Brianna’s Books: February Favorites 2024

Posted on Monday, February 5, 2024 by Brianna

Brianna's Books Banner

I’m back and I’m excited to share with you all some of the new books coming out this month! As always, if you prefer reading or listening digitally, check the catalog after the book’s publication date to see if we have the eBook or e-audiobook.

Picture Books

coverWhat’s New, Daniel?” written and illustrated by Micha Archer

Alright, I know that it’s not actually spring yet. But we can still prepare for it! Daniel is visiting the park with his grandfather, and Grandpa asks him what’s new. As adults, we’re used to casually using phrases like this, but Daniel takes the question very literally and ventures out into the park to seek an answer. Daniel finds new baby ducklings, a snake with new skin, and tadpoles with new legs as well as many other springtime discoveries. As he reports back to Grandpa, he adds his own new developments, like the ability to whistle and a new tooth. The vibrant acrylic and collage illustrations joyfully herald spring and will likely inspire other young nature lovers — it’s the perfect book to enjoy as we’re finishing out winter. Continue reading “Brianna’s Books: February Favorites 2024”

A Generational Look at Influential Childhood Books

Posted on Monday, January 29, 2024 by Laura W

Do you ever start a project assuming it will go one way, only for it to end up turning around, doing a cartwheel and laughing at your assumptions? This project did that to me. Originally, I questioned whether or not we would be able to see a difference between the childhood books that were influential to different generations. I ended up wondering about universal themes instead.

Before working at the library, I was never really a part of any multigenerational workplaces. When working in a preschool, it was really just people relatively close to my age. When nannying, it was just me. Now I regularly work with people of all ages, from late teens to early 70s and everything in between. Because of this, I have become fascinated with the little generational differences that pop up, from how we talk to each other to our reactions to external events. Knowing that, working in a library, most of us have pretty deep connections to books, I began to wonder whether some of the generational difference I saw came from the books we consumed in our youths. With this in mind, I staged informal interviews with 20 of my coworkers, hoping to uncover trends in the responses across the different ages.

Continue reading “A Generational Look at Influential Childhood Books”

Shrink or Grow? Gummy Worm Experiment

Posted on Monday, January 22, 2024 by Robyn

Did you know that gummy worms were invented in 1981, almost 60 years after the first gummy bear? Hans Riegel, a factory worker in Bonn, Germany (who later went on to start the Haribo company) originally made the bears with black licorice, which isn’t my jam. But that paved the way for worms, inspiring one of my favorite childhood treats: dirt and worms. Maybe that’s why this experiment grabbed my attention when I was browsing “The Curious Kid’s Science Book.” When submerged in different substances overnight, will gummy worms shrink, grow or stay the same? It’s a pretty simple setup (minimal supplies most of you already have at home) with a fun ending. Plus, there will surely be leftover worms for you to gobble up!

Gummy worm image
Original image by Willis Lam; background added
Continue reading “Shrink or Grow? Gummy Worm Experiment”

Watercolor Winter Hat Craft

Posted on Monday, January 15, 2024 by Katie

Does anyone else start to miss bright colors in January? This is the time of year I find myself thinking about dying my hair, seeking the brightest socks in the drawer and choosing the doughnuts with the most sprinkles. That is one of the reasons I chose this craft to share. The watercolor paints are so bright and cheerful. Perfect for a cold winter day.

Watercolor Winter Hat craft

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New Year, New You: Self-Improvement Books for Kids

Posted on Monday, January 8, 2024 by Laura

Becoming the best versions of ourselves is a lifelong journey, one which I firmly believe starts with the values and habits we form growing up. And as we enter 2024, the new year feels like a clean slate — a time to take stock of the progress we’ve made and chart a path forward, not only for ourselves but for our families and children as well. If you’re an organized, goal-oriented family who thrives on checking off to-do lists, traditional New Year’s resolutions might very well work for you and your kids. But if you’re anything like me, and your resolutions get completely forgotten come February, shifting your focus towards the little steps it takes to make long-term change can take the pressure off.

Free Black girl reading book on bed Stock Photo

I appreciated this Psychology Today article, in which the author makes a case for setting intentions rather than resolutions in the new year. Intentions require us to think more deeply about our values and priorities, the things that make us happy and give us purpose. Rather than stressing over specific tasks and strict deadlines (and feeling that dreaded sense of failure when life inevitably gets in the way), intentions allow us to refocus our efforts and take small, sustainable steps toward the person we wish to become.

