Picture Books We Love: The Depth of the Lake and Height of the Sky

Posted on Monday, May 22, 2023 by Megan

“The Depth of the Lake and Height of the Sky” by Kim Jihyun

The Depth of the Lake and the Height of the Sky” by Kim Jihyun is one of my new favorite books! This wordless picture book is illustrated in grayscale with hints of blue. Even though it is wordless, it is no less impactful than a book with one thousand words. (There might even be a saying about that.) Jihyun tells the story of a boy leaving his home in the city for a summer vacation in the countryside with his parents and grandparents. The story follows the boy and his grandparents’ dog as they have adventures through the woods and by the lake. At the end of the book, Jihyun explains that she spent a few days in another country and was inspired by how the “soft sunlight warmed my skin, a gentle breeze rippled across the deep lake, countless stars sparkled high in the night sky.” Even though the book is all in black and white, you can feel the summer sun shining through the pages. This is a must-read (or a must-look-at, since there are no words to read) to get you in the mood for those summer vibes.

Pinwheel Flowers

Posted on Thursday, May 18, 2023 by Katie

This year I’ve been surprised when the flowers are blooming, and never quite sure how long they will last. So I thought it would be fun to share a craft where you can play with the wind, and also have something bright and cheerful.  Pinwheels! Once you’ve made one of these pinwheels, you’ll find yourself wanting to create more and more till you have a whole bouquet of them!

First, gather your supplies.  There are two patterns per page, and it’s a good idea to print extra-these are so much fun it’s easy to make a bouquet of pinwheels.

  • Pencils with an eraser
  • Small beads
  • Pins (Mine are small and silver, but almost any sewing pin will work.)
  • Coloring supplies (I prefer colored pencils and crayons.)
  • Scissors
  • Printed templates (Regular copy paper works best.)

Pinwheel Flower supplies

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Get Inspired by Visual Artists

Posted on Monday, May 15, 2023 by Adam

With the end of the school year upon us, you might be wondering how you’d like to spend your time this summer. Have you ever wanted to try your hand at drawing, painting, designing, sculpting, sewing or taking photographs? Maybe you’d like to glean some inspiration from some of the world’s greatest and most influential artists, finding out how they got their start and made their most famous works? Well, the library has some wonderful books to help you get started on your creative journey — full of fascinating facts, beautiful illustrations and amazing stories of extraordinary people whose art touched the world.

Starting with the 19th century, we’ve got books on two members of the hugely influential Impressionist movement — “Edgar Degas and “Mary Cassatt.” Degas was"Mary Cassatt" by Barbara Herkert a French artist best known for his paintings of ballet dancers and scenes from everyday Parisian life, and Mary Cassatt was an American painter who was befriended and championed by Degas and who found worldwide fame for her scenes of family and domestic life. Continue reading “Get Inspired by Visual Artists”

DIY Luminaria / Candle Shades 🕯️

Posted on Tuesday, May 9, 2023 by Grae

As the evenings lengthen through late spring into early summer, I’ve been reflecting on the magical, calming qualities of twilight and/or dusk. Technically, there are three stages of twilight that slowly yet surely submerge us into dusk, that final blanketing of the sun as it seeps below the horizon each and every evening before nightfall. It’s not just that this gradual slipping away of the sun has marked health benefits, signaling to our bodies that it’s time to rest, unwind and restore (which is one reason why the modern blue light of various screen technologies can be so harmful at night); there’s also just the delightful softening of light that is commonly referred to as “the golden hour,” when the sun’s piercing heat diffuses into a smearing of orange, yellow, pink, even lilac pastels, calling forth a warm, fuzzy glow that, for me at least, begins to blur and collapse boundaries between what is ordinary and extraordinary — begins to name what is ordinary and what is extraordinary as overlapping experiences, if not one and the same.

Sometimes it seems like I’m always chasing after this daily moment, which I will acknowledge is more than a bit silly since by definition and by experience this light shifting is just that: a shift, fleeting and transitional. Still, it would be nice in some small way to maybe catch or hold onto or re-create this mystical, blending light-level, to suspend myself in the extraordinary ordinary for a couple of moments longer. This brings me, slowly yet surely like the setting sun itself, to the subject of this blog, a simple yet transformative craft that takes some of the most ordinary objects around, such as waxed paper, adhesive tape and an iron, to create absolutely stunning luminaria or candle shades, which diffuse the soft flicker of flame into a table-top golden hour you can extend as long as your wick will burn.

A tall, thin candle glows inside a luminaria or candle shade made of waxed paper and a pressed Blue-Eyed Mary bloom, an early spring wildflower. Continue reading “DIY Luminaria / Candle Shades 🕯️”

Brianna’s Books: May Favorites 2023

Posted on Thursday, May 4, 2023 by Brianna

Brianna's Books Banner

I tend to be drawn to a lot of fantasy books, and I freely admit it! But this time, I’ve kept myself to contemporary realism. No spells or superpowers or talking animals, just real people in real situations. Okay, the virtual reality graphic novel might be skirting the line, but I still get points for trying.

