Books We Love: “House of Dreams: The Life of L. M. Montgomery” by Liz Rosenberg

Posted on Monday, July 15, 2019 by Megan

House of Dreams bookIf you’ve read some of my previous blogs, you’ll know that I love “Anne of Green Gables” by L. M. Montgomery—the books, the movies, the graphic novels, I love them all!  So you can understand why I was delighted when I discovered a new juvenile biography about Montgomery. “House of Dreams: The Life of L. M. Montgomery” by Liz Rosenberg is a comprehensive biography about Lucy Maud and is a book best suited for older readers who are already familiar with Anne.

Maud (without an “E”–sound familiar?) was an interesting character in her own right. As with many authors of her time, she kept copious notes and journals, which Rosenberg incorporates in her own text. Montgomery’s journals have been published and are out there for you to find if you have a mind to do it, but even the most ardent Anne fans might find them tedious (as I did). However, Rosenberg’s book does a wonderful job of condensing Montgomery’s life with the facts we know about her and what she chose to record.

On the surface, you can see a lot of Montgomery in her fictional character Anne, but in real life Montgomery was a very complex person that struggled with bouts of depression, ill-matched suitors, rejection and a loveless marriage. While these are tough topics for juvenile readers, Rosenberg doesn’t pull any punches and presents the facts as we know them, even in cases where Montgomery herself left the truth out of even her own private journals.

I recommend this book as a great companion piece for those readers who are interested in going beyond Green Gables to find an L. M. Montgomery was a flawed human being and was able to create an equally flawed character who has withstood the test of time. This book made me think of one of my favorite L. M. Montgomery quotes: “Tomorrow is always fresh, with no mistakes in it yet.” Like Lucy Maud, we all have faults, but we just have to keep chasing those tomorrows.

Stranger Than Fiction: A Universe of Facts

Posted on Thursday, July 11, 2019 by Kayla Thompson

Space has been the inspiration and setting for many fictional stages. Authors like Orson Scott Card, H. G. Wells, George Lucas, and Jason Fry have dazzled us with their out of this world narratives of aliens and space adventure. Each fictional world creates its own idea of the strange and interesting things that might be going on in our universe. However, sometimes the facts can be stranger than fiction!

Reading nonfiction with your child can be just as fun as reading fiction, and it’s a good way to introduce young minds to the world around them. It’s never too early to share nonfiction books with young readers! You can get started with some great nonfiction based on this year’s Summer’s Reading program “A Universe of Stories.” Below is just a suggested list. If the text seems too complex, read what you’d like from it and just talk about the pictures with your child. In this way, nonfiction books for all ages can be shared as a family.

Books for babies and toddlers

Continue reading “Stranger Than Fiction: A Universe of Facts”

So Long, Stray Socks!

Posted on Monday, July 8, 2019 by Jessica M

They say a person loses over 1000 socks in their lifetime. What happens to all those socks? Did they disappear in the wash? Did they unexpectedly make a vacation without us when we were packing to go to Grandma’s? The animals in our households suddenly look a little too innocent. Did the dog take one of them and use it as a chew toy? Has the cat stowed away a collection of them in a nest under someone’s bed?

No matter how they disappear, losing a sock is a hard thing for a family. In order to help our community cope, I want to celebrate with some sock-themed literature. It’s time to hold your favorite socks close—the fuzziest of the fuzzy socks, the softest of the cotton socks, the brightest neon-colored socks you have—and enjoy some of these fun reads:

I Lost My Sock!” – P. J. Roberts

A cute story focusing on animal characters. Fox has lost one of his blue socks. He asks Mr. Ox to help him find it. They find all sorts of different socks in different patterns and sizes.

Have You Seen My Blue Socks?” – Eve Bunting

A small duck has lost his brand new pair of blue socks. He sets off on a journey to ask all of his close friends if they have seen where they might have disappeared to.

Where’s my Sock?” – Joyce Dunbar

Pippin is having a bad day. He lost the match to his sock. Tog tries to help him find it, but as their journey progresses, they can’t seem to find the match to Pippin’s yellow sock with red clocks.

A Pair of Socks” – Stuart Murphy

A fun story told in the perspective of a sock. The sock cannot find their match anywhere!

Fox in Socks” – Seuss

A book by Dr. Seuss that includes fun words and wordplay as Mr. Socks Fox tries to teach Mr. Knox a tongue twister.

