Editors Jillian Bauer & Aaron Johnson
Table of Contents
Being You is Do-Abel by Mia Sharp
Get Off Zoom, Spring’s In Bloom by Mia Sharp
Out and About with the Village Voice by Annika Elliott
Reading Roundup by Haydn Reilly Hogan
Meet the Learners: Sophia and Brooks by Annika Elliott
Day In the Life of Otter by Ezria Graul
Voicing Our Views: Animal Documentaries by Haydn Reilly Hogan
Fun & Games by Ezria Graul
Being You is Do-Abel
By Mia Sharp
Everett Abel has combined his passions to bring Village Home (VH) a captivating new class, Unsung History: Queer Musicians.
Everett is a senior at Portland State University, majoring in history, and a former VH learner. He has a lengthy list of previous teaching experience. He has taught for seven years at Rock ‘n’ Roll Camp for Girls, (Rock Camp is in the process of changing their name to be inclusive of trans youth) around three-to-four years at Tryon Creek Nature Day Camp, and has taught drum lessons for the past five years. So when his mom, current VH teacher Annika Abel, suggested that he teach a class at VH, he knew that he would be down for the challenge.
He wanted to teach a history class from the start, but he knew VH already had a good variety of history classes. Instead, he took his love for music, added a new angle, and suggested this class. He always knew he would teach at VH. “If I had to choose between going in once a week to a normal public school and teaching at Village, I would still choose Village,” he says, “Because it gives me more freedom as an instructor to teach what I want to teach to kids who want to learn.”
In this class, you go through the decades starting in the 1920’s and working up to current times, and in each decade you’ll look at queer musicians who were popular at the time. Some examples are Big Mama Thorton and Elton John. Plus, this class doesn’t just focus on history; it covers multiple different subjects.
Everett also strongly embraces the music aspect of the class. You’ll learn about the different parts of a song and about music in general. As well as learning about the musicians, you’ll listen to some of the songs they produced. Then, as a class, you will analyze the song by looking into what you think the story behind the lyrics are and what emotions they convey.
It is also about queer history specifically, and because of that, Everett strives to make his classroom a safe space to talk about anything regarding the LGBTQIA+ community. It’s a place for self-discovery and learning. As you learn about musicians you’ll also learn about the community itself, like the different terms and how to be respectful.
This class really is a multiple-trick pony. His final words of advice to any learner who is scared to express this part of themselves is, “Just be you. It’s not weird or different, it’s just you and that’s really awesome!”
Get Off Zoom, Spring’s In Bloom
By Mia Sharp
With warm weather upon us, many of us are wanting to go outside and enjoy the wonders of nature that Oregon has to offer. Plus, being on Zoom calls constantly definitely isn’t helping with the feeling of being cramped inside. These fun outdoor activities are perfect for families of all ages, can be done safely, and are all at a reasonable price point. From swimming to sports, here are three great options for anyone wanting to get outdoors.
Portland Japanese Gardens
With the recent rise in Anti-Asian hate crimes, it’s even more important now to support these businesses. The Japanese Gardens in Washington Park is a truly beautiful place. On their website you can schedule a time to take a nice calming walk throughout the gardens. The times are specific and change because of Covid restrictions, but they offer great prices for kids and adults. It’s a simple one, but definitely a must-see.
Mary S. Young Park
Located in West Linn, Mary S. Young Park offers you a quiet place to walk or sit by the Willamette River. About 128 acres, this joyful, forested park should be a go-to for families with younger kids. As you walk deeper into the forest on any of the several different trails (5-8 miles worth), it’s easy to forget you’re in a city. It’s a quick but peaceful stop if you don’t have time for a drive to the country. Plenty of room for kids to play on the sports fields, a restroom, shelter (that can be reserved), and an area for dogs to run unleashed.
A little farther down, you will find a loading dock, so bring a canoe or a kayak and ride up the Willamette River. There is also a good sized beach area right by the water that you can either walk to or go down from the dock. It’s a great place to relax in the sun, or go for a refreshing swim.
This is a great non-contact sport to play outside when you’re trying to be more active. You can go to a variety of public parks to use courts if you’re just wanting to play, or if you’re wanting to learn and gain a new skill. You can sign up for tennis lessons at one of the many Oregon Recreation Centers. For example, The Tualatin Hills Parks and Recreation District offers court rentals and instructional classes Monday-Fridays at varying times. Costing around $14.00-$17.50 a lesson for up to four people. You can check their website for more information. You can start tennis at any age, or level, and play it safely.
Whether you’ve lived in Oregon for years or you’ve just moved here, these are all great places and things to do as we are finally getting to see the sun. And, none of these have to take a full day. If you only have half a day, you can keep these in your back pocket for a quick and fun adventure. Happy travels!
Out and About with the Village Voice
By Annika Elliott
By Haydn Reilly Hogan
Dragon Slippers – Jessica Day George, fantasy (8+)
This is a fun, magical, modern fairytale book about a girl named Creel whose aunt sends her to be held hostage by her local dragon in hopes that a prince will rescue her. Creel, however, has other ideas, deciding instead to bargain with the dragon, winning a pair of slippers in the process and beginning her journey to the city to fulfill her dreams of being a dressmaker.
When Creel arrives in the city, she notices strange things starting to happen and realizes that the slippers she won in the beginning of her journey may possess much more than meets the eye. This is a great fantasy book for both younger readers and older ones, sporting an impressively executed plot.
