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.
- “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.
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.
Portland Pride Parade is happening virtually this year on Sunday, June 20 at 11 am.
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 firstname.lastname@example.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.
“I routinely prescribe nature to children and families. Nature has the power to heal."
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.
- A Congolese Garden in East Portland written by Parkrose High School sophomore Thierry Ndayisaba
- Reclaiming Nature for People of Color written by People of Color Outdoors founder Pamela Slaughter
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 email@example.com with any questions.
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.
- Kids’ Quest from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, is an interactive superhero-themed online tool to help kids learn more about disabilities
- Teaching Your Child about Disabilities and Different Abilities from Unlimited Play
- How to talk with your child about learning and thinking differences from Understood
- 25 Disability Awareness Activities for Kids of All Ages, from A Day in Our Shoes
- 5 Meaningful Ways to Teach Your Child about Disabilities via CBC Parents
This post is part of our “Talking with kids” series, as featured in our monthly Family Newsletter. Reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you need more support or have questions. We’re here for you!
You might be keeping safe at home but enjoy these live online performances from some amazing library children’s performers.
- Musician and scientist Mikey Mike the Rad Scientist is broadcasting live from Facebook Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays at 11am.
- Red Yarn, a local and beloved children’s musician, will be live on Facebook Mondays & Wednesdays at 10am PT, and Thursdays at 4pm PT.
- Join one of Portland’s amazing children’s musicians, Micah and Me, for a live ukelele party on Facebook Live Saturdays at 11am and Mondays at 4:30pm.
- Mr. Lizard’s Mobile Zoo, located at Shrink Ray farms, is livestreaming on Tuesdays at 2pm. Check it out to see his lizards, reptiles and more!
- Not live, but local Takohachi Ensemble has their music and storytelling performances on YouTube!
- There are new Penny’s puppet shows on YouTube every several days.
- Portland favorite Mo Phillips has been updating his Facebook page with new performance videos
- Missing the library’s Read to the Dogs program? You can join Dove Lewis live on Facebook for their virtual Read to the Dogs weekdays 1-2pm.
- Dolly Parton shares bedtime stories on "Goodnight with Dolly," at 4 p.m. our time, starting April 2.
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.
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.
I wasn't exactly fond of visiting museums as a kid but I loved the idea of hiding in a museum. Now that I'm an adult, I love visiting museums. Sometimes I wonder what it was like to wear a suit of armor or sit for hours for a portrait painting. I definitely relish the idea of having a museum gallery to myself, having time to look, no one blocking my view, maybe being able to touch. Claudia and Jamie had the thrill of exploring the Metropolitan Museum of Art after hours--sleeping in a canopied bed, bathing in the fountain, and going behind roped off areas--and found a mystery and eventually Mrs. Frankweiler's files.
Claudia and Jamie only spent a week in the museum, but their story has captivated readers for 50 years! To think it all began with a piece of popcorn on a chair behind a roped-off area in one of the museum's period rooms. That piece of popcorn and curiosity about how it got there inspired E.L. Konigsburg. What public space would you like to have all to yourself?
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.