Blogs: Learn & Create

Did you know the library is more than books? Try a scavenger hunt to explore the library website and catalog. Discover some new resouces and learn a bit about the library. How many languages does TumbleBooks offer books in? What app can you use to learn a language? When did your neighborhood library open? Try all or some of the questions. Click here for the questions and, when you're ready, here are answers and how to find them.

“By speaking of ourselves in a positive and affirmative fashion and finding ways to eradicate self-hate, by speaking kindly about ourselves and those around us, we can foster a sense of love and compassion powerful enough to restructure our society’s entire perspective of “body love.”

These are the words of Jessamyn Stanley, a yoga teacher, entrepreneur, and author who advocates for revising our relationships with our bodies.  Her book Yoke is a collection of thoughtful, deeply honest and often autobiographical essays exploring issues of race, self-love, capitalism, and sex and sexuality.

What would our world be like if each of us had reverence for our own bodies, and by extension, the bodies others are inhabiting? Here's a list of resources to explore that question further.

rainbow pride flag
The beautiful thing about young people is that they react to the world around them through wonder, imagination, and questions...lots and lots of questions. In June, some of these questions may have something to do with Pride Month and what it means to be LGBTQ+.**

  • “What’s with all the rainbows?”
  • “Why is it called ‘Pride Month?’”  
  • “What do all those letters stand for?” **

Some of us are more familiar with Pride - and more comfortable talking about it - than others, so we put together some helpful tips for having those conversations during June and beyond.  

Read Up 

Dive into the historical significance of the Pride Movement and Stonewall Rebellion in June 1969, and learn about the significance of the Pride flag. For a kid-friendly history to read and talk about together, check out Stonewall: a Building, a History by Rob Sanders, with illustrations by Jamey Christoph. Check out recommended fiction featuring LGBTQ+ characters, or memoirs written by LGBTQ+ writers. Curious about how to use they/them pronouns? There’s a graphic novel guide for you! Browse the reading lists below for more titles that may interest your family.    

Listen to (and Learn from) Queer Voices

There are also excellent resources online to help parents and caregivers explore Pride and LGBTQ+ identity openly and honestly with kids. Our favorite is the Queer Kids Stuff Youtube series from LGBTQ+ activist Lindsay Amer, the self-described “Queer Mr. Rogers.” We love how this series (with four seasons of episodes!) explores topics like gender identity and how to be a good ally.  

Celebrate! 

Portland Pride Parade is happening virtually this year on Sunday, June 20 at 11 am. Register here and watch from your home!   

Drag Queen Storytime with Poison Waters on Thursday, June 24 at 12 pm. Join us for this special storytime featuring the fabulous Poison Waters reading stories about inclusion and diversity. Register via the link above to join via Zoom.  

Support LGBTQ+ Youth

Youth who identify as LGBTQ+ benefit from a supportive network of family, friends, and peers. Check out our recent article We <3 LGBTQ+ Kids and Teens! for some organizations and resources that can help provide that support.

This article is part of our “Talking with kids” series, as featured in our monthly newsletter. Reach out to us at learning@multcolib.org if you need more support or have questions. We’re here for you!



**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.

Back in December, at the height of the winter surge, a friend shared an article in USA Today about how students are handling virtual/online school in the time of COVID-19. It was loaded with negativity, pessimism and hopelessness. Students are “lagging academically” or “even further behind - with time running out to meet key academic benchmarks.” Throughout, the article quoted a diverse mixture of kids and parents from around the country, all saying the same thing: there’s been learning loss, kids are failing and falling behind.      

We’d like to tell a different story, one that doesn’t dwell on loss, but focuses on how we move forward. We want to celebrate how far we’ve come, and the progress we’ve made this year, despite, well, everything. We’ve seen agility and perseverance from students adapting to unfamiliar, challenging circumstances. We’ve seen the best kind of support systems: parents, caregivers, teachers, and community members going above and beyond. We’ve observed students learning in so many ways that have nothing to do with academic benchmarks, but are just as important. We’re here to support you as this dynamic learning continues into the summer and beyond.   

Speaking of which, soon, we'll begin our annual Summer Reading program, encouraging kids to read whatever interests them, all summer long!  Thanks to the support of The Library Foundation, as well as our amazing staff and volunteers, we’re able to safely continue offering gameboards, prizes, programs, and fun for the whole family. So after this strange school year, we’d like to offer some positive reasons why you and your family should join us for our Summer Reading Program this year:

a Latino boy, 5 or 6 years old, sits on a bed and reads a book.  He is smiling.

  • Explore your interests and learn about the world around you!  Read!
  • Keep your brain engaged and growing!  Read!
  • Your mind thrives the more you...Read!

