Picture Books for Graduation and Other Milestones

Posted on Wednesday, May 8, 2024 by Laura

As the school year winds down, the air is full of possibility. May brings bittersweet endings and exciting new beginnings. And if you have a graduate in your life, whether kindergarten, college or anywhere in between, a few things are certain:

  1. The graduation cap will most definitely fall off their head. (Does anyone actually know the proper way toThe cover of the book Oh, the Places You'll Go! features a child in a yellow suit and cap standing on top of colorful, concentric circles. wear one? Asking for a friend.)
  2. Pomp and Circumstance” will be stuck in your head for the next week.
  3. The graduate will receive a copy (or two or three) of Dr. Seuss’ “Oh, the Places You’ll Go!

Since its publication in 1990, Oh, the Places You’ll Go! has remained one of the most popular graduation gifts, evidenced by the fact that it shoots to the top of the children’s bestseller list each spring. As this clever Washington Post article observes, it’s the perfect (if cliché) choice for all ages: kids can’t resist Dr. Seuss’ whimsical rhymes, while older graduates appreciate the encouraging message and the nod to their own childhood nostalgia. It’s no wonder that nearly three generations have unwrapped a copy for each of their major life milestones.

As I approach my own master’s degree commencement, I’ve been reflecting on what these educational milestones have meant to me over the years. For me, these are times not just to revel in my own accomplishments but to remember all the love and encouragement that brought me here. I remember my parents staying up late with me as I struggled through school projects, first by my side at the dinner table and now from miles away over the phone. I remember my grandparents, aunts, uncles and other family members who met me at the finish line with parties, flowers and cards. And I remember classmates, friends and now my husband who have commiserated with me through it all. Continue reading “Picture Books for Graduation and Other Milestones”

Helping Kids With Dyslexia: Resources, Tips and Tricks

Posted on Monday, April 29, 2024 by Laura W

It can be so incredibly overwhelming when you learn your child might have dyslexia. So many questions could pop up all at once. Will they ever learn how to read? What can I do to help? Are there any resources to help me? Luckily, we have answers to many of those possibly scary questions. You aren’t alone in trying to figure this out. Dyslexia is not a sign that a person will never read. It just means they may need a little extra support as they learn how to work with their brain. Remember, as with most things, stay informed and you’ll soon see just how capable your kid really is. Keep reading for an overview of some of the current best research-based practices and how the library can help. Continue reading “Helping Kids With Dyslexia: Resources, Tips and Tricks”

April Showers Make the Best Wildflowers

Posted on Thursday, April 11, 2024 by Billy

March 19 marked the first day of spring, and with it, the turn of a season. While warmer weather and longer daylight hours are much appreciated features of the new season, my favorite aspect is the emergence of spring wildflowers. After a long winter, seeing the pops of color makes me feel like Earth is waking up, sparking inspiration and excitement. 

In this post, I’ve compiled a small collection of my favorite native wildflowers that can be found in April, a little information about why they’re so cool, and some insight into where you might find them. You can treat this blog post as a scavenger hunt, with the objective of learning a little bit more about Missouri’s natural heritage. 

While out on your hunt, I highly recommend this resource from the Missouri Department of Conservation, which is a helpful guide that covers spring wildflowers. If you find any plants you’d like to identify that aren’t on this list, you’ll likely find the answers in that guide.

Wildflowers to Look Out for:


First on the list is an interesting-looking plant, the toadshade (scientific name, Trillium sessile).

Unlike many plants, which produce bright, sweet-smelling flowers to attract pollinators, this plant takes a different approach. Toadshade is pollinated by bugs that typically prefer dead or rotting things, like flies and beetles, and therefore, has a rather fetid smell. 

If you can get past the smell, seeing this plant growing on the forest floor can be exciting. The leaves are arranged in the shape of a palm, satisfyingly symmetrical, and the single flower is long and dark. As the name implies, it looks like an umbrella made perfectly for a toad to relax under. 

