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Black History Month & Civil Rights Act of 1964

posted: , by Kim Simmons
tags: Library Collections | Online Services | Programs & Events | Recommended Reads | Adults | Government | Portland History

Black History Month offers us many invitations for learning.  We’re encouraged to learn more about the contributions of individuals in history who may not have originally made our history lessons :  black artists, inventors, authors…

P.S. Be Eleven

We’re also encouraged to learn about American history through a lens of race relations.  Understanding more about the experience of slavery, more about the experience of segregation and desegregation, more about the civil rights movement, etc.  allows us to make clearer sense of how racism exists today and allows us more tools to address racism in our society.

Finally, Black History Month brings race into our collective awareness, providing us with more opportunities to directly consider race and racism and to commit to new strategies for anti-discrimination.  This is a particularly interesting year, as 50 years has passed since the landmark Civil Rights Act was passed which made segregation illegal and paved the way for the Voting Rights Act and the end of the Jim Crow era.

BlindspotLearn more about Implicit Bias at the  ProjectImplict  website and the new book Blindspot  Watch American Promise online  – a POV documentary about race, class, education and growing up
Bookmark this Civil Rights Act calendar which details programming happening throughout 2014

 

 These resources only skim the surface of possible places for learning… share your favorite texts, films, websites, and programs in our comments section!


“Participation! It’s what all my work has been about.” – Pete Seeger

posted: , by Kim Simmons
tags: Recommended Reads | Adults | Art & Culture

Pete Seeger has died at age 94.  His January 27th 2014 passing leaves a hole in the hearts of many but his legacy asks us to memorialize him by participating in our own communities and standing up for our common good with bravery, joy and music.

Learn more about Seeger by watching The Power of Song on DVD or reading a book by or about Seeger.    Or read the Smithsonian Folkways tribute to him, complete with links to music.

Watch Bruce Springstein and Pete Seeger sing This Land Is Your Land on the Lincoln Memorial steps during the inauguration of Barack Obama as President of the United States.

If you’re so moved, consider checking out a PPL Ukulele (see Teens for more info) and plucking a few famous Seeger tunes (here’s a link to a tutorial for If I Had a Hammer on Ukulele).

Commemorate Pete Seeger by choosing to participate! FMI: www.peteseegermusic.com


MONTGOMERY’S VIEW – Flora & Ulysses

posted: , by Mary Peverada
tags: Montgomery's View | Recommended Reads | Kids & Families

floraFlora & Ulysses by Kate DiCamillo Candlewick Press, 2013

I happily read this book a bit ago – but like Montgomery chose to ruminate before posting. Now – this book was just awarded the Newbery Award – and Kate DiCamillo has been chosen the new National Ambassador of Young People’s Literature. It is time I spread the word a little further.

Flora is a lonely girl who is obsessed with comics – her mother calls her a “natural born cynic.” But Flora’s life changes dramatically when she resuscitates a squirrel who is nearly killed in an encounter with a Ulysses 2000X vacuum cleaner. She quickly discovers that the incident has given the squirrel powers (the squirrel lifts the vacuum over his head in one paw.) Flora is reminded of her favorite comic hero the Amazing Incandesto – and her imagination helps her leap to the conclusion that the squirrel will perform great and wonderful feats. Soon the squirrel’s new abilities become even clearer as he shows his skills at understanding Flora, typing and composing poetry. Flora opens her heart totally to Ulysses. However, the squirrel’s greatest enemy is none other than Flora’s romance writing, squirrel hating mother.

DiCamillo has written a story full of heart and humor – but the quirky cast of characters give the reader even more as the author explores loneliness, accepting differences, overcoming fears, abandonment – and love. The black and white illustrations capture the mood and the comic sequences sporadically placed “illuminate” the amazing adventures of Ulysses – and augment Flora’s obsession with comics. Flora soon learns she cannot remain a cynic – once she opens herself and her heart to her squirrel.

Grades 4-6

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