Brianna’s Books: April Favorites 2024

Posted on Monday, April 1, 2024 by Brianna

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Publishing is really picking up for the spring. I’ve got all kinds of new books on order that I don’t have time to tell you about! These four all come out at the beginning of the month, so you won’t have to wait too long for them.

Picture Books

coverAhoy!” written and illustrated by Sophie Blackall 

This is a fantastic example of imaginative play. A parent is trying to vacuum a large blue rug while their child plays nearby, gathering all sorts of household items. When the parent asks what they’re playing, the child responds, “I’M NOT PLAYING! I’M PREPARING TO SET SAIL!” They’re shouting because a storm is coming, and the child urgently convinces the parent to join them on their ship. Soon the blue rug is an ocean, paper towel tubes are telescopes, and the two embark on adventures on the high seas. The author perfectly balances fantasy and reality in the illustrations, while capturing the enthusiasm and joy of the child — not to mention their impressive nautical knowledge. I love that the parent is included in the adventure. My toddler is already teaching me so much about imagination that I’d forgotten as I grew up. He’s generally pretending to be a peregrine falcon or an ostrich (the faster the better!), but I have no doubt that we’ll be hoisting our own living room sails in a year or two. Continue reading “Brianna’s Books: April Favorites 2024”

2023 Missouri Building Block Picture Book Award Winner!

Posted on Monday, March 18, 2024 by DBRL Kids

Image of 2023 Missouri Building Block Winner

We are excited to announce that the winner of the 2023 Missouri Building Block Picture Book Award is “I’m Terrified of Bath Time” by Simon Rich and illustrated by Tom Toro. Nearly 13,000 Missouri children voted, and 2,318 kiddos voted for the winning title.

Extra Shoutout

We would like to give an honorable mention to our local favorite “I’m A Unicorn” by Helen Yoon.

And We Have New Nominees

Want to discover more terrific read-alouds? The 2024 Missouri Building Block Award nominees have been announced. If you want to get a head start, you can enjoy reading the individual books.

Language Learning Resources for Kids and Families

Posted on Monday, March 11, 2024 by Laura

When I’m not answering questions and handing out stickers at the Children’s Services Desk, I moonlight as an ESL (English as a second language) instructor at the University of Missouri. So it will come as no surprise that I love to help library kids and their families on their language learning journeys!

When I chat with parents and caregivers about this topic, I often hear questions like:

  • Will my child get confused if we introduce another language?
  • How can we balance English and another language in our home?
  • How do I raise a bilingual child when I’m not fluent in another language myself?
  • How can I get my child excited about learning a new language?

Continue reading “Language Learning Resources for Kids and Families”

Brianna’s Books: March Favorites 2024

Posted on Monday, March 4, 2024 by Brianna

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It was hard to narrow down my list this month! There are some great books coming out in March.

Picture Books

coverAll Aboard the Alaska Train” written by Brooke Hartman and illustrated by John Joseph

This is the perfect book for train and nature enthusiasts alike! Readers are invited to board the (apparently iconic) Alaska Train, as it races, rumbles, rattles and rambles its way through Alaska. Each new page turn features an Alaskan animal, with engaging rhyming text that will encourage little ones to guess the animal before the reader states it. The animals surreptitiously join the passengers on the train as it travels through various landscapes and habitats. Finally, the train is stalled at the foot of a tall mountain, and the animals all get off the train to help push it up the tracks. While the plot isn’t a main focus here, little ones will love seeing all the different types of animals, and the excellent rhythm of the text keeps things moving briskly. My toddler currently loves trains and animals, so I’m looking forward to sharing this one with him! Continue reading “Brianna’s Books: March Favorites 2024”

Meet the Mushrooms 🍄🍄

Posted on Monday, February 26, 2024 by Grae

. . . and other fun-guys, or fungis!

Do you have a budding mushroom and/or fungi lover in your life? You’re not alone; there is definitely something sporing in the air and plenty of fungus among us. Okay, that might be enough puns for now, but it does seem like the mushroom has been popping up everywhere lately, from cute accessories to interior décor to critically-acclaimed documentaries to your very own backyard or favorite spot of Missouri greenspace. I like to think the mushroom’s trendiness is due to the fact that there’s a little something for everyone in the fungi kingdom. Fungi are, after all, neither plant nor animal, but some other creature in-between or beyond. Plus, the technicolor spread of variety amongst fungi makes mushrooms, which are technically the fruit or fruiting body of a fungus, both adorable and endlessly fascinating —as well as in some cases, appetizing!

