Blogs: Biographies

If you’ve selected a person for your next biographical report but there are no books about them don’t spend hours looking through Google search results; instead check out Multnomah County Library’s biographies database list.  In these databases you can find quick facts, articles, encyclopedia entries, and even a search engine devoted to famous people.

Still need more information? If you are headed online be sure to evaluate the website before trusting the information. Here are some good questions to ask when doing online research:

1.     Who is the owner of the site? Is it clear who the author of the information on the page is? Is there a way to contact the author or owner?

2.     Is the website trying to sell or persuade you to buy something?

3.     Check the website’s URL to check the authority and validity of the website. When researching, “.edu” and “.gov” are good indicator that it is an official site.

4.     Is the site kept up-to-date, with current links, new material and a creation date listed?

5.     Based on the information you already have, does the website appear to have accurate information? Are there spelling or grammar mistakes?

If you need more help, ask a librarian.

The story of a brave Cambodian mother who saved her family

On April 17, 1975, the Khmer Rouge entered Phnom Penh. The war was over, or so we thought. But instead of celebrating the end of the conflict, all citizens of the capital were ordered to leave the city. 

November is Native American History month, and one way you can celebrate American Indians this month, and throughout the year, is by diversifying your reading and research. Did your teacher assign you an author biography? Why not select a Native author for your report, and read one of their books while you are gathering facts about their life. Here are five great authors to get you started:

  • Sherman Alexie is Spokane/Coeur d'Alene and was Multnomah County Library’s 2013 Everybody Reads author. If you type his name in the search box on the library's homepage you will find both facts about him and booklists featuring his work. Alexie writes for both adult and young adult readers.

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  • Tim Tingle is Choctaw and writes children’s and young adult books. Many of his books for children are folk tales because Tingle is also a storyteller. In this interview he speaks about the historical perspective of Native American storytelling.

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  • Cynthia Leitich Smith is Muscogee Creek. She is the author of fiction for children and young adults, and her work includes thevery popular supernatural series Tantalize. She is also an avid blogger interviewing other authors, reviewing new books, and giving away advanced review copies!

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  • Joseph Bruchac is Abenaki and is the author of short stories, novels, and poetry. He is a prolific author, writing for all ages across many genres.

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If you are looking for more Native authors or book titles that properly represent the Native Nations in the United States visit American Indians in Children’s Literature . This great resource is written and curated by Debbie Reese, teacher, who is tribally enrolled at Nambe Pueblo in northern New Mexico.


Still need more information? Ask a librarian

Born in Seattle, Washington, James Marshall Hendrix is regarded as one of the greatest musicians in the history of rock music. According to Rolling Stone Jimi was more than just the best guitarist of all time--he was also a major cultural icon of the 1960s. The guitarist, who was also a singer and songwriter, taught himself how to play as as teenager. He started making a name for himself in the music industry as a pick up guitarist during the early 1960s. Jimi first achieved fame in the U.K., and then in America following his performance at the Montery Pop Festival in 1967. His untimely death in 1970 left a hole in the rock and roll scene, but his legend lives on forever. Since today is his birthday, take a minute to learn more about Jimi Hendrix and his unique music style. 

  jimi hendrix At the official Jimi Hendrix site and at Biography.com you can read about Jimi, hear his music, and watch video clips.

Jimi was the guitar master, but how does a guitar work? Learn more about the physics of playing guitar in this TED-Ed video:

Ready to rock out some more with Jimi? Just ask a librarian!

 

In the 19th century, land west of the the Mississippi was often referred to as “The Wild West”. The less regulated structure and society of the American frontier enticed those with a sense of adventure,  including many with a disregard for the law. The outrageous, illegal and often lethal acts of a colorful cast of outlaws is largely glorified today. Trying to separate fact from myth can be a challenge.

Learn a little about the real identities and actions of a few of these outlaws.

Billy the Kid was a teen outlaw who reportedly - and inaccurately- killed more than 20 people before being fatally shot at twenty-one.

Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid were part of a gang called The Wild Bunch. They organized a legendary train robbery.   

Doc Holliday  formerly a dentist, moved West hoping to cure his tuberculosis. A gunman and gambler, he is also credited for saving Wyatt Earp's life.

