The “Be Yourself!” Book List

Posted on Monday, September 9, 2019 by Jessica M

What about a person forms their identity?


  • Age
  • Habits
  • Quirks
  • Families
  • Gender
  • Religious affiliation
  • Hobbies
  • Cultural background
  • You name it!

Everyone is different! Each one of these things listed above makes us who we are. There are people who have curly hair and people who have straight hair; people who are right-handed and people who are left-handed; people who like to sew; people who enjoy watching birds; people who love art and so on!

To celebrate people and their diverse identities, I have put together a very small list of books I like to use when I talk about being true to yourself and your cultural background. It’s called “Be Yourself!” This list is limited. (A hundred different books from a hundred different cultures would still not be enough books to showcase every different thing about everyone.) The important thing is to keep looking for those books and appreciating them for what they are, just like we do with people.

Here are some of my favorites.

Be Who You Are” by Todd Parr

This book uses colorful illustrations and examples to showcase that no matter who you are, what you do or what you look like, you should always be yourself.

Stand Tall, Molly Lou Melon” by Patty Lovell

Molly Lou Melon’s grandmother teaches her that despite her imperfections, as long as she believes in herself and what she can do, other people will believe in her and her abilities as well.

Perfectly Norman” by Tom Percival

Norman grew up perfectly normal…until he grew wings. He doesn’t want to be different, so he tries to hide his wings. He becomes too hot and can’t play with others. He must decide to be himself or continue to suffer.

A Normal Pig” by K-Fai Steele

Pip the pig feels very normal about everything in her life until a new pig comes to town. The new pig makes fun of her food, her art and who she is. She’s upset until her mom takes her to the city and shows her how many differences there are between pigs: language, appearance, food cultures, etc.

The Day You Begin” by Jacqueline Woodson

This book focuses on differences between students. There is a moment where language is a barrier, different food types cause friction, and people question their own lives and experiences due to hearing stories from others. It’s a book about reflecting on life and understanding that all experiences are valid and different.

Flashlight Fun: Illuminating Crafts and Books

Posted on Wednesday, August 28, 2019 by Kristy

At one of our recent library programs, we made a paper flashlight craft that all of the kids and parents adored. It was so popular that I’ve written up some instructions so you can make this craft at home!

What you need:

  • Image or drawing you want to trace
  • Clear sheet of plastic
  • One sheet of black paper and one sheet of white paper
  • Black Ultra Fine Sharpie
  • Regular Sharpies in multiple colors
  • Tape
  • Flashlight template
  • Sheet of white cardstock
  • Scissors

What you do:

  • Draw your own picture or find a one that you want to trace.
  • Lay the clear plastic sheet over your picture, and trace the outlines with a black Ultra Fine Sharpie.
  • Remove the plastic sheet with your tracing, and lay it over a sheet of plain white paper.
  • Color your picture in with colored Sharpies, working left to right (if you are right-handed) so you don’t smudge your work.
  • Remove the plastic sheet from the white paper. Tape the plastic sheet to the black paper across the top to hold them together.
  • Print the flashlight template onto white cardstock.
  • Cut out the flashlight. You can color in the handle of the flashlight if desired, but leave the “light” at the top white.
  • All done! Place the flashlight between the plastic sheet and black paper, and see what happens!

Want to have even more flashlight fun? Then check out Emily Sollinger’s A Bedtime Shadow Book series! This series lets you shine a light into the images, and the images transfer onto the wall. How cool is that?

Moon Landing Fun!

Posted on Thursday, August 8, 2019 by Brianna

Summer Reading is over, but that’s no reason to leave behind all the fun you can have with an outer space theme! Just last month was the 50th anniversary of the first moon landing, so why not celebrate with these moon landing activities?

child holds up finished rocket art

Blast Off Collage

Try making this blast off collage with your little ones. You’ll need the following supplies:

  • Rocket on any color paper (You can use the template on page 4 of this file)
  • Black paper
  • Tissue paper (various night sky and fire colors)
  • Glue sticks
  • Star stickers (optional)
  • Markers or crayons

After coloring and cutting out the rocket from the template, set it aside and prepare your night sky background. Tear up bits of tissue paper (that’s the extra fun part!) and glue them on the black paper to give texture to the sky. Try using blues and purples for the sky, and save orange and red for the rocket. If you have star stickers, add them to the sky as well! Then glue the rocket onto the black paper, and add some flame colored tissue paper to the bottom of the rocket. We have liftoff!

Moon Sand

Now that you have a rocket, it’s time to create a moon surface to land on. Little astronauts will delight in playing with this extremely soft moon sand! You’ll need the following:

  • 4 cups flour
  • ½ cup baby oil
  • Large bowl
  • Spoon (optional)
  • Large bin or tray
  • Toy cars or people (optional)

Using your hands or a spoon, mix the flour and baby oil together in a bowl to make moon sand. Double the recipe if you want more sand to enjoy. Spread out the moon sand in a large bin, and invite the kids to play! (For easy cleanup, set up this activity on a tarp or old sheet.) Toss in some toy people or cars, and your little ones can reenact the moon landing or start the first lunar colonization attempt. Let them lead the play, and see where their imaginations take you!

Kids Books for Vacations (and Staycations!)

