Blogs

Desde mi propia experiencia como inmigrante, mujer de color e hija de dos personas trabajadoras que creyeron en el Sueño Americano, me tomo muy en serio recomendar libros que reflejen las experiencias de vida de los inmigrantes en este país. Me preocupo por tener libros en nuestra colección que coincidan con personas cuyas historias históricamente han sido suprimidas. Libros que relaten las experiencias de nuestro diario vivir tales como: El libro de los americanos desconocidosPaco un niño latino en Estados Unidos, o  Al principio, viajábamos solas

Y aunque la narrativa del inmigrante no es una sola historia, como explica la novelista Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie en su TedTalk El peligro de una sola historia, creo que los inmigrantes compartIimos muchas cosas en común. Una de ellas es el abrazar los ideales de Estados Unidos. Al igual que cualquier otra persona que adopte estos principios, nosotros, los inmigrantes, nos esforzamos por fortalecer la comunidad en la que vivimos. Recordemos que los inmigrantes y los hijos de inmigrantes son nuestros vecinos, compañeros de clase, colegas y compañeros de trabajo; somos parte de tu comunidad.

From my own experience as an immigrant, a woman of color, and the daughter of two hard-working individuals who believed in the American Dream, I take very seriously recommending books that reflect immigrants' life experiences in this country. I care about having books in our collection that match people whose stories have historically been suppressed, books that are reflective of our everday lives, El libro de los americanos desconocidosPaco un niño latino en Estados Unidos, or Al principio, viajábamos solas

And while the immigrant narrative is not a single story, as novelist Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie explains in her TedTalk, The Danger of a Single Story, I believe immigrants share many things in common. The most important of these is to embrace the ideals of the United States. We, just like anybody else who embraces these principles work hard to make our community stronger. Immigrants and the children of immigrants are our neighbors, classmates, colleagues, and co-workers; we are part of your community.

 

 

¿Que es un minikit? Es una actividad STEAM (Ciencia, Tecnología, Ingeniería, Arte, Matemáticas por sus siglas en inglés) en una bolsita. Hay cuatro diferentes actividades en cada serie. ¡Coleccionalas todas!   
 
Solo en la biblioteca de Rockwood. No se necesita hacer cita. 
 
Los adolescentes (de 6º a 12º grado) o sus padres pueden venir a la biblioteca de Rockwood y pedir su minikit. Los jóvenes se quedan con todos los materiales en su minikit.
 
Instrucciones en inglés, ruso y español vienen con cada kit. Hay videos cortos de los kits en acción en la página de YouTube de MCL. Si los adolescentes quieren participar en una demostración / taller con los minikits, tenemos dos programados para enero en eventos de la biblioteca.
 
La primera serie, Circuitos y robótica para principiantes, comienza en una semana. Cada viernes, repartiremos una diferente minikit
8 de enero       Circuito Eléctrico en Papel
15 de enero     Circuito de Masas
22 de enero     Robot Cepillito
29 de enero     Robot Chatarra 

¡Visitenos en Rockwood!

Minikits de makerspace

“Ni de aquí, ni de allá” is a saying I learned at a young age, growing up in a border town with Mexico. Whether in public or in private, I was reminded daily, “you are neither from here (US) nor from over there (Mexico).” I didn’t have to think hard to understand the meaning of these words, either. I just had to listen, and listening was one lesson mi abuelita drilled in to me. (La chancla does wonderful things.) She taught me to appreciate what was around me and to realize that I was not from “here” or “over there” but from both worlds.

Children are going to have fun reading about Mexican-Americans in these picture books, and they will have fun talking about the colorful illustrated stories that complement the narratives. The wide and diverse experiences – from Tomás Rivera’s library visits and Emma Tenayuca’s labor struggles to Pat Mora’s lyrical reflections and Juan Felipe Herrera’s poetic depictions – which these books convey will invite children, as well as adults, to learn more about the history of Mexican Americans. 

These lists of books express a world where Mexican and American cultures, traditions, and values coexist. You just have to listen. 