Wolf Hollow – Lauren Wolk, historical fiction (11+)
In the wake of two world wars and growing up in a small Pennsylvania town, Annabelle’s quiet life is disrupted by Betty Glengarry, a new girl at school. She decides to torment Annabelle, and Betty’s manipulation starts to affect everyone Annabelle cares about. Annabelle then meets and befriends a reclusive World War I veteran who becomes Betty’s new target. She turns the town against Toby, and Annabelle will have to find the courage to stand up for what she knows is right when no one else will. Wolf Hollow is a Newbery Medal winner and is a great historical fiction book.
My Sweet Orange Tree – José Mauro De Vasconcelos, biographical fiction (13+)
This book is perfect if you feel like crying your eyes out. Based on the author’s childhood life, My Sweet Orange Tree is about a little boy named Zezé who is clever beyond his years and disarmingly precocious. Zezé likes to play pranks on the neighbors and is severely punished by his parents for his mischievous nature. His family is also struggling because his father has recently lost his job.
Zezé’s life begins to change when he meets his first real friend which shows him the beauty of human tenderness and also brings him terrible sorrow. This book is gorgeously crafted, translated from Portugese by Alison Entrekin, and it will stick with you for a very long time. The writing style and storyline are achingly beautiful, but younger readers might want to veer more towards Crenshaw or Dragon Slippers as there are some harsh moments throughout the book.
Wilder Girls – Rory Power, dystopian fiction (14+)
This new bestseller is definitely worth the read for fans of dystopian fiction and anyone who enjoys really well-written fiction. It’s about three girls named Hetty, Byatt, and Reese, all living on an island because of a terrifying sickness called “the Tox.” The mysterious disease creeps into your veins and turns your body against you, so the students of Raxter School for Girls have been kept on the island for two years, cut off from the rest of the world and quarantined inside the school grounds.
When Byatt goes missing, Hetty and Reese will do anything to find her, even if it means breaking quarantine and venturing into not only the woods, but the dark secrets surrounding both the Tox and their life at Raxter. This book is masterfully crafted and resembles a feminist Lord of the Flies. It will keep you glued to the pages and it includes some romance as well as lots of action and sci-fi conspiracy, but it gets pretty intense, so readers younger than 14 should be cautious.
Meet the Learners: Sophia and Brooks
By Annika Elliott
Sophie Krajcar is 10 years old and has been going to VH for five years. Sophie has a younger sister named Anya, who is 8 years old and a dog, named Cam, who she loves to take on walks and play with.
Sophie mainly likes to take very hands-on classes, i.e, art, baking, and nature classes. She is also part of the Rivers program. She’s taken a few classes with Anya and says that they were fun.
Outside of VH Sophie uses Khan Academy for more learning. She also enjoys playing tennis with her dog. Sophie loves reading. Some of her favorites are Harry Potter and The Hobbit
Sophie is also an artist. She enjoys drawing her sister and her dog, as well as her favorite anime characters. Another one of Sophie’s interests is creative writing and it’s one of her favorite subjects..
Sophie has indulged her interest in cooking throughout quarantine and likes making soups and salads for her family.
Brooks Sharp, age 7, loves going to VH, and he has been going here for 4 years. Brooks says that he likes going to VH because he enjoys being able to see his friends. Brooks has three older siblings Keller (10), Bryce, 18, and Mia (14), three dogs, Avery, Bowser, and Sadie, and one cat, Chansi.
Brooks is currently only taking one class at VH, Rivers, the day program. Brooks has been in Rivers for 2 years.
Outside of VH, Brooks is involved in an outdoor forest school which he has been going to with his older brother, Keller, for two years. He also enjoys a tennis class..
Reading and drawing round out Brooks’s hobbies. His favorite book is Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, by Roald Dahl. Recently drawing has become a passion of his.
Lastly, a random fact about Brooks is that his favorite foods are macaroni and cheese and pickles.
Day In the Life of Otter
By Ezria Graul
Voicing Our Views: Animal Documentaries
By Haydn Reilly Hogan
This spring, getting out into nature is harder than ever, so learning about the world we live in is a great way to connect with the natural world. Nature documentaries are a lesser known form of entertainment, but they can be a great way to bring together the whole family in an educational way. There are lots of great options on different streaming platforms including Netflix, Disney+, and PBS Kids.
Dolphin Reef is a great educational documentary on Disney+ about coral reefs and their ecosystems. The story centers around a young dolphin and his mother, and has a lot of interesting facts about sea life. The storyline is entertaining and easy to follow, which makes it perfect for younger learners.
Wild Kratts is a timeless classic. It’s an animated show on PBS Kids about two brothers and their adventures into the wild. It blends sci-fi with documentary techniques, and incorporates tons of interesting animal and ecological facts. It’s an educational show, and younger learners will absolutely adore it. You can find it (as well as a number of interactive educational games based on the show) on the PBS Kids website.
Growing Up Wild is a Disney documentary on Netflix, starring Daveed Diggs. It’s about five baby animals from different parts of the world and their stories. We follow them as they learn to navigate their surroundings, helped by their families. It’s very sweet and lighthearted, perfect for kids.
Monkey Kingdom is a documentary on Disney+ about a female monkey navigating the social hierarchy of her troop. She has to develop survival skills and trust her instincts, and step up to lead her family when they get forced out of their jungle home. It is entertaining and lively, with a bit of fighting and lots of funny moments. Tiny Creatures is a Netflix miniseries about the adorable, smaller side of the animal kingdom and how they survive and thrive in our modern world. It’s great if you’re looking for something cute and fast paced, and it features a wide variety of different animals. It will keep every member of the family entertained with lots of action and humor.