What happens next?

Come to the Summer Reading Extravaganza  on Sunday, June 8, and find out!

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Storytelling Rocks!

If you haven’t figured it out yet, most children’s librarians love to tell stories especially when the audience can join in and participate!

The Children’s Department recently received Tell Along Tales!: Playing with participation stories by Dianne De Las Casas.  Dianne is a seasoned storyteller, author and poet and has even performed at the Three Rivers Storytelling Festival!

This book is perfect for those who may just be thinking about storytelling or for those who have done is for years.  Dianne tells you why storytelling is a vital art form, where to find stories, and tips on how to learn them.  She gives you all the different ways that participation can be used as well as a discussion on audience management.  Then comes the fun part–warm-ups, chants, songs, and finally . . . the stories!  She has included many stories from all over the world.  Her tips as to how she tells them, what participation she does is invaluable . . . and of course you may come up with your own tricks!

There are lots of different ways to tell stories and Dianne has given several ideas.  You can also tell a story through puppetry, so don’t miss Anansi and the Moss-Covered Rock at the 14th Annual Summer Reading Extravaganza on Sunday, June 8 from 12-5 PM at the Main Library in Oakland!

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Garden Update

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The little kids had their turn today in the library’s community garden.  Preschool Discovery children love to be outside observing and being involved with the planting!  Every Thursday this  summer they will weed and water the garden as part of their weekly program.

Debbie E. and Debbie P.

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Gardening with Homeschool Tuesdays

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The planting has begun in the community garden at the Main library in Oakland!  The children who participate in the Homeschool Tuesdays program series helped to plant a variety of vegetables today.  The Preschool Discovery group that meets on Thursdays will help to fill the second raised bed later in the week.  The First Floor department has graciously agreed to let participants from Children’s help with the maintenance and nurturing of the garden throughout the summer.

During the coming weeks the children in Homeschool Tuesdays will learn about garden journaling, pollination, helpful insects, soil, and organic gardening.  The focus this summer is nature and getting outdoors!

 Debbie E. & Debbie P.

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Anansi and other tricksters, part 1

Have you seen our puppet show this month?  The Children’s Department is presenting Anansi and The Moss-covered Rock, a West African folktale.  There’s still many days to see this production, so don’t miss it!  Plus, you’ll get a chance to see it on Sunday, June 8th at our Summer Reading Extravaganza!

Anansi is a trickster playing rather mean tricks on (of all people) his friends.  He’s lazy, almost always hungry, and un-motivated to do even the simplest of tasks, so he finds other ways to get the job done.  Most of his friends fall for the trick, but there’s one friend who watches all of this happen and decides that it’s time for the trick to go the other way.  Laughter, music and dancing are also a part of this show.

There are tricksters in many cultures–in fact so many that they can’t all be mentioned in just one post, so here are just a few.  Another list will come out shortly.  Check these out!

Monkey: a trickster tale from India


The Sticky Doll Trap


Pig-Boy: a trickster tale from Hawai’i


 Sister Tricksters:  rollicking tales of clever females


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Happy Mother’s Day!

You are invited to

A Mother’s Day Tea Party

Saturday, May 10, 2014

12:30-1:30 PM

Come and celebrate Mother’s Day with treats and activities

And when you’re done with the tea, check out some of these books!

My Mother is the Most Beautiful Woman in the World

a Russian folktale retold by Rebecca Hourwich Reyher


M. O. M. (Mom Operating Manual)

by Doreen Cronin and Laura Cornell

Mommy, Mama, and Me

by Leslea Newman

A Mother for Choco

by Keiko Kasza

My Mom

by Anthony Browne

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The “Coloured” Fairy Books

Andrew Lang was born in Selkirk, Scotland in 1844, educated at Oxford and later settled in London to become one of the greatest journalists of his day.  He did lots of writing in many forms of literature but is best known as a translator and editor of folk and fairy tales.  He collected the tales and published them in a different “colour book” almost every year for 25 years!

