Great Books and more

#OPLSummer Week 8: Do-it-Yourself

Welcome to Week 8 of Summer Reading!

When kids do experiments and projects alone or with family and friends, it encourages independence and builds confidence. Join us for these fun online events, check out some books, and get your creativity flowing!



Looking for ideas and inspiration? Check out these books and fill the rest of your summer with cooking, gardening, crafts and more!



July 17th @ 10:30am

Hands On Science with Kits Cubed

Kits Cubed

Grab a science kit from any of our libraries and learn some exciting hands on science with Oakland-based youth. Kit includes experiments to make your own rock candy, a plant maze, and more!

Sign Up Here!

Thursday, July 22 @ 4:00pm

Social Justice Sewing Academy II

Sewing Academy

Learn about equity, inclusion and bias through creating a quilt block with the Social Justice Sewing Academy. This program is for people ages 8-14. Space is limited. 

Sign up here!



If you aren't able to attend the workshops, that's okay! You can still do it yourself at home! Come by any of our libraries to pick up supplies. Hey, you can't go wrong with your own customized plant maze!


New en español: Feminist vegetarian wolves and board books in OpenDyslexic

Oakland Public Library is serious about meeting the needs and interests of our communities, including books written in languages other than English and published in formats that increase accessibility.  

In 2020 we weren’t able to attend the largest and most important Spanish language book festival (Feria Internacional del Libro, FIL) that takes place every year in Guadalajara, México. Yet OPL staff found ways to work with book vendors during the pandemic to improve our Spanish language collections and provide kids and families with quality reading options during the library closure.  

Of course we want Pete the Cat, Peppa, Disney and other bestsellers,

but we also believe it's important to have authentic books written and published by creators from diverse regions and communities.  

Below are some of the books we’ve ordered and can’t wait to share with you. Included in the list are a story about a vegetarian wolf named Cereal, gorgeous board books with rich poetry in OpenDyslexic typeface, and a beautiful translation of Christian Robinson’s You Matter.  

Bienviento – ¡CHAU, LUNA!

Bienviento – ¡CHAU, LUNA!

Bienviento by Roberta Ianamico & Sabina Alvarez Schürmann 2019 .

A sweet, playful, and refreshing poem inviting us to listen to the secrets that the wind has to tell us. Few, delicate words paired with gorgeous illustrations create a child's first poetry book. 

Libro Dias de Lluvia, Frattini, Fita, ISBN 9789874071743. Comprar en  BuscalibreDías de lluvia by Fita Frattini. 2019

A book for those that love the rain and the great things you can do indoors. Gerbera is an Argentinean publisher that uses OpenDyslexic font to improve accessibility for dyslexic readers.

Other books by Gerbera: 

Sana, sana by Verónica Álvarez Rivera & Rocío Alejandro

¿Por qué? by Yael Frankel


Tú importas - Comprar en Libros del Zorro Rojo — Libros del Zorro Rojo

 Tú importas by Christian Robinson. 2020

A beautiful book narrated like a song. Whether you are almost invisible like a microscopic being or big like a dinosaur, you matter, without you, nothing would be the same. 

Érase una vez un lobo llamado Cereal by Editorial Quipu - issuu

Érase una vez un lobo llamado cereal by Alessandra Pontes Roscoe and Juan Chavetta. 2016

Not all wolves are ferocious, bad and angry. A great story for animal lovers that reminds us to challenge stereotypes.

Published by Quipu, in Argentina, whose name is inspired by Kipu or Khipu, the Quechua word for knot, a knotted-string system used for recording in Andean South American cultures.

Hecho en México - Comprar en EDICIONES TECOLOTE

Hecho en México by Mónica Bergna and Luis Lestón. 2013 

Great inventions that were created or discovered by talented Mexicans.


La perra, la cerda, la zorra y la loba by Luis Amavisca & Marta Sevilla. 2020 

Why aren't the female versions of these animals found in classic fairytales? Why is the female version of a dog an insult but the counterpart isn’t? The four friends in this story ignite a debate that questions the patriarchy embedded in children’s literature and beyond.

Doce maneras de afilarse los colmillos – Lorito Books

Doce maneras de afilarse los colmillos by Óscar Martínez Vélez. 2015  

Elisandro is an average kid, with a dog named Spaghetti, except he doesn’t like to drink blood, doesn’t know how to fly and is easily scared. In short, he is not a good vampire. This is a book about family unity, self-acceptance and the changes that come with growing up.


Aconcagua y otros cuentos by Perla Suez & Rebeca Luciani. 2018 

First place winner of the National Endowment for the Arts in Argentina (2019), this book contains three origin stories from Quechua, Yuracaré, and Inca communities.



Get ready to request these books and pickup them up at your closest library!

Check back at this blog post for links to the catalog.

P.S. We always welcome your recommendations for books and materials to add to our collections. Get in touch or fill out this Suggest a purchase form. 