Toadshade flower

Continue reading “April Showers Make the Best Wildflowers”

Brianna’s Books: April Favorites 2024

Posted on Monday, April 1, 2024 by Brianna

Brianna's Books Banner

Publishing is really picking up for the spring. I’ve got all kinds of new books on order that I don’t have time to tell you about! These four all come out at the beginning of the month, so you won’t have to wait too long for them.

Picture Books

coverAhoy!” written and illustrated by Sophie Blackall 

This is a fantastic example of imaginative play. A parent is trying to vacuum a large blue rug while their child plays nearby, gathering all sorts of household items. When the parent asks what they’re playing, the child responds, “I’M NOT PLAYING! I’M PREPARING TO SET SAIL!” They’re shouting because a storm is coming, and the child urgently convinces the parent to join them on their ship. Soon the blue rug is an ocean, paper towel tubes are telescopes, and the two embark on adventures on the high seas. The author perfectly balances fantasy and reality in the illustrations, while capturing the enthusiasm and joy of the child — not to mention their impressive nautical knowledge. I love that the parent is included in the adventure. My toddler is already teaching me so much about imagination that I’d forgotten as I grew up. He’s generally pretending to be a peregrine falcon or an ostrich (the faster the better!), but I have no doubt that we’ll be hoisting our own living room sails in a year or two. Continue reading “Brianna’s Books: April Favorites 2024”

2023 Missouri Building Block Picture Book Award Winner!

Posted on Monday, March 18, 2024 by DBRL Kids

Image of 2023 Missouri Building Block Winner

We are excited to announce that the winner of the 2023 Missouri Building Block Picture Book Award is “I’m Terrified of Bath Time” by Simon Rich and illustrated by Tom Toro. Nearly 13,000 Missouri children voted, and 2,318 kiddos voted for the winning title.

Extra Shoutout

We would like to give an honorable mention to our local favorite “I’m A Unicorn” by Helen Yoon.

And We Have New Nominees

Want to discover more terrific read-alouds? The 2024 Missouri Building Block Award nominees have been announced. If you want to get a head start, you can enjoy reading the individual books.

Language Learning Resources for Kids and Families

Posted on Monday, March 11, 2024 by Laura

When I’m not answering questions and handing out stickers at the Children’s Services Desk, I moonlight as an ESL (English as a second language) instructor at the University of Missouri. So it will come as no surprise that I love to help library kids and their families on their language learning journeys!

When I chat with parents and caregivers about this topic, I often hear questions like:

  • Will my child get confused if we introduce another language?
  • How can we balance English and another language in our home?
  • How do I raise a bilingual child when I’m not fluent in another language myself?
  • How can I get my child excited about learning a new language?

Continue reading “Language Learning Resources for Kids and Families”

Brianna’s Books: March Favorites 2024

Posted on Monday, March 4, 2024 by Brianna

Brianna's Books Banner

It was hard to narrow down my list this month! There are some great books coming out in March.

Picture Books

coverAll Aboard the Alaska Train” written by Brooke Hartman and illustrated by John Joseph

This is the perfect book for train and nature enthusiasts alike! Readers are invited to board the (apparently iconic) Alaska Train, as it races, rumbles, rattles and rambles its way through Alaska. Each new page turn features an Alaskan animal, with engaging rhyming text that will encourage little ones to guess the animal before the reader states it. The animals surreptitiously join the passengers on the train as it travels through various landscapes and habitats. Finally, the train is stalled at the foot of a tall mountain, and the animals all get off the train to help push it up the tracks. While the plot isn’t a main focus here, little ones will love seeing all the different types of animals, and the excellent rhythm of the text keeps things moving briskly. My toddler currently loves trains and animals, so I’m looking forward to sharing this one with him! Continue reading “Brianna’s Books: March Favorites 2024”

Meet the Mushrooms 🍄🍄

Posted on Monday, February 26, 2024 by Grae

. . . and other fun-guys, or fungis!