Andrew Lang’s Fairy Books and are a series of 12 collections of fairy tales.  These are also know an Andrew Lang’s “Coloured” Fairy Books or Andrew Lang’s Fairy Books of Many Colors.  The collections were published between 1889 and 1910.  There are 437 tales, in all, and they come from a wide range of cultures and countries.  You can find many of these “coloured” collections in the Special Collections section in the Children’s Department.

The first book, published in 1889, is The Blue Fairy Book.  It contains stories like Little Red Riding Hood, Rumpelstiltzkin, Beauty and the Beast, and Hansel and Gretel just to name a few.  Andrew has said, “These are the stories every child should have in his library.  These are the ‘story people’ the child should know best.  Their names and their sayings have passed on into the language.  Think of not knowing the Cinderella story!”

You may hear some of these and others at our Storytelling Around the World program on Saturday, May 3 at 2:30pm.

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A Parade of the Best Books for Babies 2014

The Best Books for Babies for 2014 are now up on our website and their own web page. As a member of the committee of librarians and other early childhood experts  who chose these, it’s most gratifying to be able to honor a book written by one of our own: Baby Parade by Rebecca O’Connell, a librarian at the Squirrel Hill branch children’s room.  I’ve had the pleasure of reading it at my toddler storytime and at child cares. Its near perfect combination of colors, textures and baby development were inspired by the Baby and Me program here at Main given by Kathy Maron-Wood.


Other books on the list include Global Baby Girls which depicts baby girls from around the world who are “beautiful, strong, bold and bright.”  Diggers Go and Goodnight Trucks represent the ever-so-popular vehicle contingent. Share babies doing what babies do best with this series of four: Cuddle, Eat, Move and Reach by  Elizabeth Verdick.

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Books about farm animals, bedtime routines, a volume of nursery rhymes and concepts chosen and illustrated by David McPhail and a cute and kooky cat round out the list.

Best Books for Babies is a cooperative venture of CLP, the Fred Rogers Company and the Pittsburgh Association for the Education of Young Children. It strives to identify books that will delight and engage both babies and the adults who care for them.

Tina Zubak

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We have an App for that!

Apps are popular for everyone . . . even really young children, say 5 years or even 3 years and younger.  The apps can help them with their fine motor skills, vocabulary building, coordination and creative thinking.

Here in the Children’s Department, we’re offering an “App Fun @ The Library” program on Tuesdays in April at 7:00 PM.

Come and try out some of these apps:


I Hear Ewe—A simple game full of 24 different authentic animal sounds and 12 different vehicle sounds




Endless Alphabet—Learn your abcs plus build vocabulary with this interactive puzzle game



Moo, Baa, La La La—Sandra Boynton’s book comes alive with sound and movement and gloriously unpredictable interactivity



Make a Scene – Farmyard—Animated sticker app with descriptive audio and farm sound effects

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World Family Day is Tomorrow!

Last year’s World Family Day was a hit, full of stories, languages, crafts, food, and fun. And this spring’s new and improved version looks to be just as good and more!

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Come hear stories in Italian, Mandarin Chinese, Spanish, Hindi, and Marathi.

Stay to play games with chopsticks, create a beautiful Costa Rican morpho butterfly, and hang up a Chinese paper lantern.

Take a break to get a temporary henna tattoo from talented local artist Kady Patil.

And when you feel like you’re starting to slow down, fuel up with delicious snacks from around the world donated by local restaurants. There will be Korean sweet potato noodles from Seoul Mart, hummus from Ali Baba, luxurious French hot tea from Crêpes Parisiennes, and much more!

Round the afternoon off with an energetic dance bonanza, where you’ll learn dances from different cultures with our dance expert Miss Kathy!


World Family Day is TOMORROW from 2:00 – 4:00 pm in the Children’s Department. You won’t want to miss a single minute of it!

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