Defy, Fly, and Dream in Honor of Women’s History Month

As we celebrate Women’s History Month, we honor both the tremendous triumphs of the past and the astounding achievements which have yet to come.  It is with this in mind, that I struggled to pour over countless books chronicling extraordinary women of former and present times.  It would be easy to highlight powerhouses, but how would I choose between Kamala Harris or Ruth Bader Ginsburg; Aretha Franklin or Selena; Sally Ride or Mae Jemison?  Instead, I hope to share with you some other titles that should not be overlooked. 

These wonderful titles below are just a sampling of the new books you may have missed while our doors have been closed. 

Women can DEFY. 

Graphic novels are one of my favorite formats, which is why I chose to start with this collection.  It comes together cohesively, featuring the stories of various women from history, each illustrated by different artists.  The best part?  Every woman’s story begins with a list of personal traits, encouraging the reader to “count all the things [they] have in common.” 

The introduction for this collection states the fact well – women's stories, particularly in fairytales and folktales, are often told through the eyes of men.  You will not find damsels in distress within; these stories justly portray clever and strong women who are more than capable of saving the day. 

Women can FLY. 

This sweet story chronicles the journey of a young girl who would become a Bay Area ballerina, through the sheer force of her plucky spirit and the help of a local bookmobile.  This lovely picture book reinforces the value of community and a girl’s power to shatter barriers. 

As if being the youngest woman to fly a single-engine across the world was not enough, Shaesta Waiz will impress readers with the obstacles she overcame and the work she continues to do.  This inspirational picture book ends with a message from Shaestawhose non-profit advocates for women in STEM and aviation. 

Women can DREAM. 

Have you ever wondered how groundbreaking women in STEM emerged?  This book of brief biographies includes fun facts, quotes, and a glossary.  As a bonus, the afterword includes tips for budding scientists! 

A young girl with cerebral palsy has a simple wish: she wants to dance.  Inspired by a girl named Eva, this picture book showcases a dance community which welcomes dancers of all abilities. 

And finally, a reminder to all of us who identify with the experience of womankind: 

This beautifully illustrated picture book personifies determination and grit through a young runner with real skin in the race.  Do not be deterred by the depictions of her stumble; the unstoppable message is well worth the effort. 

Happy reading, through Women’s History Month and beyond! 

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

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! 

new books signBut what about all the fantastic books that were released in 2020 that didn’t win awards? It’s been quite a while since we have been able to invite you inside the Oakland Public Library buildings to browse our New Books shelves and sadly, many of the books that were published in 2020 will get overlooked because of that. Below, I highlight 14 of my favorite non-award-winning middle grade novels that came out last year

If you’d like to see an exhaustive list of 2020 children’s fiction, you can use the Advanced Search feature in our catalog: just search “J FIC” and fill in the year starting 2020. You can limit the format to books, e-books, or e-audiobooks, or whatever you prefer.

You can also keep on top of the latest children’s fiction as we get new titles: use this link to access our “Featured Lists” within our Classic Catalog. Children’s book lists are at the bottom and include new fiction, new graphic novels, new picture books, new early readers, and new nonfiction. All of these lists are updated monthly.

Book Me logoAnd don’t forget: even though you can’t browse, you can still get personalized recommendations from a librarian! Just fill out a Book Me form and you’ll receive an email list of books custom-picked for you or your child!

Click on any of the book covers or titles below to get to our catalog, where you can place a hold.

Brave Like That CoverBrave Like That by Lindsey Stoddard

Cyrus isn’t brave like his firefighter/former football player dad, but he pretends to be. He also pretends to like football and reading and not to mind that the stray dog he found and fell in love with has to be put up for adoption. But when his friends start bullying another boy, Cyrus has to learn to be brave enough to say--or even shout--how he really feels.

Chirp by Kate Messner

During the summer after seventh grade, Mia gets involved in helping her grandma with her cricket farm while trying to suppress the memories of her former gymnastics coach and the way his attention to her made her feel uncomfortable—so much so that she quit the team. With new friends, new activities, and a mystery to solve, Mia gains the confidence to speak up about what happened. 

Fly on the Wall by Remy Lai

In this follow-up to Lai’s debut Pie in the Sky (the attentive reader will notice it’s loosely related), twelve-year-old Henry Khoo’s family is so overprotective he decides the only way to break free is to have the biggest adventure everrrr, and he secretly buys an airplane ticket to visit his father in Singapore. During his journey, he reflects on his lack of friends at home, meets some potential new allies, and learns the importance of expressing himself to people he cares about.