 

Summer Reading starts June 16. Stay tuned for more information by checking our Summer Reading page and/or following us on social media (see bottom of the page).   Check out our Summer Reading 2021 booklists for recommendations from library staff!

This article was written for our Family Newsletter, brought to you by Home Learning Support and available in English and Spanish. Please sign up here and you can email us at learning@multcolib.org with any questions

We’ve been reading a lot of memoirs around here lately.  There’s something magical about them, in how intimate and revealing they can be.  Writers of memoirs don’t always include the whole story, but there is an underlying assumption of honesty.  When we read memoirs, we can trust we're getting to know someone, and maybe even ourselves, a little bit better.    

The word “memoir” comes from the French word mémoire, which means “memory.”  It’s just you and the author’s voice, sharing impressions of their memories.  Suddenly, you’re in their world, going deeper with every page you turn.  Reading a memoir offers a unique opportunity to really connect with someone without having to talk to them.  Or, in the case of public figures, it offers an opportunity to learn more about someone you admire, but may never meet.  

Some of our favorite memoirs lately have been graphic memoirs, or autobiographical comics, combining words and visuals to reveal memories.  We enjoy finding diversity in experiences and perspectives in our favorite graphic memoirs.  Whether we’re reading about someone battling an eating disorder, or someone growing up in South Korea in the 1980s, we love getting to know fascinating people through these beautifully drawn and written graphic memoirs!

This article was written for our Family Newsletter, brought to you by Home Learning Support and available in English and Spanish. Please sign up here and you can email us at learning@multcolib.org with any questions.

Looking for more tips on what to read next?  Check out our My Librarian readers advisory service and contact us for more ideas!

If you are looking for help with schooling, here are some free tutoring resources to consider.

Virtual K-12 Tutoring / Tutoría Virtual

Tuesdays, 4,6 pm throughout the year
Who is eligible : K-12 students who need support in language arts, math, science, and/or social studies.
Registration required : yes, spots are limited
Who are the tutors : Multnomah County Library volunteers
Which languages is tutoring available in : English and Spanish

Tutor.com

Who is eligible :  K-college students
Registration required : yes for some features, no for live help
Who are the tutors :  college and graduate students, teachers, working professionals
Which languages is tutoring available in : English, Spanish, Vietnamese

Other Tutor.com information : 
available with a library card
live tutoring 2-10 pm daily
essay help
worksheets
suggested websites
learning videos

Learn to Be

Who is eligible : K-12 students with a focus on underserved students
Registration required : yes
Who are the tutors : high school and college students, adults
Which languages is tutoring available in : English

Interns for Good

Who is eligible : K-8 students
Registration required : yes
Who are the tutors : high school students
Which languages is tutoring available in : English

ConnectOregonStudents

Who is eligible : K-12 students in Oregon, Southwest Washington, and Northern California
Registration required : yes
Who are the tutors : Oregon high school students 
Which languages is tutoring available in : English (but includes language learning tutoring for other languages)
Other : they also offer peer support

Teens Tutor Teens

Who is eligible : Teens 13-18
Registration required : yes
Who are the tutors : high school students
Which languages is tutoring available in : English
 
Other Teens Tutor Teens information :
group tutoring
test prep tutoring
on-demand videos
worksheets
essay editing
 

If you are looking for extra academic support instead of live tutoring, consider these free resources:

Learning Resource Express Library has academic support resources for upper elementary school through high school. Available with your Multnomah County Library card.

Khan Academy has free video-based lessons and practice for K-12 students.

HippoCampus.org is a free web site that delivers content on general education subjects to middle-school and high-school students.

Ben’s Guide to the U.S. Government is a service of the Government Publishing Office (GPO), and designed to inform studentsvabout the Federal Government.

Typing.com is a free resource to help students build their typing skills. Available in English and Spanish.

Mathlearningcenter.org is a nonprofit organization serving the education community and include activities for students K-5 in math. Available in English and Spanish.

Two women and a young girl blow bubbles outside in a field

“I routinely prescribe nature to children and families.  Nature has the power to heal."  

-Dr. Nooshin Razani, pediatrician, presenter of the TED Talk "Presribing Nature for Health"

Research suggests that taking a walk, visiting a park, or getting out in nature can relieve stress, encourage social bonds, and support physical activity.  Less stress means less depression, anxiety, and isolation...not just for kids, but for adults, too!  

Portland Parks and Recreation offers plenty of opportunities for adventure!  Search for your next destination through the Find a Park feature, and be sure to check out their list of Inclusive Playgrounds, which is growing!  Gresham also offers an array of parks and trails to explore. Troutdale, with its proximity to the Sandy and Columbia rivers, offers plenty of fun options as well, and Fairview is home to many others, including our favorite, Salish Pond Wetlands Park.

