Blogs: Teens

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 to the following locations (please include your name and contact info.)

Multnomah County Library Belmont Branch
Attn: Lori Moore
1038 SE Cesar E Chavez Blvd.
Portland, OR 97214

Or

Multnomah County Library Central
Attn: Karen Eichler
801 SW 10th Ave
Portland, OR 97205

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.

 

I used to call the teen non-fiction section “Sex, drugs & rock ‘n roll” because it consisted largely of books on puberty, the dangers of drug use, and boy bands.  Happily, this collection has changed and broadened in scope over the last decade and there are some truly fascinating books that will appeal to teens (and some adults as well). Here are two new titles I enjoyed reading this month:

The 57 Bus book jacket
Sasha is taking a nap on the public bus on the way home from school.  It’s an hour ride, so sleeping is a good way to pass the time.  Part way into the journey, Richard and his buddies get on that bus.  They’ve got a lot of energy and are fooling around when one of Richard’s friends hands him a cigarette lighter and dares him to set Sasha’s skirt on fire.  When Richard bows to the pressure and flicks the lighter, everything changes.  One bus, one lighter, two teens and a crime that will alter their lives forever.  This compelling true story by Dashka Slater will make you think about crime, justice, gender and race in ways you may never have before.
Obsessed book jacket


Have you ever had a nightmare that stuck with you long after it was over?  In Allison’s sophomore year of high school, she dreamed that she had brain cancer and was going to die young.  When she woke up, she was convinced that her nightmare was a reality and she started doing everything in her power to counteract the cancer.  It started out by not stepping on cracks, but then morphed into avoiding all sorts of things.  Blue pens were not okay.  The computer emitted cancer-causing rays.  Using notebook paper?  Nope. Food became an issue as did her clothing. In a few short months, her obsessive-compulsive disorder had turned her life completely upside down.  I knew this girl was in trouble long before her pink sweater started throwing an attitude.  The question for me was, why didn’t her parents? Obsessed by Allison Britz is a frightening memoir of one girl’s descent into mental illness and her fight to regain her life.

Here are ten books from the teen nonfiction collection that I’ve enjoyed over the last few years.

The library's film collection consists of entertainment and nonfiction DVDs and Blu-rays on a wide variety of subjects. Documentaries, educational films, instructional videos, short films, and DVD re-releases of feature films and television series are all part of the collection.

Searching My MCL for a DVD or Blu-ray

  1. Go to My MCL and search for a title, actor, keyword, etc.
  2. Click on the arrow next to Format on the left side of the screen.
  3. Click the checkbox next to DVD or Blu-ray Disc in the format menu.

My MCL filter

Streaming video

You can stream movies on Hoopla with your library card.

Movie night ideas

Use these lists to find something for movie night:

As always, if you don't find what you are looking for, you can contact us.

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. 

12-year-old Sunny is taunted by classmates for looking different (her pale skin, yellow hair, and hazel eyes mixed with West African features cause her to stand out) and for being from a different place (New York-born to Nigerian parents, her family has moved back to West Africa… but neither country feels completely like home). In Akata Witch, Sunny discovered that she was one of the Leopard People -- those with magical abilities -- who live among regular folk. She and three friends used their powers to catch a ruthless serial killer who planned to awaken a monster from

the spirit world.

Now she is back, in a sequel filled with African magic that I have long been waiting for: Akata Warrior. Sunny is stronger, a year older, and many years more fierce. She has been hard at work studying with her demanding mentor, Sugar Cream, and working to unlock the secrets that lie within her powerful Nsibidi, or spell book. But time waits for no one, and Sunny must travel through worlds both visible and invisible to find the mysterious town of Osisi -- where she will meet her destiny and fight a looming and apocalyptic battle to save humanity. Maybe it is the way Nnedi Okofore weaves Nigerian folktales into her magic, or how that magic is so seamlessly drawn into modern-day Nigeria -- but you’ll believe this original fantasy world really could exist.


 

High schoolers, you can just read for an hour to mark off each spot on your Summer Reading challenge cards. But there are a lot of cool other things you can do, too! Optional challenges are below. If you choose any of the creation challenges from the first list below, share your stuff for a chance to win $100 collage gift certificate! You can email a file to Summer Reading Coordinator Seana Lane or post on Twitter or Instagram and tag with #MultCoLibTeen (if your profile is set to public — if it’s not, just send via email).

Need challenge cards? Stop by any library between June 16 and August 31 to get yours! Just keep track of the hours you read and challenges you complete until you get your cards, then transfer them to the first challenge card.

Cover for Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?

Create stuff

Share your creation for a chance to win $100 collage certificate (see above)

  • Create an alternative book cover for the last book you read.
  • Write and perform a rap inspired by one of your favorite books.
  • Write fanfiction and share it — think about a book you wish hadn't ended, and create the next chapter.
  • Make a zine or blog post listing resources for at-risk teens in your community facing challenges: homelessness, LGBTQ+, bullying, abusive relationships, eating disorders, immigration, scholarship needs.  
  • Instagram a video book review and share with your friends (and enter in the contest above).
  • Create art inspired by a book — a comic strip or graphic novel version, draw a character as you see them, or paint a landscape described.
  • Find a recipe from a different culture than yours, and make it for your family or friends. Take a picture of your feast. 

Movie making at Rockwood Makerspace
Do stuff

  • Volunteer in your community (maybe even at your library!) Or try VolunteerMatch or Hands On Greater Portland for opportunities.
  • Send a letter or an email to an elected representative about an issue you are passionate about.
  • Spend time with kids younger than you — read to them, play with them, talk with them.
  • Teach a new technology to an adult -- Twitter, Instagram, streaming music 
  • Attend a teen maker program at your library or at Rockwood Makerspace.
  • Use the chat feature on the library's website to ask something you can't find out from Google. 
  • Make a booklist. Create a theme (strong female characters, alternative reality, vampire fiction) and post to GoodReads or the library’s site.
  • Write a book review on the library’s (or any other) site.
  • Take our quick survey.

Explore, try and learn stuff

Read different stuff

--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 ocurred 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.

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