Baby playing with food

You’ll hear a lot of different opinions about this topic, but many doctors and early childhood educators actually believe it is a good idea.

Playing with their food:

  • Helps babies learn to feed themselves
  • May prevent picky eating
  • Helps babies build their brains
  • Gives you a moment to catch up!

Playing with food begins as soon as babies are old enough to sit in a high chair. They love to reach for food and explore it in a hands-on, messy experiment of texture and taste. It may not be pretty, but it is a normal and healthy stage of development.

There is an element of play, but there are also important stages of learning taking place. Like mastering the pincer grasp, which eventually leads to holding a pencil! And kids who play with their food can be faster to learn words associated with food textures. In a 2013 study, toddlers who poked, prodded, swirled, mashed and even threw their food were interacting with key developmental concepts more than other children.  

And playing with your food isn’t just for babies, many preschool programs include activities where children participate in "sensory sessions," and touch, listen, taste, and smell different kinds of foods—then share observations with each other.

At any age it's fun to sing a song while you and your child “play” with your food. Here is one where you can make up your own variations together about the foods you like and how you cook and eat them.

All Around the Kitchen
Soup, soup, put it in the pot,
warm it up, warm it up, eat it while it's hot!

Bagel, bagel, put it in the toaster,
warm it, toast it, eat it with some jelly!

Ice cream, ice cream, put it in my tummy,
I like (flavor), yummy, yummy, yummy!

This post was featured in our monthly Family Newsletter. Sign up for the newsletter here, and email us at learning@multcolib.org if you have any questions.

Family having dinner at the table

I know in my own family, it can be hard convincing my child to drink enough water and eat their veggies. And just saying, “it’s healthy” doesn’t cut it. So how do we convince our kids that eating healthy is important? 

Before we start, the most important thing is to never connect eating well to losing weight, being slim, or being attractive. All bodies are fabulous! It’s just great if they can feel their best, too. And second, healthy eating looks different to different people. Some families are vegetarian or vegan or keep halal or kosher.  What people do or don't eat can be driven by values and culture, as well as health.

Teaching kids to eat well can be tricky. You don’t want to give them more facts than they can handle or turn every meal into a lecture. But you also want them to know that everything they put in their mouths affects their whole body. And the more nutritious the food they put in, the better they will feel, the more energy they will have, and hopefully, the more fun! 

One idea is to talk about the properties, or nutrients, of food and how they can help give our bodies energy for playing our favorite sports, help our brain and mind focus on schoolwork, and make us better with our hobbies, even video gaming! Some of the books in this booklist might help with these conversations.  

Another tip is to avoid calling foods “good” or “bad.” Kids should learn that all foods have a place in their diet. Try labeling foods as “go,” “slow,” or “whoa.” Kids should eat “go” foods, like vegetables, every day. But they might want to go “slow” with less nutritious foods, like pancakes. And say “whoa” to foods like candy bars, and leave those for special occasions. Foods with less nutrition don’t need to be off limits, but the goal is for kids to stop and think twice before they eat them often. 

Another great idea is to have your kid help plan and post menus for the week. Include some favorites and try some new foods, as well. You can even check out a kid’s cookbook from this booklist.

In some cases of extreme pickiness or disordered eating, it's important to remember that doctors and occupational therapists can help and you should talk with your child's pediatrician.  

Perhaps the most important thing is teaching through modeling. Seeing their grownups eat nutritious food, will help kids want to do the same. Talk to them about how eating well is fun, makes you feel good, and gives you energy!

This post is part of our "Talking with kids" series, and was featured in our monthly Family Newsletter. Sign up for the newsletter here, and email us at learning@multcolib.org if you have any questions.  

Child baking with grownup

For many, food is an important part of family life. Gathering together for meals is a way to share warmth, community, and family history. A recipe passed down through generations is a treasure. Exploring different cuisines is an opportunity to learn about other cultures. Homemade food is more nutritious than take-out or convenience foods and youth who learn to cook have healthier eating habits later in life. Beyond that, the kitchen is also an ideal place to teach kids reading, science and math.

