With Halloween approaching there are lots of skeletons to be seen, but did you know that you have a skeleton hiding inside of you? Human beings have 206 bones to be exact! Your skeletal system is the body system made up of all of your bones, joints and cartilage. Along with your muscular system, it makes it possible for you to walk, run, sit, stand, swim and move around the world.
To learn more about the skeletal system check out this article from or for teens at You can also check out the library's databases, a trusted source for homework help available free with your library card. Kids InfoBits has some great articles for kids in grades K-5 about the skeletal system. Simply log in with your library card then search for “skeletal system,” “bones,” or “skeleton” to find lots of information.  Two great resources for middle schoolers and high schoolers are eLibrary and InfoTrac Student Edition.  Both databases are free to use with a library card and provide access to electronic reference books, journal articles, newspapers and media. 
Check out this video about the Skeletal System from KidsHealth:

If you want to explore this topic more, or if you have more questions about any of this, Ask a Librarian! We’ll be happy to talk more about it.

Book jacket: Peanut Butter and Brains by Joe McGeeI don't know for sure how my son became aware of zombies.  I can only assure you that no, we haven't been letting my first grader watch The Walking Dead. And yet in much the same way that he's fascinated by mummies, he's intrigued by zombies. He's not alone either. Zombie tag is all the rage on my son's elementary school playground. Not all the players know what zombies are exactly (and who does really?), but they do know that zombies are slow and they carry their hands up straight in front of them and moan. All of which makes for a really long game of tag, but one that is really amusing to witness.
So what to do when your young elementary school kid is way into zombies?  Well, I suppose you could turn them on to mummies or plenty of other things if you prefer, but if you're willing to go there, there are thankfully lots of gentle and really fun reads to satisfy your little one's affinity for the undead.
We recently enjoyed a new picture book: Peanut Butter and Brains by Joe McGee, about an unusual zombie named Reginald. While all the other zombies in Quirkville have brains on the brain, all Reginald wants is a delicious and sticky peanut butter and jelly sandwich. When he finally gets his hands on one, rather than keep it to himself, he shares it with his horde, who quickly find that pb&j beats brains hands down.
Now when I make my son lunch I can offer him pb & brains; to which his reply is "no mom, that's just gross."
Check out this list for more kid-friendly zombie books to share with beginning readers.

For a lot of people, the pleasure of reading is enhanced when they can discuss books with friends or family. But children, teens and adults can't always read the same books. If you'd like to amp up the conversation at your dinner table, explore some of these titles grouped by themes and subject.

To begin, if your family enjoys stories about real people, here's one that is available in formats for beginning readers to adults. William Kamkwaba is a Malawian innovator. As a teen living in poverty, he devised a windmill that provided first electricity and then drinking water to his community.

Talking about animal welfare can be a challenge, for both kids and adults. Here are three stories for varying age levels that examine our treatment of animals.

If you're off on a camping trip this summer, what better time to discuss wilderness, courage and the will to survive?

Are you waiting with bated breath for Go Set a Watchman? Read, (or re-read) To Kill a Mockingbird, while younger readers get engrossed in The Lions of Little Rock, and then talk about civil rights and the power of friendship to bring people together.

In the early 1900's, Edward Curtis traveled North America taking photos of Native people, an obsession that almost destroyed his life but left us with an amazing historical record. Here's his story told for both adults and kids.

Looking for some creative inspiration? Syllabus is essentially a college course on connecting to your inner artist; My Pen encourages artists of all ages to draw. Just add blank paper.

Happy reading and discussing!

"Come with me and you'll be in a world of pure imagination." -- W. Wonka

 Multnomah County Library Golden Ticket

First graders of Multnomah County, welcome to the library! 

If you attend a school in the Portland Public, Corbett, Parkrose, Reynolds, David Douglas, Gresham-Barlow or Centennial School Districts, you and your family should receive a Golden Ticket at your school's fall conference, directly from your teacher.

Learning to read is a very exciting time, and Multnomah County Library can help you on your way to becoming a stronger reader. Bring your Golden Ticket to any Multnomah County Library location to choose a free book to keep and learn about all about what the library has just for you! Parents of first graders, fill out the information on the back of the ticket and you will be entered into a drawing for a family smartphone. The library has a lot to offer you too.

If your first  grader goes to a  public school in one of the districts listed above and didn't get a Golden Ticket at fall conferences, be sure to ask your teacher or principal.

Golden Tickets can be redeemed for a free book until January 4, 2016. You can come in any time to experience the magic of Multnomah County Library!

Made possible by gifts to The Library Foundation, a local nonprofit dedicated to our library's leadership, innovation and reach through private support.

Did you know that the process of photosynthesis helps us to survive?  Here’s a basic description to get you started understanding how this works.  Watch the video, take the follow-up test, and then try the karaoke song.

If you’d like to be sure you’ve mastered the basic concepts of photosynthesis, this site tests you frequently as you work your way through the information, and won’t allow you to progress until you’ve passed each test.

Let’s move on to more detailed information, including the “recipe” for photosynthesis and a description of the “teeny tiny pigment pancakes”.

With your knowledge of the basics about photosynthesis,  you can understand even more clearly how important plants are to life on earth.  Watch this thought-provoking vimeo and think about the impact of plants on our world.

