Dreamy Bedtime Books

Posted on Monday, March 13, 2023 by Laura

Daylight saving time is upon us, and brighter evening skies can certainly boost our moods and signal warmer days ahead. But if you’re a parent or caregiver, daylight saving time can also make bedtime MUCH more challenging! Any changes in sleep routine can be super disruptive for kids, and “springing forward” can result in grumpiness and sleep deprivation that lingers for days.

Pediatricians and sleep experts stress that creating and sticking to a nightly routine is crucial as the days stretch longer. For many families, this routine is capped off with a bedtime story. On those bleak nights when sleep seems so far away, a blissful bedtime read may just be the perfect remedy for rambunctious little ones and stressed-out caregivers alike. For this list, I went in search of books with gentle rhymes, dreamy illustrations and sweet sentiments for saying “good night.” Continue reading “Dreamy Bedtime Books”

Brianna’s Books: March Favorites 2023

Posted on Thursday, March 9, 2023 by Brianna

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I’ve got some treats for you this month! Tasty picture books, a new fantasy series opener and a historical fiction for horse lovers. I can’t think of a better way to finish out the last few days of winter than spending time with some new books.

Picture Books

Ramen for Everyone coverRamen for Everyone” written by Patricia Tanumihardja and illustrated by Shiho Pate

Do illustrations of food tickle your tastebuds? They sure do for me! This book is full of delicious pictures of ramen that had me searching for the nearest ramen restaurant. Hiro is a little boy who loves ramen, especially when his dad makes it every Sunday. His dad follows a recipe passed down from his father, and Hiro carefully observes and takes notes every time. When he turns seven, Hiro decides it’s time to make his own perfect bowl of ramen! But things are a lot more difficult than anticipated, and it takes some encouragement from Dad to prevent Hiro from giving up. The illustrations are reminiscent of manga, and the text is filled with action words that capture the excitement and joy in the kitchen. The lesson about perseverance and being okay with something that’s less than perfect would be a great conversation topic as you enjoy a bowl of ramen with your kiddo! (Full disclosure: as of the writing of this blog, I have not actually ever eaten real ramen. I hope that by the time you’re reading this, I will have remedied that.) Continue reading “Brianna’s Books: March Favorites 2023”

Brianna’s Books: February Favorites 2023

Posted on Thursday, February 9, 2023 by Brianna

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I tend to read a lot of fantasy, so I think that’s often what my eye is drawn to when writing these blogs. This time, I’ve kept it all contemporary realism! Well, mostly. There is an anthropomorphized bird, but that’s kind of standard for a picture book. I hope you enjoy these new books, and that they help you to walk a mile (or two!) in someone else’s shoes.

Picture Books

Finding Papa” written by Angela Pham Krans and illustrated by Thi Bui

Mai lives with her mama and papa in a small village in Vietnam and loves playing with Papa. Her favorite game is “crocodile chomp” when Papa chomps his hands together like a hungry crocodile. One morning, Papa says an extra-long goodbye and doesn’t come back. He’s gone to find them a new home, and Mai consoles herself by playing crocodile chomp alone. Finally, Mama gets a letter and they pack a bag and leave to find Papa. Through rivers and boats and unfamiliar cities, Mama and Mai make their perilous journey together. Crocodile chomp paves the way for their eventual reunion with Papa. Love and hope shine from these pages, and the author’s notes at the back provide touching context from their personal immigration stories. Continue reading “Brianna’s Books: February Favorites 2023”

Ice Suncatcher

Posted on Thursday, January 26, 2023 by Robyn

Did you know the Iñupiat have more than 100 names for different kinds of sea ice? Although Mid-Missouri doesn’t get — and stay — as cold as places like Alaska, we still experience an array of winter precipitation. This time of year calls many of us to stay cozy inside, and I respect that. But, it can also be fun to bundle up, take a short walk and come back inside for something warm like hot chocolate or tea. I invite you to venture outdoors with any little ones around. Look in all directions as you walk, keeping an eye open for twigs, acorns, pine needles etc. that have fallen on the ground. When you come back inside, warm up with a yummy drink and gather ‘round to make an ice suncatcher you can later hang outside. 