Children under five learn about the world by using their senses. By touching, tasting, and smelling they’re being little scientists trying to figure out what the world is about. Using these senses is an integral part of the cooking process. Helping with simple tasks such as stirring, washing vegetables, and tearing lettuce helps these young learners develop their fine motor skills. Following step-by-step instructions teaches children executive functioning and gets them ready for school. 

As children get older and gain confidence, they can take over reading the recipe. There is so much that can be learned by reading a recipe. Recipes are math. Children need to understand fractions and ratios. They need to understand different units of measurement. It also supports literacy by exposing them to vocabulary that they won’t find elsewhere. How often are words like sear, tablespoon, dice, drizzle, or crimp used in daily conversation? Through trial and error children learn problem solving and that failure is just another opportunity to learn.

They say that baking is chemistry and cooking is art. The truth is that each one is both chemistry and art. Both allow for creativity once you understand the basics of a recipe. But it’s important to understand the basics for your recipe to turn out right. This is where science comes in. You probably don’t even realize how much science you use in the kitchen. Foods go through chemical and physical changes as they’re prepared and cooked. Certain elements are necessary in order for the recipe to turn out correctly. Which elements can change and which need to stay the same? Why? What adjustments, if any, do you need to make for any modifications? Why? These are scientific questions. Encourage children to ask questions. Don’t worry if you don’t know the answer. You can search for the answer and learn together. You can even ask the library for help!

Looking for more ideas? Look no further than Oregon State University's Food Hero program. They have lots of learning activities for all ages!

By grounding learning in the real world, kids are more likely to understand why the skills they learn are important and are better able to retain them. They’ll also have the satisfaction of eating the results of their lesson and the pride of sharing it with others.

- Keli Y, Teen Librarian, Rockwood Library

This article was featured in our monthly Family Newsletter, you can sign-up here to receive your copy!

Starting January 1, new digital magazines will be available through OverDrive & the Libby app. Here's what you need to know about this change:

Should I keep the RBdigital app installed on my phone?
No. There will be no new issues added after December 31, 2020.

Can I still read the magazine issues I borrowed from RBdigital?
Yes. To read your borrowed magazine loans, visit zinio.com, or download the free ZINIO app. From the ZINIO app or website, register for a new ZINIO account. You will need to use the same email address you used to access RBdigital. Once you've registered, your RBdigital magazine loans will be available in your account.

Will OverDrive have a magazine reader like the one available on RBdigital?
The Libby app will offer an article and thumbnail view for magazine titles starting in January. The article view will not be available on the OverDrive app and website.

Will there be a checkout period for magazines?
Yes. Magazines will now checkout for 21 days.

Can I renew magazines?
Yes. You will have the option to renew a magazine within 3 days of the end of the lending period. Or you could borrow it again with no waiting. 

Will magazines count against my OverDrive checkout limit?
No. Magazines will not count toward checkout limits.

Will there be an option to automatically borrow new issues of a magazine?
No. OverDrive does not currently have plans to support auto-checkout of magazine titles, but their developers are considering a notification system for when new issues are added.

Somos Familia es una organización que tiene una misión de “desarrollar el liderazgo en nuestras familias y comunidades latinas para crear una cultura donde las personas de géneros y orientaciones sexuales diversas puedan prosperar.” Ha creado infográficos y herramientas de cómo hablar sobre el género y la orientación sexual con su familia y videos sobre la importancia de la aceptación familiar.

Ve el video Tres Gotas de Agua de cómo el amor de tres madres les ayudó a entender a sus hijas e hijos LGBTQ+.

Tres Gotas de Agua


Escrito por Kimberly S.

La situación por la que estamos pasando en la actualidad tal vez no nos permita seguir con algunas de nuestras tradiciones familiares, pero también nos brinda oportunidades para alcanzar nuevos propósitos y empezar nuevas costumbres.

