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.

Books We Love: Never Touch a…

Posted on Monday, February 10, 2020 by Kristy

Never Touch a Polar Bear photoMy 9-month-old, Ember, absolutely LOVES touch and feel board books. If a book doesn’t have a great tactile experience—lumps, bumps, shiny things or lift-the-flaps—she will toss it aside with disdain. So you can bet that I’ve checked out nearly every touch and feel book that DBRL owns!

The titles that have risen to the top of Ember’s favorites are the Never Touch a… books written by Rosie Greening and illustrated by Stuart Lynch.

Why are they her favorite? Because, drum roll, they are so touchable! They include a whole bunch of cool textures for little ones to explore and the characters are lively and bright. Also, the reader gets to be a bit of a rebel, since the book warns you to never touch the characters, but feeling them is a must!

Never Touch A Polar Bear” was probably the biggest hit of all. The textures are great, the silly arctic animals show off their awesome skills and the rhymes are pretty funny. (My only complaint is that the text switches fonts frequently, which makes it difficult to read aloud.) Watch this video to see Ember’s obsession with the front cover!

Authors We Love: Deborah Underwood

Posted on Monday, February 3, 2020 by Jessica M

Need a new author to follow? Try out one of my personal favorites, Deborah Underwood.

Growing up, Underwood dreamed of being an astronaut, a singer and a writer. Nowadays, she’s a published children’s book author and a singer for her local choir. While that’s only two out of three, Underwood lets outer space play a role in her books, especially in the art of some of her newer titles.

Why should you love Deborah Underwood? She’s quirky and silly, her books are fun and she always sticks to books that have a classical feel but a whole new story to tell. Underwood also picks talented illustrators to work with her, including people like Claudia Rueda, Meg Hunt and more.

Claudia Rueda’s illustrations are cute, often depicting animals. Some of her works include the “Hungry Bunny” or “Bunny Slopes” books, which feature the cutest little white bunny that gets himself in all sorts of trouble, needing the reader’s help to get out.

Meg Hunt goes a different direction with her illustrations. While the backgrounds are dark, they are offset by the brilliantly colored characters. Hunt worked with Underwood for the titles “Interstellar Cinderella” and “Reading Beauty.” As we near our Summer Reading 2020, themed “Imagine Your Story,” these titles fall wonderfully into the mix as beautifully updated versions of “Sleeping Beauty” and “Cinderella.”

These are some of my favorite books by Deborah Underwood:

Interstellar Cinderella - Underwood, DeborahInterstellar Cinderella” (2019) illustrated by Meg Hunt

“Interstellar Cinderella” is a magical retelling of the original “Cinderella” story. Interstellar Cinderella wants to be a mechanic and fix fancy starships. While she fixes more common appliances like dishwashers and tiny robots during the day, she studies ship repair by night. When the prince announces a space parade, Cinderella leaps at the opportunity but is marooned on a planet by her stepsisters and stepmother. With some help from her fairy godrobot, Cinderella is able to make it to the parade. There, she sees amazing starships that make her swoon. When the prince’s suffers a mechanical failure, Cinderella rushes to save the magnificent ship. She fixes it, goes to the ball with the Prince, but as the clock strikes midnight, she rushes home. The Prince follows and offers to marry her, but Cinderella just wants to be his chief mechanic. Continue reading “Authors We Love: Deborah Underwood”

Cozy Reads for Cold Days

Posted on Monday, January 27, 2020 by Amy

Need a little warmth to drive out the cold and snow? Then check out a few of my favorite cuddly, cozy reads for winter days.

The Thing about Yetis book coverThe Thing About Yetis” by Vin Vogel

A Great Big Cuddle book coverYetis love winter, but even yetis get tired of the frigid, snowy weather. To counteract the cold, little yeti comes up a great idea to keep his mind on sunnier things.

A Great Big Cuddle: Poems for the Very Young” written by Michael Rosen, illustrated by Chris Riddell

Curl up with this playful collection of poems from best-selling children’s author and poet Michael Rosen. In this exuberant compilation, Michael Rosen invites children to joyfully celebrate sounds and the infinite possibilities of language.

Mommy Is a Soft, Warm KissMommy Is A Soft, Warm Kiss” written by Rhonda Gowler Greene, illustrated by Maggie Smith

Daddy Is a Cozy Hug book coverA child celebrates all of the wonderful things a mother can be throughout the year, from a treasure buried in summer sand to a snow-white angel gliding down winter slopes.

Daddy Is A Cozy Hug” written by Rhonda Gowler Greene, illustrated by Maggie Smith

A child celebrates all of the wonderful things a father can be throughout the year, from a wiggling fish in summer to a warm blanket in winter.