From the Desk of Zoe Washington by Janae Markszoe washington cover

Twelve-year-old Zoe loves baking and hopes her summer internship at a local bakery will help her be chosen for a baking reality TV show. When she gets a letter from her estranged incarcerated father and learns that he’s innocent, she sets out to prove his case with her grandmother as her only confidante.

home for goddesses coverA Home for Goddesses and Dogs by Leslie Connor

After her mother dies, thirteen-year-old Lydia moves in with her aunt and her wife in the country. Trying not to be any trouble, Lydia hides her grief but is helped through it by a dog that finds his way into her broken heart.

The List of Things That WIll Not Change by Rebecca Steadlist of things cover

When Bea’s parents got divorced, they helped Bea start the reassuring List of Things That Will Not Change. Now that her dad is marrying his longtime boyfriend Jesse, a change is coming that Bea looks forward to: Jesse’s daughter will be her new sister! But Bea’s anxiety kicks in when her sister she realizes she’s going to have to tell her parents about a secret she’s been keeping.

mananaland coverMañanaland by Pam Muñoz Ryan

Max loves futbol and the stories he’s grown up hearing from his abuelo and father about the mysterious “Mañanalad,” where everything is perfect. When Max discovers the story is a code for his family’s generations-long work of helping refugees get to a safe place, he must weigh his beloved futbol dreams against the reality of helping someone whose freedom is at stake. 

Once Upon an Eid: Stories of Hope and Joy by 15 Muslim Voicesedited by S.K. Ali and Aisha Saeedonce upon an eid cover

This charming short story collection focuses on celebrations of Eid around the world, giving Muslim and non-Muslim readers alike a chance to share in this joyful holiday and the many ways that families celebrate it.

one and only bob coverThe One and Only Bob by Katherine Applegate

Fans of The One and Only Ivan will definitely want to read the story of Bob the dog, as told by Bob himself. Reuniting with Ivan the gorilla and Ruby the elephant, Bob sets out on a journey to find his sister, who he hasn’t seen since they were puppies.

The Only Black Girls in Town by Brandy Colbertonly black girls cover

When twelve-year-old Alberta learns a new family has moved in across the street and she will no longer be the only Black girl in their small beachside town, she’s ecstatic. Although new-girl Edie misses the urban life of Brooklyn, Alberta and Edie ultimately bond with each other over their shared interest in solving a town mystery. 

saucy coverSaucy by Cynthia Kadohota

Being one of a set of quadruplets can make it hard to feel special, but when Saucy comes along, eleven-year-old Becca decides her special thing is pigs! Eventually even Becca has to admit it’s not practical to keep a pig who’s going to weigh 600 pounds. What Becca decides to do about Saucy ultimately helps her decide who to be, with or without a pig.

Something to Say by Lisa Moore Raméesomething to say cover

Eleven-year-old Jenae doesn’t have any friends, and she wants to keep it that way. When Aubrey pushes himself into her life anyway, she ends up enjoying his friendship despite herself. But when the two join up for a class project that involves speaking in public, Jenae might just have to let Aubrey down, in a big way.

stand up yumi chung coverStand Up, Yumi Chung! by Jessica Kim

Shy, eleven-year-old Yumi longs to be a stand-up comedian, but her parents are already making plans for her Ivy League college career. When Yumi stumbles into a comedy camp and is mistaken for a camper, she goes with it and loves the camp--until the lies she has been telling start to catch up with her.

Ways to Make Sunshine by Renée Watsonways to make sunshine cover

Ten-year-old Ryan always tries to lead the way in “making sunshine” whenever things don’t go as planned. In episodic chapters, Ryan cheerfully does her best to navigate the changes that come when her dad loses his job and the family moves to a smaller house.


Mindfulness for Kids and Families

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~

Mindful Life Project is committed to supporting the wellness of kids, families, and school communities through mindfulness programming; they have excellent online resources to share, including an awesome free app and a YouTube channel full of informative practice videos.

And of course, the Oakland Public Library has books about mindfulness for all ages! Here’s a list of recommended titles to get you started~

Book cover image of Tummy RideNiños Mindful series / Whitney Stewart -- This delightful bilingual English/Spanish board book series introduces mindfulness concepts to babies and toddlers.




Book cover image of Meditate with meMeditate with me : a step-by-step mindfulness journey / Mariam Gates ; illustrated by Margarita Surnaite -- Cheerful illustrations accompany mindfulness skills instruction with a repeated invitation to, "Breathe in, and fill your whole body. Breathe out, and relax your whole body." For preschool - 3rd grade.



Book cover image of Mindful Day

 Mindful day / Deborah Hopkinson -- A young girl and her family show readers how to practice mindfulness throughout a busy day. For preschool - 3rd grade.



Book cover image of Breathe like a Bear

Breathe like a bear: 30 mindful moments for kids to feel calm and focused anytime, anywhere / Kira Willey; illustrated by Anni Betts -- Imaginative mindfulness exercises for focus and relaxation. For preschool - 3rd grade. 




Book cover image of Anh's Anger

Anh's anger / Gail Silver; illustrated by Christiane Krömer -- Anh learns how to sit with and move past his anger, instead of saying hurtful things to people he loves. For preschool - 3rd grade. 





