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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

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 some of the ancestors of peoples now living in modern day Mexico to Peru from these websites and books about the Aztecs, Incas and Mayans. 

Map of Mesoamerica, Aztecs, 14th-15th centuries
Map of Mesoamerica, Maya

 

The British Museum in London has artifacts from around the world, representing people, places and cultures from the past two million years. Khan Academy has detailed information about the Aztecs, Incas and Mayans. Click on photos to find out more about that object and its importance. 

 

Map of Latin America, Inca Empire, 15th century

 

Have fun exploring the Mesoamerican Ballgame -a sport of life and death.  Check out the video below about the rubber balls used for the game and see an example of how a version of the game was played.

Rubber Balls in Mexico Have a Long History

If you want or need more help, contact a librarian. We're just a click away!

Photo of John McLoughlin
Are you studying Portland history? Read on to learn more about famous Portland residents, past and present.

Long before white settlers arrived on the Oregon Trail, the Portland area was home to the Multnomah people, a band of the Chinook Tribe. One of their leaders was Chief Kiesno (sometimes spelled Cassino).  Tragically, many of the native inhabitants of our area died from diseases brought by the Europeans.

John McLoughlin is often called the Father of Oregon. He moved to the area in 1824 and established Fort Vancouver just north of Portland. Later, his general store in Oregon City became the last stop on the Oregon Trail.

Photo of Abigail Scott Duniway
By 1845, Francis Pettygrove and Asa Lovejoy owned land in the area and flipped a coin to choose an official name. Pettygrove won the two out of three tosses, and since he was from Portland, Maine, he chose to name the new city after his hometown.

Abigail Scott Duniway is famous for fighting for women’s rights, especially the right to vote. After many tries, she finally succeeded in Oregon in 1912.  Intriguingly, Abigail’s brother, Harvey Scott, editor of The Oregonian newspaper, was opposed to letting women vote.

McCants Stewart was the first African American lawyer in Portland and started a newspaper, The Advocate. Dr. DeNorval Unthank is well-known for his role in fighting for civil rights for African Americans and was named Doctor of the Year in 1958. A park in North Portland is named for him. 

Some other famous Portlanders include children’s author Beverly Cleary, Matt Groening (creator of The Simpsons), and Phil Knight, the co-founder of Nike.

For more information on famous residents of Portland, visit the Oregon History Project’s biography page, or search the Oregon Encyclopedia.

Located between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers in present-day Iraq, the cultures of ancient Mesopotamia made remarkable achievements in writing, art, and agriculture. 

Image of ziggurat

This Khan Academy video provides a short introduction. For older students, here’s a John Green Crash Course video with more details. 

The University of Chicago has an amazing collection of artifacts from ancient Mesopotamia, and at their website, you can examine them in depth, learn about what daily life was like, listen to interviews with archaeologists, or even go on a virtual archaeological dig.

At the British Museum’s Mesopotamia site, you can find maps and information about the writing, mythology, buildings, and astronomers from various Mesopotamian cultures.

Ancient Mesopotamia covers geography, religion, economics, and the government of Mesopotamian cultures.

Several different empires existed in region of Mesopotamia, including the Sumerians, Babylonians and Assyrians. The Sumerians were known for inventing cuneiform writing. You can see what your monogram would look like in this writing system. They also wrote the first superhero story, the Epic of Gilgamesh, and played board games. One Babylonian ruler is famous for creating Hammurabi’s Code, a collection of laws. Ziggurats, large step pyramids like the one shown in the photo, were built by the Sumerians, Babylonians and Assyrians.

If you didn’t find the information that you need, please contact a librarian for more assistance.

1001 Inventions and The Library of Secrets - starring Sir Ben Kingsley as Al-Jazari

The Golden Age of Islam spanned from the mid 8th to the mid 13th century A. D., although recent scholars have extended it into the 15th and 16th centuries. It encompasses the life of the prophet Mohammad and the beginnings of the Islamic religion. Islamic culture in Europe also influenced Western civilization. The Golden Age of Islamic Culture included many innovations in science, medicine, mathematics, astronomy, Hindu-Arabic numerals, and words. It was a time of inventions and exploration. The Golden Age ended with the siege of Baghdad in 1258 A.D. and with the rise of religious dogma, discussed here by Steven Weinberg and Neil deGrasse Tyson.

