Books We Love: Blue

Posted on Monday, June 20, 2022 by Megan

Book cover for Blue: A History of the Color as Deep as the Sea and as Wide as the Sky

If you’re like me, you don’t really think about the color blue that much (unless you are eating a grocery store cupcake and your mouth is dyed blue for hours). However, I just read a book that will make me never look at it the same way again. “Blue: A History of the Color as Deep as the Sea and as Wide as the Sky” by Nana Ekua Brew-Hammond and illustrated by Daniel Minter is about the complicated and sometimes brutal history of this color. The illustrations and words flow beautifully, walking readers through how the various hues came to be. Continue reading “Books We Love: Blue”

Brianna’s Books: June Favorites 2022

Posted on Thursday, June 9, 2022 by Brianna

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It’s June! Summer is just around the corner. In honor of Summer Reading, I’ve got some new releases for you that have absolutely nothing to do with our “Oceans of Possibilities” theme. I figure we have plenty of book lists already that can point you in that direction! So enjoy these new titles that are completely unrelated to oceans (except for one of the chapter books, but it’s not what you think).

Picture Books

Don’t Worry, Murray” by David Ezra Stein

Murray is a little dog with a lot of fears. He worries about going outside in the rain, and meeting big dogs in the park, and fireworks, and falling asleep next to a picture of a cat hung by his bed. Through all his fears, Murray’s owner is always there to offer kind words and solutions. Murray gains confidence wearing his bright yellow raincoat, his owner reassures him that the big dog at the park is nice, and even stays right beside Murray as he’s falling asleep next to the scary cat picture. What I love about this book (other than the adorable art, obviously) is that it shows you don’t have to tackle your fears alone. Murray is supported and loved every step of the way, which provides a great model for dealing with fears and helping others. Continue reading “Brianna’s Books: June Favorites 2022”

Best Friends Books

Posted on Thursday, June 2, 2022 by Adam

How do you know when you’ve found a best friend? Maybe when you’ve found someone who makes you laugh more than anyone else. Or someone who you can’t wait to tell when something really great or really terrible has happened. Or someone who you know will be loyal no matter what. However you define it, when you’ve found a best friend you will want to hold on to them and treasure every moment together. June 8 is National Best Friend Day, so, to celebrate, here are a handful of books for kids about the special bond of friendship.

"My Best Friend" book coverThe title characters of Olivier Dunrea’s “Gossie & Gertie” are two ducks, and best friends, who do everything together. Wherever Gossie, the bigger duck, goes, Gertie follows. But eventually, Gertie gets tired of following and starts to do her own thing. This makes Gossie annoyed at first, but then she decides that she’s okay with following Gertie for a while, and the two friends continue having fun together! Continue reading “Best Friends Books”

Butterfly Rings

Posted on Monday, May 16, 2022 by Katie

Want a super quick and easy craft to brighten your kiddo’s day? If so, work together to create some adorable butterfly chenille stem rings!

Not only are these little bug rings super cute, they only require three chenille stems to create. I love how little changes, such as different colored chenille stems, different lengths or a different way of bending the wings, enable crafters to create so many different species of fuzzy bugs.

butterfly chenille stem rings

Continue reading “Butterfly Rings”

Virtual Activity Bundle: Mother’s Day

Posted on Thursday, May 5, 2022 by Adam

Virtual Activity Bundle: Mother's DayIn case you didn’t already know, Mother’s Day is May 8! Since 1908, when it was created by Anna Jarvis, this has been a day to celebrate the mothers in our lives and all that they have done for us (this could also include grandmothers, aunts, godmothers and any other mother figures). Here are some eBooks, songs, videos and an easy, fun craft to help commemorate this special day. Continue reading “Virtual Activity Bundle: Mother’s Day”

❁ May Flowers ❁

Posted on Monday, May 2, 2022 by Grae

Bloodroot. Blue phlox, or wild sweet William. Common water hemlock, or spotted cowbane. Johnny-jump-ups, or field pansy. Rose verbena/vervain. Spring beauty, or fairy spud. Toothwort. Wild strawberry.

Incantations? Lipstick shades? Exercise positions? Potentially, though these are also all names for the early native wildflowers you might see blooming across mid-Missouri as the season shifts from the patchy humidity of April to the lengthening sunlit days of May and on to early summer. Of course, you might also have encountered other common nonnative species such as dandelions, clovers, henbits, violets and (my favorite) dead nettles speckling your lawn or favorite playground hillside.