Book cover image of Charlotte and the Quiet Place

Charlotte and the quiet place / Deborah Sosin; illustrated by Sara Woolley -- When Charlotte is overwhelmed by noise and a hectic world, she finds silence and practices mindful breathing. For preschool - 3rd grade. 



Book cover image of Mindful Me

Mindful me: mindfulness and meditation for kids / Whitney Stewart -- Mindfulness meditations and exercises for older elementary age kids. 






Book cover image of Just Breathe

Just breathe : meditation, mindfulness, movement, and more / Mallika Chopra; illustrated by Brenna Vaughan -- Practical advice, breathing exercises, and guided meditations to help kids cope with everyday challenges. For grades 3 - 7.





 Book cover image of Sitting still like a frogSitting still like a frog: mindfulness exercises for kids (and their parents) / Eline Snel -- Instructions for meditation practices to use with children; includes a CD with guided practices.





Book cover image of Growing Up Mindful

Growing up mindful: essential practices to help children, teens, and families find balance, calm, and resilience / Christopher Willard, PsyD -- Principles and practices of mindfulness for parents, caregivers, and teachers.






Book cover image of A Still Quiet Place

A still quiet place: a mindfulness program for teaching children and adolescents to ease stress and difficult emotions / Amy Saltzman, MD -- Presents an 8-week mindfulness-based stress reduction program for adults to use with kids and teens.





 Did we miss any of your favorite resources about mindfulness for kids? Let us know in the comments!

What’s New: 2020 Graphic Novels for Children

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 come out in the past eight months or so. Click the link to find the book in our catalog and choose “Request It” to place a hold on the title. When it’s time to pick it up, come to one of our Sidewalk Service locations

To keep on top of more new graphic novels as we get them in the library, use this link to access our “Featured Lists” within our Classic Catalog and scroll to the bottom to get to the list of New Children’s Graphic Novels. All of the lists on this page are updated monthly.

Ready for some good books?

shirley and jamila coverShirley and Jamila Save Their Summer

When Jamila moves to a new town, her strict mother won't let her go to the basketball courts by herself. Then she meets Shirley, who's brilliant at her self-assigned job of neighborhood detective, but not so great at making friends. When the two join forces so they can both get what they want, they discover they have more in common than they originally thought. More than just a mystery, this graphic novel features very real-seeming kids figuring out how to negotiate friendships and creating community. 

stars are scattered coverWhen Stars Are Scattered

This memoir by Omar Mohamed and Victoria Jamieson (who wrote and drew Roller Girl) recounts Omar’s life with his disabled brother in a refugee camp in Kenya after they flee war-torn Somalia. Omar longs to go to school to better his chances of someday going to America, but his first priority is taking care of his brother. Despite the boredom, frustration, and hardship of living in the camp, Omar manages to keep his hope alive and create a future for him and his brother.

snapdragon coverSnapdragon

This story focuses on nonconformist, animal loving Snapdragon who rescues some baby possums and enlists the local "witch" to help her, but it is so much more! Each member of the diverse cast of characters is fully developed, from Snap’s transitioning friend Lulu to Snap’s single mother to Jacks the witch herself, and the family history that winds through Snapdragon’s own story is thoroughly satisfying. Technically this is fantasy, not contemporary fiction, but all the characters are so well developed, you can almost believe it’s real!

twins coverTwins

Francine and Maureen are twins entering middle school and, for the first time ever, are put in different classes. While Maureen is horrified at being separated from her twin, Francine is ready to embrace the new opportunities that middle school offers. When each decides to run for president of the sixth grade student council, it strains their friendships, their family, and of course, their relationship with each other. The road to resolution is difficult but ultimately reassuring. 

big break coverThe Big Break

Andrew and Russ are best friends obsessed with making a movie about a monster of local myth, until Russ starts becoming more interested in a girl. Andrew feels left behind: he thinks he should put away his action figures and other tokens of childhood, but he’s not quite ready to do that. Sightings of the monster bring them together, but is it enough to save their friendship? Though we often hear the story of girl friendships that flounder when one becomes interested in romance and the other does not, it’s less common to hear the same problem in books about boys, and The Big Break does it with humor and empathy. 

stepping stones coverStepping Stones

When Jen has to move to the country because her mom and her mom’s new boyfriend want to try to run a farm, she is not happy. Jen misses her dad, and she’s not crazy about her new “sisters,” either. Jen now has to do farm chores and work at the fruit stand but, more importantly, she must learn to get along with new family members and deal with change that happens whether she wants it or not. 

class act coverClass Act

This is the sequel to New Kid, the very first graphic novel to win the prestigious Newbery Medal. The second entry in the series continues to chronicle Jordan’s experiences as one of the few kids of color at his prestigious middle school but also expands its focus to include the points of view of his friends Drew and Liam. Like New Kid, Class Act has a healthy dose of humor even as it touches on serious issues of class and microagressions.

all together now coverAll Together Now

In this sequel to All Summer Long, Bina’s passion for music continues to grow and she starts a band. Then her bandmates start dating, and Bina is left to go solo. When Bina’s best friend expresses romantic interest in her, she starts to wonder if there’s something wrong with her because she’s only interested in music! With age-appropriate angst, Bina strives to be true to herself and still maintain the friendships she cherishes.