Especially as kids enter their tween years, knowing oneself, gaining confidence and learning to set achievable goals become all the more important. To that end, I’ve compiled a few of my favorite titles to encourage kids on their self-improvement journey. Continue reading “New Year, New You: Self-Improvement Books for Kids”

My Love of Loose Parts Play

Posted on Monday, January 1, 2024 by Laura W

Examples of loose parts including rocks, buttons, Tupperware, spoons, cardboard tubes, beads, grass, beans, branches, popsicle sticks and yarn.

It is almost impossible to avoid the message that products equal happiness. We are inundated with advertisements that promise health, happiness and everything in between, if only we buy what they’re selling. However, in my years of working with children, I have found that the best learning comes from the most unexpected places. You don’t always have to buy fancy new toys for your kids to have a fun time full of learning opportunities. This is where loose parts come into play. Continue reading “My Love of Loose Parts Play”

Author-Illustrators We Love: Phoebe Wahl 🍄

Posted on Tuesday, December 26, 2023 by Grae

Cover photo of Phoebe Wahl's children's book "Little Witch Hazel," featuring a small white woman with braided brown hair carrying a basket of strawberries. Little Witch Hazel wears a red pointed cap, a green and white sweater, red-striped blue culottes, and tiny black boots. She stands in the middle of a forest scene with various fungi, flowers and other plants around her, including a strawberry bush, a pine cone, acorns, and amanita mushrooms.

When you crack open one of Phoebe Wahl‘s intricately illustrated and thoughtfully plotted children’s books, you may very well be opening a treasure chest. But the scintillating trinkets and down-right adorable baubles Wahl offers you are not so precious that they must be held at a remove, kept behind glass or under the belly of a sneering dragon. Instead, Wahl wants you to hold them, feel them, cup and ponder them delicately close to your heart and mind, like you might do with a freshly fallen oak leaf or a young phlox bloom at the first sign of spring or a glimmering pebble that sings out its iridescence from the creek bed. Continue reading “Author-Illustrators We Love: Phoebe Wahl 🍄”

Picture Books We Love: Dear Dandelion

Posted on Monday, December 18, 2023 by Megan

Dear Dandelion book cover

“Weeds gone wild, refusing to be tamed. I hope more people start to rethink why some plants are considered weeds and start to see the beauty in their resilience.” – SJ Okemow

You’re probably thinking “Megan, why are you writing about dandelions in the winter?” Don’t worry this book takes place across all the seasons, so you’ll get a taste of winter. “Dear Dandelion” by SJ Okemow follows the life cycle of the dandelion all year long. According to the author’s note, it was made as a part of the Animating Our Stories Program at Banff Centre of Arts and Creativity. Okemow uses Cree words throughout the book and has translations at the end of the book.

close up of dandelion flower

This book goes through the life cycle of a dandelion in such a beautiful way. Most people see dandelions as weeds, but they are often seen as a symbol of resilience and overcoming adversity. Dandelions come back year after year in our yards and sometimes through cracks in the concrete, and a wise woman told me recently they are a reminder to look for beauty in unexpected places. And that’s exactly what this book is about — finding joy in the small things like making a flower crown in the summer or making wishes on a mud pie. So even though it’s cold and dreary, I challenge you to pick up this sunny book about dandelions and look for a bit of joy in the world around you.

Holiday Crafts

Posted on Wednesday, December 13, 2023 by Grace

People all over the world have constructed traditions over time to create intentional spaces for unity, festivity and collaboration. Many of these traditions take place during specific times of the year, such as Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) and Samhain, which take place around the midpoint of autumn. These holidays, which both memorialize those who have passed on, are inspired by culture and traditions, and also by the weather, as trees begin to lose their leaves and animals retreat into their nature homes. Many of our holidays are connected with Earth’s trip around the sun and the effects it has on our weather. In the case of winter holidays, humans like to celebrate warmth, hearth and home. Because people are inside more often, they spend more time with their family members, which makes winter a wonderful time to celebrate family and friends! Continue reading “Holiday Crafts”