A close-up of Blue Phlox or Wild Sweet William flowers growing amidst grass tuffs and dried leaves on a rocky outcropping in the Grindstone Nature Area. The flowers are a deep lavender color.
Blue phlox or wild sweet William along a local trail in the Grindstone Nature Area, with patches of spring beauty or fairy spud dotting the background. Compellingly, the phlox flowers are a deep shade of lavender, rather than blue as their name might suggest.

Continue reading “❁ May Flowers ❁”

Tree of Life Craft

Posted on Monday, April 25, 2022 by Katie

The tree of life is a common image across many cultures representing growth. To celebrate spring and the sprouting of all things green, create your own tree of life!

First, select a paper plate. Any size will work. Working from the middle outward, cut out the center of the plate, leaving the raised edge. This is where your tree will grow.

Tree of life craft example Continue reading “Tree of Life Craft”

Brianna’s Books: April Favorites 2022

Posted on Thursday, April 14, 2022 by Brianna

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It’s time for my top April picks! I’ve got a nice mix of titles this month, with something for everyone to enjoy. If you’ve got a kid aging out of chapter books and getting ready for YA, make sure to check out my “Selector’s Selections” posts on the Teen Blog too. Or, you know, if you want some YA recommendations for yourself!

Picture Books

Kick Push” written and illustrated by Frank Morrison

Ivan, nicknamed Epic for his incredible skateboarding skills, has just moved to a new neighborhood. Missing his old skateboarding friends, Epic tries to fit in by playing the sports the other kids are playing. He’s not successful at any of these attempts, and his parents send him to the nearby bodega after some encouraging words. Epic skates there of course, and his moves attract a crowd of future friends. The idea of making friends by being yourself is a classic, but the author tells this story with so much joy and energy. With fascinating angles and onomatopoeia showing Epic’s skateboarding, this is an exciting call to authenticity. Continue reading “Brianna’s Books: April Favorites 2022”

Siblings

Posted on Thursday, April 7, 2022 by Adam

Did you know that approximately 80 percent of Americans have at least one sibling? I have one younger sister, and though it sometimes seems like we are opposites, we’ve always had fun together and made each other laugh;  we’ve done our best to support each other through the ups and downs of 37 years together. In honor of Siblings Day, which is celebrated on April 10th, here’s a selection of books about both the complex feelings around having a new brother or sister and the many ways in which siblings work together, play together, fight, reconcile and help each other learn and grow.


Having a new baby brother or sister can be both exciting and a little scary — it’s a big change for older kids to make room for a new sibling. In “The Berenstain Bears’ New Baby,” by Stan and Jan Berenstain, Small Bear makes room for his new sister by giving up his old, small bed and helping Papa Bear make a new one. Lola, in “Lola Reads to Leo,” by Anna McQuinn, loves being read to, and when her new sister comes she shares the gift of reading with her. And in “Max & Ruby and Twin Trouble,” by Rosemary Wells, Max and Ruby have to make room for not one but two new siblings — so they spend some time preparing by practicing on Ruby’s dolls, and by the time the babies arrive Max has become an expert at getting the twins to sleep!


Sometimes, when our siblings get on our nerves, or we feel like our parents aren’t giving us the same attention we once received, we may want to run away.  That’s what Cassie in “The Big Sibling Getaway,” Mia in “Mia Moves Out,” and Peter in “Peter’s Chair” do: Cassie wants to escape the nonstop crying of her new baby brother, so she climbs into an empty box to drive, sail and soar until she finally finds quiet; Mia is fed up with her younger brother’s messes, and as she searches for a replacement space, she tries the bathroom, the basement and finally the pantry; and when Peter discovers his blue furniture is being painted pink for a new baby sister, he rescues the last unpainted item, a chair, and runs away. But of course they all discover that it’s lonely without their family and they return with a new appreciation for their younger siblings.


And when siblings work together, in spite of their differences, there’s so much they can accomplish. The Alden children, in Gertrude Chandler Warner’s “The Boxcar Children” series, are four orphaned siblings who make a home for themselves in an abandoned boxcar and end up becoming amateur sleuths, each drawing on their own unique skills and qualities to solve mysteries and help each other out. In “From the Mixed up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler,” by E.L. Konigsburg, precocious twelve-year-old Claudia and her younger brother, Jamie, run away from home to live in the Metropolitan Museum of Art and end up solving the mystery of a new statue at the museum by an unknown artist. And finally, when Gideon, in Tom Booth’s “Day at the Beach,” decides that he is going to build an amazing sandcastle without the help of his little sister Audrey, his day at the beach becomes a lesson in sibling bonding.