How Hollywood stereotyped the Native Americans

Hollywood movies and TV shows are full of stereotypes. To find the truth, you need to do good  research.

When I start my search, I make a list of all the names I know that might be good to search. Many tribes have both their own name and an anglicized name (for example, Diné  and Navajo) and it’s good to search under both. For more general searches, search multiple terms such as: Indian, Native American, First People or First Peoples,or try searching ”culture”  and “indigenous” with the geographical area, for example American indigenous culture.

When doing online research on Native Americans I check not only what the website says, but who is providing the information. Techniques for Evaluating Native American Websites provides good tips on what to look for. Another website post with good information is Tips for Teachers: Developing instructional Materials about American Indians. Does the website present a view that the people it describes support? Is the information current? Does the information come from Native Americans themselves? Many new age sites and commercial websites that are trying to sell you something take Indian culture and rewrite it for their own needs. If the website is created by an institution like a museum, or government agency, remember that it might represent that institution’s perspective, but not necessarily the perspective of Native peoples.

When looking at historical issues of newspapers, like The Historical Oregonian I have to consider that many of those stories will include racism and one-sided views that were common at the time.”Historic Newspaper Accounts of Oregonian Native Americans” provides some good insight into the slant of these articles over time, both good and bad.

Need more help? Contact a librarian to be sure you get what you need.

NEZ PERCES HORSES

This video explores the integral role horses played in Nez Perce history and how they relate to the tribe’s culture today.

When researching Native Americans of Oregon, the Oregon Blue Book provides a good introduction to Oregon tribes, and has information on current tribal leaders and the economy of the tribe, plus an overview of the tribe’s history and culture.

Native Languages of Americas provides information about the original inhabitants of Oregon and includes a map of where they were located.

The Northwest Portland Area Health Board provides history and geographical information for the nine tribes that make up its membership in Oregon, as well as many tribes in Washington and Idaho. 

The Cow Creek Band of Umpqua Tribe of Indians provides information about Oregon tribes and a list of links to their websites, plus information about natural resources, economic development and tribal government for the Cow Creek Band.

Access Genealogy contains an overview of the history Oregon tribes, and links to many tribes' individual websites.

You can also search the library’s catalog, or do an online search for a tribe’s name. Many tribes have their own websites, which contain current information about tribal affairs, and might also include historical material.

Many resources about Indigenous people include biased information, so please also read How to Evaluate Native American and American Indian Websites, which provides help evaluating books too. 

If you still need more help, contact a librarian to be sure you get what you need.

Searching for information on Native American tribes and Native nations? These big web sites may be able to help you.

Whose land are you on? Native Land is an interactive website and an app that allows you to search any location and see who are the original inhabitants of the land, worldwide. The website also features a blog with updates and a page for Territory Acknowledgements, with the ability to search specific locations to get tribal affiliation, language, and treaties associated with that area.

You can search tribes alphabetically to learn about them, and learn about native languages as well as native culture. Try putting the name of the tribe you are looking for in the search box to see what other information they list, or scroll down to find the names of tribes listed alphabetically.

If you would rather search by location using a map, you can find state-by-state information, covering historic and contemporary information, languages, culture and history.

Many resources about Indigenous people include biased information, so please also read How to Evaluate Native American and American Indian Websites, which provides help evaluating books too. 

If you still need more help, contact a librarian to be sure you get what you need.

Native Americans use ALL of the Buffalo

 

Did you know that young children begin to notice and point out the differences they see in people as early as six months? This ability to put things into categories like "safe to eat" and "hungry animal to run away from" has helped humans survive over hundreds of thousands of years. But if we aren't paying attention, it can also lead to making oversimplified generalizations about people, and those stereotypes can be harmful. 

