children's book festival. Due to the COVID-19 epidemic, Children's Fairyland has postponed Turn the Page! until Fall 2020. 

cover of book "A is for Activist"

Questions

  • What should I write?

Write anything, as long as you think a kid (age 10 or younger) would like it. Past winners have included an ABC book about African-American women, a nonfiction book about food allergies, a superhero story about saving a friend from bullies, and more. Please write in English or Spanish. If you need ideas, we suggest walking around the children's section of the library and looking at different types of books.

  • What about pictures?

Pictures are a great idea! You can create pictures on your own or work with a friend. Your book could be mostly art (like a comic or picture book) or mostly words (like a chapter book or early reader).

  • How do I enter the contest?Cover of book "The bad beginning"
Enter online, or print out the contest entry form and bring (or mail) it to Fairyland or any Oakland Public Library.
  • When is the deadline?
Fairyland wants your book by April 3  whenever you're done! If your school is closed, you have extra time to work on your book. A new deadline will be set when we have a new date for the festival, sometime next fall.
  • Who chooses the winning books?
People from Children's Fairyland, the Oakland Public Library, and East Bay Booksellers will judge the contest.
  • Help! I need ideas!
Maya Christina Gonzalez has some great ideas for you here.

Cover of book "Al Capone does my shirts"More questions?

You can ask Margaret at the Piedmont Avenue Library: mrodriguez@oaklandlibrary.org.

Women's History Month

Girl Power Film Festival 2020Girl Power floral

Celebrate Women's History Month with a series of four films chronicling inspiring and trailblazing women!

  • 3/2 - What's Love Got to Do With It
    This autobiographical film is centered on the life of Tina Turner; her rise to fame and her fall from the idyllic American marriage.
  • 3/16 - Frida
    Salma Hayek stars as Mexican surrealist artist Frida Kahlo in this biopic, which chronicles her turbulent marriage to Diego Rivera, her political activism, and the severe pain she experienced following a bus accident.
  • 3/23 - On the Basis of Sex
    Future Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg launches her career fighting for gender equality by proving discrimination "on the basis of sex" is unconstitutional.
  • 3/30 - Harriet
    The incredible true story of Harriet Tubman, and her quest to lead hundreds of slaves to freedom on the Underground Railroad.

Mondays in March @ Eastmont Branch
Keywords: adults, films, movies, East Oakland

 

Women Bike Book ClubBook cover for the "the Mechanical Horse"

Let's explore the history of women in American cycling with Margaret Guroff's The Mechanical Horse: How the Bicycle Reshaped American LifeLearn how "women shed their cumbersome Victorian dresses—as well as their restricted gender roles—so they could ride. [...] Margaret Guroff demonstrates that the bicycle's story is really the story of a more mobile America—one in which physical mobility has opened wider horizons of thought and new opportunities for people in all avenues of life."

Thursday, 3/5 - 6pm-7:30pm @ Golden Gate Branch
Keywords: bikes, The Mechanical Horse, book club, Women Bike Book Club, North Oakland

 

 

Intro to Female Persian PoetsPersian Poetry

To celebrate Women's History Month, and to expand answer that was asked in our first session on Persian Poets, what about Persian female poets? In this session female poets, female feminist poets, modern feminism, and ancient Persia will be discussed.

Saturday, March 7 - 1pm-2:30pm @ Piedmont Avenue Branch 
Keywords: poetry, Persian, Persian poets, Persian authors, feminism, North Oakland, Piedmont

Button and Bookmark Making for Women's History MonthWomen's History Month graphic

Come make bookmarks and buttons featuring important and inspiring women. Use our artwork or create your own tribute to the important women in your life!

Saturday, March 7 - 1pm-4pm @ West Oakland Branch
Keywords: poetry, Persian, Persian poets, Persian authors, feminism, North Oakland, Piedmont

Black Women: Their Presence in the City of LightTomb of Josephine Baker

Journey with Oakland native Riki Stevenson, whose slide-illustrated presentation—Black Women: Their Presence in the City of Light—takes us across the landscapes of Paris, France. We explore places where African and African American females studied, created art, forged socio-political alliances, opened businesses, and at times made the famed City of Light their home. (This program is organized by Stevenson’s European-based company Black Paris Tours.)

Saturday, March 7 - 2pm-5pm @ African American Museum & Library at Oakland
Keywords: Black women, history, Black History, African American Women, African American history, culture, art, Paris, presentation, AAMLO

Women's History Trivia Nightvintage and outdated drawing of the female brain

Come test your trivia prowess and celebrate Women's History Month at a women's history-themed trivia night. Play solo or with a team. 6 people max per team. Eat snacks, learn, win prizes! Door at 5:30, trivia starts at 6pm. 

