Brianna’s Books: August Favorites 2020

Posted on Wednesday, August 12, 2020 by Brianna

I’m back with another round of books I think you might enjoy! Let’s dive in.

Picture Books

The Best Worst Poet Ever” written and illustrated by Lauren Stohler

Any of my friends could tell you about my love for pugs. I love their silly sounds and smooshy faces, so I always get very excited when I see a book starring a pug! In this book, the pug shares the spotlight with a fluffy orange cat, as they face off in a heated poetry battle. The cat admires Shakespeare and hurls barbed sonnets at the pug, while the irreverent pug returns with verses like this: “Can I write a poem with my butt? / I don’t know! / Oh can I write a poem with my butt? / Here I go!” The best part about this book is that it’s just begging to be read aloud by two people. This would make a hilarious story time with two grown-ups reading to a child, or engage your confident young reader to take one of the parts!


Don’t Wake the Dragon” written by Bianca Schulze and illustrated by Samara Hardy

For another joyously interactive story, try this one about a sleeping dragon. The dragon is very rascally, and didn’t want to go to bed. Now that she’s asleep, any sound could wake her—the cooks banging pans in the kitchen or even you turning the page too loud! Readers will have to be very soothing, sing a lullaby and tuck themselves in with the dragon to get her to sleep. Which of course, is all part of a parent’s master plan bedtime routine!


Saturdays Are For Stella” written by Candy Wellins and illustrated by Charlie Eve Ryan

Sometimes you need books about a specific topic or issue (first day of school, divorce, losing a pet etc.) but wouldn’t necessarily seek them out at other times in life. Even though “Saturdays Are For Stella” is about the grief of losing a grandparent, it is a touching and inspiring book that’s perfect for reading any time. George loves spending Saturdays with his Grandma Stella, whether they’re baking together, exploring the dinosaur museum downtown or reading a favorite book. When George finds out Stella has died, he hates Saturdays and crosses them all off the calendar. Yet when his new baby sister Stella is born, George realizes he has so many things to show her that Grandma Stella shared with him. Share this book with your kiddo as a wonderful example of family connection and traditions, as well as a way to normalize loss and grief.


Three Squeezes” written by Jason Pratt and illustrated by Chris Sheban

Look, I know this is kind of a lot of emotional books, but I just had to share this one with you all. A father starts a tradition with his son of giving three squeezes to say “I love you.” The three squeezes might be after a scraped knee, the death of a pet, graduation or even after a quarrel with each other. The father and son grow older, and the son has a boy of his own. As the father is being pushed in a wheelchair along a forest path, he tells his son, “The day may come, you understand, / when I can neither talk nor stand, / and if it does, please take my hand / and give it three soft squeezes.” Yep. Have some tissues ready.


Chapter Books

Ikenga” by Nnedi Okorafor

Okorafor has taken a turn writing Black Panther, but now she’s giving us a story about a new African superhero. Nnamdi was eleven when his father, the chief of police, was murdered. Now it’s a year later, and Nnamdi is still grieving and furious that the murder has gone unsolved. When he’s given a mysterious Ikenga box that transforms him into a superhero, he’s eager to track down his father’s killers. Yet revenge does not always lead to peace, and Nnamdi must learn to balance his powers and emotions. Set in Nigeria, this book will engage superhero fans while immersing them in West African culture.


Fighting Words” by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley

This is a book that needs to be talked about. Even though it has a ten year old narrator, the book doesn’t shy away from hard topics like sexual abuse, drug use and incarceration. Parents, be ready to read this at the same time as your kid so you can discuss it together. I absolutely loved the author’s historical fiction “The War That Saved My Life” so I was delighted to see she’d written a new novel. The story follows Della and her big sister Suki. Suki has always protected Della, ever since their mother was convicted in a meth incident and they moved in with their mom’s predatory boyfriend. When they manage to escape him and land in foster care, Della slowly learns how to fit in. Yet as she starts to heal, she realizes Suki needs help now more than ever. Striking a delicate balance between bleakness and hope, this story will have readers rooting for the sisters every step of the way.


The Magic in Changing Your Stars” by Leah Henderson

Alright, that last one was intense so here’s something a little lighter. Eleven-year-old Ailey loves to dance and is thrilled to audition for the part of the Scarecrow in his school’s production of “The Wiz.” When he bungles his audition Ailey is crushed, and tells his grandpa he’s done dancing forever. Grampa shares a story of his own tap dancing days, and gives Ailey the shoes that were given to him by Bojangles himself. Trying the shoes on transports Ailey back in time to 1930s Harlem, where he meets his young grandpa. Filled with excellently researched historical details, a focus on family, and a touch of magic, this book is an inspiring read.


Into the Clouds” by Tod Olson

Do you have a kid that loves nonfiction? Have they tried branching out into chapter books but just can’t get interested? It’s time to try narrative nonfiction! This genre uses facts to tell stories in an engaging way, and it’s my favorite type of nonfiction. “Into the Clouds” tells the story of the men that tried to scale the mountain K2. Everyone has heard of Mount Everest, but the second tallest mountain in the world is more deadly by far. The author describes the attempts of three expeditions, and transports the reader to the frigid and dangerous slopes. Part adventure story, part survival story, and completely true, this gripping book will entertain and awe as it educates.

