Oakland Tales, Lost Secrets of The Town

Adopted for the Common Core by Oakland Unified School District

Partners in Preservation award, Oakland Heritage Alliance

As soon as the dishes were cleared, Jada and Ernesto ushered Maisha upstairs to the attic. Maisha poked around until she found a trunk with parasols and hats. She tried pulling on a pair of crocheted gloves and high-button boots.
“They fit when I was little,” she complained.
“We loved to play dress up,” Jada said.
“We hoped to find a treasure,” Maisha said.
Jada looked at Ernesto. Ernesto looked at Jada. They hadn’t discussed if they intended to share their secret.
“What?” Maisha asked eagerly, glancing back and forth at them.
“Ernesto discovered something,” Jada said.
Maisha’s eyes widened with curiosity as Jada unlocked and lifted the box’s heavy lid.
Maisha gasped. “They were here and we never saw them!”
“Do you know what they are?”
There was silence as Jada and Ernesto waited for Maisha to speak. Finally, she said, “You remember Auntie Yates’ friend, Misty Horn.”
“I remember him,” Jada said. She had met him at Auntie Yates’ house in North Richmond.
“He’s unusual,” Maisha said.
“He’s scary,” Jada added.
“Once you get to know him, he’s not scary. Misty Horn knows things other people don’t.”
“Does he know about these eggs?” Ernesto prompted.
Trembling, Maisha lifted an egg from its velvet pocket. “He has a set like these!”
“They change, don’t they?” Ernesto asked.
“Don’t play with them. They’re dangerous,” Maisha said.
“Dangerous?” Jada was skeptical.
“You might find yourself....”
“These eggs can do things. They can take you places and show you how things used to be.”

To purchase a copy of Oakland Tales, please visit www.oaklandtales.com

These website projects were inspired by reading Oakland Tales in Jhunehl Fortaleza's 6th grade Humanities class at Claremont Middle School, Oakland, CA (2020).

Aniyah Hill

Fiona Nolfi-Makau

Adam Platt

Prince Vaughn

Sofia Mendelson-Reyes

Kioko Hopkins

Viola Griebenow

I myself am a big fan of historical fiction books like this one. Also I love learning more and more about the city where I live. This book encompasses both of these aspects to make it the near perfect genre for my reading. I have already recommended it to my dad and would recommend it to anyone who has an interest in "the town" and likes history stories with a deeper message of the current world.
—Ian Prchlik, 8th grade
Montera MS, Oakland, CA

I felt I was inside the book.
—Abdullah Braimah, 7th grade
American Indian Model Schools, Oakland, California

After I read this book, it changed my perspective on Oakland because I thought Oakland was nothing but bad. This book taught me to see multiple perspectives on things before judging.
—Alexandria Brown, 8th grade
Montera MS, Oakland, California

I used your book as an inspiration to my life and will learn how to make the right decisions. Also I am going to be aware of the negatives before they happen thanks to you, Ernesto, and Jada.
—Michael Johnson, 8th grade
Montera MS, Oakland, California


“The Tale Behind Richmond Tales” in California Educator Magazine, February 2015 (pp. 50-51)

Oakland Tales Book Cover