Super Sensory Bins

Posted on Thursday, January 23, 2020 by Tess

Here at the library, we love sensory bins! They’re a great way to teach kids about math, literacy and science, without them even knowing they’re learning! This evening, January 23rd, we’ll be hosting an adult workshop for how to build awesome sensory bins, but here are some additional fun ideas for you to try at home with your preschoolers! 

Junk Drawer Sort photoJunk Drawer Sort

I don’t know about you, but my family has always had one drawer in the kitchen full of random stuff. Before the annual spring sort where you throw out all the old coupons and broken rubber bands, let your kids practice their math skills by sorting the objects into categories. You’ll also have some great vocabulary conversations.

  1. Take everything out of the junk drawer, and put it in a bucket.
  2. Remove anything that’s a choking hazard if you have littles under 3.
  3. Put out a variety of bowls or containers.
  4. Let them sort based on any variety of concepts. (e.g. shape, weight, color, letter sounds, type of object)

Continue reading “Super Sensory Bins”

Upcoming Children’s Books in 2020

Posted on Monday, December 23, 2019 by Tess

Get here soon 2020, we’ve got some reading to do! It’s time for us to share some of the exciting new books coming out in 2020. Librarians everywhere are filling their shopping carts with these up-and-coming reads, so feel free to add them to your holds list!

Picture books

No More Naps” written by Chris Grabenstein, illustrated by Leo Espinsoa (Publication date: February)

It’s time for a nap, but, just like stubborn toddlers everywhere, Annalise Devin McFleece won’t have anything to do with bedtime. Dad tries to encourage sleepiness by pushing her around the park in her stroller. Along the way, they pass a man sitting on a bench, dog walkers, a boy on a skateboard, kids playing ball, a girl practicing her juggling and others. Each of them thinks that taking a nap is a great idea, and if Annalise Devin McFleece doesn’t want hers, they’ll happily take it. And one by one, everyone falls asleep…except Annalise Devin McFleece. But when she’s finally ready for her nap, all the naps are taken! Is there anyone who has an extra nap to spare? With every turn of the page, the busy city scene becomes more and more quiet…except for Annalise Devin McFleece. Will she ever take a nap?


Just Like Me” by Vanessa Brantley-Newton (Publication date: January)

From the author of “Grandma’s Purse,” comes a collection of poetry filled with engaging mini-stories about girls of all kinds: girls who feel happy, sad, scared, powerful; girls who love their bodies and girls who don’t; country girls, city girls; girls who love their mother and girls who wish they had a father. With bright portraits in Vanessa’s signature style of vibrant colors and unique patterns and fabrics, this book invites readers to find themselves and each other within its pages.


Bedtime for Sweet Creatures” written by Nikki Grimes, illustrated by Elizabeth Zunon (Publication Date: January)

Mommy needs to wrangle her sweet creature into bed so that the whole family can sleep. From tigers to squirrels to snakes, the little boy dodges around his bedtime, until he is tired enough to finally sleep. His imaginative animal friends weave their way through the illustrations, eventually joining him in curling up for the night. 

Continue reading “Upcoming Children’s Books in 2020”

Best Children’s Books of 2019

Posted on Thursday, December 19, 2019 by Kristy

It’s that time of year again! The DBRL youth services staff have come up with a list of the best of the best children’s books that came out this year. Make sure to check out these awesome titles and comment below with your favorite books of 2019!

I Will Be Fierce book cover

I Will Be Fierce” written by Bea Birdsong, illustrated by Nidhi Chanani
Our young narrator takes us through her day faced with many challenges, such as standing up to a table full of bullies and feeling confident in her work. Throughout the day, she encourages herself to be confident, reach further, be kinder and stand tall by saying to herself, “Today, I will be fierce!”

Be a Maker book cover

Be A Maker” written by Katey Howes, illustrated by Elizabet Vukovic
The detailed illustrations in this book about creating kept my toddler and I talking night after night for over a month!

B is for Baby book cover

B Is for Baby” written by Atinuke, illustrated by Angela Brooksbank
I love how many rare “B” words this book introduces. My toddler loves that she can retell the story all by herself.

Here and There book cover

Here and There by Tamara Ellis Smith, illustrated by Evelyn Daviddi
This story is told from the point of view of young Ivan, who is learning to accept the changes that occurred when his parents separated. I especially like the way the bright, hip illustrations complement and add to the narrative. Ivan learns that the things he loves are all around him and not only in one location.