Se puede elegir una actividad simple por mes. La actividad tendrá éxito si todos están de acuerdo y es algo definido. Los niños, pueden jugar a contar los calcetines mientras los doblan y los guardan, ayudar con la preparación de algún postre o ¡hacer una piñata!  Los jóvenes, pueden ser parte de la planeación de cómo distribuir el presupuesto familiar, participar en las compras del mandado y ponerlo donde corresponde al llegar a casa. 

En familia, se puede hablar acerca de las celebraciones tradicionales que se han pasado de generación en generación. Cuando los niños y jóvenes aprenden y participan activamente de estas conversaciones, es más probable que aumenten su confianza, sean optimistas y refuercen su identidad. Jueguen y creen un libro con fotos y algunas historias de esas tradiciones para revivir los recuerdos.

Escrito por Violeta G.

Crayon drawing of a person walking a dog, with the words "Thank you for the walks!"
2020 has been a year with a lot of challenges. We want to give thanks to those who have helped us with things big and small throughout the year. Join us in showing gratitude for those in our lives that have brought us joy!

We've started writing and drawing!

  • Librarian Kimberly is writing to her mom to thank her for making fig jam.
  • Librarian Violeta is writing a note to her cat to thank for the delicious cuddles every day.
  • I drew a picture for my dog to thank her for our daily walks. 

Who do you want to send your note to? 

If you’d like, share with us on social media! Tag @multnomahcountylibrary with your #gratitude notes and drawings. 

Want to learn more about the power of gratitude? See our post and booklists here!

Would you like more tips for things to do that don't involve a screen? Sign up for our Family Newsletter. And we are always available to help support families, especially through Home Learning. Connect with us at learning@multcolib.org

- Jen May, Home Learning Support Librarian

Caring for ourselves helps us to better care for our families, especially during times of extreme stress. This post is being written during the time of the Covid pandemic: children are learning from home, grownups are struggling with work, people are scared, and stress is running high. It is In these times, more than ever, that parents and caregivers need to take care of their needs, to fill themselves up so they have enough care, patience and time to share with their families.  The Child Mind Institute has put together a wonderful article for caregivers on prioritizing their own well-being in order to benefit the whole family. Here are the main takeaways:

  1. Make time for yourself
  2. Prioritize healthy choices
  3. Be realistic (my favorite!)
  4. Set boundaries
  5. Reconnect with things you enjoy

We know it's easy to say, but not always easy to do. The library is here to help:

  1. If it would help to have the kids entertained so you can have quiet time, check out our storytimes and events for kids! These are always changing, so check back often.
  2. If you are looking for healthy recipes or exercises, we have thousands to choose from!
  3. We have books to help you set boundaries, help you set realistic expectations, and to give yourself a break
  4. If one of your favorite activities is sitting down with a good book, or watching a fun show, or listening to some beautiful music, we can help recommend any of those things for you. Check out the My Librarian group for a great suggestion (or 20!).
  5. If you want to learn something new or get back into an old hobby, we have lots of ways to help you get started. Just connect with us.

We are here to help, so please let us know what we can do for you, and for your family! You can leave a comment below, or email us directly at learning@multcolib.org. Also consider signing up for our monthly Family Newsletter. Take care!

sign that says, "my pronouns are ____/ _____"
Youth who identify as LGBTQ+* benefit from a supportive network of family, friends, and peers, especially during times of stress and isolation.  Here are some organizations and resources that can help provide that support.

Local Resources for LGBTQ+ youth

  • Sexual & Gender Minority Youth Resource Center (SMYRC) has served local youth since 1998.  They provide empowerment, community building, education and direct services. 
  • Oregon Youthline is a local 24-hour youth crisis and support service.  Help is available via phone, text, email, or chat.  Youthline is staffed by trained teen volunteers from 4-10 pm daily.
  • GSA Network supports Gender & Sexualities Alliance (GSA)  groups that unite LGBTQ+ youth and their peers.  They also provide tips on how to run virtual GSAs.
  • Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN) Oregon chapter of the national organization that supports every student’s right to a safe, supportive education. 
  • Pride Northwest has a mission: to encourage and celebrate the positive diversity of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and trans communities, and to assist in the education of all people through the development of activities that showcase the history, accomplishments, and talents of these communities.

