Do the Book-y Poke-y

Posted on Monday, June 29, 2020 by DBRL Kids

Poke-a-dot booksAs I wrote in a previous blog, my baby girl is OBSESSED with touch and feel books. We’ve checked out so many that she’s pretty disappointed when we read books with “normal” pages. Where’s the lift-a-flaps? Where’s the fluffy bunny?

While the Never Touch a… series was my baby’s favorite for a while, it has been officially kicked to the curb! The books she prizes above all are now the Poke-a-dot board books.

These books, created by Melissa and Doug, teach different concepts, with an emphasis on counting. Each page has plastic dots that you can poke, and they make a snapping sound similar to that made when you pop bubble wrap. My daughter absolutely loves poking these dots. Even before she had the fine motor coordination to poke them herself, she stayed engaged in the books because of the satisfying pop each dot made when I pressed them in. Continue reading “Do the Book-y Poke-y”

LBGT+ Picture Books for Kids

Posted on Thursday, June 18, 2020 by Jessica M

Nearly a year ago now, I posted a book list called “LGBT Picture Books for Kids (That Adults Also Enjoy).”

There were several reasons I created the list:

  • MidMO PrideFest was coming up in Columbia
  • The youth services team didn’t yet have a list that dealt with LGBT+ picture books
  • June is when we remember the Stonewall Riots
  • I fell in love with the “Red” book by Michael Hall
  • So many reasons!

What I did not expect was the love that poured out from everywhere!

When I first started the LGBT picture book list, I had around 30 books. I asked some staff members, brought in a few of my favorites, read some reviews and did solid amount of research for my list. As of right now, that original list has tripled in size, and it is still growing as we add titles that we receive from our Facebook page, purchase requests, teacher requests and more! My inbox has been flooded with wonderful books recommended by community members. As I get them and read them, I have been adding to this list.

So, one year later, I want to send out a big thank you to everyone who built this list with me!

I also want to showcase some of the new titles I’ve received that I absolutely loved and hope will continue to entertain young readers in our community.

Maiden & Princess

Maiden & Princess” written by Daniel Haack, illustrated by Becca Human

The kingdom is holding a ball for the crown prince to find a bride. The villagers are thrilled and begin planning immediately. However, one maiden isn’t as excited. She sees the prince as her brother, someone she has fought alongside. The other villagers see this as her opportunity to become his bride. She goes to the ball, hoping to enjoy herself, but finds others pressuring her to dance with the prince. The young maiden escapes and finds herself being comforted by the kingdom’s princess. Continue reading “LBGT+ Picture Books for Kids”

Kick Off Your Summer Reads!

Posted on Monday, June 15, 2020 by DBRL Kids

Today is a very exciting day—it’s the first day of Summer Reading! This year’s Summer Reading theme is “Imagine Your Story.” It’s all about fantastic fantasy, fables and fairy tales. If your kids love magical tales, then we’ve got some amazing reading suggestions for them.

The more you read, the quicker you’ll finish Summer Reading and get your reward!

For more information on our Summer Reading program this year, check out our Summer Reading 2020 page.

Porch Picnic

Posted on Wednesday, April 15, 2020 by Kristy

Porch Picnic
Librarian Hilary’s spouse and kiddo enjoying their own porch picnic!

While going on picnics at your local park is always fun, don’t forget that you can have a picnic anywhere! You can have a picnic in your home, in your yard or on your porch. I love porch picnics most because you’re technically outside and can appreciate the great outdoors, but you’re close to your fridge if you forget a tasty treat.

Porch picnics are super easy! Some things you might want to bring:

  • A blanket, of course. Sheets or towels also work.
  • A meal or snacks with a drink. Play food also works if you want the fun but not the mess.
  • Plates and utensils. (Or paper bags for finger foods.)
  • Stuffed animals. Bring your favorite fluffy friends to enjoy the fun.
  • Games. These can be board games or simple games like “I spy” (“I spy…something red and crunchy…an apple!”).
  • Books to enjoy!*

*Don’t have any good books on hand? Try these eBooks from OverDrive on your device.

The Bear's Picnic bookThe Bear’s Picnic” by Stan & Jan Berenstain

When the Berenstain Bears set out to find the perfect spot for a picnic, Father Bear says he knows just the place. But each ideal location turns out to be a complete disaster, with a train roaring past or hordes of mosquitoes. At last they find a place with no pesky crowds or noisy planes, and nary a mosquito . . . until it starts to rain.