Posted on Thursday, August 1, 2019 by Lyndsey

This summer has flown by! How is it already August? But have no fear, there’s still some time before the kids head back to school. If you’re planning a family vacation or staycation to wrap up your summer, then check out these books to prepare your kids and build excitement for the upcoming adventure!

Hattie and HudsonChu's Day at the Beach Book Cover” by Chris Van Dusen

Hattie enjoys a day at the lake and makes an unexpected friend. Next time you’re at the lake, you might just wonder what magic lay beneath the surface. 

Chu’s Day at the Beach” by Neil Gaiman and Adam Rex

Follow Chu and his family on their trip to the beach! All goes awry when Chu has a big sneeze and breaks the sea. Will he and the other beachgoers be able to fix it? 

Fergus Barnaby Book CoverFergus Barnaby Goes on VacationAmazing Staycation Book Cover” by David Barrow

Packing is my least favorite part of vacation. I always forget something. Fergus also has a hard time and must run around his apartment building gathering the items he needs for his trip. 

Harry and Clare’s Amazing Staycation” by Ted Staunton

Arthur's Family Vacation Book CoverStaying home can sometimes take you the farthest distance. Harry and Clare use their imaginations to travel to Mars and fight pirates, all while navigating sibling dynamics. 

Arthur’s Family Vacation” by Marc Brown

Sometimes things don’t go as planned, and that’s ok! See how Arthur learns to make the best of a bad situation. 

You can check out these and the following titles about vacation at your local DBRL branch:

Enjoy the rest of your summer!

Painting Without Brushes

Posted on Thursday, July 25, 2019 by Tess

Child finger paintingWe all know the truth in the old adage, “It’s not about the destination, it’s about the journey.” The great triumph isn’t in arriving at the park with your child; it is in smelling the flowers in the neighbor’s garden, seeing a bluebird’s nest and hearing the wind rustling in the trees. The same principle applies whenever we make art with children. This is called process art! The Museum of Contemporary Art says that “in process art, the means count for more than the ends.” Children learn more through play and experimentation than coloring inside the lines and making cookie-cutter crafts. Below are some fun ideas you can try at home to begin incorporating process art into your child’s play time!


Squeeze two paint colors inside of a ziplock bag, gently roll out the extra air, and seal it tight. Duct Tape the top, and then let your little one explore the bag. Your infant will enjoy watching the colors combine as they squish the bag with their hands and feet. (Realistically, they’ll also explore them with their little mouths, so keep a close eye on them!) 

Older Infants:

When your little one begins to cruise and walk, take the ziplock painting and tape it to a low window! They’ll use their legs and core to hold themselves up as they combine colors with the light pouring in behind the ziplock bag. 


There’s lots of nontoxic and washable paint on the market, but one of my favorite art activities with toddlers is yogurt painting! Lay out a tarp outside in the shade, put a variety of flavors in small cups, and let your little artists have fun! They’ll explore color, texture and scents. (And let’s be honest, they’ll take a taste too.)


Let your preschooler create with a tried and true classic—bathtub paint. They can spread it on their feet, hands, the bathtub, rubber ducky and the walls, and then scrub it all off at the end of bathtime. This is a great incentive to get reluctant bathers in the tub, and the cleanup is so easy! 

Want to extend the fun? Come join us at our upcoming program “Painting Without Brushes” at the Columbia Public Library where toddlers and preschoolers will be using an assortment of non-traditional mediums to create open ended art. To register, please call 573-817-7160.

Painting Without Brushes

Sensory Space Activities

Posted on Wednesday, July 17, 2019 by Brianna

Recently we had a sensory program at the library for little ones birth to three years old. To fit with Summer Reading, we made everything outer space themed! You can try recreating these at home, or go in your own direction.

cardboard box with christmas lights

Constellation Box

This station was very popular with some of our youngest participants! Babies loved laying on the soft blanket and looking up at the ‘stars.’ To make this, we found a large box and grabbed a string of Christmas lights. After reinforcing the edges of the box with duct tape, we poked holes in the cardboard so we could stick individual lights through. You could create specific constellations, or just fill the space with the lights like we did. Creating the box will take a little time, but it’s well worth the effort!

asteroid field ball pit

Asteroid Field Ball Pit

In Star Wars, Han Solo tells C-3PO to never tell him the odds of surviving an asteroid field. Our asteroid field is much more safe! Toss some balls of various sizes into a plastic pool to contain them, and with a little imagination, you’ve got your very own asteroid field. We threw in some pieces of foil blanket for some extra texture, and little ones were delighted. Not only are the asteroid balls fun to play with, they’re a great way to improve motor skills, as well as hand-eye coordination if you take turns rolling them to each other.

lightboard with stars and colors

Hubble Telescope Light Board Art

For this station, we were inspired by images captured by the Hubble Space Telescope. We glued stars onto overhead transparencies, then placed them on a light board. Little ones put different colors of cellophane on the light board and had fun layering them to make new color combinations. The results were beautiful!

three calming sensory bottles

Galaxy Calming Bottles

We love sensory bottles, and these were no exception. We used Voss water bottles, but you can use whatever you like as long as it’s sturdy and you can seal it. To stick with our outer space theme, we made one night sky bottle, one inspired by the sun, and one glow in the dark. To make the night and sun ones, we used baby oil, candy coloring dye, lots of glitter and some star-shaped confetti. The glow in the dark bottle is just glow in the dark glue and hot water. Continue reading “Sensory Space Activities”

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!”

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!”

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.