"Paws to Read" is the theme of the 2014 Summer Reading Program at all branches of the Oakland Public Library encouraging children to maintain their reading abilities after school is out.

"All the library locations will be featuring live entertainment and fun activities to lure kids in," said Community Relations Librarian Sharon McKellar. "As added incentive, prizes will be given to all children who reach reading goals."

The program began June 14 and will continue through Aug. 9.

Don't count yourself in the child demographic? Well, there is an Adult Summer Reading Program going on as well, says Adult Services Librarian Kathleen DiGiovanni. "We have raffle prizes for participants," said DiGiovanni. "If you read a book and write a review, or do three other library activities, you could win a Kindle Fire, or a Clipper card, or a Fenton's ice cream gift card."

As in past years, there are special incentives for teens to sign up. As part of the teen program, participants are encouraged to explore their community and collect passport stamps. An End of Summer Party at the Oakland Main Library TeenZone is planned Aug. 16. Drawings and door prizes will be the featured attraction says Lana Adlawan, head of teen services.

Sounds good to me; where do I sign up? Check out all the information available on the website, www.oaklandsummerreading.com.

In the meanwhile, I have some recommendations for summer reading:

First is "Home Field Advantage," by local sports buff Paul Brekke-Miesner. The author, who grew up locally, played sports himself and covered games for media outlets for many years, talks about how going back through the past decades, Oakland has been the American city that has consistently changed the face of sports. He covers the early experiences of an amazing number of professional athletes -- their training with school coaches and rec leaders -- and how they changed the landscape of sports on a national level.

Bill Russell, Rickey Henderson, Gary Payton, Jason Kidd, Marshawn Lynch, and Curt Flood are among the greats who were raised in Oakland. Brekke-Miesner writes about these individuals and many more in this fascinating book.

For middle-school readers and the adults who live with them, I recommend "Oakland Tales, Lost Secrets of the Town," written by Summer Brenner and illustrated by artist Miguel Perez. This book, the story of two teens from two very different parts of Oakland, was recently recognized at a City Hall reception hosted by Councilwoman Lynnette McElhaney (District 3) and Vice Mayor Larry Reid (District 7) representing West Oakland and East Oakland respectively.

In researching her book, which sends her teen characters on a fanciful time travel journey through Oakland's past, Brenner spent time at the Main Library History Room and with the city planning department's Cultural Heritage Survey. Readers will recognize specific locations such as the Wood Street Train Station and the Peralta Hacienda Historical Park in the novel.

The late poet and chronicler of local lore Mary Rudge's last published book is "Jack London's Neighborhood, a Pleasure Walker's and Reader's Guide to History and Inspiration in Alameda." As a boy, the future writer of "Call of the Wild," "White Fang," and many other books and stories, Jack London (1876-1916) spent as much time as he could visiting the library and reading books. Rudge fills in where London lived, worked and went to school.

More information is available about the Oakland Library's Summer Reading Program at the website listed above, or by calling 510-238-3138.

Contact Annalee Allen at ldmksldy@aol.com or 510-238-3234.