Ducks Don’t Wear Socks” – John Nedwidek

Emily finds herself being a little too serious. This changes after she meets Duck. Duck decides that he needs to wear socks, despite Emily’s discomfort that, “Ducks don’t wear socks!” This continues with other articles of clothing until he changes Emily’s serious and self-conscious mood. Continue reading “So Long, Stray Socks!”

Military Deployment Book List

Posted on Wednesday, July 3, 2019 by Brianna

As America celebrates independence, it’s important to remember the families of those still fighting for our country. Holidays like Independence Day can be rough for children with deployed parents, but these picture books should offer some comfort.

cover of Sometimes We Were Brave

Sometimes We Were Brave” by Pat Brisson

This sweet book demonstrates how to keep going, even when you’re a little bit afraid. Jerome’s mother is in the Navy, and when she’s gone he worries about her. The description of daily life while waiting for her, along with the comforting illustrations, should help children find their own bravery despite anxieties.

cover of Papa's Backpack

Papa’s Backpack” by James Christopher Carroll

This beautifully illustrated book describes a bear cub’s desire to travel with his soldier papa bear, even though he knows he cannot. Animals march to do battle in a stylized landscape that evokes modern military conflict without being too alarming. The bear cub speculates about traveling with his papa, but ultimately gives him a doll to take instead. A visually intriguing story that explores the feelings of children who must be left behind.

Tuesday Tucks Me In: The Loyal Bond Between a Soldier and His Service Dog” by Luis Carlos Montalván

This book doesn’t deal with deployment so much as life after coming home. Through touching photographs, Tuesday the service dog narrates his relationship with a healing army veteran. Children will fall in love with Tuesday and gain a better understanding of how service dogs can help veterans.

For more books on this subject, check out our military deployment book list.

4th of July Fun: Water-works

Posted on Friday, June 28, 2019 by Kristy

Looking for some 4th of July fun with your little ones that doesn’t involve loud noises and fire? Try making some colorful water-works, a simple experiment that shows the interaction between oil, water and food coloring.

What you’ll need:

  • Water
  • Vegetable oil
  • Food coloring (Any color will work, but blue and red are fun if you want to be patriotic!)
  • Glass container (Large jars work great!)
  • Bowl
  • Fork

What you’ll do:

  1. Put 3 tablespoons of vegetable oil into a bowl.
  2. Add 3 drops of 3 different food coloring colors. (Don’t mix them, or it might look muddy!)
  3. Use the fork to comb through the food coloring droplets, making them into multiple smaller droplets.
  4. Fill your glass container with water.
  5. Pour the contents of the bowl into the container of water. If you pour it quickly, you get a fast firework show with lots of pizzaz! If you pour slowly, you can extend the fun.
  6. Watch as the oil goes to the top and the food coloring falls through the oil, into the water. This will create beautiful “fireworks” sure to amaze your kiddos!

Indoor Camping Fun!

Posted on Thursday, June 27, 2019 by Lyndsey

This time of year, I can’t help but dream about all of my favorite summertime activities, especially camping. There’s nothing better than setting up a tent, sitting around a fire, and telling spooky (or not so spooky) stories with those you love. However, it’s not always ideal to camp outside with your little ones when it’s too hot or too rainy. The next best thing is to bring the fun inside and camp indoors!

Steps for a successful indoor camping trip:

  1. Set up camp

Grab the necessary supplies to build an epic indoor tent. This might include an actual tent, or you can simply use chairs and blankets. Not only is it exciting to transform your living room into a campsite, but it is a great way to encourage kids to practice their teamwork and communication skills. 

No campsite is complete without a campfire, so there are several options for you. Either set up your tent in front of the fireplace, turn on one or two lamps or find a virtual fire on your preferred streaming service to supply you with the right lighting and magical crackling sound.

  1. Grab snacks

In the mood for s’mores? Being indoors doesn’t have to hold you back! Use your microwave, or roast marshmallows over the oven. For a healthier alternative, you can make ants on a log. Simply put peanut butter on a celery stick and top with raisins or chocolate chips. Continue reading “Indoor Camping Fun!”

Blast Off With Songs and Rhymes About Our Universe

Posted on Monday, June 24, 2019 by Kayla Thompson

Singing songs and rhyming can be great ways to get your child interested in reading. Rhyming words and songs are not only fun but also help familiarize children with the beginning and ending sounds in words. This is crucial for when kids begin reading on their own.

Songs are great for on the go! You and your child can sing in the car, at the grocery store, while playing at the park and before bed. You can even make up your own fun songs that play with words and sounds.