Continue reading “Best Children’s Books of 2019”

Dyslexie Font for Struggling Readers

Posted on Monday, December 16, 2019 by Molly

Henry Winkler
Actor Henry Winkler

Actor Henry Winkler starred in such memorable TV shows as Happy Days, Arrested Development and Barry. Yet, when he was younger, Winkler struggled in school. He opened up about his frustration in a recent NPR interview. “I thought I was stupid…There is an emotional component, I think, that comes along with learning challenges, where I had no sense of self.” To make matters worse, Winkler said his parents blamed his underachievement on laziness, adding “I was grounded 97 percent of my high school career.” Though Winkler found his calling in acting and learned to compensate for his reading shortcoming, it wasn’t easy. “I would memorize as quickly as I could because I couldn’t read the page and act at the same time.”

At 31, Winkler was diagnosed with the learning disorder, dyslexia. Considered one of the most common language-based learning disabilities, dyslexia affects between 5-10 percent of the population, but this number could be as high as 17 percent. It is also the most common cause of reading, writing and spelling difficulties.

be happy to be you bookIn 2003, Winkler released “Niagara Falls, or Does It?” Loosely based on Winkler’s life, the children’s book follows the antics of middle schooler, Hank Zipzer, who has learning challenges. To date, Winkler has written over 20 books in the popular Hank Zipzer series.

More recently, Winkler’s Here’s Hank books have been released in a new font designed to help struggling readers achieve reading success. Dyslexie Font assists readers with dyslexia by weighting words in a way that prevents them from being turned, mirrored or swapped.

Here at DBRL, we are excited to announce that we have ordered over new 20 children’s book titles, printed in Dyslexie Font, which will be available for checkout soon! Until then, please use this link to place holds, and you will be notified when they are ready to borrow.


Photo Credit (Actor Henry Winkler): Elvis Kennedy Photo “Henry Winkler 7” via flickr (license).

Read-Along Books

Posted on Wednesday, December 11, 2019 by Brianna

Read-Along Books

I was always the type of kid that would be content reading quietly by myself, no matter where I was. At home, at school or out running errands with my parents, as long as I had a book, I was happy. (That’s still true, by the way!) Yet sometimes reading to yourself just isn’t enough when you want someone else to read to you!

Of course parents would love to read aloud as many books to their kids as requested, but some little book-lovers are insatiable. And parents have stuff to get done! So here’s a solution: your library now carries Read-Alongs! These wonderful books have an audio player attached, so that you can listen to the book and follow along as you go. The player has a speaker so everyone can hear or a headphone jack for private listening. No need to hunt for your practically ancient portable CD player or only listen to audiobooks in the car. Your kids can enjoy these books wherever they go! We have beloved classics like “Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs” and “Goodnight Moon,” as well as newer titles like “The Good Egg” and “I Am Enough.” We even have nonfiction titles like “Monster Trucks” and “Giant Pandas.” Stop by the library and pick one up today! You can check out two at a time per library card.


Funding for these books was provided in part by Jason Ludwig, attorney with Carson and Coil.

Children’s Books on Immigration and Refugees

Posted on Monday, November 25, 2019 by Rachel

Moving is hard for almost everyone, but it can be particularly hard for children. This is especially true if you’re moving from another country. The language, customs and even the weather can be so different from what your kids are used to. And what of their school and classmates? Will they fit in? These are hard questions, but for some children, there is an added complexity. For them, moving to a new country may mean they were forced to move due to war or a natural disaster. This topic can be difficult to explain to small and older children alike, but this selection of books about immigration and refugees should help. 

Cover of the Book, Alma and How She Got Her Name

Alma and How She Got Her Name by Juana Martinez-Neal 

This sweet picture book is about a small girl named Alma Sofia Esperanza José Pura Candela. Alma doesn’t really like her name though because, “it’s so long and never fits.” When she tells this to her father, he gently sits her down and explains her name through the history of her family in Mexico before they came to America. 

  Golden Domes and Silver Lanterns by Hena Khan 

Hena Khan wrote this simple yet beautiful picture book explaining Muslim words and concepts through colors. At the back of the book is a brief glossary of terms used in the Muslim faith. This is a lovely book detailing concepts that children (and adults) may have questions about. 

Home of the Brave By Katherine Applegate

This book, written for older children, is about Kei, a young boy from Africa who finds himself in Minnesota. Having grown up in the Sudan, Kei has never experienced a cold Minnesota winter before. War tore his family apart with only he and his mother surviving, but now she’s missing. Follow Kei as he slowly makes friends in his foster home and adjusts while he waits for news of his mother. 

For more children’s books on immigration and refugees, check out this list here.

For teen books on this subject, check out this list here

For helpful resources on immigration and refugees, please check out our Immigration and Refugee Services Guide