Spooky Spider Snacks

Posted on Thursday, October 20, 2022 by Katie

Have you ever seen a snack too cute to eat? What about a snack that entices little ones to try a nibble? Recently I saw a few ways to make spider snacks and fell in love with how adorable they are for the spooky season and how you can change how they look and taste so quickly.

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Graphic Novels We Love: The Accursed Vampire

Posted on Monday, October 17, 2022 by Megan

"Accursed Vampire" book cover.

It’s the most wonderful time of the year! I have been patiently waiting for fall to come around again since the end of last November. Now that it’s finally here, I can share one of my new favorite graphic novels. I read this book way back in the dog days of summer and have been biding my time until I could share it with you! “The Accursed Vampire” by Madeline McGrane is utterly enchanting.

Our main character, Dragoslavia, is a vampire child, and as if that isn’t bad enough, they have been cursed by a witch! Dragoslavia must do the witch’s bidding, or she will turn their flesh into worms! The witch’s latest task takes Dragoslavia and their friends Quintus (a Black vampire) and Eztli (a vampire with bird feet) on a journey, and along the way, the party meets some kind (and not-so-kind) strangers! Quintus and Eztli also help Dragoslavia realize that their relationship with the witch is not healthy. This sweet graphic novel deals with a host of topics: chosen family, how to break off an abusive relationship, queer representation and vampires! What’s not to love? Happy haunting …. Errr, I mean reading!

Brianna’s Books: October Favorites 2022

Posted on Thursday, October 13, 2022 by Brianna

Brianna's Books Banner

Hello again! Are you enjoying autumn so far? After you’re done stomping on crunchy leaves and sipping apple cider, snuggle up somewhere cozy with one of these new books.

Picture Books

Wombat Said Come In” written by Carmen Agra Deedy and illustrated by Brian Lies

Bush fires are raging in Australia, but Wombat isn’t worried. He knows he’ll be safe in his cozy, underground burrow and prepares to snuggle in with his favorite quilt and a mug of tea. Then a knock on his door introduces a succession of animals fleeing the fires, and Wombat invites them all in with unfailing hospitality. But Wallaby, Kookaburra, Platypus, Koala and Sugar Glider are not the most considerate house guests, and Wombat is eager to regain the serenity of his home after the danger is over. Yet when one of the animals doesn’t have a home to return to, Wombat’s compassion overrules his frustration with his guests. Kids can giggle at the animals’ antics but this book also creates a wonderful opportunity to discuss our responsibility to help others in need. And the Australian setting introduces fun animals that might not be as familiar to our North American audiences. Continue reading “Brianna’s Books: October Favorites 2022”

Indigenous Peoples’ Day 2022: Chapter Book Spotlight

Posted on Monday, October 10, 2022 by Laura

Did you know that our state lies on the ancestral lands of the Chickasaw nation, the Otoe-Missouria tribe, the Illini tribe, the Osage nation, the Ioway tribe and the Quapaw tribe? In last year’s blog recognizing Indigenous People’s Day, we learned a bit about Missouri’s Native heritage and featured some excellent picture book picks by Native authors. This year, I wanted to switch gears and highlight some chapter books!

Three Navajo young people sit outside on the ground. A teen sits beside two children with their arms wrapped around each other. All three are wearing Navajo blankets and jewelry.
Photo via Canva

All of the books in this list are written by authors who identify as Indigenous and come highly recommended by various Native American cultural groups and civil rights organizations. Several of these are recent publications from Heartdrum, a children’s and YA publishing imprint curated by Native author Cynthia Leitich Smith. More and more publishers are beginning to raise up Native voices, and it’s so exciting to finally see these underrepresented authors get the recognition they deserve. Please join us as we honor this year’s celebration and remembrance of Indigenous people past and present with a selection of chapter books for middle-grade readers! Continue reading “Indigenous Peoples’ Day 2022: Chapter Book Spotlight”

Even More Scary Books for Older Kids

Posted on Thursday, October 6, 2022 by Adam

It’s fast approaching that spooky time of year again and, as another sequel to my previous Halloween posts, here is another batch of frightening books for older grade-school readers:  "Don't Turn Out the Lights" book cover by Jonathan Maberry

If you prefer shorter reads, we have many scary story collections, including “Hide and Don’t Seek” by Anica Mrose Rissi and “Don’t Turn Out the Lights,” an eerie anthology tribute to Alvin Schwartz’s classic “Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark,” as well as Ben H. Winters’ poetry collection,”Literally Disturbed,” which includes rhyming tales of zombies, vampires and other unearthly beings. Continue reading “Even More Scary Books for Older Kids”

Hoopla Halloween

Posted on Thursday, September 29, 2022 by DBRL Kids

Hoopla Halloween

Have you heard all the wonderful things Hoopla has to offer? First things first, it’s free! All you need is a library card.

Hoopla allows you to stream and download audiobooks, comics, eBooks, movies, music and television shows. Here’s some additional info:

  • Check out up to 15 items per month.
  • Read/watch/listen on the Hoopla app or via computer.
  • Movies and TV shows check out for 3 days; music albums for 7 days; eBooks, audiobooks and comics for 21 days.

