Blogs: Teens

High schoolers, you can just read for an hour to mark off each spot on your Summer Reading challenge cards or on the mobile site. But there are a lot of cool other things you can do, too! Remember, you can play online or on a paper gameboard (available free from any library), but not both. 

Beyond reading

Do any of these to fill in a space on your challenge card or mark a day’s reading on the mobile site.

  • Stream or download music or a movie from the library with the hoopla app (library card and password required)
  • Check out a magazine from the library on your phone, tablet or computer (library card and password required)
  • Attend a free summer concert and listen to live music
  • Read to a young child and talk about the story, helping get them ready for reading (and it can count on their gameboard for Summer Reading, too!)
  • Teach tech to an adult--show an aunt how to Snapchat, Grandpa how to use Facebook, Mom or Dad how to stream music or listen a podcast
  • Learn or practice a language through Mango Connect languages on the library’s site (library card and password required)
  • Download an audiobook or an ebook from Libby

Movie making at Rockwood Makerspace
Do, make, share—win!

Share your creation for a chance to win $100 collage certificate. Examples:

How do I submit a creation?

  • Email it (or a link to it) to SummerReading@multcolib.org or
  • Post on social media with the hashtag #MultCoLibTeen
  • Bring it to your neighborhood library and ask staff to send it in to the Summer Reading office (make sure you include your name and contact info)
  • Postal mail to Multnomah County Library, Attn: Summer Reading, 216 NE Knott St, Portland, OR 97212 (make sure you include your name and contact info)
  • You’ll be entered into the drawings for prizes. If you need help, ask at your local library.

Need challenge cards? Stop by any library between now and August 31 to get yours! Just keep track of the days you read about an hour and challenges you complete, then transfer them to the gameboard.

Sexual orientation, sexual identity, and gender identity have been getting more attention in the news lately, with the Supreme Court decision about same-sex marriage and Caitlyn Jenner's public transition.

Confused? Curious? Concerned? All of the above? The library is a great place to learn more. Teen Health and Wellness has informative articles and also offers teens the opportunity to submit your own stories and videos.  

If you're in or close to Portland, the services of the Sexual Minority Youth Resource Center and TransActive Gender Center may be helpful.

No matter where you are, you can call, text, or chat YouthLine.

And the video below, LGBTQ: Understanding Sexual Orientation and Gender Identities, is a good brief overview of these topics that includes stories from several youth.

LGBTQ: Understanding Sexual Orientation & Gender Identities (short version)

 

Do you have a zine you want to share with the world? The library is a great place to do that! We have a zine collection available for checkout at five of our locations: Albina, Belmont, Central, Hollywood and North Portland. The focus of the collection is to provide a showcase for local authors that produce zines on popular topics of interest to our community.

You can submit a sample of your zine by dropping it off or mailing it. (Please include your name and contact info.)

Multnomah County Library 
Attn: Lori Moore
205 NE Russell St. 
Portland, OR 97212

Or

Drop off a sample: at any Multnomah County Library location marked: Attn: Karen Eichler

Contact us for more information.

Irie Page is about to turn 14. Instead of, say, a birthday sleepover, she has planned a gift for her community, a free event featuring Mike Domitrz, the founder of the Date Safe Project and a consent educator for kids, teens and adults.  The funny, interactive presentation that he gives to teens and adults is called "Can I Kiss You?", which is also the title of his book. It focuses on how to have healthy, safe relationships and how to both avoid sexual assault and avoid sexually assaulting someone else. Her family raised money online to pay Domitrz's speaking fee, and after the story was covered on the local news, they got all the funding they needed. The event will take place at 7 p.m. on Thursday, November 9th in the Lincoln Recital Hall at Portland State University. PSU has waived the rental fees in support of Irie’s event.


I first met this remarkable young woman at the reference desk at my library when she was just a little kid signing up for our Read to the Dogs program. We book lovers who work at the library always notice the passionate readers, the ones who leave with huge stacks of books they’re obviously eager to dive into, and that was Irie. When she was old enough, I suggested that she volunteer for our Summer Reading program, giving out prizes to kids for reading, and she brought huge enthusiasm to this as well. When she told me last summer about the event she was planning, we decided to put together a book display. Irie chose all the books herself. If you can’t get in to see the display, here’s the list.

“After I saw Malala speak, I was inspired to do something for my community,” Irie told me. She originally wanted actress and feminist Emma Watson. "That's not going to happen," her mom told her, and then suggested Domitrz. When Irie happened upon a book here at the library about philanthropy parties, her idea took off.

