Super Sensory Bins

Posted on Thursday, January 23, 2020 by Tess

Here at the library, we love sensory bins! They’re a great way to teach kids about math, literacy and science, without them even knowing they’re learning! This evening, January 23rd, we’ll be hosting an adult workshop for how to build awesome sensory bins, but here are some additional fun ideas for you to try at home with your preschoolers! 

Junk Drawer Sort photoJunk Drawer Sort

I don’t know about you, but my family has always had one drawer in the kitchen full of random stuff. Before the annual spring sort where you throw out all the old coupons and broken rubber bands, let your kids practice their math skills by sorting the objects into categories. You’ll also have some great vocabulary conversations.

  1. Take everything out of the junk drawer, and put it in a bucket.
  2. Remove anything that’s a choking hazard if you have littles under 3.
  3. Put out a variety of bowls or containers.
  4. Let them sort based on any variety of concepts. (e.g. shape, weight, color, letter sounds, type of object)

Continue reading “Super Sensory Bins”

Celebrate MLK Day of Service

Posted on Friday, January 17, 2020 by Megan

January 15 is Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday, but January 20 is the day when we honor this great civil rights leader and activist! This year also marks the 25th anniversary of the MLK Day of Service; this national day of service encourages all of us to volunteer in our community to honor his memory.

You can stop by your favorite library branch to help us celebrate January 17-20! We are providing supplies so our community can make bookmarks for people who are homebound or live in assisted care facilities. You can decorate the front any way you like, and on the back there will be a message stating that the bookmarks were made with love by our DBRL patrons. After the bookmarks have all been created, they will be laminated and delivered by our outreach team. Alternatively, you may choose to give them directly to someone who needs a little extra care and joy in their lives.

If you and your kids can’t make it in to see us, you can still perform acts of service wherever you are by:

  • Sharing or donating some of your toys
  • Smiling at 7 people
  • Playing with someone new
  • Drawing a picture for a neighbor
  • Letting someone go ahead of you in line

For more information about how other folks like you are participating around the country, you can visit the MLK Day of Service webpage.

Happy Winnie-the-Pooh Day!

Posted on Thursday, January 16, 2020 by Molly

Winnie the Pooh book coverEnglish author and playwright, Alan Alexander Milne, better known as A.A. Milne, published three novels and 18 plays. His novels include a popular detective story called “The Red House Mystery,” and his plays include original works, as well as book adaptations, such as, “Toad of Toad Hall,” a dramatization of the beloved children’s book, “The Wind in the Willows.”

Yet, Milne is remembered not for his novels and plays, but rather, for his imaginary Hundred Acre Wood, a boy named Christopher Robin, and most importantly, for a lovable bear named Pooh. For this reason, on January 18th we celebrate Milne’s birthday as National Winnie-the-Pooh Day.

Born in 1882, A. A. Milne studied mathematics and received a B.A. from Cambridge University in 1903. Following graduation, he began to contribute articles to Puncha British weekly humor magazine. Three years later, the magazine hired Milne as an assistant editor. 

In 1913, Milne married Dorothy “Daphne” de Sélincourt. Their son and only child, Christopher Robin, was born in 1920.

It was in 1924 that things began to change for Milne. In February that year, he published a collection of children’s poems entitled “When We Were Very Young,” illustrated by Punch staff cartoonist E. H. Shepard. A year later, Milne published his second children’s book, “A Gallery of Children,followed by “Winnie-the-Pooh” in 1926. Successful sales of these books turned out to be a double-edged sword for Milne. Suddenly respected as a children’s author, Milne’s earlier novels and plays were soon forgotten, a reality that bothered him for the rest of his life. Continue reading “Happy Winnie-the-Pooh Day!”

Graphic Novels Galore!

Posted on Monday, January 13, 2020 by Amanda

Have a kid who cannot get their hands on enough graphic novels? We see them flying off the shelves every day here at the library!

Raina Telgemeier, Dav Pilkey and Kazu Kibuishi have produced some of the most popular and reread comic books for kids today. While I fully support kiddos rereading their beloved favorites, sometimes a change is good! However, kids and parents alike might not know the next steps to take and find themselves reaching for that familiar Dog Man book yet again. I hope this post provides a few new suggestions and ideas to further dive into the graphic novel world for your favorite comic lover.

Amanda’s Picks

When I entered the library world, I knew one thing for certain: if I wanted to keep up with kiddos and have literary conversations, I needed to read comics! Here is a quick list of my personal favorite reads from the past few years. Art style and content vary, however, I am sure there is a new winner waiting in this list for your child who won’t stop reading “Guts.”