The theme of our 2019 Summer Reading program is “A Universe of Stories” and is a fantastic place to start. Those of you familiar with our story times can probably sing our crowd favorite “Zoom, Zoom, Zoom,” but if you haven’t heard of it, give it a try! (Don’t forget to blast off at the end, jumping into the air.)

Zoom, Zoom, Zoom

Zoom, Zoom, Zoom,
We’re going to the moon.

Zoom, Zoom, Zoom,
We’re going to the moon.

If you want to take a trip,
Climb aboard my rocket ship.

Zoom, Zoom, Zoom,
We’re going to the moon.

5, 4, 3, 2, 1,
Blast off! Continue reading “Blast Off With Songs and Rhymes About Our Universe”

Awesome Animal Helpers!

Posted on Thursday, June 20, 2019 by Molly

DogFor many of us, animals are important family members. But for some individuals, the animals that share their homes are much more than pets. In truth, they are essential helpers. They may serve as their owner’s ears or eyes, helping their owners with basic tasks, such as retrieving items from the floor. These animals provide services that allow their owners to be more independent, helping them navigate their environment both inside and outside the home.

Service animals can also offer comfort and support. In the children’s book “The Rabbit Listened” by Cori Doerrfeld, when Taylor’s block tower tumbles to the ground, some of his animal friends try to make things better by offering advice. The chicken wants to talk about it, elephant suggests rebuilding the tower and ostrich simply wants to pretend it never happened. But rabbit simply sits close by and listens, providing the emotional support that Taylor needs.

In “Little Helpers, Animals on the Job” by Michele Brummer Everett, the author introduces several animal helpers and explains why the services they provide are so essential to so many people. At the back of the book, a short snippet about each of the various animal helpers provides additional insights. For instance, simply petting a cat reduces blood pressure and boosts immunity, whereas, snakes “can warn about an oncoming seizure by giving a tight squeeze.”

DBRL offers several children’s books about animal helpers. Here are just a few to get you started.

Sunny Reads for Sunny Days

Posted on Monday, June 17, 2019 by Amy

Summer starts this Friday, June 21! Need something for your kiddos to do during the long, hot days of summer? Here’s a list of sunny reads, tunes and shows sure to delight all ages!

Little Sunny Sunshine” by Susie Jaramillo

Sing, laugh and play along with this interactive, bilingual board book that’s inspired by a traditional Colombian folk song. Readers will learn the days of the week in English and Spanish, as well as activities for daytime and bedtime.

Goldie the Sunshine Fairy” by Daisy Meadows

When Goldie the Sunshine Fairy’s magic feather disappears, Wetherbury becomes so hot and sunny that the cornfields turn into popcorn!

Running on Sunshine” by Carolyn Cinami DeCristofano

The sun is a source of energy for living things, and energy that comes from sunshine is called solar energy. But how does solar energy work? And how can we use solar energy to stay on the cutting-edge of technology and help keep the environment healthy?

You Are My Sunshine” by Jimmie Davis

Lovingly illustrated by Caroline Jayne Church, this book contains the lyrics to “You Are My Sunshine,” which you can read and sing with your child.

 Little Miss Sunshine Presents Fun in the Sun!” (DVD)

Little Miss Sunshine rings in the day with plenty of sunshine, her playful nature sure to brighten your kiddo’s days!

 “You Are My Sunshine” by Elizabeth Mitchell (CD)

Vocalist Elizabeth Mitchell sings soothing yet playful children’s tunes in this lovely CD.


Adventure Through Space With Comics and Graphic Novels

Posted on Thursday, June 13, 2019 by Kayla Thompson

CasStronautsAccording to the Scholastic “Guide to Using Graphic Novels With Children and Teens,” there are four ways through which graphic novels promote literacy. Graphic novels:

  • Are motivating: Because they are visually compelling and quick reads, these books are popular with kids, teens and adults.
  • Attract reluctant readers: Graphic novels tend to attract those who prefer gaming or visual media, getting even the most reluctant audiences interested.
  • Develop reading skills: The pictures and illustrations in graphic novels give context clues to the words, helping kids improve reading skills and comprehension.
  • Build critical thinking skills: Graphic novels can provide complex plot lines that allow readers to stretch their minds, predicting outcomes and solving mysteries. 

DBRL has a number of comics and graphic novels for all age groups to dive into. Our Summer Reading program’s theme, “A Universe of Stories,” generates a lot of fun titles!

For more graphic novel titles for young readers check out the American Library Association’s website!