Have fun reading! See you at the library!



What's New: Children's Books of 2020

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 sidewalk pickup!

Current Events

Some of these topics can be intense, but many children are facing them in real life in our community. Consider whether literature can help to process their anxieties, make someone in the same situation feel less alone, stimulate empathy for others in tough circumstances, or just provide more information about complex subjects.

  • California Wildfires, by Sue Gagliardi, gives a nonfiction explanation of the factors that affect "fire season" here, while the I Survived... series provides a fictionalized account of 2018 events.
  • Vote for Our Future!, by Margaret McNamara. With election talk all around right now, this picturebook focuses on the practical function of a polling place, and why it's important to cast a vote.
  • Efrén Divided, by Ernesto Cisneros. A 12-year-old Mexican-American boy must take on adult responsibilities, like the care of his younger siblings, when his mother is deported and his father takes a second job.
  • Ruth Objects, by Doreen Rappaport, is just one of the many fine children's biographies and picture books about the late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg's mark on United States law and society.

These Challenging Times

These titles address the side effects of sheltering in place, schooling from home, missing family members and friends, and not being able to do many normal activities children used to.

  • I Believe in Me, by Lorie Ann Grover. Affirmations in board book form for toddlers and their caregivers.

  • I Calm Down, by Cheri J. Meiners. A little help to soothe tantrums and teach self-regulation to small people feeling stress. Check out similar books by this author for extra support.
  • Taking Time, by Jo Loring-Fisher. A simple tale of mindfulness and using all the senses. Try to take advantage of life moving more slowly than usual right now.
  • In My Heart, by Mackenzie Porter. Mother and child are apart while mom is at work, but they love each other always. Soothing for separation anxiety, daycare worries, or possibly family members separated during quarantine.
  • A Stopwatch from Grampa, by Loretta Garbutt. Now that Grampa's gone, only this keepsake and many memories are left. A child grieving a family member may identify with the young narrator.
  • Cheer: A Book to Celebrate Community, by Uncle Ian Aurora, celebrates the community helpers we all appreciate.

Stories to Relax & Enjoy

And sometimes you'd just like to forget about the big important things happening around you for a while. That's normal and healthy -- try one of these!

  • Henry Wants More!, by Linda Ashman. A toddler on the go wants more, more, more. Can Papa, Grandma, and siblings keep up?
  • In the Sky at Nighttime, by Laura Deal. An Arctic lullaby with beautiful illustrations.
  • Just Like Me, by Vanessa Brantley-Newton. Poetry about many, many kinds of girls.
  • Love You Head to Toe, by Ashley Barron. A board book for any baby who is loved all over!
  • Bowwow Powwow, by Brenda J. Child. Join Windy Girl and her dog at a Native American celebration.
  • Brown Baby Lullaby, by Tameka Fryer Brown. Sweet, calming, affirming representation of an Afro-Latinx family.
  • Bedtime Bonnet, by Nancy Redd. The whole family is getting ready for bed, including protecting their hair for the night... but the youngest can't find her bonnet! Also available as an ebook.
  • Who Is Making a Mess?, by Maria D'Haene. Follow baby around the house to learn the cause of the various messes -- the answer may surprise you!
  • Sal and Gabi Fix the Universe, by Carlos Alberto Hernandez. This genre-straddling sequel combines friendship, science fiction, and mystery for middle graders.
  • Shuri: A Black Panther Novel, by Nic Stone. Wakanda's coolest and smartest little sister saves the day!
  • Plenty of Hugs, by Fran Manushkin. Two moms have lots of reassurance and affection for their toddler.

New Books Anytime

Here's a tip to find something new in the catalog: sort your search results by date. The newest publications come out on top.

  • Try an old favorite -- or the latest in a favorite series. We've got Dog Man, Baby-Sitters Club, Steven Universe, Lumberjanes, Fortnite, and much more!
  • While you're looking for things to do at home, don't forget to check out our collections of cookbooks, gardening guides, and crafts.
  • There are biographies and historical events to explore, too.

Your library is here for you -- even if you can't come inside just yet. Put some new children's books on hold, and we'll see you on the sidewalk.

How to find NEW Children's Books!

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 see all of the new books that have arrived 

However, we’re still selecting and ordering the latest published books -- new books that you’ve suggested, requested, and that we hope that you’ll enjoy. 

