Author Spotlight: E.L. Konigsburg

Posted on Thursday, July 2, 2020 by Adam

Have you ever wanted to run away from home? And where would you go if you ran away? In E.L. Konigsburg’s classic children’s novel, “From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler,” the protagonist, twelve-year-old Claudia, feeling under-appreciated by her parents, decides to run away to live in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. Claudia takes her younger brother Jamie along with her. After the initial fun of being away from home subsides, the two of them get caught up in solving a mystery—the unknown identity of the sculptor of a beautiful angel statue recently purchased from the collection of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler, a woman who will change the siblings’ lives dramatically.

“From the Mixed Up Files…” was one of my favorite novels as a kid over twenty-five years ago. I especially loved the idea of running away to live in an art museum—hiding from the guards at closing time, bathing in the fountain, having the whole place to myself at night and blending in with the visiting school tours during the day. This Newbery Award-winning novel has joined the rare company of books like “A Wrinkle in Time,” “Charlotte’s Web,” and “The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe,” in remaining a perennial favorite for over fifty years. Its author, E.L. Konigsburg, is one of only six writers to win the Newbery Medal twice, first in 1968 and again in 1997. She also won a Newbery Honor medal (the runner-up prize) for her first novel, “Jennifer, Hecate, Macbeth, William McKinley, and Me, Elizabeth,” which is about two lonely girls, one black and one white, who become friends and pretend to be witches.

E.L. Konigsburg was born Elaine Lobl in 1930 and was a science teacher and a painter before she started writing (in the mornings, while her children were at school) in the early 1960s. The immediate success of her first two novels led to an illustrious career that lasted over forty years, in which she continued to give her novels seemingly strange and wordy titles, like “A Proud Taste for Scarlet and Miniver” and “T-Backs, T-Shirt, COAT, and Suit.” After delving into the world of art in “From the Mixed Up Files…,” Konigsburg went on to write “The Second Mrs. Giaconda,” a historical novel for children about how Leonardo Da Vinci came to paint the Mona Lisa.

In her books focused on young people, Konigsburg writes elegantly about thoughtful kids who are grappling with how to find their place within their families, their communities and the world at large. In an interview with Scholastic Teachers, she explained that “the essential problems” for kids “remain the same. The kids I write about are asking for the same things I wanted. They want two contradictory things. They want to be the same as everyone else, and they want to be different from everyone else. They want acceptance for both.”

Do the Book-y Poke-y

Posted on Monday, June 29, 2020 by DBRL Kids

Poke-a-dot booksAs I wrote in a previous blog, my baby girl is OBSESSED with touch and feel books. We’ve checked out so many that she’s pretty disappointed when we read books with “normal” pages. Where’s the lift-a-flaps? Where’s the fluffy bunny?

While the Never Touch a… series was my baby’s favorite for a while, it has been officially kicked to the curb! The books she prizes above all are now the Poke-a-dot board books.

These books, created by Melissa and Doug, teach different concepts, with an emphasis on counting. Each page has plastic dots that you can poke, and they make a snapping sound similar to that made when you pop bubble wrap. My daughter absolutely loves poking these dots. Even before she had the fine motor coordination to poke them herself, she stayed engaged in the books because of the satisfying pop each dot made when I pressed them in. Continue reading “Do the Book-y Poke-y”

Learn and Play at Home: Animal iPad Apps

Posted on Thursday, June 25, 2020 by Jessica M

Here at the library, we’ve tried out many apps on our iPads for kids. We strive to find apps that are both educational and fun! Animal apps are always a favorite with our young patrons. Whether they include numbers, patterns, fun noises or stories, animal apps are a great way to involve children with digital content.

Here are my favorite animal iPad apps:

Barnyard Dance is like a hoedown for your iPad. In a good way.

“Barnyard Dance” by Sandra Boynton

Click Here to Find it in the App Store: $2.99

Intended age range: 4+

This fun app comes with a lovely fiddle accompaniment as John Stey reads Sandra Boynton’s “Barnyard Dance.” The app opens on a table with a board book that the user can open and flip the pages. The pictures are interactive, so young hands can “slide” with the sheep or cluck with the chickens. Definitely fun for engaging children with the material they’re reading.

Continue reading “Learn and Play at Home: Animal iPad Apps”

Tell Me Something Weird!

Posted on Monday, June 22, 2020 by Molly

Ripley's Believe it or Not, Eye-popping OdditiesQuirky books like “Guinness book of World Records: Biggest and Smaller!” “Strange But True” and “Ripleys Believe It or Not: Eye-popping Oddities” are titles that typically fly off the shelves in the children’s section of the library. But what is it about weird and fascinating facts that appeal to children?

Children see the the world through a wide lens—one without boundaries and limitations—where anything and everything is possible. When children are exposed to new things, this elicits a sense of wonder, or a feeling of awe. According to David Delgado, co-founder of the Museum of Awe, this feeling is “like magic, amazement, mystery, reverence. It’s the moment when we realize it’s a gift and privilege to be alive.”