Sheets” by Brenna Thummler"Be Prepared" book cover"Sheets" book cover
A Year Without Mom” by Dasha Tolstikova
Invisible Emmie” by Terri Libenson
Be Prepared” by Vera Brosgol
Hilda and the Troll” by Luke Pearson
All Summer Long” by Hope Larson
Sidekicks” by Dan Santat
Nightlights” by Lorena Alvarez
Giants Beware!” by Jorge Aguirre
Awkward” by Svetlana Chmakova

Creating Comics

If your child ferociously reads comics, they will probably enjoy creating their own! Google has tons of free blank comic panels to print that make creating stories a breeze. This helpful list of nonfiction titles will teach kids the mechanics of drafting, illustrating and writing comics.

Maker Comics"Maker Comics" book cover is a great educational series for kids who love getting creative and learning new trades! It is no wonder that “Maker Comics: Draw a Comic” is my favorite on this list. This title will introduce kids to the steps to take to start their own comic. Cartooning vocabulary, layout, printing, scanning, tools and everything in between are covered in quick, approachable lessons! Witty humor and a simple story is also woven through the pages. This is a must read for any up and coming artist.

"Make It Yourself: Comics and Graphic Novels" book cover

Make It Yourself: Comics and Graphic Novels” by Christa Schneider provides another great introduction to comics and graphic novels. Each page features a simple lesson in cartooning, like characters, panel design, and tools and ending with a tutorial on creating a mini-comic. Colorful pictures and simple text make this a great workbook to walk through with your creative child.

"Comics Confidential" book cover

Comics Confidential: Thirteen Graphic Novelists Talk Story, Craft, and Life Outside the Box,” compiled by Leonard S. Marcus, is a wonderful read for further educating young cartoonists! Thirteen graphic novelists discuss their trades, inspiration and beginnings in interview format, alongside beautiful comic panels. Backstories on favorite characters, opinions on turning beloved classics into graphic novel format and twelve original comics await!

Comics are a medium not to be underestimated. (Check out this past post of ours for proof!) They introduce kids to hard concepts in an approachable way, provide oodles of laughter and even make the most obscure history lesson fascinating! Fostering your child’s love for comics is a great way to support their learning and a key opportunity for molding them into a life-long reader. Help them pick out a new comic or start creating their own today!

Check Out Movies From the Library!

Posted on Monday, January 6, 2020 by Jessica M

“Toy Story 4” came out in theaters earlier this year. Did you risk wrangling your kids to see it in a movie theater, despite the high chance for multiple potty breaks and meltdowns? If your answer is no, that’s okay! We’ve got you covered.

Toy Story

Check out “Toy Story 4” in our catalog here!

Our library has all sorts of DVDs available for checkout, from early childhood learning programs to full-length feature films for children and adults. There’s a variety of ways to get these items: 

  • Get a physical copy from us
    • Search our online catalog and put movies on hold!
    • Or, come by one of our branches or bookmobiles and just pick up a DVD after school or work.
  •  See if the movie is available digitally
    • Digital films on Hoopla and Kanopy are available to you for free with your library card. Think of them like Netflix, with streaming services directly to your computer, tablet or mobile device.
  • Suggest for purchase
    • We don’t have it? Request it! We want to build our library with the things you love, so feel free to shoot them our way using the suggest for purchase feature. 

We have all sorts of fun titles for all ages:

Want to snag popular television shows like Paw Patrol or Sofia the First for your household? How about some of our other kid-friendly television shows? Feel free to browse and find some of your favorites. We’ve got plenty for you!

Doc McStuffinsBlaze and the Monster MachinesPaw PatrolSofia the FirstDinosaur Train

Have a child going through a Disney Princess phase and you’re unsure how long that phase is going to last? Is the favorite princess Cinderella one day and Moana the next? Feel free to check out each Disney Princess tale from us.

Beauty and The BeastMoanaBraveThe Princess and the FrogTangled

Grown ups and older kiddos like to watch movies, too. We understand that completely. Need a pick from the Marvel franchise to catch up on before watching “Avengers: Endgame” ? We have titles from “Black Panther” to “Captain Marvel” and popular TV titles like Stranger Things! Using your library card, all of these are available to you to be checked out or placed on hold!

Star WarsBlack PantherThor, RagnarokCaptain MarvelStranger Things

Musical Trailblazers

Posted on Thursday, January 2, 2020 by Adam

In a few weeks, the 62nd annual Grammy Awards will recognize some of the biggest names in the music industry and give out awards to people you’ve probably heard of and whose songs you’ve probably heard in any number of places. But what about the artists who never won a Grammy and who never became household names, but, nevertheless, were influential pioneers who helped shape the history of music?

