Upcoming Children’s Books in 2020

Posted on Monday, December 23, 2019 by Tess

Get here soon 2020, we’ve got some reading to do! It’s time for us to share some of the exciting new books coming out in 2020. Librarians everywhere are filling their shopping carts with these up-and-coming reads, so feel free to add them to your holds list!

Picture books

No More Naps” written by Chris Grabenstein, illustrated by Leo Espinsoa (Publication date: February)

It’s time for a nap, but, just like stubborn toddlers everywhere, Annalise Devin McFleece won’t have anything to do with bedtime. Dad tries to encourage sleepiness by pushing her around the park in her stroller. Along the way, they pass a man sitting on a bench, dog walkers, a boy on a skateboard, kids playing ball, a girl practicing her juggling and others. Each of them thinks that taking a nap is a great idea, and if Annalise Devin McFleece doesn’t want hers, they’ll happily take it. And one by one, everyone falls asleep…except Annalise Devin McFleece. But when she’s finally ready for her nap, all the naps are taken! Is there anyone who has an extra nap to spare? With every turn of the page, the busy city scene becomes more and more quiet…except for Annalise Devin McFleece. Will she ever take a nap?


Just Like Me” by Vanessa Brantley-Newton (Publication date: January)

From the author of “Grandma’s Purse,” comes a collection of poetry filled with engaging mini-stories about girls of all kinds: girls who feel happy, sad, scared, powerful; girls who love their bodies and girls who don’t; country girls, city girls; girls who love their mother and girls who wish they had a father. With bright portraits in Vanessa’s signature style of vibrant colors and unique patterns and fabrics, this book invites readers to find themselves and each other within its pages.


Bedtime for Sweet Creatures” written by Nikki Grimes, illustrated by Elizabeth Zunon (Publication Date: January)

Mommy needs to wrangle her sweet creature into bed so that the whole family can sleep. From tigers to squirrels to snakes, the little boy dodges around his bedtime, until he is tired enough to finally sleep. His imaginative animal friends weave their way through the illustrations, eventually joining him in curling up for the night. 

Continue reading “Upcoming Children’s Books in 2020”

Best Children’s Books of 2019

Posted on Thursday, December 19, 2019 by Kristy

It’s that time of year again! The DBRL youth services staff have come up with a list of the best of the best children’s books that came out this year. Make sure to check out these awesome titles and comment below with your favorite books of 2019!

I Will Be Fierce book cover

I Will Be Fierce” written by Bea Birdsong, illustrated by Nidhi Chanani
Our young narrator takes us through her day faced with many challenges, such as standing up to a table full of bullies and feeling confident in her work. Throughout the day, she encourages herself to be confident, reach further, be kinder and stand tall by saying to herself, “Today, I will be fierce!”

Be a Maker book cover

Be A Maker” written by Katey Howes, illustrated by Elizabet Vukovic
The detailed illustrations in this book about creating kept my toddler and I talking night after night for over a month!

B is for Baby book cover

B Is for Baby” written by Atinuke, illustrated by Angela Brooksbank
I love how many rare “B” words this book introduces. My toddler loves that she can retell the story all by herself.

Here and There book cover

Here and There by Tamara Ellis Smith, illustrated by Evelyn Daviddi
This story is told from the point of view of young Ivan, who is learning to accept the changes that occurred when his parents separated. I especially like the way the bright, hip illustrations complement and add to the narrative. Ivan learns that the things he loves are all around him and not only in one location.

Continue reading “Best Children’s Books of 2019”

Girls Being Girls

Posted on Monday, December 2, 2019 by Jessica M

It’s not secret that I love making book lists. I love a good challenge, I love looking at different types of books and I love highlighting some of our lesser known titles so they can be loved and appreciated in the homes of others. That’s why, when I received this request, I knew it was going to be a fun one.

Child: “Do you have any girly books?”

At first glance, this seemed like an easy enough request. “Fancy Nancy” or “Junie B. Jones” are always crowd favorites when it comes to “girly” titles. However, this wasn’t what she wanted. It took some questions, some pondering and some trial-and-error to find out that the request was a bit more complex than expected. She wanted books for young girls, about girls—that are happy, supportive and productive (while also sometimes a little cute and adorable). That’s a lot to accomplish in just a few short pages of a picture book for young children. Therefore, we took the time to really compile and vet our options. I found some pretty awesome “girly” book in this process. Intrigued? Then check out the books below!

Dear Girl” by Amy Krouse Rosenthal

This book celebrates what it means to be a girl. Girls are girls because they are girls, not because of how others label them or by meeting certain criteria.