Tip: This project can be used as a hands-on opportunity to talk about the water cycle

Continue reading “Ice Suncatcher”

How to Build a Hug

Posted on Thursday, January 12, 2023 by Adam

Hugs are one of the most common ways to show affection and love, and there are many different kinds of hugs: front hugs; side hugs; group hugs; bear hugs; romantic hugs. Many kids love getting hugs from their parents, grandparents, siblings or friends, though (as we’ll see in some of the books in this list) not all do, which is why it’s important to ask if you’re not sure whether someone wants to be hugged. So, in honor of National Hugging Day, which is celebrated on January 21st, here are a handful of books about hugs that the library has to offer:

A hug between a parent and child can be one of the sweetest and most nourishing things in the world, and “The Littlest Things Give the Loveliest Hugs” by Mark Sperring, “Time for a Hug” by Phillis Gershator and Mim Green, and “Good Night Hugs” by Ag Jatkowska are all celebrations of the special bond between little ones and their parents. Continue reading “How to Build a Hug”

Brianna’s Books: January Favorites 2023

Posted on Thursday, January 5, 2023 by Brianna

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Let’s welcome in the new year with some new books! I’ve got some really fun ones for you. Don’t forget to check our catalog for digital versions if you’d prefer not to venture out in the cold!

Picture Books

Very Good Hats” written by Emma Straub and illustrated by Blanca Gómez 

Just about anything can be a hat! Bowls, pants, books — the possibilities are endless! And hats aren’t only defined as something that goes on your head. Acorns make great hats for fingers, and obviously, roofs are hats for houses. Some hats are temporary, like bubbles in the bath or leaves falling from trees. Some hats might surprise you, like a warm cat on your head in the winter. My toddler adores hats, so I’m looking forward to sharing this with him later. Sometimes when he brings me a shoe, I place it on my head and ask if it’s a hat. Giggles ensue as he snatches it off my head and places it on my foot. Yet after reading this book, the answer might just be, “Why not?”

This Little Kitty” written and illustrated by Karen Obuhanych

I love kitties, but I am sometimes glad that I only have a dog. Especially when I see all the mischief kitties get up to! There are five little kitties in this book, and their day is full of delightful destruction. Kitties claw up curtains, nap in hanging potted plants and spill kibble all over the floor. But obviously, they’re impossibly cute the entire time! We see the occasional hand or leg of their humans, who seem thankfully unconcerned by all the kitten antics. This is sure to please littles who love cats!

Chapter Books

Harmony and Heartbreak” by Claire Kann

I feel like I tend to highlight more serious chapter books, so this time I’ve got frothy escapism for you! Honestly, I’ve been really enjoying reading some lighter, feel-good books lately, and this one definitely fits the bill. Cousins Rose and Cora live in their family’s hotel in San Francisco, and are busy perfecting their magical skills to become Matchmakers. Each of them has magic that’s used to help compatible people make connections and fall in love. Now they’re being offered a chance to face the tests that will advance them to the next level of Matchmaking, but they have to do it alone. The tests are designed specifically for their weaknesses, and if they fail both tests, they could lose their magic. A bit of drama, a magic system I hadn’t seen before, and a belief in the power of love. There’s a lot to enjoy in this series starter!

Dragonboy” by Megan Reyes

In case you’re not in the mood for a rom-com, let’s finish out with an epic fantasy! Haven has been at war for generations, with each side taught to hate and fear the others. Wren’s people use magic and live alongside the dragons, while Shenli’s people abhor magic. Blue was transformed into a dragon after sacrificing for his loved ones, and River leaves a prestigious position as Lead Harvester to travel with him. These four preteens are brought together by Fate so they can end the war and heal their country. But they have thick layers of lies and misconceptions to work through so they can begin to work together and trust one another. Written from each of their perspectives, this debut book expertly balances fascinating worldbuilding, action and humor. Be warned, this is a series starter as well, and it will certainly leave you eager for the next book.