 

neon rainbow with "Love is Love" signs in the background
Virtual Resources for LGBTQ+ youth and those who support them

  • Gender Spectrum free online support groups for LGBTQ+ youth, parents and caregivers.  Groups also offered for parents/caregivers in Spanish.
  • Q Chat Space a safe space for LGBTQ+ teens to connect
  • Trevor Support Center provides resources and counseling via phone and chat. TrevorSpace is an international community for LGBTQ+ young people. 
  • PFLAG is the nation's largest family and ally organization, founded in 1973 after the simple act of a mother publicly supporting her gay son.
  • It Gets Better Project over 60,000 diverse video stories, all on a single theme.
  • Trans 101: Gender Diversity Crash Course helps people better understand what it means to be trans, and how we make the world a safer and happier place for trans and gender diverse people.  Available as a video series or booklet.
  • An age-by-age guide to talking to your kids about gender from Today's Parent.  No matter your kid's age, it's not too early (or late!) to talk to them about gender. Here's how to start the discussion, and keep it going as they grow.  

 

LGBTQ+ Booklists

Support can also come in the form of reading books and watching media with LGBTQ+ representation.   Your library is full of books for kids and teens that feature LGBTQ+ characters.  Explore the reading lists below, or ask us for a recommendation

*LGBTQ+ stands for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer or Questioning.  The + is meant to include all gender identities and sexual orientations not covered by the other letters.  Read What Does LGBTQ+ Mean? for more information.

Cthulhu figurine
Maybe you’re reading Lovecraft Country or The City We Became. Or maybe you just like your fiction eerie, weird, or chock full of tentacles. Perhaps you find squidlike elder gods, or squids themselves, cute. In any event, despite H.P. Lovecraft’s despicable views - or as a reaction to them - current authors are gleefully reinterpreting his tales, giving them all kinds of twists he never would have imagined, and that he might have found downright... horrifying. Maybe even namelessly terrifying, indescribably eldritch, and worse yet (for him),  better written than the stories of old H.P. himself!

The fabulous irony of all this is that Lovecraft was an early proponent of fanfiction, shared universes, and remixing, so in a sense these authors are working in a tradition he encouraged, but use it in subversive and creative ways. And often that sense of otherworldly eerieness and creeping dread that is central to cosmic horror is even more vivid and terrifying than ever. Delve into this strange new world with the books below.

“Enjoy the little things. For one day you may look back and realize they were the big things.” – Robert Brault

Life is full of unknowns and uncertainties. Children of all ages are sensitive to stress in their families' lives. Children feel emotions very strongly, but they don't always have the words to describe how they're feeling. Talking with even very small children about fears and sadness can help them feel more secure. And talking to them about gratitude can help as well!

Take time to pause and notice aloud the people and things you are thankful for every day. Kids are always listening and they pick up on our moods - negative and positive. Gratitude, or thankfulness, feels good! And it is really good for us, too! Scientists who study the brain tell us that positive emotions like appreciation and gratitude are good for our brains, our minds and even our bodies.     

Being thankful lets us balance out the negative emotions like fear, anger and anxiety that creep in. The incredible thing about gratitude is that it grows and increases the more we practice it. One positive thought can lead to dozens more. This type of positive thinking decreases stress and anxiety in people of all ages. 

It's been said that gratitude is like taking a U-turn on complaining and negative thinking. A game my family sometimes plays is "Unfortunately, Fortunately." It's fun for road trips or even when sitting around the dinner table. "Unfortunately, all my soccer games have been canceled, but, fortunately, we have had extra time to play lots of games together." 

It's about focusing on what's good in our lives and being thankful for the things we have. "Unfortunately, Poppy can't come and visit us on Sundays now, but, fortunately, we can draw pictures to send to him! And we get to walk to the mailbox!"

Teaching children an attitude of gratitude is as simple as helping them look at different situations from a positive point of view. It’s about focusing on what’s good in our lives, noticing the small things, appreciating and being thankful. We can model gratitude and appreciation for our children. We all take things for granted, but taking time to name those things reinforces trust, calm and joy.