Encourage this feeling of awe with your own children by urging them to ask questions, learn about unique things and seek out new experiences!

DBRL has a wide variety of books about weird and fascinating subjects that your children will love.

LBGT+ Picture Books for Kids

Posted on Thursday, June 18, 2020 by Jessica M

Nearly a year ago now, I posted a book list called “LGBT Picture Books for Kids (That Adults Also Enjoy).”

There were several reasons I created the list:

  • MidMO PrideFest was coming up in Columbia
  • The youth services team didn’t yet have a list that dealt with LGBT+ picture books
  • June is when we remember the Stonewall Riots
  • I fell in love with the “Red” book by Michael Hall
  • So many reasons!

What I did not expect was the love that poured out from everywhere!

When I first started the LGBT picture book list, I had around 30 books. I asked some staff members, brought in a few of my favorites, read some reviews and did solid amount of research for my list. As of right now, that original list has tripled in size, and it is still growing as we add titles that we receive from our Facebook page, purchase requests, teacher requests and more! My inbox has been flooded with wonderful books recommended by community members. As I get them and read them, I have been adding to this list.

So, one year later, I want to send out a big thank you to everyone who built this list with me!

I also want to showcase some of the new titles I’ve received that I absolutely loved and hope will continue to entertain young readers in our community.

Maiden & Princess

Maiden & Princess” written by Daniel Haack, illustrated by Becca Human

The kingdom is holding a ball for the crown prince to find a bride. The villagers are thrilled and begin planning immediately. However, one maiden isn’t as excited. She sees the prince as her brother, someone she has fought alongside. The other villagers see this as her opportunity to become his bride. She goes to the ball, hoping to enjoy herself, but finds others pressuring her to dance with the prince. The young maiden escapes and finds herself being comforted by the kingdom’s princess. Continue reading “LBGT+ Picture Books for Kids”

Kick Off Your Summer Reads!

Posted on Monday, June 15, 2020 by DBRL Kids

Today is a very exciting day—it’s the first day of Summer Reading! This year’s Summer Reading theme is “Imagine Your Story.” It’s all about fantastic fantasy, fables and fairy tales. If your kids love magical tales, then we’ve got some amazing reading suggestions for them.

The more you read, the quicker you’ll finish Summer Reading and get your reward!

For more information on our Summer Reading program this year, check out our Summer Reading 2020 page.

Virtual Activity Bundle: Engineering

Posted on Monday, June 8, 2020 by Jerilyn

Virtual Activity Bundle Engineering

My grandkids love to build things—they’re young engineers in the making! I keep boxes, paper tubes and empty food containers (like oatmeal cartons and potato chip cans) in a big plastic tub. When they visit, my grandkids love to go through it and figure out something they can create. The most recent creation is a fairy town. (Scroll to the bottom of the page to see what they made!)

If you have a child who loves to imagine, build and create, then try out these fantastic resources on engineering! Continue reading “Virtual Activity Bundle: Engineering”

Sign Up for Books by Snail

Posted on Tuesday, June 2, 2020 by Erin

Erin working on Books By SnailGetting to the library and checking out materials can be hard if you don’t live near our library branches. To help get books into the hands of kids and teens in our rural service areas, DBRL provides a free service every summer where we mail books straight to their homes. This program is called Books by Snail, and we’ve been providing this service for 13 years!

Getting started with Books by Snail is easy. First, sign up for the program. Just tell us what books your kids would like to begin with or we can choose some for them. The more information, the better!  With return postage already paid, we mail the books to your home. When your kids are done reading, send us the books back along with your request for more.

Books by Snail logoStudents entering kindergarten through 12th grade who attend school in one of the school districts below are eligible to participate.

  • Auxvasse
  • Hallsville
  • Harrisburg
  • Hatton
  • Kingdom City
  • Mokane
  • New Bloomfield
  • Sturgeon
  • Williamsburg

The program runs June 15 – August 15. If you have any questions or would like more information, call us at our direct line 573-817-7092 or email us at You may also call the Columbia Public Library at 1-800-324-4806.

We hope to mail books to you soon!

—Your Books by Snail Team

Megan Doodles: Kawaii

Posted on Monday, June 1, 2020 by Megan

Kawaii is one of my favorite types of art. What is kawaii, you ask? It’s the culture of cute in Japan! (Warning: the word “cute” will appear approximately a bajillion times in the blog.) When I think of kawaii, I think of cute things with cute wittle (cute way of saying little) faces. You can make anything kawaii—animals, vegetables, minerals, you name it! I especially like making food with cute faces. Below, I’ll show you how to make kawaii pizza, ice cream and a cupcake.


  • Paper
  • Pen (I used a black Sharpie pen, but you could use a regular ink pen.)
  • Colored pencils (This is what I used, but you can use you crayons or markers as well.)

Here are the step by step instructions for the pizza:

Start with a triangle, making the top line wavy.

Continue reading “Megan Doodles: Kawaii”