Tuesday, March 10 - 6pm-8pm @ Main Library
Keywords: trivia, women's history, games, adults, teens, Downtown Oakland, Lake Merritt

 

 

Meet Saadia Faruqi, author of the Yasmin! book series, & book giveawayBook cover for Yasmin! children

Come meet Saadia Faruqi, author of the popular Yasmin! series. Attendees will learn about the Yasmin! series in this fun, interactive presentation. Author, Saadia Faruqi, will also share her experiences growing up in Pakistan and talk about her journey as a writer. Pizza and refreshments will be served at 5:30. Presentation will begin at 6:00. FREE books will be signed and given away at the end of the presentation.  *Limited quantities of the books are available and are intended only for children in attendance at the program. One copy per child, please. First-come, first serve.  

Wednesday, March 11 - 5:30pm-7pm @ Main Library (Children's Room)
Keywords: children, kids, books, Pakistan, Yasmin!, food, free books, Children's books, family, Downtown Oakland, Lake Merritt

 

 

Shifting Culture Conversation Series: Race, Gender and Leadership with Shaana RahmanShifting Culture Conversation Series @ Main Library 

Shaana Rahman is a bicycle personal injury lawyer who runs her own firm, and is dedicated to tearing down barriers to women leading in business and succeeding in their careers. Hear Shaana's story and then join a guided discussion group on topics of race, gender, leadership in the workplace, and leadership in the bicycling movement. The Shifting Culture Conversation Series is presented in collaboration with Bike East Bay.  Bike East Bay promotes healthy, sustainable communities by making bicycling safe, fun and accessible.

Wednesday, March 11 - 6pm @ Main Library
Keywords: Shifting Culture, series, bikes, bicycles, business, professional, leadership, Bike East Bay, Downtown Oakland, Lake Merritt

 

Women and the Art of Meditationgraphic of dark head profile outline with a tree and roots within it

Learn how to rejuvenate yourself in our workshop, Women and the Art of Meditation. Part of AAMLO’s ongoing Festival of Knowledge, the session conducted by Josie Santiago focuses on “chair” yoga, relaxation techniques, aromatherapy, stress free music, and more.

Saturday, March 14 - 2pm-4pm @ African American Museum & Library at Oakland
Keywords: meditation, Festival of Knowledge, mindfulness, relaxation, health, adults, AAMLO, West Oakland, Downtown Oakland

 

The Girls in the Bandvintage black & white photograph of Black women with instruments

When the world told them they couldn't play, they did it anyway! They wiggled, they jiggled, they wore low cut gowns and short shorts, they kow-towed to the club owners and smiled at the customers…and they did it all, just to play the music they loved. THE GIRLS IN THE BAND tells the poignant, untold stories of female jazz and big band instrumentalists and their fascinating, groundbreaking journeys from the late 1920s to the present day. These incredibly talented women endured sexism, racism and diminished opportunities for decades, yet continue today to persevere, inspire and elevate their talents in a field that seldom welcomed them. This 2013 documentary is 88 minutes long. 

Tuesday, March 17 - 6pm-7:30pm @ Golden Gate Branch
Keywords: music, history, music history, women's history, Black history, African American history, arts, culture, jazz, documentary, North Oakland, Emeryville, South Berkeley

Shirley Chisolm: Unbought and Unbossed Film Screening

Recalling a watershed event in US politics, this Peabody Award-winning documentary takes an in-depth look at the 1972 presidential campaign of Shirley Chisholm, the first black woman elected to Congress and the first to seek nomination for the highest office in the land. Shunned by the political establishment and the media, this longtime champion of marginalized Americans asked for support from people of color, women, gays, and young people newly empowered to vote at the age of 18. Chisholm's bid for an equal place on the presidential dais generated strong, even racist opposition. Yet her challenge to the status quo and her message about exercising the right to vote struck many as progressive and positive. Official Selection at the Sundance International Film Festival and the SXSW Film Festival"A refreshing antidote to the opportunism and cynicism that rules the political roost today...an inspiring tale of someone who made a difference." - James Greenberg, Hollywood Reporter

Tuesday, March 17 - 6pm-8pm @ Temescal Branch
Keywords: women's history, Black history, African American history, American politics, Black politicans, Women Politicians, documentary, North Oakland, Emeryville

Documentary Film Series: She's Beautiful When She's AngryFilm poster for "She's Beautiful When She's Angry"

Join us at the Dimond Branch for a series of documentary films on Wednesday evenings. Snacks will be provided and a brief discussion will follow each film. March's film is She's Beautiful When She's Angry, a documentary about the birth of the Women's Liberation Movement in the 1960's.