Picture Books

Big coverBig” written and illustrated by Vashti Harrison

This could easily be one of the most important books we read this year. The book opens with an adorable baby girl, who has a big laugh, a big heart and big dreams. She learns and grows, and adults exclaim over what a big girl she is. Being a big girl is an exciting aspiration when you’re little, but eventually it’s no longer a good thing. Soon it’s, “Aren’t you too big for that?” and suddenly you’re not fitting into costumes or swings or with the other kids. As the little girl is bombarded with cruel words, both unthinking and intentional, she withdraws until she finds the courage to love and accept herself. The author’s note shares her own experience of being “in the crosshairs of adultification bias and anti-fat bias” and offers hope and love to all other children that may be going through the same thing. Known as an illustrator, Harrison’s artwork is absolutely perfect, and the story itself is one that everyone needs to hear. Continue reading “Brianna’s Books: May Favorites 2023”

Books by Snail Spotlight

Posted on Monday, May 1, 2023 by Laura

Deep in the back offices at DBRL, we’re working on something extra special. There’s always something exciting going on back here, but this project is near and dear to my heart: Books by Snail! I grew up in the tiny rural community of Hallsville, Missouri, so I know firsthand just how important it is to have access to books even if you don’t live near a library. During the school year, school libraries can be a lifeline, but what happens when summer rolls around? That’s where Books by Snail comes in! And best of all? It’s FREE!

A selection of picture books, chapter books and graphic novels sit in the grass with two blue Books by Snail bags and a sign-up sheet.

Students entering kindergarten* through 12th grade who attend school (or are homeschooled) in one of the school districts below are eligible to participate:

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DIY Bee Sanctuary

Posted on Thursday, April 27, 2023 by Robyn

Image of bee sanctuary

Back when dinosaurs roamed the earth, flowers and bees began their ancient, symbiotic relationship. Tens of millions of years later, we are still enjoying the fruits of their labor — quite literally! Did you know that one in every three bites of food we eat is made possible by bees, and about 75% of the world’s flowering plants are pollinated by our buzzing friends and other animals like bats?

Why not support the native bees in your neighborhood? Building an upcycled bee sanctuary may attract cavity-nesting bees, which usually lay their eggs in holes made in dead wood by beetles or hollow or pithy stems. In this adaptation, we’re using cut cardboard tubes and paper straws!

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Sink the Egg Challenge

Posted on Thursday, April 20, 2023 by Katie

Now is the time of year when plastic eggs become widely available in stores, and they also reemerge from under beds, the back of the closet or the top shelf of the garage. In some households, these eggs are filled with treats by adults, and hidden for children to find. Other households hide the eggs outside multiple times and decide who can find the most. This year I found a STEM challenge that can be done indoors, with less risk of losing the eggs. 

This challenge is about guessing (or hypothesizing) whether the item you place in the plastic egg will make the egg sink.  

For this game, you will need the following supplies: 

  • Plastic eggs 
  • Water
  • Container to hold water (mixing bowl, sink, bucket)
  • Assorted items that fit into an egg (see ideas below)
  • Optional: paper and pencil

I suggest having your items for inside the eggs preselected and ready before you and your child begin experimenting. I organized my items in a muffin tin. If your eggs have holes, cover those with tape to make water-tight seal.

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Megan Doodles: Sweet Succulents

Posted on Monday, April 17, 2023 by Megan

Spring is the air and so is the pollen! While I love seeing blooming trees outside, I don’t love all of the spores in my nose. When it comes to plants, I much prefer the indoor and less flowery potted varieties, which is why I decided to doodle some of my favorite succulent plants. Succulents usually have plump green leaves and they love high temps and low water levels. Because they don’t need a lot of water, they are pretty low-key to take care of and some of them don’t mind being in the dark as long as the temperature is just right (looking at you Dracaena angolensis aka starfish snake plant, which continues to thrive in my dark living room). Continue reading “Megan Doodles: Sweet Succulents”

Brianna’s Books: April Favorites 2023

Posted on Thursday, April 13, 2023 by Brianna

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I thought I’d highlight some nonfiction this time! Sometimes it can be hard to convince fiction lovers (like myself!) to read nonfiction, but often a good narrative nonfiction will do the trick. And because I can’t resist all the amazing fiction titles coming out this month, I picked two nonfiction and two fiction books.

Picture Books

Contenders: Two Native Baseball Players, One World Series coverContenders: Two Native Baseball Players, One World Series” written by Traci Sorell and illustrated by Arigon Starr

This book tells the story of two men who became the first Native professional baseball players to face each other in a World Series in 1911. Each of them left life on their respective reservations (Charles Bender in Minnesota and John Meyers in California) to play baseball. Each had to persevere through countless insults and slurs. The media was not kind to them, and neither were the fans. Frequently called “Chief” and portrayed as fierce rivals, the two men actually had great respect for each other and the barriers they were breaking together. Not only does this book highlight an exciting moment in history, it also brings attention to current attitudes toward Native players in sports. Author notes in the back give more info about their careers beyond the 1911 World Series. Continue reading “Brianna’s Books: April Favorites 2023”