Princess Hair” by Sharee Miller

Not all hair is the same! This is a fun, upbeat book about hair acceptance and diversity. Princess hair comes in all different styles and all princesses wear their hair differently.

The Girls” by Lauren Ace

“The Girls” is a story about four friends growing up together. They meet, establishing their secret place while they build their relationships. Together, the girls grow and support one another through their victories and losses in life, some of them finding life partners, earning degrees, getting married, having kids, going on adventures—whatever each of them finds important. But no matter what happens, they all still support their friends.

Interstellar Cinderella” by Deborah Underwood

Cinderella wants to fix fancy rockets. When the Prince throws a Royal Space Parade, all Cinderella wants to do is go and see amazing spaceships. It’s not about finding Prince Charming or thwarting her evil stepfamily. The most important thing is Cinderella is following her dreams.

Cece Loves Science and Adventure” by Kimberly Derting

Cece and the other Adventure Girls go into the wilderness to earn their camping badges. However, on a hike, their GPS cannot locate them and a storm comes rolling in. It’s up to the Adventure Girls to use their STEM skills to get themselves back to camp.

Mary Wears What She Wants” by Keith Negley

This book is a fictional retelling of Dr. Mary Edwards Walker as a child. Dr. Walker was a famous doctor who served during the Civil War in the Union Army. In this retelling, it shows Dr. Walker as a child who saw that pants should be for everyone, not just men, and she decides to wear them. This causes quite a stir and people try to convince her to wear only dresses. It shows how hard it is to hold onto ideals, but it is important to do so to make great changes for everyone!

Planting Stories” by Anika Denise

Anika Denise brings Pura Belpré’s story to life in a beautifully illustrated book. Pura came to the United States to visit New York and to attend her sister’s wedding. However, Pura decides to stay. She works in a garment factory and then at the New York Public Library branch in Harlem. There, she tells stories from her home in Puerto Rico. The children love them and Pura sends them to a publisher. She continues to tell stories from Puerto Rico and perform her stories for the children in the community. This book shows Pura’s life, her appreciation for the culture she came from, and the cultural impact that her work had on the Harlem branch on 135th Street.


Love these books? Want to see more? Then check out my “Girls Being Girls” book list!

2020 Handprint Calendars

Posted on Wednesday, November 27, 2019 by Tess

The holiday season is here, hooray! That means it’s time for food, family and fun. And I have a really fun and creative idea for your family—handprint calendars! Get out your washable ink pads, markers, stamps, stickers and whatever other art supplies are lying about your house. It’s time to make an amazing, one-of-a-kind calendar to keep or to give to a special loved one. Here’s the template, created by our awesome PR department at the Daniel Boone Regional Library.

handprint bird

Happy Holidays everyone!

(P.S. Check out these awesome examples by some of our librarian’s little ones!)

Holidays Are…Stressful!

Posted on Thursday, November 21, 2019 by Molly

Christmas baby photoFor many, this time of year signifies the beginning of the holiday season—a time for gathering with family and friends, sampling special foods and giving gifts. But for others, especially young children just learning to express themselves, the holidays can be anything but joyful. Excitement is on overdrive, while expectations are high that everyone will get along and be polite. Is it any wonder that the season of holiday cheer often goes hand-in-hand with an increase in stress and anxiety, for both children as well as their adults?

According to Daniel Pine, a child and adolescent psychiatrist at the National Institute of Mental Health, “The main thing to know about anxiety is that it involves some level of perception about danger,” and it thrives on unpredictability. Certainly, for children, the holidays can be very unpredictable!

So, what can we do to help our children enjoy the holidays? Remember that children often need time to warm up to a new situation. This is particularly true of those who have shier dispositions. Allow them to enter a room or join a group of people at their own speed. Equally important, keep in mind that there is a lot of pressure on children at this time of year. So, even if your child is normally easy-going, don’t assume they will be easy-going in every situation. A child’s excitement is not always indicative of how they truly feel, and because young children have limited life experience, they cannot always overcome fears or uncomfortable feelings quickly.

You can also be proactive to avoid a meltdown or tantrum. As you are scheduling up get-togethers, pencil in break times. Then adhere to them, even if everything appears to be going well. Plan activities that your child or children enjoy, away from the noise and excitement of the festivities. This may be as simple as taking a walk, playing a quiet game or snuggling and reading a book together. Overall, a little forethought now lets your children know that you understand and support them during this time of year, which will go a long way towards ensuring everyone enjoys the holidays!

DBRL offers a wide assortment of books on helping your child work through stressful situations. Here are some to get you started.

October Is for Apples!