“I’ve always seen things in the world and thought, ‘That’s messed up. I want to change that,” said Irie. Like Malala, the Pakistani advocate for girls’ rights to education, she decided she could make a difference. She chose to start here, in her own city. 


***EDITED to update Irie's story. This event was a huge success. There was so much community interest that Portland State University gave them a bigger theater in which to hold it, and it was still standing room only, with more than 500 in attendance. I took my middle school-age son and we both found it interesting and inspiring. I was delighted last week when I ran into Irie in the library and she told me she's one of two state honorees for the Prudential Spirit of Community Award. This is a very big deal! She's won $1000, a silver medallion, and a trip to Washington, D.C. At a ceremony in D.C., five national honorees will be chosen from among the state award winners. The staff at my library, who has known Irie for so long, is rooting for her to win the national award, which comes with even more honors and with cash awards for her and for the charity of her choice. We're so proud of her.

 

Pri is an Indian-American teen living a pretty ordinary life: she loves drawing comics, eating Indian food, and watching Bollywood films with her family. One thing isn’t ordinary in Pri’s life, and that’s how her mom absolutely refuses to talk about India or Pri’s father -- whom she left there before Pri was born.

One afternoon, an old trunk tumbles out of Pri's closet, and in it she finds a beautiful sari that she wraps around her shoulders. And in that second, her world turns from a dull black and white to gorgeous technicolor. This sari transports her to the India of her dreams, filled with delicious dosas and breathtaking scenery. But a dark shadow begins to follow her there, and not everything is what it seems. Pri will have to be braver and bolder than she’s ever been before to track down the sari’s secret, and her family’s history. This heartwarming graphic novel about the power of our choices is a great read for strong young girls, and for those in need a bit of strength. 

--By the Hollywood Teen Book Council

There have always been conflicts in the world that leave innocent populations vulnerable. Currently, there has been a lot of recent news around refugees from various parts of the world. We are always curious to learn more either through fiction or from true accounts. Here are some of the resources that we have found particularly meaningful in understanding our world better, and what others are facing.

Podcasts

99% Invisible Icon
99% Invisible

Church (Sanctuary Part 1):

While exploring conflicts in Central America in the 1980, this podcast explores the “social movement based on the ancient religious concept of ‘sanctuary,’ the idea that churches have a duty to shelter people fleeing persecution.”

State (Sanctuary Part 2):

This podcast looks at the government response to churches’ response as being sanctuaries by launching a full-scale investigation into the sanctuary movement.

This American Life icon
This American Life

Are We There Yet? Episode 592:

Staff members of This American Life explore a refugee camp in Greece. They discuss how the Greek government is handling the refugee crisis; explore an abandoned baseball stadium in Athens where about a thousand Afghans are living; talk to a mother about what it is like to be a parent in a refugee camp; and what it is like for a refuge to call the asylum office via Skype.

Don’t Have to Live Like a Refugee. Episode 593:

The second part of the staff's visit to Greece explores what it is like to build a life living in a refugee camp.

Short Films

Many of this year's Oscar nominated documentary shorts were about current refugee experiences. Look for these:

 

Short documentary about the first responders who rescue victims from the daily airstrikes in Syria.

White Helmets | Official Trailer [HD] | Netflix

 
Short documentary that was filmed over three years, telling the story of one family's escape from war-torn Syria, and their attempt to make a new life in Germany.

Watani - My Homeland (Trailer)

 

4.1 Miles:

Short documentary that follows a coast guard captain on a small Greek island who  is suddenly charged with saving thousands of refugees from drowning at sea.

4.1 Miles Trailer

 

Film

Hotel Rwanda:

Tells the story of hotel manager Paul Rusesabagina, who kept more than 1000 people safe during the 1994 Rwandan massacre.

HOTEL RWANDA (2004) - Official Movie Trailer

 

Comics

By New York Times Comic by Jake Halpern and Michael Sloan
 
Follows the true story of a Syrian family's journey to America.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Video Clips

Ted Talk Playlist: Refugees Welcome

Ten different TedTalks about that explore the refugee crisis and refugees' experiences. 

Ted Ed: What Does It Mean to be a Refugee?

What does it mean to be a refugee? - Benedetta Berti and Evelien Borgman

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Migrants and Refugees Sept. 28, 2015

Migrants and Refugees: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver (HBO)

Article

The Atlantic log

Refugees and the Limits of Economic Logic

By Derek Thompson in The Atlantic

Explores how taking in people who have no safe home isn't about GDP growth; it's about basic decency.