Wednesday, March 18 - 6pm-8pm @ Dimond Branch
Keywords: women's history, Women's Liberation Movement, 1960s, documentary, feminism, films, Dimond District, Fruitvale, East Oakland

In Praise of Our Mothers and GrandmothersBlack Female Project poster

Join AAMLO for a community discussion, In Praise of Our Mothers and Grandmothersorganized by BlackFemaleProjectThe discussion will include topics such as: kinship roles, mentorship, workplace dynamics, and community leadership. 

Saturday, March 21 - 2pm-4pm @ African American Museum & Library at Oakland
Keywords: Black Female Project, mothers, grandmothers, community, leadership, adults, AAMLO, West Oakland, Downtown Oakland

 

Women's History Month Film: A League of their OwnA League of their Own movie poster

Come celebrate Women's History month with us by watching the true story of two sisters who join the first female professional baseball league. Snacks will be provided but feel free to bring something to share!

Saturday, March 21 - 3pm @ Lakeview Branch
Keywords: movie, true stories, sports, baseball, women's baseball, film, women's history, Lake Merritt, Grand Lake

 

 

 

 

 

Lunch Hour with the DivasMaya Angelou receiving medal of honor from ex-President Obama

Take a break for Lunch Hour with the Divas. Selected documentary film screenings explore Black women in the arts and the struggle for freedom. 

  • Monday 3/23 & Tuesday 3/24 - Maya Angelou: And Still I Rise
  • Wednesday 3/25 & Thursday 3/26: Ida B. Wells: A Passion for Justice 

Monday, March 23 - Thursday, March 26  @ African American Museum & Library at Oakland
Keywords: movies, documentaries, Civil Rights, films, lunch time, AAMLO

 

 

 

Trailblazing Journalist Delilah Beasley & California's African American Historyblack & white portrait of Delilah Beasley

Join Liam O’Donoghue, host and producer of the East Bay Yesterday podcast, as he interviews writers Dana Johnson and Ana Cecilia Alvarez, authors of the new book, “Trailblazer : Delilah Beasley’s California.” Dana Johnson is a professor of English at the University of Southern California and author of the short story collection, "In the Not Quite Dark." Ana Cecilia Alvarez is a professor at California Institute of the Arts and serves as the Development and Communications Manager at Clockshop, a Los Angeles-based arts collective.

Tuesday, March 24 - 6pm-8pm @ Main Library
Keywords: Delilah Beasley, East Bay Yesterday, East Bay history, Black history, women's history, African American history,Dana Johnson, Ana Cecilia Alvarez, journalism

 

Women's History Month Craftdrawing of Mae Jemison, first black woman in space

Create your own refrigerator magnets featuring famous women from history! Best for ages 3 and up.

Wednesday, March 25 - 3:30pm @ Dimond Branch
Keywords: crafts, DIY, arts, creative, programs, Dimond, East Oakland, Fruitvale

 

Shifting Culture Conversation Series: Intersectional Issues in Biking With Childrentwo young children pose in front of a bike

Parents are uniquely focused on the next generation. A panel of parents will explore the intersectional issues faced by people biking with children or while pregnant. Then we'll engage in discussion that turns to these leaders for safer streets and more people-focused infrastructure. The Shifting Culture Conversation Series is presented in collaboration with Bike East Bay.  Bike East Bay promotes healthy, sustainable communities by making bicycling safe, fun and accessible.

Wednesday, March 25 - 6pm-8pm @ Main Library
Keywords: intersectional, bikes, cycling, bicycles, biking, children, pregnancy, motherhood, Bike East Bay, Downtown Oakland, Lake Merritt

 

 

Before I Was a Critic I Was a Human BeingBook cover for "Before I Was a Critic I was a Human Being"

Join us in March for our monthly book club featuring titles from Small Press Distribution. Pick up a free copy of our March book at the February Book Club meeting (2/26), or at the Main Library Reference desk starting on February 27 while supplies last. MARCH’S BOOK CLUB PICK: Before I Was a Critic I Was a Human Being by Amy Fung. Literary Nonfiction. Asian & Asian American Studies. Native American Studies. Women's Studies. BEFORE I WAS A CRITIC I WAS A HUMAN BEING is the debut collection of essays by Amy Fung. In it, Fung takes a closer examination at Canada's mythologies of multiculturalism, settler colonialism, and identity through the lens of a national art critic. Following the tangents of a foreign-born perspective and the complexities and complicities in participating in ongoing acts of colonial violence, the book as a whole takes the form of a very long land acknowledgment. Taken individually, each piece roots itself in the learning and unlearning process of a first-generation settler immigrant as she unfurls each region's sense of place and identity. 