Here are some things you can try with your family:

  1. Keep a running gratitude list on the refrigerator. Bigger kids can write the words and little ones can draw. Each day the list can be revisited. What makes you happy? Watching a puppy play,  helping dad cook? Add what makes you grateful? A sky full of stars,  the hummingbird at the window, a hug? 
  2. Try the Gratitude ABCs. Go through your ABCs and take turns coming up with something you are grateful for, for each letter. I am grateful for Apple pie, and Basketball, and Cats… This also works as a great tool for helping someone fall asleep. Get comfortable and concentrate on your Gratitude ABCs. The next day you can think about what letter you fell asleep on. 
  3. Practice sharing and giving. Share first within the family and then spread to the wider community. An older child can pass on treasured toys or collections to a younger sibling. Have a basket or bag for items that can be donated to those who may need them. Clothing, toys, food for a food bank. Go together to deliver them when the basket is full.
  4. Express gratitude with acts of kindness. “We have so many tomatoes. Let's bring some over to our neighbor. Maybe she would like some of these flowers, too.” “ Let’s ask Mr Jones if he needs anything when we go to the store. And I know he loves your drawings.”
  5. Gratitude can start right now. I bet we can think of three things right now that make us feel thankful. Maybe you'd like to send a note to someone showing your gratitude!

And of course, there are always books! The titles below can help you start conversations about gratitude with the young folks in your life.

Want to learn more tips on talking with kids, please sign up for our Family Newsletter.  And we are always available to help support families, especially through Home Learning. Connect with us at learning@multcolib.org

Every year, we create a beautiful page of the best books of the year -- the ones our staff and volunteers have loved. Whether you're a fan of picture books that celebrate bravery, suspense stories that keep you guessing, or guides to making the most delicious food, we have you covered.  There are many great picks for Spanish readers, too. 

Check out all of our favorite books for 2020. 

Want to see what we've recommended in past years? Explore the links below:

Best Books 2019

Best Books 2018

Best books 2017

Best Books 2016

 

The Collected Works of Langston Hughes book jacket
I had never read the literary works of Langston Hughes before coming across The Collected Works of Langston Hughes at the North Portland Library.  I knew of him as a great poet and poetry was not my favorite genre.  Nonetheless, I leafed through the seventeen volume set on the shelf and I immediately was hooked on the works of one of the literary lions of the Harlem Renaissance.

Not sure where to begin, I skimmed through the volumes on poetry.  I read quickly a few poems, tried to digest others, but it was his prose that truly beckoned me.  I paused skimming midway through his oeuvre and read the first two short tales in depth.  I knew then, as I do now, that I had found a literary gold mine because weeks later, I’m still digging through the Simple stories in volumes 7 and 8.

Originally published in the Chicago Defender from 1943 to 1965, the Simple stories read more like weekly columns on race relations in the U.S. The tales are narrated in a conversational form to engage readers on multiple levels.  On one level, the stories are comical and reader-friendly, designed to show the human soul of Jesse B. Semple, or Simple as he is known, and draw the reader in.  Readers get to see and feel Simple’s failures and successes as well as his frustrations and dreams.  On another level, the stories portray the complex world that evolved in the Jim Crow era in a non-antagonizing way.  Simple’s conversations with his bar buddy not only lured readers into the national dialogue over race, but they also engaged readers in a constructive conversation over racism—the ideological foundation that defined the racial boundaries of Simple’s life and, by extension, African Americans.

Though it has been sixty-five years since Langston Hughes published the first Simple stories in book form, the ideas in these tales still resonate.  Racial progress has been made, but we still have a long way to go.  Both fictional characters would probably nod their heads.  Yes, over a cold beer.  Still, such ideas, now more than ever, need to be part of a national discourse.