Hey, everyone, I'm David F. Walker. I write graphic novels (or if you prefer, comic books — it's all the same to me). I grew up reading comics (mostly Marvel), and to this day, I still love the medium. At any given time, I have stacks of comics and graphic novels all over my home, waiting to be read and reread. I'm a sucker for a good Young Adult novel, as I also dabble in YA. I love history, so I often spend what little free time I have watching documentaries. When I am not reading or writing comic books, I'm a filmmaker, journalist, and educator. My work includes Power Man and Iron Fist, Nighthawk (Marvel), Shaft: A Complicated Man, Shaft’s Revenge (Dynamite), Cyborg (DC), Number 13 (Dark Horse Comics), and the YA novel, Super Justice Force: The Adventures of Darius Logan, Book One.

Here are my picks:

The Absolutely True Diary of Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie

Perhaps the greatest book I have ever read. There isn’t much more than that to say. It makes me laugh out loud. It makes me cry. It makes me want to be a better writer.

Boxers and Saints by Gene Luen Yang

Two incredible examples of the storytelling possibilities found in the graphic novel medium, which serve as companion pieces to a larger story. I recommend reading Boxers first, but that’s not as important as reading both.

Eyes on the Prize – DVD

Produced back in the 1980s, this multi-part PBS documentary is the greatest jumping-off point for learning about the Civil Rights in America. In a perfect world, families of all stripes would sit and watch this together.

Chaos Walking series by Patrick Ness

I love a good YA book (perhaps because I suffer from a case of arrested development). Whatever the case. The Chaos Walking series (The Knife of Never Letting Go, The Ask and the Answer, Monsters of Men) is probably my favorite YA series. Ness is an incredible writer, and this series is riveting.

Will Eisner’s New York – Life in the Big City by Will Eisner

My absolute favorite comic book creator of all time, Eisner is best known for creating The Spirit, and some historians credit him with creating what we now know as the graphic novel. This collection of stories is the Eisner I love the most – a brilliant example of how image and text can become literature.

Bitch Planet by Kelly Sue DeConnick

One of my favorite comic series currently being produced, it is a hard-hitting, hilarious, radical bit of speculative fiction that finds non-complying women sentenced to a prison on another planet. DeConnick and her creative team are dangerous in the best way possible.

The Central Park Five – DVD

Living in New York City in the late 1980s and early 1990s, it is difficult to describe the climate of what it was like to be young and black in a city that feared you. The infamous Central Park Park Rape case explains it with unflinching humanity, examining the gross miscarriage of justice that occurred when five black teenagers were sent to prison for a heinous crime none of them committed.

Hip Hop Family Tree by Ed Piskor

Combining two forms of expression that I absolutely love – comic books and hip hop, Piskor’s exhaustive historical narrative is a revelation. Four volumes in, this is the graphic novel done brilliantly.

The Enemy by Charlie Higson

I saw an ad for this YA book in, of all places, a comic book. Having read Higson’s Young Bond series, I decided to give this a shot. I can only describe this as The Walking Dead meets The Lord of the Flies – and there are five more books in the series.

Concrete Park by Tony Puryear and Erika Alexander

One of the most over-looked graphic novels of the last several years, both volumes of Concrete Park are works on incredible art. Set on a planet billions of miles from Earth, where people of color and other minorities have been exiled, the series is as brutal as it is beautiful.

The Legend of the Mantamaji by Eric Dean Seaton

Eric Dean Seaton’s three-volume graphic novel series delivers to the superhero the diversity that is sadly lacking from so many other comics. The struggle to find true diversity in works of pop culture continues to be an uphill battle, but this series is a refreshing example of how to do it properly.

Slavery By Another Name – DVD

This PBS documentary is equally engrossing and heartbreaking, as it traces how slavery never really ended in the Untied States, it just became something else. This is one of those “missing” pieces of history that helps to explain the horrific inequities we see in this country, based on race and class.

A Band Called Death – DVD

On the surface, this a documentary about a forgotten proto-punk band being rediscovered after years of languishing only in the fading memories of a few people. But it is so much more. It is about family, and love, and commitment to your art, and how the key to immortality is art.

--by the Hollywood Teen Book Council

We are highly anticipating the release of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child that will be published July 31, and looking forward to the movie release of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them in November. To celebrate, we created a list of our most recent favorite books, and  put them to the Sorting Hat test. Looking at the values of each of the four houses of Hogwarts, this is where we see these main characters most likely getting placed.

