The 50 plus second graders from Ms. Natassia Pura's class at Lodestar Elementary in the School neighborhood are some of the most eager, engaged, and enthusiastic young people I've ever met. Rather than the usual signs with people talking about their neighborhoods, these young scholars made signs that tell us where their families are from. The story told in signs by this small microcosm of Oakland's diverse population is a strong reminder that while we may all be from somewhere else, we're all here now. So let's all try to be more like these beacons of inspiration and hope.

Lakeside Park

Truly, there's no place like Children's Fairyland. It is a magical Oakland jewel that has been inspiring, entertaining, educating and delighting children and their families for 67 years. And it's been doing the same for me for 50 of those years. Did you know that Fairyland was the first themed amusement park in the United States? And the first amusement park created specifically for families with young children? In 1956, the Open Storybook Puppet Theater was created and has been operating ever since, making it the oldest continuously running puppet theater in the country.


The Bottoms

Liam Rosen is a recent transplant to The Bottoms, and a more charming, straightforward, Renaissance-type guy you are unlikely to meet. Liam lives with a handful of roommates in a place they call the Bauhaus; he works at the intersection of sports and high-tech; he is a world-class ultimate Frisbee player and passionate advocate for the sport; and he speaks a half dozen or so languages. And that's just what I found out in the first 20 minutes.