Wednesday, March 25 - 5pm @ Main Library
Keywords: Amy Fung, Small Press Distribution, books, Asian studies, Native studies, women's studies, conversation, book club, Downtown Oakland, Lake Merritt

 

 

Berkeley Rep Talk: School Girls; Or, The African Mean Girlsstill image from School Girls; Or, The African Mean Girls play

By Jocelyn Bioh
Directed by Awoye Timpo
Main Season · Roda Theatre
March 19–May 3, 2020

“Modeling. That’s the plan after I graduate you know. Become the next Iman. College is cute, but I’m thinking about my future realistically.” Paulina, the reigning queen bee at Ghana’s most exclusive boarding school, has her sights set on the Miss Universe pageant and the glamorous life that’s sure to follow. But her plans and even her very reputation are shaken up when Ericka, a new student who’s strikingly beautiful and talented, captures the attention of the pageant recruiter—and Paulina’s hive-minded friends. Winner of the 2018 Lucille Lortel Award for Outstanding Play and the Outer Critics Circle John Gassner Award, School Girls; Or, The African Mean Girls Play is a biting comedy that tackles the universal issues of beauty and self-worth that face teenage girls across the globe.

Saturday, March 28 - 1pm-2pm @ Piedmont Avenue Branch
Keywords: Berkeley Rep, School Girls, plays, Ghana, African, Piedmont, Emeryville, North Oakland

 

 

Women's History Month Film: Queen of Katwe Queen of Katwe film poster

Come celebrate Women's History Month with us by watching the incredible true story of a Ugandan girl who sees her world rapidly change after being introduced to the game of chess in the Queen of Katwe. Snacks will be provided but feel free to bring something to share!

Saturday, March 28 - 3pm @ Lakeview Branch
Keywords: Queen of Katwe, true stories, chess, movies, films, Uganda, Lake Merritt, Grand Lake

 

 

Embodying Peace with Young Children

"We can very well set a mood of peace out of which a system of peace can be built” - Martin Luther King, Jr., "Dreams of Brighter Tomorrows," Ebony Magazine, March 1965 

As we celebrate Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday, I am inspired to explore how his thoughts on peace can be embodied by young children and the people who love them. With the frantic pace of modern life, it is easy for all of us to feel stretched thin, distracted, and overwhelmed. When we are reacting to the ups and downs of our day without preserving moments to slow down and feel grounded in our bodies it can be more difficult to treat ourselves and others with the patience and kindness needed to make this world a more peaceful place.  

Luckily there are books that introduce even the youngest children to mindfulness practices that will have the whole family breathing and moving in ways that calm the body and mind and connect us with the earth.  

Image preview   

ABC mindful me : ABCs for a happy, healthy mind & body / Christiane Engel

Baby present / text, Rachel Neumann ; photographs, Ericka McConnell

Breathe like a bear : 30 mindful moments for kids to feel calm and focused anytime, anywhere / Kira Willey ; illustrated by Anni Betts

Here and now / by Julia Denos ; illustrated by E. B. Goodale

Meddy Teddy : mindful poses for little yogis

  

Meditation is an open sky : mindfulness for kids / Whitney Stewart ; illustrated by Sally Rippin

To try something right away, you can do this simple technique to practice mindful breathing together with a child you love: 

Steps:

1.  Hold the left hand in a fist.  Ask the child to imagine it is a flower.

2.  Hold the right hand in a fist.  Ask the child to imagine it is a candle.

3.  Inhale, pretending to sniff the flower.

4.  Exhale, pretending to blow out the candle.

Encourage the child to breathe deeply, to really smell the flower.  Then tell them to exhale completely, to really really blow the candle out. 

 Source: Kids Relaxation

Free Reading Apps for Kids

After the holidays families may have new devices to explore, connect with online resources or create new content. Below are FREE apps you can download to enjoy books, music and movies from our library collection. 

  • Enki -  This collection includes kid's comics, graphic novels, study guides and more kids of all ages. 
  • Hoopla  - Download or stream ebooks, music, audiobooks, movies, comics, and television. You can apply KIDS MODE which only show kid-appropriate content in browse and search results.
  • Libby for OverDrive - With OverDrive, you can borrow e-books (including Kindle books), downloadable audiobooks, and stream videos from OPL's  collection.
  • RBdigital  - Check out magazines like Highlights, American Girl and Ask.
  • Tumblebooks for Kids - Enjoy interactive, online picture books and early readers for kids for different reading levels, with games and puzzles.

Information about additonal online resources can be found online at: http://oaklandlibrary.org/online-resources/e-books-and-digital-content

What are some of your favorites?