The Great Horned Owl at Your Library

Posted on Monday, December 10, 2018 by Erin

OwlHave you ever seen a real owl? When you walk into the children’s area of the Columbia Public Library, you’ll find one staring back at you! While this owl is no longer alive, she is most definitely real. The owl was donated to the library by a family whose kids found her on an electric fence. The kids thought they had seen the “the world’s largest pine cone,” only to realize it was an upside-down owl with her feathers puffed up!

When you walk past the owl, it may look like her eyes are following you. Don’t worry; her eyes are not real! Her eyes look like they’re following you because they are made of marbles, which create an optical illusion. In fact, owls can’t move their eyes in their sockets, but they can turn their heads up to 270 degrees. If her eyes were real, they would take up to 50% of the space in her head. If you had eyes like that, they would be the size of oranges!

 Want to learn more about owls? Check out our selection of owl books today!

2018 Missouri Building Block Nominee: Everybunny Dance!

Posted on Thursday, December 6, 2018 by Lyndsey

Everybunny Dance“Ready bunny, steady bunny, everybunny dance!” Ellie Sandall’s book, the Missouri Building Block Award nominee “Everybunny Dance,” invites you to join the bunnies in a dance party. This is a fun book that encourages both play and exercise (which is why you may have seen it in our last blog—”Post-Turkey Wobble”). The bunnies have an exciting time twisting and twirling, playing instruments and singing loudly. Suddenly, an unexpected visitor arrives. Everybunny hides, but not for long! The bunnies want to give everyone a chance, and dancing is a great way to include others and make new friends.

For a fun, energetic activity with your kids, you can play, “Hop like a bunny.” This game practices counting and gross motor skills. Use simple instructions like, “Let’s hop one time. Now hop twice!” See how many times you can hop up and down, and then mix it up by hopping on one foot. Practice directional skills by having everyone hop forward, backward and side to side. The possibilities are endless!

Once you have read at least five Missouri Building Block Picture Book Award nominees, help your child vote for their favorite. Voting is open to children kindergarten and younger, and it goes through the end of the year. The winner will be announced in February.

Book Cover Contest 2018 Winners

Posted on Wednesday, December 5, 2018 by Jenny

Each year, the library sponsors a contest for first through sixth graders in our outlying communities, challenging them to design new covers for their favorite books. Thanks to all who participated! Here are this year’s winning entries.

Post-Turkey Wobble!

Posted on Monday, December 3, 2018 by Amy

The Thanksgiving festivities have now come and gone, and the turkey leftovers are all tucked away nicely in tummies! After eating such yummy foods, it is easy to have gained a little wobble in your step. After all, cookies, pies, pumpkin rolls and the like often accompany Thanksgiving meals.

Below are a list of library resources the whole family can enjoy to get moving while staying warm inside.

Ourter Space BlastoffYoga for Kids: Outer Space Blastoff” (DVD)

Let your imagination blast off into a galaxy far, far away! Kids yoga instructor Jodi Komitor leads yoga practices for kids ages five and up.

Everybunny Dance!Everybunny Dance!” by Ellie Sandall

Bunnies dance, play, sing and learn to include everyone in their games, including the reader!

Wiggle” by Doreen Cronin

Rhyming text describes the many ways you can wiggle and jiggle!

Mindful Moments for Kids” by Kira Willey (CD)

After you’ve tired yourself out, try out this CD. It helps calm your child down by having them stretch and focus on their breath.

2018 Missouri Building Block Award Nominee: Carrot & Pea

Posted on Thursday, November 29, 2018 by Brianna

Carrot & Pea: An Unlikely FriendshipColin is different from Lee and the other peas. But that doesn’t stop friendship! Morag Hood’s sweet and simple book “Carrot & Pea: An Unlikely Friendship” shows how strength can be found in differences. The straightforward text and clean illustrations will appeal to young readers, and parents can appreciate the message of celebrating friends who don’t look like us.

If you and your little one are feeling inspired by these vegetables, take your creativity a step further with some vegetable stamping! In addition to fruits and veggies, you’ll need some paper and paint. I suggest something like this washable tempera paint. The fun part is choosing which vegetables to use! Different ones will make different shapes. Carrots make nice circles, while celery stalks create lovely half-moons. An apple cut in half will look remarkably like an apple, while a whole celery heart will look like a rose. Encourage your child to experiment with you, and discover all the artwork you can make from some paint and veggies.

  1. vegetable assortmentCut the fruit or vegetable so it is easy to hold for little hands.
  2. Pour some paint on paper plates.
  3. Paint the cut side of the fruit or veggie, either by dipping it in the paint or applying it with a brush.
  4. Press the painted veggie onto a white piece of paper, and admire!

If you’re feeling really adventurous, swap out the paper for a plain t-shirt or scarf and use fabric paint instead. Ta-da, wearable art!

Once you have read at least five Missouri Building Block Picture Book Award Nominees, help your child vote for their favorite. Voting is open to children in kindergarten and younger and goes through December. The winner will be announced in February.

Cupcakes, Cookies & Pie, Oh, My!

Posted on Monday, November 26, 2018 by Kristy

What do birthdays, baby showers and weddings all have in common? Cake! This dessert is a favorite to many, myself included. That’s why November 26 is National Cake Day! To celebrate this awesome day, I’m going to share two authors who love cake as much as I do—Karen Tack and Alan Richardson. Below are some of my favorite cookbooks that they made in honor of delicious cake. While you’ll find these books in the adult nonfiction section, they offer some cool recipes for you and your older kids to create together.