Do you have a budding mushroom and/or fungi lover in your life? You’re not alone; there is definitely something sporing in the air and plenty of fungus among us. Okay, that might be enough puns for now, but it does seem like the mushroom has been popping up everywhere lately, from cute accessories to interior décor to critically-acclaimed documentaries to your very own backyard or favorite spot of Missouri greenspace. I like to think the mushroom’s trendiness is due to the fact that there’s a little something for everyone in the fungi kingdom. Fungi are, after all, neither plant nor animal, but some other creature in-between or beyond. Plus, the technicolor spread of variety amongst fungi makes mushrooms, which are technically the fruit or fruiting body of a fungus, both adorable and endlessly fascinating —as well as in some cases, appetizing!

So, if you have gotten thoroughly tangled up in the mycelium (root-like structures of a fungus), or are just starting to sprout interest in the subject, I’ve compiled a list of resources for the aspiring mycologist (a.k.a. mushroom scientist). Read on for some cap-tivating choices. . .

For the littlest caps, try “Meet the Mushrooms!

Cover of the board book "Meet the Mushrooms!" featuring mushrooms of all colors, shapes and sizes with cute, happy faces smiling in a forest scene.

This sturdy board book features interactively layered die-cut cardboard pages so the very youngest of mycologists can explore the various colors, shapes and sizes of all kinds of little mushroom guys. 😊 Continue reading “Meet the Mushrooms 🍄🍄”

DIY Winter Village

Posted on Monday, February 19, 2024 by Megan

As I write this blog (on February 8) the weather is bright and sunny. The temperature is currently 67°F which is 32 degrees above average. If this continues by the time you read this, it might feel like summer, and I might feel a little sheepish writing a blog about creating your own winter village. But it is still technically *checks notes* WINTER! I even looked up the daily average for Columbia, MO and we usually see temperatures closer to 45°, and once way back in 1903, it was -6°F. So we’re gonna party like it’s 1903 and make our own indoor winter village!


  • House template
  • Your favorite art supplies (markers, crayons, colored pencils, GLITTER — go wild)
  • A large piece of paper (we used blue paper but you could use anything — even an old brown paper bag)
  • Tape or glue


  • Download and print your house template.
  • Decorate your house and cut it out.
  • Using tape or glue, adhere your house to your large piece of paper.
  • Hang it up and enjoy!

Note: If you come to the Columbia Public Library before the end of February, we’ll have supplies for you to help us make our winter village. Color a house during your visit and leave it with us, and we’ll add it to our community mural. You can visit the mural on the first floor near the Children’s Desk.

Friendship Bracelets…or Bookmarks!

Posted on Tuesday, February 13, 2024 by Grace

Ancient Greeks used six different words to describe the diverse feelings of love people have for one another. After all, there’s a difference between how you love your best friend and how you love your family and a difference between the love one has for the human species and the love one has for a partner. 

So… what does this have to do with friendship bracelets? Well, Valentine’s Day is nearly here, and while it’s a fantastic time of year to show appreciation and love for one’s romantic partner, it’s also a great time to spread love of all kinds! In this post, I will lay out a “friendship bracelet boot camp.” My idea with this is that, if you are approaching this blog post as a complete beginner, you will be able to smoothly progress from bracelet patterns 1 through 4 if you so choose! That being said, if you only like one or two patterns, just do those. The most important thing about creating art is that you, the artist, enjoy the process and the result. 

If you’ve been making friendship bracelets for a while, I hope you enjoy my explanation of the craft and hopefully even find a cool pattern you like! I’m no professional, but I don’t think you need to be to enjoy the craft of creating unique patterns and wearable art. It’s so much fun to be able to say “Thanks, I made it myself.” I hope this inspires others to feel the same!  Continue reading “Friendship Bracelets…or Bookmarks!”