Three ways to learn about new children's books:

1. Use this link to access our “Featured Lists” within our Classic Catalog to see lists of newly arrived materials. The lists are updated monthly, so check back soon! 

2. A number of OPL locations that offer sidewalk pickup service have bundles of new books for check out. These bundles offer books selected by library staff for your enjoyment. Be sure to ask if your local library has new book bundles available.

3. Check here at Children’s Services Blog on the fourth Tuesday of each month to discover featured new books!

This month, I'm sharing five titles that we've acquired since our doors closed in March that I’m excited about! You can reserve a copy of each by placing a hold on the title and picking it up at a location that's convenient for you.

Click each link to learn more about each book.

The Girl and the Ghost – by Hanna Alkaf 

The Mosquito - by Elise Gravel 

Paolo Santiago and the River of Tears - by Tehlor Kay Mejia 

Ikenga –  by Nnedi Okorafor 

Your Name is a Song –  by Jamilah Thompkins-Bigelow 

What new books are you excited about? Let us know in the comments below.

#OPLSummer Week 8: Read, Watch, Listen - Global Society

Join the fun online this summer with OPL!

OPL children's librarians have selected some titles (available both online and, at select sidewalk pickup locations, in person) for you to read with us during this week of summer. Whether they depict people moving from country to country, living at home around the globe, or meeting people from different places, they encourage us to discover our commonalities, celebrate our differences, and learn to coexist peacefully.

Read, watch, listen, and enjoy!

Picture Books

Same, Same, but Different, by Jenny Kostecki-Shaw: Pen pals in the U.S. and in India learn about each other's daily lives and communities. Read it on Hoopla or check it out from your library (English and Spanish versions available).

This Is How We Do It: One Day in the Lives of Seven Kids from around the World, by Matt Lamothe: Simple text compares and contrasts the homes, meals, families, schools, and environments of a collection of real-life children. Read it on Hoopla or check it out from your library.

Grandfather's Journey, by Allen Say: A young Japanese man makes a long trip across the sea in search of a different life -- what will it look like? A true story about the award-winning Say's family. Listen to the eaudiobook on Overdrive, watch an animated story on Kanopy, or check out a CD kit or picturebook from your library.

My Heart Fills with Happiness, by Monique Gray Smith: A calming, heart-warming book that even very young children will savor. Try this one before bedtime and dream of all the people and experiences that make you happy. Read it on Hoopla or Overdrive, or check it out from your library (available as an English board book or a bilingual picturebook in English and Cree).

Around the World in a Bathtub, by Wade Bradford: No matter where you live, kids and grownups clash over bathtime. Words for "yes" and "no" in many languages pepper this charming tale. Read it on Hoopla or check it out from your library.

Whoever You Are, by Mem Fox: Little one, whoever you are, wherever you are, there are little ones just like you all over the world... A gentle bedtime book about common childhood experiences from the author of Where is the Green Sheep? and Possum Magic. Check it out from your library (English and Spanish versions available).

Chapter Books

Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood, by Trevor Noah: This Young Readers' version of the comedian's autobiography is accessible to middle graders. National, cultural, and personal history intermingle with humor. Read it on Overdrive, or check it out from your library.

Other Words for Home, by Jasmine Warga: Jude's family is separated when they must leave conflict-torn Syria for a strange new country. Written in verse, like Kwame Alexander's The Crossover, this account is a moving, relatable take on the immigrant experience. Read or listen on Hoopla, or check it out from your library.

Refugee, by Alan Gratz: A Jewish boy living in 1930s Nazi Germany; a Cuban girl trying to escape the riots and unrest plaguing her country in 1994; a Syrian boy in 2015. As the three stories develop, we begin to see their connections across time and place. Read it on Overdrive or check it out from your library.

When Stars Are Scattered, by Victoria Jamieson and Omar Mohamed: Omar and his little brother Hassan live in a tent in a big refugee camp in Kenya. Omar dreams of finding his mama, going to school, going home to Somalia, or maybe being chosen to live in Canada or America, but sometimes it seems like the whole world is off-limits. Graphic novel format for middle grade readers. Check it out from your library.


Family Reading


If the World Were a Village, by David J. Smith for CitizenKid, illustrated by Shelagh Armstrong: Updated to reflect newer statistics in 2011, this nonfiction title approaches the world's diversity by imagining it as a village of only 100 people. Who lives where, speaks what language(s), has enough to eat and clean air and water? Check out a print copy, but also make sure to watch the animated video on Kanopy. (By the same author: This Child, Every Child.)

What the World Eats, by Peter Menzel and Faith D'Aluisio: Photos are worth a thousand words about various families and what they eat over the course of a week. A great way to explore topics like food justice, nutrition, and home economics. This title is only available in print from OPL, but there are a dozen copies to check out, so it's worth putting it on hold. (You can see more online in this article from Time magazine.)

