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I have a toddler at home. She is curious, funny, likes to sing songs, is fearless on the slide. And lately she has been driving me a little crazy. If you are the parent of a young child, or have ever hung out with a two-year-old for a couple of hours, you know how things can be fine one moment before they suddenly go terribly wrong. Toddlers feel every emotion with their entire bodies. They have their own seismic counter at work, with an earthquake they have somehow swallowed that threatens to go off inside them at any moment. My block tower fell over? I will throw myself on the floor! I tore the paper I was coloring? I will rip it to pieces in frustration!

Sometimes I get a little jealous that adults can’t get away with acting out their emotions the way toddlers do. It looks so freeing to be able to let it all out and not care what anyone thinks. It’s that amazing ability children have of living forever in the present---the only moment is the here and now. It’s too bad one of us has to be the grown up and drive us home from the grocery store---otherwise I’d gladly trade places and stomp my feet up and down the aisles.

What has saved me from pulling my hair out is getting outside. There’s something magical that happens when fresh air hits her cheeks---she’s like a different kid! Tantrums turn into playing with whatever we might come across: rocks, sticks, leaves, pine cones. Everything is interesting and worth examining closely.

Activities can also help. Need something to do with your little one? A while back my colleague Joanna posted about fun things to do with kids this summer. And Portland is a great town for always having a cool festival going on in the summer months. The library will have a table at the Portland Pride Festival on June 13th and 14th, so come check us out! This year my wife and I are planning on taking our daughter to her first ever Pride Parade, as long as it doesn’t coincide with naptime. No one messes with naptime.

The Sculptor bookjacketI just finished The Sculptor by Scott McCloud and I want to tell everyone I know (even complete strangers!) about it. I loved it as soon as I saw the cover - a stunning facade that incorporates the main character and the woman he loves as a sculpture. 

And then the story. It's that age-old tale of selling your soul for your art, but it's told in a brilliantly fresh way. Did I mention the drawings? This is a graphic novel and even if you've never been interested in reading one before, please take a chance on this one. This picture story tackles all of the important issues - destiny, art, love, one's legacy, loss, death. It's all here in the most beautiful wrapping imaginable and I want everyone to read it now.

Cool Japan Guide book jacketLots of Americans are way into manga and anime, but Abby Denson loves both so much that she tries to go to Japan every year.  She’s pretty much a fan of all Japanese pop culture and now she’s written and illustrated a fun travel guide to help others navigate the land of manga, lucky cats and ramen.  She’ll tell you about the best times to go, how to deal with the weird toilets, where to find the most awesome souvenirs, what to eat (the ramen is WAY better than the stuff you find in the U.S. and the sweets are to die for), along with interesting things to see and do. You’ll also learn a few Japanese words from Abby’s cat, Kitty Sweet Tooth.

Comics conventions! Maid and butler cafes! Vending machines with funky food and drink! Abby throws you right into the middle of it all.  After reading the Cool Japan Guide, you’ll want to hop the next flight to Tokyo and start your search for the perfect omamori and Taiyaki.

For another fun illustrated guide to Japan, check out Tokyo on Foot by Florent Chavouet.

Two children smilingDental health is really important to our overall health; teeth and mouths need to be healthy so that we can eat, talk and smile, and they are also portals into our bodies, so it’s important to keep them in good working order.

How can you get a good start, if you’re a kid, or give your child a good start, if you’re a parent?

First, have a look at this page from the Partnership for Healthy Mouths, Healthy Lives to learn about kids’ healthy mouths. You can also find out about teeth at different ages here, too.

There is also much more information on MedlinePlus, a great resource for health information and you can also check out the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD)’s website for parents and caregivers.

Babies

Healthy baby teeth are important, too, even though they’ll later be replaced by adult teeth. Find out why baby teeth matter, and how to keep them healthy.

Children

Want to learn about your teeth, and how to keep them healthy? Start here.

Teens

How can you take care of your beautiful smile? Find out about tooth health here.

Parents

How much do you know about taking care of your child’s teeth? Try this quiz to find out! Want to learn more? Start here. Here are some more tips for taking care of your child’s teeth.

Get step by step instructions on brushing and flossing with your child here.

Does your child resist cleaning his or her teeth? Here are tips to help you and your child succeed.

 

Still have questions? Remember that your library is here to help. Contact us by email, phone or come right in!

 

The first page of The Hound of the Baskervilles, from The Strand MagazineMmm... cereal. For the longest time I dreamed of opening a food cart which would serve nothing but different variations on breakfast cereal - and this was before food carts were such a très-Portland thing. But wait a second! I’m getting off track. This blog post isn’t about cereals, it’s about another 19th century innovation: serialized novels, stories told in installments.

Serials are big right now. Television epics like Game of Thrones or Mad Men are all serialized stories, with each episode leaving you hungry for the next. There’s the true-crime podcast titled simply (and rather unimaginatively, in my opinion) Serial. And if you want to get creative, even something like professional sports could be considered a serial: you follow the story of the Portland Trailblazers through regularly occurring games, newspaper columns, and blog posts, as the story of the season unfolds in all its promise and anticlimactic tragedy.