Because even babies are starting to sort people into categories, it's never too early to start talking with children about the stereotyping they will observe in the world around them, and help them question and push back against it. Here are some ideas for talking about stereotypes in a very kid-friendly way:

  • Ask your child to draw or describe someone from a specific category, such as "girl" or "boy". Chances are you'll hear things like, "girls have long hair" or "boys are messy" which gives you an opportunity to talk about people you know who may not fit those stereotypes. For example in my family, mom is a messy woman with short hair! 
  • Children's books can be a great way to start conversations, so as a family, do a "diversity audit" on books in your own home! Look for stereotypes and bias in your own books, or books you have checked out from the library, using some of these criteria. Be sure to talk about it as you go. You can use words like “fair/unfair” when talking about stereotypes you find in your books. For instance, “Wow, this picture book only included white male inventors. That’s unfair. Black women invented lots of things, too. Let’s read about some African American women inventors.” I guarantee you will learn a lot from the experience!
  • Look for books specifically written to talk with young children about stereotypes and how to celebrate differences: Here is a book list to help get those conversations started. 

These activities can be done any time of year. Here in the U.S, November is a time when we celebrate Native American Heritage Month and Thanksgiving, which gives extra opportunities for non-Native families to talk about stereotypes specific to Native Americans and Indigenous people. For example, ask your child to draw a Native American dwelling or home. Talk about how most Native and Indigenous families live in houses and apartments. They are modern, vital people in our society, not just historical figures. 

For some additional resources, I recommend this article about teaching preschool and kindergartners about Native and Indigenous peoples. You can also find info in this A Racial Justice Guide to Thanksgiving to help you tell the factual story of the holiday. We also have more book lists in this post Celebrating Native American Heritage month!

Like language, stereotyping is learned over time. It is never too early - or too late - to talk with children about kindness and fairness and diversity, and to demonstrate the many ways we can treat all people with respect and dignity.

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.

Gun rights and gun control are topics that come up often these days. It can be hard to find good resources that present multiple viewpoints on issues like this, and provide quotable sources.

An excellent electronic resource is Opposing Viewpoints in Context. It provides links to articles, videos and audio files from multiple viewpoints (you will need a library card # and password in order to access this electronic resource from outside of the library).

 For the legal history of gun control, check out Infoplease’s Milestones in Federal Gun Control Legislation  which covers laws up until 2013.

L.A.R.G.O. Lawful and Responsible Gun Owners and the N.R.A. National Rifle Association both support gun ownership in America. The Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence and The Violence Policy Center both work to reduce gun violence. The Violence Policy Center is also a good resource if you’re looking for statistics related to gun violence (including drive by shootings and suicide).

This Guardian article compares gun crime in individual states and FindLaw shares Oregon Gun Control Laws. FactCheck looks at statistics in the media after the Newtown shootings, and reports on Gun Rhetoric vs. Gun Facts.  Looking towards changes in the law, gun control is supported by more women than men, and that may have an effect on future legislation.  But right now,  despite repeated pleas for change after every mass shooting, nothing seems to change. 

Need some specific gun facts or laws we haven’t covered? Contact a librarian and we’ll be glad to help

For centuries, Europeans have explored places unfamiliar to them.  The big push to explore happened from the 1400s to the 1600s and is known as the Age of Discovery or the Age or Exploration.  Here are some sites that will help you learn more about individual explorers, the places they went, and the tools they used to get there.

Santa Maria model

For a broad website on exploration that includes biographies of explorers, information and illustrations ships and navigation tools, plus an interactive map showing voyages of the most ancient explorers through the 1920s, check out Ages of Exploration from the Mariners Museum.  Here's another link to exploration info at the museum.

Look at the companion website for the PBS program Conquistadors for more about explorers Cortes, Orellana, Pizarro and Cabeza de Vaca.  
 
Find out how hard life was for a sailor and explorer in this infographic:  Age of Exploration:  Life on the Open Seas
 
Now you're ready to conquer the world!

Ah the stories of King Arthur and his knights, the cute thatched cottages, the banquets, the country life, and the bustle of growing cities!  What’s not to like about the Middle Ages and Medieval period in history?  Well, the smell for one.  And let’s not forget the plague. Get all the dirt on what life was really like in Europe during this time.

picture of knights
Start at the Annenberg Learner Middle Ages site for loads of info on everyday life in medieval times including the feudal system, religion, clothes, the arts and more.  This includes movies and other cool interactive stuff.  After you click on the link, scroll to the right to get the content!