Sharing Music With Your Kids

Posted on Friday, August 7, 2020 by Adam

Summer is usually a time for family road trips, backyard barbecues and block parties. And what better sonic backdrop for all of these activities than your favorite music playing from the speakers? But even if the pandemic is keeping you at home and away from large groups, you can still enjoy music together as a family.

One of my favorite musical memories from childhood was flipping through my parents’ record collection, learning about what they listened to growing up and making mix tapes of some of my favorite songs that I found. So, in honor of National Vinyl Record day, on August 12th, and National Record Store Day, which has been moved this year to August 29th, I want to highlight some music that parents can share with their school-age kids that might be a gateway into a larger universe of sounds:

For kids who love catchy pop melodies: Continue reading “Sharing Music With Your Kids”

No Pool? No Problem!

Posted on Friday, July 31, 2020 by Amy

This summer is shaping up to be a hot one, that’s for sure! To beat the heat, here two outdoor water activities geared towards toddlers and preschoolers that are sure to delight both kiddos and parents.

Food Coloring Fun

What you need:

  • Water
  • Cups
  • Cupcake pan
  • Droppers
  • Food coloring

What you do:

Toddlers will be amazed with this simple water play activity. All you do is add water to each cup in the cupcake pan and put in a few drops of food coloring. Have fun mixing and swirling colors together!

Continue reading “No Pool? No Problem!”

Summer Reading Traveling Companions

Posted on Friday, July 17, 2020 by Jessica S

traveling companions

What is a traveling companion?

Traveling companions are paper friends that can travel with us. To celebrate Summer Reading this year, we have two adorable traveling companions: the traveling unicorn and the traveling dragon. Similar to the Flat Stanley (or Scooter the Cougar, if you’re part of the Columbia College family), kids can color their companion, cut it out, and then take cute photos together.

Travel might be limited this summer, but some families are taking this opportunity to go camping in a state park, visit the local beaches or explore some of their hometown parks. This coloring adventure can leap from your kitchen table out into the wilderness as you create and explore with your own traveling companion! Continue reading “Summer Reading Traveling Companions”

Brianna’s Books: July Favorites 2020

Posted on Friday, July 10, 2020 by Brianna

Summer reading is in full swing, and I’m here with some awesome suggestions for you! Since the library is partially reopened again and we are still doing curbside pickup, I chose to highlight physical books I’ve bought recently. But if you enjoy reading things digitally, never fear! I’m still buying all kinds of exciting ebooks and audiobooks for OverDrive.

Picture Books

The Hidden Rainbow” written and illustrated by Christie Matheson

The sweetest story time I ever did was with a small group of toddlers and Matheson’s “Tap the Magic Tree.” Interactive read-alouds are my favorite, and I can’t wait to get my hands on this one. Gardening! Counting! Colors! This book has so much to offer. Little ones will help brush snow off flowers, blow away raindrops and encourage the bees as they go about their vital business of pollination. Continue reading “Brianna’s Books: July Favorites 2020”

Virtual Activity Bundle: Counting

Posted on Wednesday, July 8, 2020 by Jerilyn

Virtual Activity Bundle Counting

“5…4…3…2…1…blast off!” That’s the start of the song “Rocketship Run” by Laurie Berkner, a hit with kids and parents. Kids love to count! Backwards, forwards; it’s all fun. Numbers are everywhere in our daily lives.

I frequently hear questions like these from my grandkids:

  • “How many cookies may I have?”
  • “How many toy cars do you think I can I line up across the table?”
  • “How many cups can I stack before it all falls down?

I love getting these kinds of questions, because they are a great learning opportunity and can make math fun. If you and your child want to play with numbers, check out the resources and activities below. Continue reading “Virtual Activity Bundle: Counting”

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”

Learn and Play at Home: Animal iPad Apps

Posted on Thursday, June 25, 2020 by Jessica S

Here at the library, we’ve tried out many apps on our iPads for kids. We strive to find apps that are both educational and fun! Animal apps are always a favorite with our young patrons. Whether they include numbers, patterns, fun noises or stories, animal apps are a great way to involve children with digital content.

Here are my favorite animal iPad apps:

Barnyard Dance is like a hoedown for your iPad. In a good way.

“Barnyard Dance” by Sandra Boynton

Click Here to Find it in the App Store: $2.99

Intended age range: 4+

This fun app comes with a lovely fiddle accompaniment as John Stey reads Sandra Boynton’s “Barnyard Dance.” The app opens on a table with a board book that the user can open and flip the pages. The pictures are interactive, so young hands can “slide” with the sheep or cluck with the chickens. Definitely fun for engaging children with the material they’re reading.

Continue reading “Learn and Play at Home: Animal iPad Apps”

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.

Virtual Activity Bundle: Engineering

Posted on Monday, June 8, 2020 by Jerilyn

Virtual Activity Bundle Engineering

My grandkids love to build things—they’re young engineers in the making! I keep boxes, paper tubes and empty food containers (like oatmeal cartons and potato chip cans) in a big plastic tub. When they visit, my grandkids love to go through it and figure out something they can create. The most recent creation is a fairy town. (Scroll to the bottom of the page to see what they made!)

If you have a child who loves to imagine, build and create, then try out these fantastic resources on engineering! Continue reading “Virtual Activity Bundle: Engineering”