And the best part — there is a Hoopla Kids option you can click for safe and easy searching for children’s titles.

Hoopla Kids with Arrow

Below are some spooky Halloween eBooks and audiobooks sure to delight young readers.

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National Alpaca Day

Posted on Monday, September 26, 2022 by Kate

September 26 is Alpaca Day, so it’s time to talk about one of the world’s cutest animals. And no, we’re not talking about llamas here!

Often considered the cuter version of a llama, the Alpaca Owner’s Association uses this day to teach the country about their favorite farm friends. In case you don’t know, alpacas are prized for their extra soft wool. Native to South America, alpacas have been domesticated for over 6,000 years! Because of their soft, fuzzy feet and sustainable wooly coats, they are also considered an environmentally friendly farm animal.

There are several ways to celebrate Alpaca Day. But just in case you can’t get to an alpaca farm or knit with alpaca yarn, we have a few books featuring alpacas to check out!

Stories About Alpacas:

Alpaca Lunch” by John Churchman

Alpaca Lunch

Based on a real Huacaya alpaca named Poppy, this book tells to story of Poppy’s year at Moonrise Farm. Throughout this sweet picture book, Poppy and her friends sample different kinds of foods. Poppy meets with many friends, such as Maisie the dog and Sweet Pea the sheep. It follows Poppy through spring, summer, fall and winter as she tastes the seasonal foods that Farmer John grows and even some that grow in the wild.

Llama Unleashes the Alpacalypse” by Jonathan Sturtzman

Llama Unleashes the Alpacalypse

Okay, so technically this is the story of Llama. But, stay with me here because Llama tries to replicate himself and ends up creating Alpaca. Llama gets Alpaca to clean up Llama’s messes and Alpaca does such a good job that Llama clones him! Llama gets overwhelmed by the many alpacas and simply lets them out of his front door. As Llama spends the day eating, alpacas flood the streets. With neat illustrations and funny writing, you have to see if Llama can learn to clean up after himself or if he just keeps eating cheese pizza.

Alex and the Alpacas Save the World” by Kathryn Lefroy

While visiting her grandfather on his farm in Tasmania, Alex learns something pretty freaky: she can talk to the alpacas! Her grandfather is a little curmudgeonly, but after his olive orchard burns down in a freak storm, Alex knows that he is hiding something. Eventually, Alex learns that not only is she a descendant of ancient warriors, but there is a spirit of destruction escaping from the forest. Alex must work with the alpacas, immortal reincarnations of other great warriors, in order to save the world! Great for older kids looking for a descriptive, magic-filled chapter book.

This eBook is available through Hoopla.

Learn About Alpacas:

Alpaca or Llama

If you’re just looking for facts about alpacas, we have some great online services. “ALPACAS” by Michelle M. Hasselius has streaming audiobook version on Hoopla if you just need to learn about alpacas right this instant. You can also check out another aptly named picture book, “Alpacas” by Alonso Garcia. This book not only focuses on alpacas, but it also explains how the alpaca’s wool is used and its different treatments. It is available now as an eBook through Hoopla. “Alpaca or Llama” by Tamra Orr, on the other hand, arms you with the ability to finally tell the difference between alpacas and llamas! Also available now as an eBook through Hoopla.

For more books about alpacas (and we’ll even throw in a few llamas), please check out our list of recommendations.

Equinox Tree Branch Weaving

Posted on Thursday, September 22, 2022 by Robyn

Happy autumn equinox! Today marks the beginning of fall in the Northern Hemisphere as the sun crosses the earth’s celestial equator and the amount of day and night are approximately the same. From here on out, days get shorter and nights get longer.

To welcome this shift and prepare for longer nights ahead, you might gather your kids for a read-aloud with blankets, hot cocoa and candles. Or, consider making a favorite fall treat and watching a spooky movie. Or, if you’re feeling extra adventurous, take your little ones — or big ones — for a neighborhood walk and see if you can find a Y-shaped tree branch or two to make this craft together, which was inspired by this wonderful book in our collection. For younger kids, be mindful of pointy edges and keep a close eye when assembling.

Materials needed:

  • Y-shaped tree branch or single straight branch
  • Yarn,
  • Scissors
  • Nature objects (optional)

A few things to keep in mind: Thick yarn and branches with a narrow Y shape make for quicker projects than thin yarn and branches with a wide Y shape. Younger kids may wish to wrap a single straight branch.

After finding your branch, begin by tying a double knot at the base of the Y section.

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Megan Doodles: Kawaii Woodland Creatures

Posted on Monday, September 19, 2022 by Megan

Woodland kawaii creatures - hedgehog, acorn, mushroom and fox

We’re only a few days away from the beginning of fall! Autumn is one of my favorite times of the year, and to celebrate I thought I would show you how to draw a few cute woodland creatures. Follow the steps below and you’ll be on your way to creating an adorable fall scape. Don’t forget to add those cute eyes and a smile! Send us pics of your finished projects to kids@dbrl.org.

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