 Click on the different people in the street in the Camelot International Village to learn more about their craft or trade and how they lived in the Middle Ages. Find out about entertainers, peasants, traders, thieves, knights, church and religion, women, and lords of the manor.

For a funny and informative video series about the Middle Ages, watch Terry Jones’ Medieval Lives.  Each 30 minute episode examines a different type of person important during the time period like kings, knights, monks and damsels.

picture of a king's seal

For a video and interactive introduction to medieval life, watch Everyday Life in the Middle Ages and see if you could survive way back in the day!

The Internet Medieval Sourcebook is super boring to look at, but amazing in its amount of primary source material (letters, legal texts, religious documents etc.).  It’s a comprehensive collection of online texts from the entire medieval era, organized by topic and chronologically.

Now that you’ve learned a lot about the Middle Ages, test your knowledge here.

Patricia Bath

Blackliberalboomer

She’s amazing. She attends Howard University School of Medicine, New York and Columbia universities. She believes everyone has a “Right to Sight.” She invents the Laserphaco Probe and procedure to improve cataract surgery results. She’s the first African American woman doctor to patent a medical invention. She’s the first African American woman surgeon at the UCLA Medical Center. She’s the first woman on faculty at the UCLA Jules Stein Eye Institute. Again, she’s amazing!

Further Exploration: http://www.nlm.nih.gov/changingthefaceofmedicine/physicians/biography_26.html

Available at Multnomah County Library: Patricia's Vision; The Doctor Who Saved Sight by Michelle Lord

Sarah E. Goode

Patent by Sarah E. Goode, by Krhaydon Public Domain, wikipedia

 

In 1884, a Chicago furniture store owner named Sarah E. Goode invented a folding cabinet bed to fit in small homes. Goode wanted to make it possible for people living in small homes to have furniture that fit in restricted space. When folded, the cabinet bed looks like a desk. Goode is now known as the first African American woman to receive a patent, on July 14, 1885. Today, there’s a Science, Technology, Engineering and Math education school in Chicago named after Sarah E. Goode.

Further Exploration at BlackPast.org.

Available at Multnomah County Library: Sweet Dreams, Sarah by Vivian Kirkfield 

Hat Rock Oregon geology

Oregon has an extensive geologic history, which is viewable from roadside videos. There are also videos of various landforms in the state created by geologic actions. Like other Pacific Northwestern states, Oregon has many volcanoes. Mount Hood and Mount St. Helens are two volcanic peaks close to Portland. The geologic history of the whole Pacific Northwest was influenced by the great Missoula Floods which has left its mark, in the creation of the Columbia River Gorge. The geology of Eastern Oregon also features the mammal fossil beds at John Day, which include the Painted Hills. The Pacific Northwest also faces the potential of a massive earthquake, due to the Cascadia subduction zone.

 

KIDS REACT TO TYPEWRITERS

Kids aren't born knowing how to use a keyboard.  But in today’s keyboard-centric world, kids need to learn to type. Luckily, there are some good free online typing programs aimed at students.

The article  Ed Tech Ideas: Keyboarding Sites for Kids lists many links to other free typing games.

Need more help? Contact a librarian

Enseñar a los niños cómo funciona el gobierno desde una edad temprana ayuda a fomentar la responsabilidad cívica en el futuro, especialmente cuando se trata de votar. Las familias pueden ayudar a los niños a aprender a través de juegos explicativos, información sobre las elecciones así como llevar a los niños a las urnas o mostrarles la boleta para votar y la guía para votantes que contiene información general de los candidatos y las propuestas de ley.

Otra forma de educar a sus niños sobre el sistema político es hablar con ellos sobre las elecciones actuales. Empiecen por lo que sus niños saben o han escuchado a través de las noticias, amigos y familiares; luego busque momentos de enseñanza durante la campaña que reflejen los valores que desea para sus niños, como el respetar diferentes puntos de vista y buscar la verdad.

Las conversaciones sobre los derechos y responsabilidades cívicas no terminan con la votación, su familia puede continuar aprendiendo durante todo el año sobre las votaciones y el sistema gubernamental en Estados Unidos y lo que significa ser un buen ciudadano.

Escrito por Delia P.

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