Summer Reading Program

#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!


#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. 


OPL Fairyland Free Day - Tuesday, July 30th

OPL Children’s Fairyland library card holders are eligible to receive free entry to the story book theme park on Tuesday, July 30, 2019

Please NOTE: No adult is admitted without a child, and no child is admitted without an adult.

If you can't make it on Tuesday, July 30th and/or don't have the limited edition Fairyland Library Card, Fairyland passes are available via Discover & Go, and Kids' Summer Reading program finishers receive "BOOK BUCKS" which admit one child with one paying adult

Kenn Adams’ Adventure Theater! July 2019

Kenn Adams’ Adventure Theater! is a fast-paced, interactive, outrageously funny, theatrical experience for heroes of all ages! Created and performed by veteran improviser, this improvised play  casts attendees as the stars of the show. Audience members provide the sound effects, become the scenery, and suggest exciting plot twists.

  • Wednesday, July 10, 2019  1:30 PM at 81st Avenue Community Library
  • Wednesday, July 10, 2019  6:30 PM at Montclair Branch Library
  • Thursday, July 11, 2019  1:00 PM at Melrose Branch Library
  • Tuesday, July 16, 2019  1:30 PM at Brookfield Branch Library

Soul Soup with Amber Hines Summer 2019

Soul Soup with Amber Hines presents a family-style music ritual with live drum accompaniment that inspires you to sing, dance and play! Utilizing traditional and contemporary music, games and story. 

  • Tuesday, June 18, 2019  Rockridge Branch Library  at 10:30 AM
  • Thursday, June 27, 2019  Temescal Branch Library at 10:30 AM
  • Monday, July 08, 2019  Eastmont Branch Library at 1:00 PM
  • Monday, July 08, 2019  Main Library Children's Room at 10:30 AM
  • Saturday, July 13, 2019  Golden Gate Branch Library at 10:30 AM
  • Saturday, August 03, 2019  Elmhurst Branch Library 3:00 PM

Magical Moonshine Summer 2019

Magical Moonshine will be offer several different puppet shows at the branches. Come and enjoy classic stories brought to life through puppets.

  • Tuesday, June 11, 2019  6:30 PM at Rockridge  Branch Library
  • Saturday, June 15, 2019  10:30 AM at Main Library Children's Room
  • Thursday, June 20, 2019  10:30 AM at Asian Branch Library
  • Tuesday, July 09, 2019  1:30 PM at Brookfield  Branch Library
  • Tuesday, July 23, 2019  7:00 PM at Dimond  Branch Library
  • Wednesday, July 24, 2019  1:30 PM at 81st Avenue Community Library
  • Thursday, July 25, 2019  11:00 AM at Temescal  Branch Library

Magic Nathaniel Summer 2019

Magical Nathaniel presents a high energy show loaded of audience interaction! Each kid will leave the show will a big smile on their face and the feeling that they had an important part to play in the show. Special magic activity books provided!

  • Saturday, June 8, 2019, 2:00 PM  at Chavez Branch Library                                                         
  • Tuesday, June 18, 2019, 7:00 PM  at Dimond Branch Library
  • Thursday, June 27, 2019, 1:00 PM at Melrose Branch Library
  • Monday, July 15, 2019,  10:30 AM at  Main Library Children's Room
  • Tuesday, July 16, 2019,  11:00 AM at ML King Branch Library
  • Tuesday, July 16, 2019 ,  6:30 PM at  Rockridge Branch Library                                                                  


Workshop - For those interested in learning a little magic? Join us for this magic workshop and learn the basics and a few card tricks.

  • Tuesday, July 02, 2019,  4:00 PM  at  Elmhurst Branch Library
  • Thursday, July 18, 2019,  3:00 PM at  Piedmont Avenue Branch Library

Mike the Magician Summer 2019

 Mike Della Penna creates wonder and laughter with family magic performances that are equal parts playful and astonishing.

  • Saturday, June 08, 2019   10:30 AM at Golden Gate Branch Library
  • Wednesday, June 12, 2019  6:30 PM at Montclair Branch Library
  • Monday, June 24, 2019  10:30 AM at Main Library Children's Room
  • Tuesday, June 25, 2019   1:30 PM at Brookfield Branch Library
  • Tuesday, June 25, 2019   6:30 PM at Rockridge Branch Library
  • Tuesday, June 25, 2019  4:00PM at Elmhurst Branch Library
  • Thursday, June 27, 2019  10:30 AM at Asian Branch Library
  • Saturday, June 29, 2019  11:00 AM at Lakeview Branch Library
  • Wednesday, July 10, 2019   10:00 AM at West Oakland Branch Library
  • Thursday, July 11, 2019  11:00 AM at Temescal Branch Library
  • Monday, July 15, 2019  1:00 PM atEastmont Branch Library

Are you ready for #OPLSummer?

Everyone can register for the OPL Summer Program at or at any branch of the Oakland Public Library starting Friday, May 24.

The 2019 Summer Program runs from June 1 – August 3, with an end of summer party for families at the Oakland Museum on Sunday, August 4th. 

Friday, May 24 is also the first day library users can receive a special edition Children’s Fairyland library card. Fairyland Library card holders will receive free entry to the story book theme park on Tuesday, July 30. Please note: No adult is admitted without a child, and no child is admitted without an adult.

As a reminder, discount/free entry to bay area musuems and attractions is avialable wtih your library card with Discover & Go!

Mount Diablo Beekeepers Association Summer 2019

MDBA is an organization dedicated to promoting beekeeping and educating the public about the vital role of honey and bees in the environment. Learn about bees, hives and get a taste of sweet honey.

  • Saturday, June 1, 2019, 10:30 AM at Main Library Children's Room
  • Thursday, June 13, 2019, 3:00 PM at Piedmont Avenue Branch Library
  • Tuesday, July 9, 2019, 4:00PM Elmhurst Branch Library
  • Wednesday, July 31, 2019, 1:30 PM  81st Avenue Branch Library