Arrr! It’s Talk Like a Pirate Day!

Posted on Thursday, September 19, 2019 by Molly

Pirate books

Avast ye! All hands hoay you Landlubbers! Today, September 19th, is International Talk Like a Pirate Day! So, although you can’t climb aboard the Jolly Roger and brandish your cutlass as in days of old, at least you can sound like a pirate one day out of the year. Here’s a link to some pirate terms and phrases that will get you talking like an old seadog in no time!

Along with having their own special “language,” pirates also loved to sing. Working on sea-faring vessels was hard work, so they often sang songs, or “sea shanties” to pass the time and make the job go faster. Here’s a pirate song that you and your family can sing on International Talk Like a Pirate Day or any day of the year!

If You Want To Be A Pirate (To the tune of: “If You’re Happy And You Know It)

If you want to be a pirate,
Swab the deck. (swish, swish)
If you want to be a pirate,
Swab the deck. (swish, swish)
If you want to be a pirate,
REALLY want to be a pirate,
If you want to be a pirate,
Swab the deck. (swish, swish)

Additional verses include: “walk the plank” (stomp, stomp); “shout ahoy!” (Ahoy! Ahoy!).

End with this verse: If you want to be a pirate “do all three” (swish, stomp, Ahoy!).

(Credit MOJIM Lyrics)

If you would like to learn more about pirates, DBRL offers a wide assortment of pirate books for children of all ages. Here are just a few.

Books We Love: How Do You Care for a Very Sick Bear

Posted on Monday, September 16, 2019 by Megan

How Do You Care for a Very Sick Bear bookThey say laughter is the best medicine, but personally I think a good book can also do the trick! Luckily you can have both with Vanessa Bayer’s “How Do You Care for a Very Sick Bear.” You may know Vanessa Bayer from her work on Saturday Night Live, and now she has written her first picture book, inspired by events from her own adolescence.

When Vanessa was in high school, she was diagnosed with leukemia, and she had a group of friends who stood by her side. Her friends would visit or not visit, depending on how she felt, and they would always make sure she was up to date on the latest gossip. “How to Care for a Very Sick Bear” is a great story for kids and adults alike who have sick family or friends. The words and illustrations are very sweet and are a great way to talk about compassion and empathy.

Check out this booklist for other stories about dealing with physical illness, feeling sad, loss and caring for any sick bears you might have in your life. 

Learn and Play: World Book Early Learning

Posted on Thursday, September 12, 2019 by Brianna

picture of home page of early learning

Do you have a kiddo who craves nonfiction? What about a child who is just starting to learn to read? Try setting your child up with World Book Early Learning. This recently revamped resource has a plethora of videos, photographs, stories and games, all on a variety of topics. If you’re familiar with the old version, this one boasts a new design in addition to more content. Kids can choose a topic that interests them, like dinosaurs or sea creatures, and easily access all of the content in that category. Some stories are labelled by Lexile level to help grownups direct kids to content appropriate to their reading level. All of the stories and information pages have the option to listen to a voice-over while following the highlighted words.

dolphin paint by numbersEach topic has videos and pictures to explore, as well as games and activities. One of my favorites is the paint by number activity, which even incorporates some math problems. After reading about sea turtles and watching a video of a stingray, I played a sea creatures matching game and did a dolphin paint by number. There’s oodles of fun content, and even a page for grown ups. This invaluable part of the site features lesson plans and Lexile levels to accompany the various stories, and even links to a foldable version of the book that you can print and use at home or in the classroom. They also provide curriculum correlations for early childhood through second grade.

I had way too much fun exploring this great resource, and I bet your kids will too! Just log in with your library card number and password and you are ready to go.

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!

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

Back to School Countdown!

Posted on Monday, July 22, 2019 by Amy

New shoes? Check! Fresh pack of crayons? Check! Books to help your future preschooler or kindergartener transition into school…? Fear not! Your local library has you covered. We have done the work for you and compiled a list of books perfect for your new student-to-be. (Here’s a PDF if you want to print it!) Below I have highlighted a few of my personal favorite back to school books to share with your kiddos.

Kindergarten is COOL!

Kindergarten is COOL!” by Linda Elovitz Marshall
K is for KindergartenWhether it’s early-morning jitters or becoming familiar with new classroom routines, this sweet and bouncy story will have expectant kindergarteners saying, “Kindergarten is cool!”`

K is for Kindergarten” by Erin Dealey
Here comes kindergarten! Whether your little reader is gearing up for the first day of school or making their way through the school year, “K is for Kindergarten” will help guide them with silly rhymes and fun activities from A to Z.

Pete the Kitty’s First Day of Preschool” by Kimberly & James Dean
It’s a big day for Pete the Kitty; it’s his first day of preschool! He meets his cool teacher, sings a few fun songs and even It's the First Day of Preschool, Chloe Zoe!Pete the Kitty's First Day of Preschoolgets to paint. Who knew preschool could be so much fun?

It’s the First Day of Preschool, Chloe Zoe!” by Jane Smith
Chloe Zoe is starting preschool today, but she’s a little nervous. What if she doesn’t like it? Mommy tells her that she will get to do lots of cool activities, but Chloe Zoe isn’t so sure. She’d rather stay at home and play with her little sister. Will Chloe Zoe discover how fun preschool is before the day is over?


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”

Military Deployment Book List

Posted on Wednesday, July 3, 2019 by Brianna

As America celebrates independence, it’s important to remember the families of those still fighting for our country. Holidays like Independence Day can be rough for children with deployed parents, but these picture books should offer some comfort.

cover of Sometimes We Were Brave

Sometimes We Were Brave” by Pat Brisson

This sweet book demonstrates how to keep going, even when you’re a little bit afraid. Jerome’s mother is in the Navy, and when she’s gone he worries about her. The description of daily life while waiting for her, along with the comforting illustrations, should help children find their own bravery despite anxieties.

cover of Papa's Backpack

Papa’s Backpack” by James Christopher Carroll

This beautifully illustrated book describes a bear cub’s desire to travel with his soldier papa bear, even though he knows he cannot. Animals march to do battle in a stylized landscape that evokes modern military conflict without being too alarming. The bear cub speculates about traveling with his papa, but ultimately gives him a doll to take instead. A visually intriguing story that explores the feelings of children who must be left behind.

Tuesday Tucks Me In: The Loyal Bond Between a Soldier and His Service Dog” by Luis Carlos Montalván

This book doesn’t deal with deployment so much as life after coming home. Through touching photographs, Tuesday the service dog narrates his relationship with a healing army veteran. Children will fall in love with Tuesday and gain a better understanding of how service dogs can help veterans.

For more books on this subject, check out our military deployment book list.