Here are a few children’s books that highlight lesser-known musical trailblazers:

Before There Was Mozart: The Story of Joseph Boulogne, Chevalier de Saint-George,” written by Lesa Cline-Ransome, illustrated by James E. Ransome

Joseph Boulogne was born in the West Indies in 1739, the son of a wealthy French plantation owner and his slave, Nanon. He began playing violin at an early age and eventually moved to Paris, where he rose through the ranks of the music world as an esteemed player, composer and conductor. Racial prejudice made it impossible for Joseph, the son of a black woman, to fit comfortably into his father’s world of wealth and privilege, but he could turn his feelings of alienation into music that moved and inspired. One of his young admirers was none other than Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, and, for a while, the two of them played to packed houses on alternating nights in the same theater!

Born to Swing,” written by Mara Rockliff, illustrated by Michele Wood

Growing up in Memphis, and then Chicago, in the early 1900s, Lil (short for Lillian) Hardin was exposed to the sounds of the blues and jazz as a little girl and began to play organ and piano any chance she could. In her 20s, at a time when women were only taken seriously as vocalists, she became the first female piano player for The New Orleans Creole Jazz Band. She eventually begin writing and arranging on her own music with her husband, Louis Armstrong, who became a world-famous jazz trumpeter. Lil’s songs have been performed by Aretha Franklin, Ray Charles, Ringo Starr and many others. Continue reading “Musical Trailblazers”

Organize Your New Year With Bullet Journaling

Posted on Monday, December 30, 2019 by Erin

Happy (Almost) New Year!

Child drawing in journal

This is a popular time of year for people of all ages to make goals concerning habits or lifestyle choices. If you and your child want to make goals for the new year, a great way to keep track and check progress is by creating a bullet journal!

The Bullet Journal Method, created by Ryder Carroll, is a simple way to tailor a journal that fits you! No two bullet journals are alike because each person who uses one is different.

Want to create your own bullet journal? Start with these steps.

  1. Start by choosing a notebook. It can be any notebook that your child picks. Number the pages.*
  2. Make the first two pages an index.
  3. Start creating! If your child is using this as a calendar to keep track of events, go ahead and a create a future log and monthly log. If this is being used as a habit tracker or journal, you can start with a daily log. My suggestion is go look at some examples of simple habit trackers on Pinterest or Instagram. Make sure you type in “simple” otherwise you will be sifting through a lot of very intricate trackers!

*Page numbers are essential for the index. For example:
Page 2-4: Future Log
Page 5-6: January
Page 7: Morning routines
Page 8: Mood Tracker

Here are some tips for success.

  • Keep it simple. From personal experience, I have found that the more complicated I make my journal, the less I want to interact with it.
  • Decorate. Most things in life are more fun when stickers, washi tape and markers are involved. Encouraging your child to decorate their journal will give them a sense of ownership.
  • Invest the Time. Make a routine to sit down with your child every day to log their information. Depending on goals or habits you are tracking, this can take as little as a couple minutes.
  • Be original. Have the kids choose what they want in their journal and allow your kiddo to take ownership of the journal. While you should certainly guide them if needed, make sure that your child gives their approval so they feel that this journal belongs to them.
  • Review. When starting a new month, go back through the previous month and see if there are any items that are not completed. Decide with your child if that item is important to bring over to the next month or if it can be crossed out. Not everything is worth your time.

This is a super quick summary of bullet journaling. If you’re interested, I encourage you to look at other people’s spreads to get ideas.

There is no right or wrong way to create a journal.

Comment below if you have any questions or ideas! There are not a whole lot of ideas specifically tailored for children’s bullet journals, and I would love to know what spreads different parents are using for habit trackers.

Upcoming Children’s Books in 2020

Posted on Monday, December 23, 2019 by Tess

Get here soon 2020, we’ve got some reading to do! It’s time for us to share some of the exciting new books coming out in 2020. Librarians everywhere are filling their shopping carts with these up-and-coming reads, so feel free to add them to your holds list!

Picture books

No More Naps” written by Chris Grabenstein, illustrated by Leo Espinsoa (Publication date: February)

It’s time for a nap, but, just like stubborn toddlers everywhere, Annalise Devin McFleece won’t have anything to do with bedtime. Dad tries to encourage sleepiness by pushing her around the park in her stroller. Along the way, they pass a man sitting on a bench, dog walkers, a boy on a skateboard, kids playing ball, a girl practicing her juggling and others. Each of them thinks that taking a nap is a great idea, and if Annalise Devin McFleece doesn’t want hers, they’ll happily take it. And one by one, everyone falls asleep…except Annalise Devin McFleece. But when she’s finally ready for her nap, all the naps are taken! Is there anyone who has an extra nap to spare? With every turn of the page, the busy city scene becomes more and more quiet…except for Annalise Devin McFleece. Will she ever take a nap?