Posted on Thursday, October 17, 2019 by Molly

AppleEvery October, a friend of mine sets aside one weekend to make apple butter. This event, which has been a part of her family for generations, draws relatives from across the nation. Processing bushels of apples into apple butter is hard work that requires many hands. But overall, everyone returns each year because apple butter weekend is a wonderful opportunity to create family memories.

This same sense of family ties, dedication and togetherness is beautifully depicted in the book “Applesauce Day” by Lisa J. Amstutz. From picking the apples from the trees to cooking them in the same pot used by their ancestors, Maria and her family share a special family tradition. And while the apples cook, family members reminisce about past applesauce days and look forward to future times together.

Celebrate October (and apples!) with your family! Here are just a few of the delicious titles we have on hand.

For some additional seasonal fun, select an apple themed DVD. Here are a few from our collection.

Books We Love: Little People, Big Dreams

Posted on Monday, October 14, 2019 by Amanda

Little People, Big Dreams booksBooks provide windows into the lives and worlds of others, so what better genre to provide that experience than memoirs and biographies? Finding accessible and approachable biographies for younger children can be a bit tricky, however. Tough topics, unfamiliar dates in history and text-heavy pages pose big barriers for young people to comprehend and learn. Thanks to Isabel Sanchez Vegara, author of the Little People, Big Dreams biography series, showcasing role models and world changers has never been easier!

Isabel began her quest to write this series in order to provide quality learning experiences for her nieces.

“I had discovered a ton of great children’s books for my oldest nephew Ernest; full of brave, enthusiastic boys ready to conquer the world. But these sorts of books didn’t seem to exist for little girls and so I thought to myself, wouldn’t it be great to change that? I wanted to show Alba and Claudia some real female characters who had had the determination to believe in their dreams and make these dreams a reality.”

Check out more of the author interview here. Although the series was originally inspired to focus on female leaders and innovators, it has since spread its wings to include male movers and shakers.

So, what sets this children’s biography series apart from the rest?

The Illustrations

While Isabel carefully researches and crafts the written elements of the series, she also is mindful of the visual impact it will have in teaching and appealing to her young audience. Though the books possess a cohesive theme, individual illustrators are selected for each publication. Vegara claims, “These books would be nothing without the extraordinary talent of all the illustrators I work with. To me, finding the right illustrator—someone who brings each character to life—is a very important part of the process (and it’s lots of fun!)” Continue reading about Isabel’s creative process here.

Little People, Big Dreams books

The Length

Each book feels like a typical picture book and is written to work as a read aloud. Caregivers will enjoy sharing stories of their favorite heroes in a short time frame with their littles. “Bigger” littles will enjoy thumbing through the pages, carefully digesting the exquisite pictures and diving into a new, inspiring story. Little People, Big Dreams provides historical and cultural lessons without overwhelming young readers with length and breadth. Each story starts with the person of interest as a young person, making it even more approachable and interesting for little learners. This series has expanded to include some board books as well!

Additional Information

Little People, Big Dreams books

I was already sold on the series upon initially finding the book highlighting David Bowie—how awesome!  However, the additional information section at the back of each book takes what is already a great resource and perfects it. The last few pages of each book display a timeline highlighting the person of interest’s life and achievements, alongside a list of additional resources to check out. Adding these few pages allows for these books to appeal to older readers who are in the beginning stages of learning how to research and write informative essays.

Since debuting in 2014, Little People, Big Dreams has grown into an inclusive, broad, informative series that is a must for younger and older readers. I highly encourage checking out our catalog and placing some on hold for your little. Inspiring your kids to learn about their role models and encouraging their dreams has never been easier!

Everyday Diversity in Picture Books

Posted on Thursday, October 10, 2019 by Brianna

We had a request in our Early Childhood Educators Facebook group for books that have diverse characters without being about diversity specifically. One of the beautiful things about art and literature is that we can see ourselves reflected in the stories. Yet it can be discouraging for young readers if they never see someone who looks like them. Now don’t get me wrong, I absolutely love books like “Suki’s Kimono,” but sometimes you just want a story that includes different cultures and ethnicities without singling them out. If you’re looking for picture books that feature diverse characters without being about the civil rights movement or Dia de los Muertos, look no further!

cover art of A Couch for Llama

A Couch for Llama” by Leah Gilbert

This exuberant book features a racially mixed family as well as a very silly llama. The Lago family buys a new couch, but as they’re driving it home the straps come undone and the couch sails off the car and into a llama’s field. The llama is confused at first, but quickly grows to love the couch—as readers will love this story.