A Summer Picnic book

A Summer Picnic: A Disney Read-Along” by Disney Books

Summer the kitten loves long days in the meadow, but as she daydreams about climbing trees one afternoon, she notices a large tree nearby and decides to climb it! Suddenly, Summer is stuck high in the tree, and even worse, it begins to rain and lightning! As the thunder roars, Summer spots a girl running through the rain toward the tree. Will Summer ever make it out of the storm? Follow along with word-for-word narration as Summer makes a friend and finds a place to call home.

Have a Bubble Bash at Home!

Posted on Monday, April 13, 2020 by Kristy

I just looked at the calendar and realized that this Friday is the day we had originally planned my Bubble Bash program at the library. Though the program is canceled, I thought I would bring the Bubble Bash to you with some ideas! And trust me, almost all kids (and teens and adults!) love bubbles. There’s just something magical about them!

You can make bubbles at home with this simple yet AMAZING recipe and have some bubble fun of your own.

Here’s what you need:

  • ¼ cup dishwashing liquid
  • 2 ½ cups water
  • 2 tsp. white corn syrup
  • Mixing spoon
  • Bowl
  • Sealable container
  • Bubble wand

Here’s what you do:

  1. Gently mix dishwashing liquid, water and corn syrup.
  2. Pour into a sealable container such as a plastic milk jug.
  3. Let it sit for one day. (The bubble mix improves after sitting. Plus, waiting to play with the bubbles is a great opportunity to practice patience and self-control with your child.)

After you’ve waited a day, it’s time to play with the bubbles! You can use bubble wands, straws or other circular objects from around the house (examples above!) to blow bubbles. When your children jump, run and kick to pop the bubbles, they’re working on their balance and their control over large movements. If you have older kids, you can talk about the science behind bubbles— elasticity, chemistry, light and even geometry! The fun and learning opportunities are endless. Enjoy!

Knickknack Art

Posted on Monday, March 30, 2020 by Kristy

Knickknack ArtSlowly yet surely, spring is making an appearance! Parents around Missouri are rejoicing that their kids can now play outside. (I know I am!) It’s especially nice to take the fun outdoors when you want to let your kids be creative, but you don’t want your house looking like a disaster zone.

If you want to have some messy fun, try knickknack art. All you need is paint, paper (or, alternatively, foil or parchment paper), and literally anything from around the house to paint with.

Here are some ideas:

  • LEGO
  • Toy cars
  • Combs or brushes
  • Forks
  • K’nex
  • Paper towel rolls
  • lids
  • Junk drawer items (old keys, change, rubber bands)

Have your kids dip these items in paint, and apply them to paper in different ways to create unique and beautiful artwork!


Continue reading “Knickknack Art”

Illustrators We Love: Vashti Harrison

Posted on Monday, March 16, 2020 by Megan

Hair Love book coverIf you’ve read our blog before, you know that we mostly focus on the authors of the books we love. However, today I’ve decided spotlight one of my favorite illustrators! (She’s actually a triple threat—illustrator, author and filmmaker.) So, without further ado, let me introduce Vashti Harrison!  Harrison is originally from Onley, Virginia, but her talents and dreams took her all the way to California, where she studied with the greats from Disney and Dreamworks.

Her children’s books vary from board books to chapter books, and she has collaborated on books with other authors as well as written her own. The book “Hair Love” by Matthew A. Cherry and illustrated by Harrison was recently turned into an Oscar, winning animated short. Personally, I love her illustrations for “Cece Loves Science” by Kimberly Derting and Shelli R. Johannes. In this work, Cece is a girl with a lot of questions and a natural curiosity about the world around her.

Little Leaders: Bold Women in Black History book coverI also adore her books about famous people. “Little Legends: Exceptional Men in Black History,” “Little Leaders: Bold Women in Black History” (and the board book equivalent “Dream Big, Little One”) are all about prominent African Americans. “Little Dreamers: Visionary Women Around the World” is a book of women creators from around the globe.

Each of these books pictures a lovely portrait of a renowned person and a brief bio of what made them great! All of the illustrations feature the famous person in the same pose—eyes cast down and just a hint of a grin. Harrison says that “a subtle smile is one of serenity.”