Serials used to be a big deal in written fiction, too. The dead white guy that everyone always talks about is Charles Dickens, but there were lots of other novelists whose works appeared monthly in literary magazines of the day: Arthur Conan Doyle, George Eliot, Harriet Beecher Stowe, Wilkie Collins, and even Oregon’s own Abigail Scott Duniway, to name but a few. More recently, writers like Michael Chabon and Laura Lippman have released serialized stories in the New York Times Magazine.

If you want to really experience it 19th-century style, take a look at the Victorian Reading Project from Stanford University: you can download PDF scans of story installments from Dickens and Doyle exactly as they appeared in the magazines of the time. Try reading one installment every week, and see if you can resist the temptation to binge-read the entire story.

I’ve made a reading list of novels, both old and new, which started life as installments. I invite you to sit down, pour yourself a big bowl of serial, and dig in. One chapter at a time.

I just read a fun library book about a family that sailed from Kodiak Alaska to Australia with their ten month old son. The book came from the Fairbanks Alaska public library, but I picked it up at the Capitol Hill Branch of the Multnomah County Library. Interlibrary Loan made this possible.

Several times a year I want to read a book that Multnomah County Library, (MCL), doesn’t own so I put a request in for an Interlibrary loan, (ILL). It is an easy way to expand my reading horizons.

To get started you need to set up an ILL account. Just type ILL in the orange search box on the MCL web site. Then click on Service - Interlibrary Loan to get to the ILL information page. You will want to read the what we borrow and how to use Interlibrary loan pages. There is also a Create an interlibrary loan account link.

The process is more involved than placing a hold so feel free to ask your local librarian for help. You also need to be patient since a four to five week wait is fast for an ILL. Next time MCL doesn't have the book you want give ILL a try.

Oh, the book I read was South From Alaska, by Mike Litzow. He also has a blog, http://thelifegalactic.blogspot.com/, they are now sailing in Patagonia.

Multnomah County Library's Lucky Day service includes books for kids, teens and adults.  Lucky Day copies are available for spontaneous use and are not subject to hold queues.  Nobody can place holds on these items; it's first come, first served.  That means you might not have to wait at all for the most popular new titles!  You never know what you might find at your neighborhood library - it just might be your Lucky Day!

Photo of Gustav HolstOne hundred years ago, English composer Gustav Holst began work on what would become his most famous work -- The Planets -- which he would complete in 1916. The work is a suite for orchestra, with each movement being named after a planet in the Solar System. At the time of its writing, the existence of Pluto was unknown; and so Neptune was the most remote planet to be included in the work.Image of Solar System

Holst died in 1934, not long after Pluto's discovery in 1930 by astronomer Clyde Tombaugh at the Lowell Observatory in Flagstaff, Arizona. With the official count of planets expanded to nine, I always thought it was unfortunate -- maybe even a little sad -- that Holst was not able to "complete" his suite by adding in a movement named after the planet Pluto. But fast-forwarding about 75 years, Pluto's status was reduced to that of a dwarf planet by the International Astronomical Union.

So maybe Holst didn't just run out of time after all. Perhaps he just didn't consider the tiny newcomer to be worthy of sitting alongside such lofty celestial bodies as Mars and Jupiter!

Years ago I had the opportunity to work as an English teacher in a Montessori school. It was then when I had my first experience working with bilingual books. Listen to the Desert by the Mexican American writer Pat Mora kept my attention because of its simplicity and content. Inspired by the book, I developed a project with the 1st grade children studying the desert. The project ended with a class open to the children’s parents -- it was a total success. You can have experiences like this at home, too! Libraries are a fantastic resource for parents who want to explore a variety of topics and reading levels with bilingual books.

 

Who could imagine that years later Pat Mora would visit our libraries during the Children’s Day, Book Day celebration, where she autographed her book Yum! MmMm! Qué Rico! I even got a chance to share with her my experience of using Listen to the desert as part of my teaching project.

 

Here's a list of my favorite bilingual books. Enjoy!

 

Años atrás tuve la oportunidad de trabajar como maestra de inglés en una escuela Montessori y fue entonces cuando tuve mi primera experiencia trabajando con libros bilingües. 

Oye el desierto de la escritora México americana Pat Mora llamó mi atención por su simplicidad y contenido e inspirada por tal contexto desarrollé un proyecto con los niños de 1er grado sobre el  desierto como tema principal. El proyecto finalizó con una clase abierta a los padres de familia la cual fue un éxito total. Experiencias como esta pueden ser repetidas en casa y las bibliotecas son un recurso fantástico para aquellos padres de familia que quieran explorar diversos contenidos y niveles de lectura con sus hijos interactuando con libros bilingües.

 

Años después Pat Mora visitaría varias de nuestras bibliotecas durante la celebración del Día de los niños, El día de los libros y al autografiarme su libro Yum! MmMm! Qué Rico! pude compartir mi experiencia con aquel proyecto cuando siendo maestra.

 

Te invito a que utilices nuestros recursos y espero que disfrutes esta colección de mis libros favoritos.

 

 

 

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