 

y no se lo tragó la tierra book jacket
What makes a literary work an American classic? Clearly, there is no one answer to this question. It is a matter of opinion. It is no wonder book publishers have debated this issue in the past, and that they will continue to discuss it in the future. The question, also, hangs over my head every time I read Tomás Rivera’s …y no se lo tragó la tierra: Is this fictional tale of Mexican American migrant farm working families an American classic? After all, this novella is an iconic piece of literary art in Chicano/a literature, and is a must read in Chicano/a literature courses in U.S. colleges. It was also the first recipient of the Premio Quinto Sol award.

Is it an American classic? Yes! It is. In spite of being written in Spanish,* …y no se lo tragó la tierra is a story of perseverance in the American tradition of pulling oneself up by one’s bootstraps. Like their fictional counterparts in The Jungle and The Grapes of Wrath, the characters in …y no se lo tragó la tierra have dreams and grit. The Mexican American migrant families’ determination to make their dreams real no matter the odds given - it is the 1950s and people of color are segregated in the workplace and society—is what makes their tale of perseverance an American classic.

The story takes place in two locations: a small town in rural South Texas, where the migrant families live on a permanent basis and the Midwest, where they toil in the fields of commercial growers. The hardships they confront in their annual migrations to Iowa, Minnesota, Wisconsin, and other Midwestern states in search of seasonal farm labor say more about their determination to better their lives than about the work itself. That is not to say that the seasonal farm work they do doesn’t influence their willingness to live their American dreams. On the contrary, the very work itself, with its low wages, no rights, no dignity, and no hope, drive migrant families to continue struggling for a better life.

Like two other American classics of the twentieth century, Native Son and Invisible Man, …y no se lo tragó la tierra illuminates an experience once ignored by mainstream Americans. It sheds light on a harsh reality that can no longer be overlooked.

*The library's copy is bilingual.

book cover for maggie the machanic
book cover for ofelia book
Gilbert and Jaime Hernandez are the most prolific Chicano graphic novelists in the US. Their work wrestles with topics that are not “Chicano Movement” issues, per se, and it debunks stereotypes such as those of the Latino gangbanger and the omnibenevolent abuelita.

Their work instead captures the immigrant experience as well as the second-generation Mexican-American experience, which are full of contradictions, complexities, and some happy endings. The stories of their fictional characters are not only mundane and exciting and surreal and real, but if we consider when they were first published in the 1980s, they were ahead of their time. -Memo P.

Do you read Facebook or Twitter for news? Subscribe to a newspaper? Peruse websites, or watch videos? In an era of so many choices for information, how do you make a judgement about what's fact, what's slanted and what's just completely untrue? 

Here are some tips for evaluating what you are reading, listening to or viewing.  

  1. Consider the source. You can learn more about a website by clicking on the "About Us" link  that most provide, but don't stop there. Research the organization or author's credentials. If statistics are cited, see if you can find the source, and double-check that they are represented correctly.  
  2. Read beyond attention-getting headlines to check the whole article. If a statement is made, is a source given? Click through to check the sources, and do your own searching on those citations.
  3. Check the date. Sometimes old news stories resurface, and they might be out of date or inaccurate. If currency is important, limit your search to recent results
  4. Watch for bias, including your own. Check different sources to see how each treats a news item. Consider your own beliefs and perspectives and think about how that might change how you perceive what you are seeing. 
  5. Too weird to be true? If something seems implausible, see what fact-checking sites like Snopes, PolitiFact, and FactCheck have to say. 

For more about being a smart information consumer, check out the infographic, "How to Spot Fake News", provided by The International Federation of Library Associations. If you're more of a visual learner, take a look at the CRAAP test video from librarians at California State University. If you'd like to engage in some deeper learning, try this 3 hour online course, Check, Please!

And remember, if you're looking for reliable information, get in touch with us. We're always happy to help.

 

Discover details of all the Corps members from this PBS site and this Discovering Lewis & Clark site.

THOMAS JEFFERSON

The Lewis and Clark "Corps of Discovery", as it eventually came to be called, was conceived by Thomas Jefferson. He was dedicated to exploration of the vast territory west of the Mississippi River and learning about the Native Americans who resided there. He wanted to find a water route to the Pacific Ocean and map the topography. Also, he expected the Corps to catalog the flora and fauna they encountered. On the Monticello web site read about Thomas Jefferson's part in funding and planning the Corp's work.