Confederate soldier turned outlaw, Jesse James was shot by Robert Ford, a member of his own gang who wanted the $10,000 bounty.  A photo that reportedly shows the two of them has recently emerged, though it has yet to be authenticated.  Even through photography, the truth of history escapes us!

Belle Starr, known as the “Bandit Queen”, outlived several outlaw husbands and partners she collaborated with before being fatally shot herself. Her murder remains unsolved.

Want to learn about an outlaw not featured here? Just ask a librarian!

Black History Month: More Than Martin Luther King Jr. and Rosa Parks. This marks the end of our month long journey of learning and exploration. We hope you enjoyed and learned facts about Black History Month that you didn't previously know. Thank you for joining us!

Aasha Benton

February 28, 2015

Painting by Aasha Benton

Aasha's story goes a bit like this. She graduates from college in 2012 and moves back to her hometown right here in Portland, Oregon. She discovers a love for art. So, she begins to paint. Taking inspiration from various periods in Black history and soul music, she creates incredible, yet simple, works. Her paintings are fun, colorful, serious and obtainable. Best of all? You can check them out here!

Further Exploration: http://artbyaasha.tumblr.com/

Available at Multnomah County Library: http://multcolib.bibliocommons.com/item/show/1299586068

 

 

Dynamic Design Duo

#BlackWilliamsPDX

February 27, 2015

Culturally Creative lunch boxes and water bottles

Photo Credit: http://shop.soapboxtheory.com/

Source:  Kayin Talton and Cleo Davis

Kayin Talton and Cleo Davis are a husband and wife designing force. If you can think of it, they can create it! Recently named curators of the Williams Art Project, their talent and ingenuity will soon be displayed for all to see and enjoy.  When they aren’t creating for the Williams Art Project, you can find them at 3940-3944 N Williams Ave. for all of your designing needs. Or, you can find them online where they specialize in being “culturally creative.” In their own words, “As part of the Honoring the African American History of N Williams Art Project, we are combining stories, memories, and locations to create what is essentially a walk through mid-century life in Portland’s largest Black community. Follow us on twitter @blkwilliamspdx for updates on the project, and share your stories using #blackwilliamspdx.”  Be sure to join in!

Jamila Clarke

 

Photographer Jamila Clarke Photo: JamilaClarke\.com

She takes DIY to another level, and she could be the city’s best kept secret.  Jamila Clarke is an impressive creative and she’s good, really good! Clarke does design, illustration, interactive, photography and print, and she even makes jewelry! According to Clarke, her jewelry is “vintage inspired handmade resin jewelry with a modern twist.” More good news: She is right here in Portland. You can find her here , here and here.

Further Exploration: www.jamilaclarke.com

Available at Multnomah County Library: Northwest Passage, The Birth of Portland’s D.I.Y Culture by Lastra, Mike (DVD)

 

Kenneth Doswell

 

BettyJean Couture owner Kenneth Doswell Photo: Oregonlive

Kenneth Doswell is the owner of Bettyjeancouture. He made personal history in 2014 when he received his first national fashion award, Designer of the Year at New York’s Full Figured Fashion week. He only designs for women.  Doswell’s designs are a fashion work of art combining nostalgia with contemporary elements.  He ignores trends and creates beautiful, longlasting fashion.  For most, he is a well kept secret.  If truth be told, Doswell entered the fashion scene at 8 years of age. He designs and creates clothing for leading women. The beauty of it all, his clothes are affordable and he’s right here in Portland!

 

Further Exploration: http://www.oregonlive.com/portland/index.ssf/2014/06/north_portlands_kenneth_doswel.html

Available at Multnomah County Library: Michelle Obama, First Lady of Fashion and Style by Swimmer, Susan

 

Deena Pierott

 

iUrban founder Deena Pierott Photo: nten\.org

In 2011, Deena Pierott starts iUrban Teen with a focus on introducing, supporting and propelling students in the vast areas of technology. Specifically, iUrban aims to increase technology participation in male Black, Latino and Native American teens. Through interactive summits, tours, trainings and a hands-on approach, iUrban garners national attention. In 2013, Pierott is recognized as a Champion of Change for Technology Inclusion at the White House. More good news: iUrban is right here in Portland!

Further Exploration: http://iurbanteen.org/

Available at Multnomah County Library: African American Firsts in Science and Technology by Webster, Raymond B.

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