The Red Bicycle: The Extraordinary Story of One Ordinary Bicycle, by Jude Isabella: Leo's treasured but outgrown possession finds new purposes ina  new communities. Back matter discusses how refurbished goods can make a difference, whether far away or close to home. Read it on Hoopla or check it out from your library.

You and Me Together: Moms, Dads, and Kids Around the World, by Barbara Kerley for the National Geographic Society: This is one of several titles in a charming photographic series that showcase children from many parts of the world spending time with their families and friends and dreaming big dreams. Check them out from your library.

Other Resources

Imagine all the people living life in peace. The classic song "Imagine" by John Lennon has been shared by many over the years, including a capella sensation Pentatonix. Click here for a video, and check out this book from your library! You may also want to read about real-life international peacemakers (winners of the Nobel Peace Prize) highlighted in this Hoopla ebook.

Perhaps your family is interested in learning a new language this summer. Video series like Muzzy BBC, Little Pim, and Learning to Speak can introduce you to Spanish, French, German, Italian, Chinese, Arabic, Russian, Japanese, Portuguese, and Korean. (OPL's collection of World Languages in print includes all of those, and more.) For a hands-on approach, check out The Book of Languages from your library. Dig deeper with OPL's free connection to Pronunciator, where you can set up language lessons for every member of the family. Just think of all the new people you'll be able to communicate with! 

And just as a reminder... there are many captivating picturebooks and graphic novels that are nearly or entirely wordless. Anyone can read them -- hesitant readers, very young book enthusiasts, language students. A favorite way to enjoy wordless books is to gather two or more people (from your household pod or social bubble) around the book and take turns telling what's happening as you turn the pages. To find these gems, search the online library catalog for "Stories Without Words". One of my favorites is Shaun Tan's The Arrival, a story familiar to anyone who has traveled far from home.

Let us know if you want more recommendations — you can submit a request through Book Me!, or email us with other questions at If you'd prefer, you can leave a voice mail with your full name and details at 510-238-3134. And for even more ebooks, eaudiobooks, and more, you can browse OverdriveHooplaTumblebookRB Digital, and all of our other online resources

What reminds you that we are all global citizens? Share with us in the comments!


#OPLSummer Week 7: Read, Watch & Listen: Black Joy!

Book cover of My People by Langston Hughes, photographs by Charles R. Smith Jr.

When I was a teenager, independent and sure of everything, I asked my mother, “Why did you even have kids? You of all people know how awful people can be and how tough life is.” My mother, raised in the backwoods of segregated Virginia, gave birth to and raised three daughters.  

I’m sure my hand was on my hip as I asked her. I directed my frustration—with racism, with sexism, with classism, with the whole world—at her. After all, she brought me into such a crazy world. She deserved some sass! 

At the time, I was sure I wouldn’t ever become a parent myself; I was just waking up, becoming aware of politics and history, the many wrongs committed through the years. Why didn’t you chose not to?” I asked.

Her response was simple. “Because then they would’ve won.”


Now I am a mother, a mother to a daughter, who is so full of happiness and curiosity. And now the world feels even crazier than it did that day with my mother. 

Despite the anguish and fear and outrage, we are witnessing an international uprising, demanding justice and working for a new, more equitable world.

The most inspiring faces in those crowds are the young people who know nothing but a world with frequent videos of graphic, state-sanctioned violence. And yet they march. 


This week at the Oakland Public Library, we celebrate diversity and focus on the idea of Black Joy. “Blackness is an immense and defiant joy,” writes Professor Imani Perry for The Atlantic. You can hear it in our music, you can see it in our art, and you can feel it in our poetry, plays and prose.

Book cover of Magnificent Homespun Brown by Samara Cole DoyonIt is resistance to be happy, proud and united in the face of sorrow. It is also a critical act of self-care, a skill I want our youth in Oakland to master.  

So even as we ride the rollercoaster of global protests and a global pandemic,  let’s find, create, and capture that Black Joy.

Let’s play with our hair in the morning. Let's cook our favorites through the day. My little one especially loves to dance, so we tune in to a good radio station and crank the volume up at the end of the day.  

Our children’s librarians recommend the following resources to tap into Black Joy, into pride in Black heritage, and to celebrate the diversity among Black people. Many of these resources are available digitally, and others can be requested for sidewalk pickup

Read, watch, listen, and enjoy!


Family & Community

Book cover of A Day at the Museum by Christine Platt

Ana & Andrew (series) by Christine Platt: Ana & Andrew are always on an adventure! They live in Washington, DC with their parents, but with family in Savannah, Georgia and Trinidad, there’s always something exciting and new to learn about African American history and culture. Read it on Hoopla, or check it out at the library.


Baby Goes to Market by Atinuke, illustrated by Angela Brooksbank: Join Baby and his doting mama at a bustling southwest Nigerian marketplace for a bright, bouncy read-aloud offering a gentle introduction to numbers. (Currently my daughter's favorite!) Check it out at the library.