MERIWETHER LEWIS AND WILLIAM CLARK

President Jefferson chose his secretary Meriwether Lewis as the ideal candidate to captain the Corps. Lewis then chose his Co-Captain, William Clark. They had served in the military together and were an ideal team.  Between them, they possessed the skills needed to face the challenges of their incredible journey.

TOUSSAINT CHARBONNEAU

Monsieur Charbonneau is not noted for his popularity with the rest of the Corps or his abilities as a member of the team...it appears that the only contribution of real value he provided was the interpreting services of his wife, Sacajawea. This description of Charbonneau makes it clear he was considered a sort of "necessary evil".

SACAJAWEA

There are many questions surrounding Sacajawea's story that have been controversial. One is the correct spelling/pronunciation of her name and another question is at what age and where did she die? My search for accurate information about these questions and others about Sacajawea led me to the descendants of her tribe of origin, the Lemhi Shoshoni. I found a site from the Sacajawea Interprative, Cultural, & Educational Center. Tim Woodward interviewed members of Sacajawea's birth tribe. The story of the kidnapping and slavery of Sacajawea and her marriage to Charbonneau make difficult reading. Her life as a member of the Corps of Discovery is but a small piece of her complex history. From the time she was kidnapped, Sacajawea's life was determined by people who were not interested in her happiness but in taking advantage of her talents. Sacajawea probably died due to an illness that may have resulted from the birth of her second child, a daughter named Lissette.

JEAN-BAPTISTE CHARBONNEAU (POMPEY) 

Sacajawea gave birth to Jean-Baptiste during the first winter of the expedition when they were camped at Fort Mandan in North Dakota. William Clark was very fond of the toddler nicknamed "Pomp" or "Pompey". The landmark Pompey's Pillar was named after Pompey. After the expedition he was provided for by Clark, but never adopted by him. Jean-Baptiste spent time as an adult in Europe but eventually returned to the United States to take up a mountain man lifestyle similar to his father's. The man, who had traveled as a child on one of the greatest explorations of all time, died and is buried in Oregon.

Jean Baptiste-Charbonneau grave site in Oregon.

YORK

York was William Clark's slave and belonged to him from the time both were children. His contributions to the success of the Corps were as valuable as any of the other members. In recent years, letters William Clark wrote to his brother reveal that he did not feel York's "services" with the Corps had any value. He didn't care that York wished to live close to his wife and refused to grant him his freedom. Clark told his brother that if York didn't improve his attitude he was going to loan him to a harsh master. The final years of York's life are detailed by the National Park Service. You can learn how York's position in the 1800's is typical of the complexities of the slave/owner relationship.

SERGEANT CHARLES FLOYD

Sgt. Floyd holds the dubious honor of being the only member of the Corps of Discovery to perish on the journey. This unhappy event took place soon after the Corps embarked on their Missouri River voyage. Flying at Sgt. Floyd's monument is a replica of the 15 star and 15 stripe flag he would have defended for the military. Visit his Sioux City memorial to learn what ended Sgt. Floyd's trek.

SEAMAN

Seaman was a Newfoundland dog and a valued member of the Corps of Discovery. He was purchased by Meriwether Lewis for $20 (about $400 in 1806), perhaps because he had webbed feet and much of the trip was intended to take place by pirogue. Seaman caught small game, entertained the expedition members and provided excellent service at guard duty. There are many theories about what became of Seaman. This version of Seaman's fate is intriguing...and it appears to be based on some historical evidence.  Here is a great photo of a sculpture including Seaman which is located in Fort Clatsop National Park--he is paying very close attention to the flounder rather than his guard duty.

Stanley Wanlass Sculpture with Seaman

WHO WERE THE OTHER GUYS

The rest of the Corps included volunteer members of the U.S. Army and a handful of civilians. They were chosen for the skills they could contribute in carrying out the goals of the expedition and for keeping all members alive and safe. 

 

Pages