We Don’t Eat Our Classmates” by Ryan Higgins

cover art of we don't eat our classmates

Penelope is a T-Rex starting school in a classroom full of children…who are delicious. Children will identify with Penelope’s classmates of varying skin tones and religious headwear, but they might identify most with Penelope as she learns to control her impulses and make friends.

cover art of mary had a little glam

Mary Had a Little Glam“by Tammi Sauer

This book is absolutely fabulous. Despite starring an African-American girl as the main character, this story is NOT about her hair or civil rights. Instead, it’s about her passion for accessorizing and how she inspires her school to have a little more glam. Mother Goose Elementary School is filled with nursery rhyme characters, but the students and teachers are refreshingly diverse. A joyful read!

Ada Twist, Scientist” by Andrea Beatycover art for ada twist, scientist

Not only does this book feature an African American family, it also promotes girls in STEM fields! Like any good scientist, Ada is full of questions—and unafraid to make a mess. Her curious and methodical mind will delight readers and perhaps even inspire girls of color to pursue science.

For more picture books with diverse characters, check out this book list!

The Power of Pretend

Posted on Monday, October 7, 2019 by Jessica M

October is a month of imagination and pretending! 

Everyone I know does their best work in October. Crafts, costumes, sweets—all of it comes together for a wonderful month of Halloween-themed fun. They sew up beautiful princess costumes for fabulous tea parties, make spooky ghosts out of recycled things and redecorate their homes to be spooky and scary. 

Children’s imaginations are the greatest thing. Imagination develops skills like problem solving and design. The world’s future is built solely on what we believe we can achieve through our creative ability.

I witnessed a great example of imagination a few months ago. A boy was carrying a magnetic puzzle around the library like a puppy. The boy would cradle the puzzle, he would talk to it and he would use the little magnetic pen attached to it to drag it behind him like a dog. Puzzle Pupper was a great new friend one day and then back to being a puzzle the next. Anything can be an adventure if you make it one!

To celebrate the power of pretend, I figured I’d pull some fun books on imagination, world-building and creativity and make a list.

Enjoy, the Power of Pretend!

In My Room” by Jo Witek

A little girl is alone in her room with paper, crayons, chalk and her imagination. She takes herself on a variety of journeys of her own construction. She becomes an explorer, a princess, a veterinarian…a whole bunch of things are possible through her imagination!

Planet Kindergarten” by Sue Ganz-Schmitt

A young child compares the first day of Kindergarten to visiting space. One little comparison leads to a very imaginative first day of school.

Bedtime for Batman” by Michael Dahl

A young boy imagines his nighttime routine as the life of Batman. On one side is his life, the other is what he imagines.

What’s Next Door?” by Nicola O’Byrne

Carter the crocodile needs help getting home. The only way to do it is to use your imagination to get him closer and closer to home.

Ta-da!” by Kathy Ellen Davis

A girl and a boy are telling stories. The girl wants everything to have a happily ever after and uses her magic to create happy endings. The boy, however, wants drama and action before a resolution. It becomes a battle of happy endings and dramatic escapes until they can reconcile their stories.

Fly Blanky Fly!” by Anne Margaret Lewis

Sam loves to use his blanky to go on adventures. His blanket becomes all sorts of things, from a rocket ship to a kangaroo.

It’s Fall, Y’all: Fall Programs for Kids

Posted on Monday, September 23, 2019 by Amy

Today marks the first official day of fall! Hooray! Time for cozy sweaters, pumpkin patches, cute costumes and family fun. Below is a list of fun fall activities coming up at your local library.

Callaway County Public Library

Autumn Poetry Tea Time. Monday, October 7 › 3-4 p.m.

Enjoy tea, lemonade and cookies while you listen to poetry about the season. Bring a poem to share, find one in our books to read aloud or have staff read your selection. Ages 5 and older. Registration: Not required.

Spooky Circuits. Monday, October 21 › 4-5 p.m.

Learn about circuits while creating creepy light-up bookmarks! Ages 7 and older. Registration: Not required.

Little Ones Costume Party. Monday October 28 › 10-10:45 a.m. or 5:30-6:15 p.m.

Join us for a not-so-scary good time at the library. There will be dancing, games and crafts galore. Feel free to wear a costume, or you can create one here! Ages birth-5 with an adult. Registration: Not required.

Columbia Public Library

Falling for Crafts. Monday, September 30 › 10-11:30 a.m.

Celebrate the cooler weather by making paper decorations for fall. We’ll have patterns for garlands, baskets and decorative boxes.  Ages 5 and older, parents welcome. Call 573-817-7160 to register.

Little Ones Costume Party. Thursday, October 10 › 10-11 a.m. or 5:30-6:30 p.m.

Join us for a not-so-scary good time at the library. There will be dancing, games and crafts galore. Feel free to wear a costume, or you can create one here! Ages birth-5 with an adult. Registration: Not required. Continue reading “It’s Fall, Y’all: Fall Programs for Kids”