Hufflepuff values hard work, dedication, patience, loyalty, and fair play.

Hufflepuff titles
Exit, Pursued by a Bear by E. K. Johnston

Head Cheerleader, Hermione, does a lot to keep the team together and enjoys the athleticism of cheerleading. She has a dedication to the craft.

Dig Too Deep by Amy Allgeyer

Liberty cares about the mining that is destroying and polluting the town. She begins her own investigation seeking fairness and justice.

X: A Novel by Ilyasah Shabazz and Keekla Magoon

Growing up, Malcolm Little is constantly frustrated by the lack of fair play. Trying to leave a past behind him, he knows he can’t run forever and his new found freedom is an illusion.

Shadowshaper by Daniel José Older

Sierra Santiago realizes that something strange is going on, and finds herself to be in a long line of shadowshapers that are currently at war with evil anthropologists and unlikely zombies.

Calvin by Martine Leavitt

Calvin believes that if he can convince Bill Watterson to create one more Calvin and Hobbes comic strip, it will make him better. His dedication to this leads Calvin to go on the journey of the lifetime.

Bone Gap by Laura Ruby

Finn keeps searching for Roza after everyone gives up. He also stands up to the terrible brothers.

Boy in the Black Suit by Jason Reynolds

After his mother’s death, Matt values hard work and his job at the funeral home.

Hold Me Closer: The Tiny Cooper Story by David Levithan

Larger than life Tiny Cooper, has written a play about his life. Through his quest for meaningful relationship, Tiny proves to be the most loyal  of friends.

Dumplin' by Julie Murphy

Willowdean wants to prove to everyone in her small Texas town that she is more than just a fat girl, so she prepares to compete in the beauty pageant her mother runs.

All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven

Violet is dealing with the loss of her sister, to whom she is extremely loyal. She is dedicated, and follows through on the quest to visit Indiana places.
 

 

Ravenclaw values intelligence, knowledge, and wit.

Ravenclaw picks
The Lie Tree by Frances Hardinge

Faith is all about knowledge and solving the mystery of her father’s death through science.

Saving Montgomery Sole by Mariko Tamaki

Monty and the other members of the mystery club are trying to figure out how things work.

The Steep & Thorny Way by Cat Winters

Hannalee values intelligence and wants to be a lawyer.  First she needs to search for the truth about her father's death while avoiding trouble from the Ku Klux Klan

The Hired Girl by Laura Amy Schlitz

Joan values education and studies on her own after the day’s work cooking and cleaning is done.

The Rest of Us Just Live Here by Patrick Ness

Mikey thinks a lot, and is very intelligent. He just wants to graduate and go to prom before someone blows up the high school. Again.

Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson

Woodson uses her intelligence to make sense of the Jim Crow South and the Civil Rights Movement.

A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas

Feyre is witty and smart, and she doesn’t want to give that away.  She is a very good problem solver.

I’ll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson

Noah, one half of an intense twin rivalry, wants to see how it all works while his sister Jude manipulates their fates.

Grasshopper Jungle by Andrew Smith

Austin uses his knowledge of his own family to write the history of the world - a world that has been overtaken by unstoppable soldiers that come in the form a giant praying mantises.

Jackaby by William Ritter

Abigail has very good attention to detail and is accepting of how things come her way - skills necessary when serving as R.F. Jackaby’s assistant, an investigator who studies the unexplained.

 

Slytherin house values ambition, cunning and resourcefulness
 

Slytherin picks
Outrun the Moon by Stacy Lee

Mercy wants into the St. Clare’s School for Girls and she uses her cunning to gain admission.

Highly Illogical Behavior by John Corey Whaley

Lisa is ambitious, resourceful and cunning. She’s also very savvy.

Burn, Baby Burn by Meg Medina

Nora is determined to get out and get on with the next part of her life. She wants to be more than what she is currently seeing that there is.

Wink Poppy Midnight by April Genevieve Tucholke

Both Wink and Poppy use secrets to have power over Midnight and their other friends.

A Study in Charlotte by Brittany Cavallaro

Charlotte Holmes is quite proud of her heritage and is resourceful enough to solve mysteries.

This Side of Home by Renée Watson

Nikki holds onto her ambition that she and her twin sister Maya have had since they were little - to leave Portland and attend a prestigious college. Gentrification in the traditionally African American neighborhood raises challenges.

Illuminae by Amie Kaufman

After the planet Kerenza is attacked, Kady’s mother is on another ship and Kady is determined to get to her.