Bring on the music!  It’s time to celebrate the amazing process of photosynthesis!  You may find that one or two of the following selections will help you to remember the facts about photosynthesis.  This song has a catchy tune, and will have you singing, “Every plant can do this fundamental process, and we can call this photosynthesis.”  Join in on this rap music video, or try this song from "They Might Be Giants".

Want to know more about photosynthesis?  Contact a librarian through your computer or at your local library.

I am enjoying Amanda Brooks latest book Always Pack a Party Dress. It seemed like good advice, so I had to read it. And it is true that when you are traveling you never know when you might need that party outfit. Brooks had a sudden invitation to Madonna’s birthday party. And no party dress! The book covers her fashion highs and lows with thoughtful insights.

Have you had a fashion low? What was your high? My fashion high may have been my red wedding dress. Money played a part of my fashion low. I thought I couldn’t afford nice things. I had forgotten the thrifting days of my childhood. I find the best way to feed my desire for clothes and being able to afford them is a trip to a thrift store or an estate sale, - What about you, are you a thrifter?

When I was younger, I worried about about a good winter coat and shoes. Sometimes the rain doesn’t stop here in Portland. So a backup pair of winter shoes are important to have while the other pair dries out. Now I worry do I have time and money for thrifting? And do I need to clean out my closet?

I used to have a love-hate relationship with the September Vogue issue. It is the biggest issue of the year.  Aspiring fashionistas know to get it or look at it at their local library. Do you love Vogue? I think for us working stiffs it’s an exercise in fantasy or daydreaming. Need a good fashion daydream? I have the list for you.

cover image of complete mausI was not a reader of comics as a child or teen, with the exception of the funnies in the paper. My first formal introduction to the format was Maus I and Maus II by Art Spiegelman in a college class. I remember it being a challenge to follow the illustrations and felt it a distraction from the words. And I am a words girl. Then I watched Persepolis. It was so beautifully done it made me want to read the book by Marjane Satrapi. cover image of complete persepolis

This is her memoir of growing up in the midst of the Iranian revolution. I realized that perhaps I should reevaluate my stance on comics and begin reading more. I stumbled upon Lucy Knisley, who combines food and travel and includes real snapshots and recipes. And then the funny, I shouldn’t be laughing at this because it’s about aging and death and depression but I am, ones like those by Allie Brosh and Roz Chast. I've found I like mostly memoirs. I like them because of the voyeuristic aspect and because they go so quickly. I can read a book in one sitting and sometimes that's just what I feel like doing. So if you’re like me and a bit hesitant to venture into graphic territory, take a look at this list and see if there’s something there to make the transition a smoother one.

Need to do a science fair project and want to make sure it's a cool one?  Something dramatic?  Or something really gross?  Or something involving cooking delicious foods?  A chemistry project might the one for you!

Or maybe your class is chemistry focused and you HAVE to do a chemistry project---fear not, this is the right place for you, too.

Get some ideas by checking out Science Buddies: Chemistry Science Fair Project Ideas.  You can select Beginner, Intermediate or Advanced and then start exploring your otpions!  You should be able to find good projects for students in 5th grade and higher.

Another great resource is the library database Today's Science.  If you are outside the library, you will need to log in with your library card number and pin number to make this work.  Once you have logged in click on the Resources drop-down menu to find Science Fair guide.  This information will probably work best for high school students.

Need more help?  Checkout the booklist below for more options.  Or contact a librarian for suggestions!



Nightfall cover image“I can’t tell you for certain. What I do know is that we do these things - and we have remained safe - so we keep doing them.”

As the sun fades away for its fourteen year hiatus, the residents of Bliss are frantic. Preparing their homes before leaving their island is an elaborate process guided by fear and myth. Houses are to be left “without stain”, all locks are removed from doors, and strict decor must be observed. The why behind such frenzy is unknown and not questioned.

  • Marin is a young girl who has only known Bliss as her home. She has many questions, but gets few answers. Her secret puts everyone at risk.
  • Kana is her twin brother. He's blind, but his vision improves as the darkness falls. As permanent night arrives his dreams have turned into horrific night terrors.
  • Line, an orphan, is preoccupied with the care of his young brother. He has a lot on his mind as they prepare, including Marin.

As the boats arrive and night overtakes the island, someone goes missing. The ships are leaving in four hours. The choice between safety from the unknown and friendship has never been more difficult or life changing under the looming threat of what lies in the darkness.

What happens next? Check out Nightfall!

Born in Seattle, Washington, James Marshall Hendrix is regarded as one of the greatest musicians in the history of rock music. According to Rolling Stone Jimi was more than just the best guitarist of all time--he was also a major cultural icon of the 1960s. The guitarist, who was also a singer and songwriter, taught himself how to play as as teenager. He started making a name for himself in the music industry as a pick up guitarist during the early 1960s. Jimi first achieved fame in the U.K., and then in America following his performance at the Montery Pop Festival in 1967. His untimely death in 1970 left a hole in the rock and roll scene, but his legend lives on forever. Since today is his birthday, take a minute to learn more about Jimi Hendrix and his unique music style. 

  jimi hendrix At the official Jimi Hendrix site and at you can read about Jimi, hear his music, and watch video clips.

Jimi was the guitar master, but how does a guitar work? Learn more about the physics of playing guitar in this TED-Ed video:

Ready to rock out some more with Jimi? Just ask a librarian!



Subscribe to