Blogs: Kids

Students looking at grammar workbook together, outside
As the end of the school year comes closer, students start thinking about spring finals and Advanced Placement exams, or looking ahead to the PSAT, SAT or ACT for colleges. The library is here to help with print and online resources and live tutoring help, along with some study tips.

Your student can get started with study guides and learn how to organize and stop putting off their homework and studying. The library has books to help with math, science, essay writing, and AP exams. The library can help with college entrance exams too!

Be sure to also check out our online resources. Students of all ages can get live help in English, Spanish and Vietnamese, 2-10 pm daily, with Live Homework Help from Tutor.com. Tutors can proofread papers and work through math problems with students. Tutor.com also has practice tests, PSAT study guides, AP exam tips, flashcards and more.

High school students can find more AP practice tests, flashcards, study guides and practice college entrance exams in Learning Express Library. They can also find resources for their math, science, language arts, social studies, and technology classes.

All this is free and available with a library card number. Chances are your child has one with Library Connect, our partnership with public school districts. If they know their student ID number, check for your district code to begin using the resources. If password help is needed, the quickest way is by phone. You can also use email or chat between 9 am and 5 pm to reach one of our staff members.

Now that your student is ready to use and borrow library resources, the next step is studying. Teachers and school counselors have tips to help:

  • Plan ahead. Create a schedule of when each test is and how much time to study for each. Avoid stress and worry by spacing out study time rather than cramming.
  • Find a place where your child can concentrate and be comfortable. The library can be a great place! It’s free and there are computers to use for those online resources mentioned above.
  • Have study supplies ready--notes, textbooks, highlighter, pen or pencil, paper. If using a tablet or laptop, make sure it’s charged or that the charger and an outlet are handy.
  • People learn in different ways. What does your child need: a fidget to occupy hands and focus their mind? space to move? ability to listen to a video or audio recording or to read aloud?
  • Remind your student about silencing or using the ‘do not disturb’ feature on their cell phone if they have one. Remind them to close any apps and tabs on their laptop that aren’t for studying.
  • Set an alarm so your child gives their mind and body a short break every hour or so. Suggest to your child that they take a walk, get some food and/or talk to family or friends before returning to study.
  • Ask a couple classmates if they’re interested in forming a study group to support each other.
  • Know what can be taken into the test. If notes are okay, organize them. Only #2 pencils allowed? Have a couple extra ready. Check calculator batteries.
  • Get a good night’s sleep.

Most important is remembering that it’s okay to ask for help, especially if they have feelings of anxiety. Worrying about tests is common. If your child has anxiety about test taking or school in general, we have recommended resources for parents, children and teens that may help.

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

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.

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!


 

Everyone knows I love a good tiger-striped coat (for evidence, note our two tabby cats and one brindle dog), and that I have a soft spot for rescued pets. My family’s first kitten sauntered up to our doorstep, climbed up the screen door, and meowed to high heaven during dinner hour. My siblings and I named her, in the straightforward style of children under five, Tiger.

The author of Maverick and Me chose a more unique name for her pet (I think you can guess what it is), the real-life rescue dog this book is based upon. The story begins on a cold and rainy afternoon, when a woman finds a sick and tiny puppy with a tiger-striped coat by the side of a road. She nurses him back to health, and gets him ready to find a home.

When a young girl named Scarlett meets Maverick at an adoption event, his life takes a turn for the better. Together, they come up with a fun way to tell all of her friends about other puppies that need homes. This heartfelt picture book introduces kids to the concept of pet adoption, and will spark conversations about helping pets in need.

April 30th is National Adopt a Shelter Pet Day. If you're thinking of adding a new furry (or feathered!) member to your family, our local shelters have some great pets to choose from. If you aren’t looking for a pet of your own, here are other ways you can help out pets in need:

  • Foster a dog or cat up for adoption at your local animal shelter

 

  • Donate supplies. Most shelters are always in need of blankets, toys, and dog/cat food. If you happen to buy some food that your pet doesn't like, why not donate it? The Multnomah County Shelter even has an Amazon wish list to make donations easier.
 
  • Share the idea of pet adoption with family and friends who are looking for a pet. There's nothing like love from a pet who's found its furrever home.
 

 

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. 

Laura booktalks Salsa, Jorge Argueta

Victoria Jamieson; photo: Herminio Jacome
Victoria Jamieson is the author and illustrator of  books for children, including the Newbery Honor book Roller Girl. Along with writing and illustrating, she teaches children's book illustration at Pacific Northwest College of Art.

A good percentage of my childhood was spent at the library. When my brothers and I were young, my mom helped organize the summer reading program at our local library outside of Philadelphia. I created many a diorama based on books during those summers. A few years later, my mom started working there as a children’s librarian where, much to our chagrin, she seemed to learn all of the gossip in town (“So, I hear you’re dating so-and-so!”)

The most formative books for me as a kid were the Ramona books by Beverly Cleary. I related to her so much -- she seemed like a real kid. I appreciated the fact that her family worried about money, and her dad worried about finding a job. It reassured me to no end to read about kids facing real-life situations. I can’t tell you how many times I read those books. They MAY have been a factor in my deciding to move to Portland.

Other childhood favorites included Anne of Green Gables and all of the Roald Dahl, but especially The BFG.  That book inspired a lifetime of whizpopper jokes. I love re-reading childhood favorites. I teach a continuing education class in writing and illustrating children’s books at Pacific Northwest College of Art, and I always recommend re-reading old favorites. It’s fascinating to read them from an adult perspective, and if you want to write children’s books yourself, it’s a great way to remember what you loved about reading as a child.

Here’s a list of my recent favorites:
The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate
This was the last book that made me cry — like, a deep, body-shaking sob. If you like a body-shaking sob as much as I do, this is the book for you.

Where the Mountain Meets the Moon by Grace Lin
As soon as I read this book, I knew it would be a book I would read to my kids someday. It’s just a book you want to share. Now I just need to wait for my son to be old enough.

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie
You just have to read it. It’s an amazing book.

Ida B by Katherine Hannigan
This book is both laugh-out-loud funny and cry-out-loud touching. Be careful where you read this one; I was reading it on the subway in New York when I started ugly crying.

A few more:

Inside Out & Back Again by Thanhha Lai

American Born Chinese by Gene Luen Yang

El Deafo by Cece Bell

One Crazy Summer by Rita Willams-Garcia

Get even more reading recommendations hand-picked for you by My Librarian.

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