Harrison has been inspired by such classic children’s illustrators as Roger Hargreaves and Mary Blair, but her style is all her own. Harrison also portrays the people as children playing dress up so that kids can imagine themselves in the shoes of the person featured in the biography. You can even make your own little leader by downloading this coloring page.

Have fun reading ALL of Vashti Harrison’s books! You can find them at your favorite branch or on this list.

Brianna’s Books: March Favorites 2020

Posted on Thursday, March 12, 2020 by Brianna

As I sit at my computer ordering books, I just get so excited about so many of them! There are too many to share, but I’m delighted to be able to tell you about some of them here. For all the rest, make sure you keep an eye on our new book shelves at your library.

Picture Books

Hike” written and illustrated by Pete Oswald

I love wordless picture books. Not only are they beautiful, but they encourage readers to develop their visual literacy and storytelling skills. This nearly wordless book looks like a great choice for that. “Hike” captures the quiet wonder of a hike through the mountains, and careful readers will spot the reason for their hike. As the weather warms up and spring approaches, this book could be a great way to get your children excited to explore outside.

Whoo-ku Haiku: A Great Horned Owl Story” written by Maria Gianferrari, illustrated by Jonathan Voss

Anyone that has visited the Columbia Public Library has likely seen our owl by the Children’s Services desk. Did you know that she’s a Great Horned Owl? If your child has been on a school tour here, they could likely tell you all about it! When I saw this book that describes the life cycle of the Great Horned Owl through haiku, I knew we just had to have it. Sometimes nonfiction can be a little wordy for young readers, but the haiku format makes the information accessible enough for little ones to enjoy. Plus, haiku is a super fun form of poetry—and National Poetry Month is right around the corner!

My Singing Nana” written by Pat Mora, illustrated by Alyssa Bermudez

This book explores how to cope when a loved one has dementia. Billy’s Nana has started to forget things more and more, but she and Billy still love singing and baking together. The back pages in the book offer advice and conversation starters to discuss dementia and Alzheimer’s with children. This is the kind of book that everyone can enjoy, but it will be especially valuable for kiddos with dementia in their families.

Be You!” written and illustrated by Peter H. Reynolds

You don’t have to read every book straight through; some books are enjoyed best by flipping to different pages when you need them. Reynolds’ latest picture book is filled with affirmations and beautiful illustrations that illuminate them. Reynolds exhorts his readers to be kind, curious and persistent and shows vibrant pictures of children doing just that. Keep this book nearby, and use it for teachable moments with your child.


Chapter Books

The Best of Iggy” written by Annie Barrows, illustrated by Sam Ricks

Getting in trouble isn’t the goal, it’s just the side effect of really good ideas. Iggy may be a troublemaker, but he’s a good kid, and he doesn’t exactly regret any of his escapades—except for one. This slim chapter book will be hard to put down and will keep readers laughing the whole way through.

Show Me a Sign” written by Ann Clare LeZotte

Here’s a fascinating #ownvoices book. LeZotte is part of the deaf community and has written this historical fiction based on the deaf community in Martha’s Vineyard. This book takes place in the early 19th century, a time when Martha’s Vineyard had such a high deaf population that everyone on the island used sign language and didn’t consider deafness a disability. When an overeager scientist comes to study the inhabitants of the island, tensions rise and the protagonist must avoid becoming merely a “live specimen.”

From the Desk of Zoe Washington” written by Janae Marks

Zoe Washington is almost a seventh grader, living with her mom and stepfather and dreaming of entering Food Network’s kids baking challenge. On her 12th birthday, she receives a letter from her incarcerated father whom she’s never met. As they continue to correspond through letters and the occasional phone call, Zoe is convinced of her father’s innocence and becomes determined to prove it. This book explores systemic racism and the criminal justice system through the eyes of a relatable middle-schooler.

King and the Dragonflies” written by Kacen Callender

The acclaimed author of “Hurricane Child” is back with another powerful novel about love, loss and identity. When King’s older brother dies, King does his best to live up to his brother’s expectations while dealing with his grief—even when those expectations go against truths King is beginning to admit to himself. Set in the bayou of Louisiana, this book expertly navigates homophobia, grief and family.