Magnificent Homespun Brown by Samara Cole Doyon, illustrated by Kaylani Juanita: A joyful young narrator celebrates feeling at home in one's own skin. Watch the animated video on Hoopla, or check out this brand new book at the library.


Feast for 10 by Cathryn Falwell: Numbers from one to ten are used to tell how members of a family shop and work together to prepare a meal. Check it out on Hoopla, or check it out at the library.




Black Is A Rainbow Color by Angela Joy, illustrated by Ekua Holmes: A child reflects on the meaning of being Black in this anthem about a people, a culture, a history, and a legacy that lives on. Includes historical and cultural notes, song list, and two poems. Check out this brand new book at the library.


 An Ode to the Fresh CutCrown: An Ode to the Fresh Cut by Derrick Barnes, illustrated by Gordon C. James: This rhythmic, read-aloud title is an unbridled celebration of the self-esteem, confidence, and swagger boys feel when they leave the barber’s chair—a tradition that places on their heads a figurative crown, beaming with jewels, that confirms their brilliance and worth. Read it on RB Digital, or check it out at the library.


Book cover of Thirteen Way of Looking at a Black BoyThirteen Ways of Looking at A Black Boy by Tony Medina & 13 artists: A fresh perspective of young men of color depicting thirteen views of everyday life: young boys dressed in their Sunday best, running to catch a bus, and growing up to be teachers, and much more. Each of Tony Medina's tanka is matched with a different artist including recent Caldecott and Coretta Scott King Award recipients. Check it out at the library.


Book cover of My People by Langston HughesMy People by Langston Hughes, photographs by Charles R. Smith Jr.: Hughes's spare yet eloquent tribute to his people has been cherished for generations. Now, acclaimed photographer Smith interprets this beloved poem in vivid sepia photographs that capture the glory, the beauty, and the soul of being a black American today. Check it out at the library.



I Love My Hair! by Natasha Tarpley, illustrated by E. B. Lewis: A young African American girl describes the different, wonderful ways she can wear her hair. Check it out at the library.



 Shades of Black: A Celebration of Our Children by Sandra L. Pinkney, photographs by Myles Pinkney: Photographs and poetic text celebrate the beauty and diversity of African American children. Check it out at the library.


Art & Expression

Image of animated video of Dancing in the LightDancing in the Light: The Janet Collins Story: Janet loved to dance, and she especially loved ballet! When the world renowned Ballet Russe came to town holding auditions in 1934, Janet could hardly wait for her moment to shine. This is the inspiring story of the first African American prima ballerina, Janet Collins. Narrated by actor and comedian Chris Rock, this story teaches us that we can be anything we set our minds to. Watch the  video on Kanopy.


Trombone Shorty by Troy "Trombone Shorty" Andrews, illustrated by Bryan Collier: A Grammy-nominated headliner for the New Orleans Jazz Fest describes his childhood in Tremé and how he came to be a bandleader by age six. Enjoy the read-along on Hoopla (read by Trombone Shorty himself!), borrow the eBook on Overdrive, or check it out at the library.



A Good Kind of Trouble by Lisa Moore Ramée: After attending a powerful protest, Shayla starts wearing an armband to school to support the Black Lives Matter movement, but when the school gives her an ultimatum, she is forced to choose between her education and her identity. Borrow the eBook or eAudiobook on Overdrive, borrow the eAudiobook on Hoopla, or check it out at the library.


Freedom Soup by Tami Charles, illustrated by Jacqueline Alcántara: Every year, Haitians all over the world ring in the new year by eating a special soup, a tradition dating back to the Haitian Revolution. This year, Ti Gran is teaching Belle how to make the soup. Together, they dance and clap as they prepare the holiday feast, and Ti Gran tells Belle about the history of the soup, the history of Belle's family, and the history of Haiti, where Belle's family is from. Enjoy the animated video on Hoopla, or check the book out at the library.



The Book Itch: Freedom, Truth, and Harlem's Greatest Bookstore by Vaunda Micheaux Nelson, illustrated by R. Gregory Christie: In the 1930s, Lewis's dad had an itch he needed to scratch—a book itch. How to scratch it? He started a bookstore in Harlem and named it the National Memorial African Bookstore. And as far as Lewis could tell, his father's bookstore was one of a kind. People from all over came to visit the store, even famous people—Muhammad Ali, Malcolm X, and Langston Hughes, to name a few. People not only bought and read books here, and they also learned from each other. Read this on Overdrive or Hoopla, or check it out at the library.


If you want more recommendations, submit a request through Book Me!, or email us with other questions at You can also leave a voicemail with your full name and details at 510-238-3134.  And for e-books, streaming video, and more digital content, browse  Overdrive Hoopla Tumblebook RB Digital, and all of our other online resources.