Flygirl by Sherri L. Smith

Ida Mae has ambition and knows where she is going.  She wants to be a pilot and in order to do that she must use her cunning and pass as white.

The Miseducation of Cameron Post by Emily M. Danforth

After she was out as gay and sent to a restrictive church camp, Cameron survives the re-education without being brainwashed.

I’ll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson

Jude is very ambitious and does what it takes to get in a prestigious art school, even if it means selling out her twin brother Noah.



Gryffindor values bravery, daring, nerve, and chivalry.

Gryffindor picks
Unbecoming by Jenny Downham

Katie uses her nerve to navigate around her mother’s rules so she can discover the details of her grandmother’s story.

Symptoms of Being Human by Jeff Garvin

While Riley demonstrates bravery by keeping a blog about what it is like to be gender fluid, they also inspire bravery in others.

Out of Darkness by Ashley Hope Pérez

Naomi navigates through 1937 East Texas dodging racist policies and discrimination.

The Great American Whatever by Tim Federle

Quinn values bravery, even if he isn’t feeling up to it at the moment.

If I Was Your Girl by Meredith Russo

Amanda shows her bravery and nerve as she navigates her school as a transgender girl.

Under a Painted Sky by Stacy Lee

It takes guts to cross the country while dressed as boys, as Samantha and Annamae demonstrate again and again.

All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven

Theodore is brave in trying to fix his problems himself.

The Game of Love and Death by Martha Brockenbrough

Henry was very polite to Flora, but he also was steady and persistent in his pursuit of her.

Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein

Queenie is loyal to her friendships and displays bravery while standing up to her German captors that are accusing her of being a spy.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer by Joss Whedon

Buffy kills vampires for her job! Is there anything braver? She also cares deeply about her family.

Find Out What's Available

Trinity college
It's never too early to start looking for scholarships. The best time of year to start looking is in the summer or early fall. This lets you find programs before their deadlines have passed, and gives you enough time to complete a well-planned application. Many scholarship programs require an essay and recommendations from teachers or other adults who know you, and these take time to prepare.  

There are many scholarships, grants, fellowships, internships and work-study jobs available. You'll likely encounter some common eligibility criteria. These include which state you live in, if you've performed military service, whether you have minority status or a particular nationality or ethnic background, a religious affiliation, or if any of your family members belong to a national or local organization or civic association. If you fit the eligibility criteria, be sure to consider applying! 

Researching

The library is a great place to get started as you research scholarships. Whether you are looking for a scholarship in the humanities, the sciences, the social sciences, or sports, we can help you discover ways to find scholarship awards for higher education. 

The Scholarship Handbook is organized by common eligibility criteria. It lists scholarships based on which state you live in, whether you have performed military service, if you have minority status or come from a particular nationality or ethnic background, if you have a religious affliation, and whether any of your family members belong to a national or local organization or civic association. Each scholarship program is described by eligibility, basis for selection, application requirements, amount awarded, application deadline, and contact information.

 

"Billions of dollars in scholarships, grants and prizes." The Ultimate Scholarship Book organizes awards into categories such as humanities, social science, science and general. You don't need a perfect GPA or financial need to win a scholarship. There are plenty of awards that have none of these requirements.

 

 

College help for teens: More resources for financial aid, admissions, guides, and Study Abroad.

Awkward book jacket
Ah, back to school! The crisp fall days, football on Friday nights, challenging classes, and the absolute terror of starting at a new school! I switched from public to private school in 8th grade and, fortunately for me, the students were really friendly and welcoming.  I bonded with a couple of girls right away over soccer and disco, and even though our main teacher was a bit intimidating, I managed to get along with her despite being sent to the library for talking to a pal during a boring film.

Penelope (aka Peppi) has a pretty rough start when she begins classes at a new middle school.  On the first morning of the first day, she manages to trip in the hallway and scatter books and papers everywhere.  When Jaime, a kind, but nerdy boy, attempts to help her and the mean kids laugh at them, she screams at him to leave her alone.  She almost instantly regrets her action, but can't seem to find a way to apologize and avoids him like the proverbial plague.  Peppi finds friends among the Art Club and things are going pretty well, but then - horror of horrors - the science teacher assigns Jaime to be her tutor!  What's a girl to do?  Skip the sessions and flunk science or just face the music?  Maybe art can meet science and have something positive emerge.  You'll have to read Awkward by Svetlana Chmakova to find out.

Are you heading back to class or just wanting to relive those days? If so, check out these graphic novels about the school experience...they've got to be more fun than a calculus textbook!

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