Wait, there’s more! Metro Parks and Natural Areas offer 17,000 acres of outdoor exploration!  Try out the Interactive Park Finder, and while you’re there, check out their Parks and Nature News section for the latest on the ways our community enjoys nature.  

We love keeping up with Metro’s Our Big Backyard magazine and exploring back issues for beautiful photographs. The latest (Fall 2020) issue features two articles written by members of our community.  

While you're outside, you can take advantage of the learning opportunities it offers.  Portland Parks has created an at-home nature activities page, with links to videos and other activities that tap into kids’ sense of curiosity.  You can find a Flower Scavenger Hunt, a Birds of Portland guide, and a map of Tree Museums that are open for viewing right in your neighborhood.  

There’s so much to see and do out there, so take Dr. Razani’s prescription and get outside!   Even just a little bit can do wonders for your health - mental, physical, emotional, and overall!


This article was written for our Family Newsletter, brought to you by Home Learning Support and available in English and Spanish. Please sign up here and you can email us at learning@multcolib.org with any questions.

three preschool age kids - two girls and one boy - sit on the carpet.  The boy has the facial characteristics of Downs Syndrome.  One girl has her hand raised.

Kids are naturally curious about the world around them. They notice differences in people, because there are differences.  

Visible differences, like how we look, skin color, how we dress, and how we get around.  

And less visible differences, like how we learn, how we interact with one another, and how we experience the world.

Responding to kids’ observations about people with disabilities and visible illnesses can be hard for parents and caregivers who are not sure how, or are afraid they will say something wrong.   

Let’s remember that some of us are different, and experience the world differently, than others. And that’s not a bad thing! In fact, it’s a beautiful thing. Talking about it can be hard, but it’s important!  

My kids' cousin has autism. I tell my kids about how his brain works differently and experiences the world differently than our brains do.  We read books with characters who have autism and talk about them together. Their cousin's mother, my sister-in-law, shared a post on Facebook written by staff at the EDAM Center for Special Education in the Philippines.  This part really stuck with me, and I hope it sticks with you, too.

For all the children who struggle every day to succeed in a world that does not recognize their gifts and talents, and for those who are walking beside them, please let this be a gentle reminder to be kind and accepting of all people.

Recognize that the "playing field" is not always a level surface.

Children who learn differently are not weird. They are merely gifted in ways that our society does not value enough. Yet they want what everyone else wants: To be accepted!!

At the library, we strive to celebrate differences and find common ground in kindness and acceptance.  We want to support you in being comfortable talking to your kids about differences from an early age, and to keep up the conversations as they get older. Below are some resources that may help.  

This post is part of our “Talking with kids” series, as featured in our monthly Family Newsletter.  Reach out to us at learning@multcolib.org if you need more support or have questions. We’re here for you!


 

Are you an artist in grades 6–12?   

Do you know an artist in grades 6-12?

Enter a design for the 2021 Multnomah County Library Teen Summer Reading Art Contest!

The theme this year is “Reading Colors Your World.” A panel of library staff and artists will select a winner from the entries.

● The winning design will appear on the cover of all teen gameboards. The winning artist will be awarded a $100 gift card to an art supply store.

● More entries will be selected to produce a “Reading Colors Your World” coloring book that will be given to Summer Reading participants.  Kids all over the county will be coloring your designs!

● The library will share the winner and all selected designs on social media. 

● Here are the favorite designs from 2020's contest, by Naima (left) and Willa (right):

black and white design showing a girl reading, and magically coming from the book there is a witch, princess, dragon, and objects like a sword, apple, ring, and cauldron
black and white design showing an open book, with dragons, snakes, and a turtle magically coming out of the pages

 

 

 

 

 


ART SPECIFICATIONS

 

The box on the flyer is proportional to the final maximum measurement, and you may use it to submit your artwork. You don’t have to use the entire box, but your artwork must fit inside of it. Final artwork will be printed at a maximum of 6” x 4” (measurements may change if art is scaled down).

1. Original artwork only

2. Content should be appropriate for youth all ages

3. Black & white image only

4. If hand drawn, use black ink, marker, pen or hard pencil

5. If digitally drawn, submit as black & white EPS or high resolution (300 dpi) PNG, JPG or TIF

SUBMISSION DETAILS

Please include your name, grade, school (if applicable) and a phone number or email address so we can reach you if you win.

Winners will be selected based on the following criteria:

● Follow art specifications above.

● Show innovative interpretation of the theme, “Reading Colors Your World”. Be creative, try new things, find beauty in diversity.

● Show graphic design/artistic merit.

Entries must be received by Friday, March 5.  Submit your artwork electronically to summerreading@multcolib.org, bring it to your local library, or send a paper version to:

Summer Reading | Multnomah County Library | Isom Building | 205 NE Russell Street Portland, OR 97212

Summer Reading is made possible by gifts to The Library Foundation

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

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