Best Read-Alouds: 2020 Building Block Nominees

Posted on Monday, March 9, 2020 by Kristy

2020 Missouri Building Block Books

Want some excellent read-alouds to read to your kids or classroom? Then check out this year’s new roundup of Missouri Building Block nominees! These books have been picked and tested by librarians around Missouri, and they are sure to have your crew asking for more.

The 2020 Building Block Nominees are:

Brianna’s Books: February Favorites 2020

Posted on Thursday, February 13, 2020 by Brianna

One of the most exciting things about working in a library is seeing all the new books come in. While I will happily re-read books forever, I love to make time for new favorites too. As the Youth Materials Selector for DBRL, I get the inside scoop on upcoming books, so I’d like to share some of these awesome titles with you!

Picture Books

I’m Brave! I’m Strong! I’m Five!” written by Cari Best, illustrated by Boris Kulikov

cover of "I'm Brave! I"m strong! I'm five!"

Bedtime can be scary; even as an adult, strange shapes in the darkness can be unsettling. The protagonist in this story finds the courage to face these fears on her own. Knowing that her parents are just outside her room, she repeats her refrain “I’m brave! I’m strong! I’m five!” and tackles each unnerving sight and sound. This book is a great choice for little ones seeking to gain confidence and bedtime independence.



My Monster Friends and Me: A Big Kid’s Guide to Things That Go Bump in the Night” written by Annie Sarac, illustrated by Alice Brereton

cover of "My Monster Friends and Me"

Try this book for another approach to bedtime fears. Or any time fears! In this story, the child narrator shares a secret: by naming your fears, they can become friends instead. As each fear is named and given a friendly personality, the illustrations change from dark to cheery. Read this book together with your kiddo, then try this strategy at home!



The President of the Jungle” by Andre Rodrigues

cover of "The President of the Jungle"

In this vibrantly illustrated picture book, the animals in the jungle decide to elect their next ruler. Instead of Lion as king, the animals follow a democratic process to vote for a president. This nonpartisan book is a great way to introduce little ones to elections, and it incorporates plenty of terms like “ballot” and “candidate.”



Moo, Moo, Chew, Chew” written by by Jennifer Shand, illustrated by Barbara Vagnozzi

cover of "Moo, moo, chew, chew"

If your child isn’t ready for election information, try this animal sounds book instead! Not quite a board book, this picture book will make your toddler feel more grown up while still enjoying farm animal sounds. Supposedly the pages are resistant to tearing, but no need to test us on this!


Chapter Books

Baby-sitter’s Little Sister: Karen’s Witch” written by Katy Farina, illustrated by Braden Lamb

cover of "Karen's Witch"

Moving on to chapter books! This first pick is a graphic novel, and it is already flying off the shelves. In case you hadn’t heard, they are adapting Ann Martin’s Baby-sitter’s Club Little Sister books into graphic novels. After the wild success of the original series graphic novels, young readers are eager to get their hands on these. Follow the link to place a hold, and delight your young fans of Raina Telgemeier.



Pencils, Pens & Brushes: A Great Girls’ Guide to Disney Animation” written by Mindy Johnson, illustrated by Lorelay Bové.

cover of "Pencils, Pens & Brushes"

Do you have a child who absolutely loves to draw? What about one who is in love with all things Disney? Here’s a great choice. This adaptation of “Ink & Paint: The Women of Walt Disney’s Animation” details the history of women in animation. Aspiring artists will enjoy the behind-the-scenes look at the industry, as well as the stories of inspirational women.



Consent for Kids” by Rachel Brian

cover of "Consent for Kids"

Bodily autonomy and boundaries matter! It’s never too early to let kids know that they can set their own boundaries about their bodies. The author uses humor and kid-friendly analogies to communicate this important subject. Read it and discuss with your kid, and let your discussion be a foundation for their future growth.




Normal: One Kid’s Extraordinary Journey” by Magdalena and Nathaniel Newman

cover of "Normal: One Kid's Extraordinary Journey"

Did your family enjoy “Wonder” by R.J. Palacio? Palacio was inspired to write “Wonder” based on a picture of Nathaniel Newman, a boy with Treacher Collins syndrome. Now Nathaniel and his mom have written this memoir together, to give the true story of growing up with Treacher Collins syndrome. The book is filled with examples of love and resilience and is an excellent choice for fans of Auggie.