Make it Easy, CupcakeMake It Easy, Cupcake! Fabulously Fun Creations in 4 Simple Steps

Tack and Richardson show you how to start with a batch of plain cupcakes and turn them into fun creations such as robots, farm animals and even a cookie village!

Cake My DayCake My Day! Eye-popping Designs for Simple, Stunning, Fanciful and Funny Cakes

Everything that can be done with a cupcake can be done better with a cake—with a twelfth of the effort and loads more wow power, using everyday pans, bowls and measuring cups.

Cupcakes, Cookies & Pie, Oh, My!Cupcakes, Cookies, & Pie, Oh, My!

No sweet treat is safe from the authors’ ingenuity: refrigerator cookies, pound cakes, pie dough, cheesecakes, bar cookies and Jell-O are all transformed into amazing and playful desserts. There’s something for everybody in this book, and every single item you need can be found in the neighborhood supermarket or convenience store. Playing with your food has never been so exciting—or so easy.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Posted on Thursday, November 22, 2018 by Tess

Today is the day—Thanksgiving, hooray! The turkey is ready, the dishes are set, the pie is cooling on the counter and you still have an hour before the guests arrive! The kids want to play, but you want to sit. You’ve already read your latest load of library books, so what next? How about heading over to the Hoopla app on your phone or tablet and checking out these great read-along Thanksgiving titles to share with your little ones!

"One Is a Feast for a Mouse"One Is a Feast for a Mouse” by Judy Cox

A silly story featuring a mouse whose eyes are too big for his stomach! As the greedy mouse piles up the Thanksgiving leftovers to bring back to his home, he forgets about one important thing…the cat!

How To Catch a Turkey” by Adam Wallace

What could be worse than Thanksgiving for a turkey? Asking the turkey to get on stage during the school play! Stage fright strikes, and the turkey is off! Can the students and teachers catch the turkey in time for the play?

Thanksgiving Is…” by Gail Gibbons

This is a simple story that explains harvest customs around the world and how the first Thanksgiving came to be. Simple enough for young children to grasp, it’s a great way to explain to children why we celebrate Thanksgiving.

Giving Thanks: A Native American Good Morning Message

Posted on Monday, November 19, 2018 by Megan

Giving Thanks book coverAs Thanksgiving draws near, I was challenged to find a children’s picture book that represented the first Thanksgiving from a Native American perspective. Sadly, there weren’t a lot to choose from, but my favorite was “Giving Thanks: A Native American Good Morning Message” by Jake Swamp. This text is an adaptation of the Mohawk Thanksgiving address, and at the end of the book there is a condensed version of the English text translated into the Mohawk language or kaniakehala.

Chief Swamp’s words are straightforward and easy for children to understand, and the entire book is a beautiful and elegant way to take into account everything from the fish in the sea to the stars in the sky. I highly recommend getting this book on audio so that you can hear the traditional words at the end. However, the print edition has bold illustrations that are a wonderful companion to the powerful sentiment expressed.

Practicing gratitude is something I try to do all year long, but it is especially meaningful during this time of the year. For a simple way to help your little ones understand and express gratitude for the people and things around them, you can create your own gratitude garland.

Gratitude Garland Continue reading “Giving Thanks: A Native American Good Morning Message”

2018 Missouri Building Block Nominee: A Good Day for a Hat

Posted on Thursday, November 15, 2018 by Molly

A Good Day for a HatMr. Brown is ready to leave his house. So, he dons his purple hat with the pink flower. But as he opens the door and starts to step outside, he stops abruptly. Oh no, it’s raining! Fortunately, Mr. Brown has just the hat for that. However, as he starts to leave the house again—this time wearing his rain hat—it’s snowing!

In “A Good Day for a Hat” by T. Nat Fuller, Mr. Brown struggles to find the perfect hat on a day when the weather, and sometimes even the scene outside his door (anything from a rodeo to a sailing ship), keeps changing. Hats fly off and on in rapid succession, until Mr. Brown makes an important decision that saves the day.

Full of delightful characters, repetitive phrases and bright colors, this charming 2018 Missouri Building Block nominee is sure to be a hit with your little ones. (Look closely for a certain “someone” on every page who provides a magical element to this story!)

When you finish the book, enjoy these additional fun activities.

Make Paper Plate Crowns

Make a simple crown for kids to decorate and wear. All you need is a pencil, a paper plate, scissors and decorations.

Step 1: With a pencil, divide the plate up into 8 sections as if you were cutting a pie.
Step 2: Start in the center and cut along the “pie” section lines, leaving the outside rim of the plate intact.
Step 3: Separate the “pie sections” and push them up to form the crown tips.
Step 4: Decorate the crown with a variety of crayons, markers, stickers, etc.!

Check out this video on making paper plate crowns. Find more paper plate hat ideas at the blog, Alpha Mom.

Continue reading “2018 Missouri Building Block Nominee: A Good Day for a Hat”

Let’s Get Ready for Some Football Food!

Posted on Monday, November 12, 2018 by Erin

Cool Game Day Parties CoverFootball season is well underway. (This season has been especially fun for me because the Kansas City Chiefs are on a winning streak!) One of my favorite things to do on game day is create scrumptious game day food. For all those other sports-loving chefs out there, this blog is dedicated to you.

For common party foods that are great for game days, give “Cool Game Day Parties” a read. The recipes range from simple ideas, such as the Classic Chili Dogs, to more creative concoctions like the Perfect Party Pizza Dip. This book even contains deserts to help celebrate the wins or console the loses. Many of the recipes have only 4 simple steps, perfect for our kiddos or busy parents.

Looking for more of a challenge? If so, try “Food, Football, and Fun!” It’ll give you some awesome recipes to help you fuel up for game day.