Just Like Me” by Vanessa Brantley-Newton (Publication date: January)

From the author of “Grandma’s Purse,” comes a collection of poetry filled with engaging mini-stories about girls of all kinds: girls who feel happy, sad, scared, powerful; girls who love their bodies and girls who don’t; country girls, city girls; girls who love their mother and girls who wish they had a father. With bright portraits in Vanessa’s signature style of vibrant colors and unique patterns and fabrics, this book invites readers to find themselves and each other within its pages.


Bedtime for Sweet Creatures” written by Nikki Grimes, illustrated by Elizabeth Zunon (Publication Date: January)

Mommy needs to wrangle her sweet creature into bed so that the whole family can sleep. From tigers to squirrels to snakes, the little boy dodges around his bedtime, until he is tired enough to finally sleep. His imaginative animal friends weave their way through the illustrations, eventually joining him in curling up for the night. 

Continue reading “Upcoming Children’s Books in 2020”

Best Children’s Books of 2019

Posted on Thursday, December 19, 2019 by Kristy

It’s that time of year again! The DBRL youth services staff have come up with a list of the best of the best children’s books that came out this year. Make sure to check out these awesome titles and comment below with your favorite books of 2019!

I Will Be Fierce book cover

I Will Be Fierce” written by Bea Birdsong, illustrated by Nidhi Chanani
Our young narrator takes us through her day faced with many challenges, such as standing up to a table full of bullies and feeling confident in her work. Throughout the day, she encourages herself to be confident, reach further, be kinder and stand tall by saying to herself, “Today, I will be fierce!”

Be a Maker book cover

Be A Maker” written by Katey Howes, illustrated by Elizabet Vukovic
The detailed illustrations in this book about creating kept my toddler and I talking night after night for over a month!

B is for Baby book cover

B Is for Baby” written by Atinuke, illustrated by Angela Brooksbank
I love how many rare “B” words this book introduces. My toddler loves that she can retell the story all by herself.

Here and There book cover

Here and There by Tamara Ellis Smith, illustrated by Evelyn Daviddi
This story is told from the point of view of young Ivan, who is learning to accept the changes that occurred when his parents separated. I especially like the way the bright, hip illustrations complement and add to the narrative. Ivan learns that the things he loves are all around him and not only in one location.

Continue reading “Best Children’s Books of 2019”

Dyslexie Font for Struggling Readers

Posted on Monday, December 16, 2019 by Molly

Henry Winkler
Actor Henry Winkler

Actor Henry Winkler starred in such memorable TV shows as Happy Days, Arrested Development and Barry. Yet, when he was younger, Winkler struggled in school. He opened up about his frustration in a recent NPR interview. “I thought I was stupid…There is an emotional component, I think, that comes along with learning challenges, where I had no sense of self.” To make matters worse, Winkler said his parents blamed his underachievement on laziness, adding “I was grounded 97 percent of my high school career.” Though Winkler found his calling in acting and learned to compensate for his reading shortcoming, it wasn’t easy. “I would memorize as quickly as I could because I couldn’t read the page and act at the same time.”

At 31, Winkler was diagnosed with the learning disorder, dyslexia. Considered one of the most common language-based learning disabilities, dyslexia affects between 5-10 percent of the population, but this number could be as high as 17 percent. It is also the most common cause of reading, writing and spelling difficulties.

be happy to be you bookIn 2003, Winkler released “Niagara Falls, or Does It?” Loosely based on Winkler’s life, the children’s book follows the antics of middle schooler, Hank Zipzer, who has learning challenges. To date, Winkler has written over 20 books in the popular Hank Zipzer series.

More recently, Winkler’s Here’s Hank books have been released in a new font designed to help struggling readers achieve reading success. Dyslexie Font assists readers with dyslexia by weighting words in a way that prevents them from being turned, mirrored or swapped.

Here at DBRL, we are excited to announce that we have ordered over new 20 children’s book titles, printed in Dyslexie Font, which will be available for checkout soon! Until then, please use this link to place holds, and you will be notified when they are ready to borrow.


Photo Credit (Actor Henry Winkler): Elvis Kennedy Photo “Henry Winkler 7” via flickr (license).