Gingerbread Dough Sensory Bin

Posted on Monday, December 12, 2022 by Laura

‘Tis the season for holiday baking — cakes, pies, breads and best of all, cookies! My mom has quite the extensive cookie cutter collection. One of my favorite holiday traditions growing up was sorting through all the fun shapes then baking and decorating until we had enough cookies to last us through February! 🍪

If your little one’s not quite ready to take part in the flurry of holiday baking, or you’re just on the lookout for a fun winter break activity, may I introduce the magic of the gingerbread dough sensory bin! The recipe is adapted from the blog Sugar, Spice and Glitter. Although flour and oil don’t make for a particularly tasty snack, this dough is safe for little ones to munch on. Plus, all that gingerbread-y goodness smells HEAVENLY! Here’s what you’ll need to make your own gingerbread dough: Continue reading “Gingerbread Dough Sensory Bin”

Brianna’s Books: Favorites from 2022

Posted on Monday, December 5, 2022 by Brianna

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It’s the end of the year, and I feel like there are so many books I never got to tell you about! So this month I decided to share some of my favorite books that came out earlier this year. That means you don’t have to wait for the release date, so find these on the shelves or check out a digital version and enjoy!

Picture Books

The Big Worry Day” written by K.A. Reynolds and illustrated by Chloe Dominque

You may think that there have been a lot of books about dealing with anxiety lately, but this one has a PUPPER! And more ways to talk about working through anxiety are always welcome. The little girl in this story claims that her dog worries just like she does. Their only agenda is to go outside and play, but there are so many things the narrator worries could go wrong. Together they tackle their day using various strategies like breathing and thinking of their favorite things. (The dog’s thought balloon prominently features the little girl, which is ADORABLE.) There’s a sweet and helpful author’s note in the back that talks about working through anxiety. Continue reading “Brianna’s Books: Favorites from 2022”

Handprint Calendar 2023

Posted on Thursday, December 1, 2022 by Erin

Handprint art in the shape of a Cardinal

I cannot believe that the new year is almost here!

The library is continuing our tradition of providing a handprint calendar just for you! Not only do these calendars make great gifts, but they are also a handy way to document family milestones.

Download the 2023 Calendar! Print on cardstock for the best results.  

To set yourself up for success, we recommend collecting your supplies beforehand:

Below are tips from a seasoned handprint calendar creator!

  • If you’re using paint or stamp pads, work near a sink and have plenty of wet wipes!
  • Work on this project over multiple short sessions to allow the pages to dry.
  • Here is a Pinterest Board full of ideas to tailor your project to your personality.

We hope you enjoy the process as much as the product!

Brianna’s Books: November Favorites 2022

Posted on Thursday, November 10, 2022 by Brianna

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Fall and early winter usually means reading a lot of holiday books. If you’re ready for a break from pumpkins and turkeys and trees, try a few of these new books we just got in!

Picture Books

I Don’t Care” written by Julie Fogliano and illustrated by Molly Idle and Juana Martinez-Neal

This is a book about friendship, illustrated by two real life besties. Two friends, standing back-to-back, state all the things they don’t care about, as the book opens with “I really don’t care what you think of my hair / or my eyes or my toes or my nose.” They continue to list superficial things they don’t care about, like a preference for polka dots or florals, or what each has for lunch. Slowly the text shifts to the things the friends do care about like sharing, honesty and loyalty. “I really do care about all of that stuff / I really do care a lot.” The text is expertly written, with a solid rhyme scheme and a rhythm that never falters. The illustrations by the two artists are perfect, as the two friends play separately then together on the page. More friendship books are always a good thing, and this one stands out from the crowd. Continue reading “Brianna’s Books: November Favorites 2022”