So, if you have gotten thoroughly tangled up in the mycelium (root-like structures of a fungus), or are just starting to sprout interest in the subject, I’ve compiled a list of resources for the aspiring mycologist (a.k.a. mushroom scientist). Read on for some cap-tivating choices. . .

For the littlest caps, try “Meet the Mushrooms!

Cover of the board book "Meet the Mushrooms!" featuring mushrooms of all colors, shapes and sizes with cute, happy faces smiling in a forest scene.

This sturdy board book features interactively layered die-cut cardboard pages so the very youngest of mycologists can explore the various colors, shapes and sizes of all kinds of little mushroom guys. 😊 Continue reading “Meet the Mushrooms 🍄🍄”

Brianna’s Books: February Favorites 2024

Posted on Monday, February 5, 2024 by Brianna

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I’m back and I’m excited to share with you all some of the new books coming out this month! As always, if you prefer reading or listening digitally, check the catalog after the book’s publication date to see if we have the eBook or e-audiobook.

Picture Books

coverWhat’s New, Daniel?” written and illustrated by Micha Archer

Alright, I know that it’s not actually spring yet. But we can still prepare for it! Daniel is visiting the park with his grandfather, and Grandpa asks him what’s new. As adults, we’re used to casually using phrases like this, but Daniel takes the question very literally and ventures out into the park to seek an answer. Daniel finds new baby ducklings, a snake with new skin, and tadpoles with new legs as well as many other springtime discoveries. As he reports back to Grandpa, he adds his own new developments, like the ability to whistle and a new tooth. The vibrant acrylic and collage illustrations joyfully herald spring and will likely inspire other young nature lovers — it’s the perfect book to enjoy as we’re finishing out winter. Continue reading “Brianna’s Books: February Favorites 2024”

Shrink or Grow? Gummy Worm Experiment

Posted on Monday, January 22, 2024 by Robyn

Did you know that gummy worms were invented in 1981, almost 60 years after the first gummy bear? Hans Riegel, a factory worker in Bonn, Germany (who later went on to start the Haribo company) originally made the bears with black licorice, which isn’t my jam. But that paved the way for worms, inspiring one of my favorite childhood treats: dirt and worms. Maybe that’s why this experiment grabbed my attention when I was browsing “The Curious Kid’s Science Book.” When submerged in different substances overnight, will gummy worms shrink, grow or stay the same? It’s a pretty simple setup (minimal supplies most of you already have at home) with a fun ending. Plus, there will surely be leftover worms for you to gobble up!

Gummy worm image
Original image by Willis Lam; background added
Continue reading “Shrink or Grow? Gummy Worm Experiment”

Watercolor Winter Hat Craft

Posted on Monday, January 15, 2024 by Katie

Does anyone else start to miss bright colors in January? This is the time of year I find myself thinking about dying my hair, seeking the brightest socks in the drawer and choosing the doughnuts with the most sprinkles. That is one of the reasons I chose this craft to share. The watercolor paints are so bright and cheerful. Perfect for a cold winter day.

Watercolor Winter Hat craft

Continue reading “Watercolor Winter Hat Craft”

My Love of Loose Parts Play

Posted on Monday, January 1, 2024 by Laura W

Examples of loose parts including rocks, buttons, Tupperware, spoons, cardboard tubes, beads, grass, beans, branches, popsicle sticks and yarn.

It is almost impossible to avoid the message that products equal happiness. We are inundated with advertisements that promise health, happiness and everything in between, if only we buy what they’re selling. However, in my years of working with children, I have found that the best learning comes from the most unexpected places. You don’t always have to buy fancy new toys for your kids to have a fun time full of learning opportunities. This is where loose parts come into play. Continue reading “My Love of Loose Parts Play”

Author-Illustrators We Love: Phoebe Wahl 🍄

Posted on Tuesday, December 26, 2023 by Grae

Cover photo of Phoebe Wahl's children's book "Little Witch Hazel," featuring a small white woman with braided brown hair carrying a basket of strawberries. Little Witch Hazel wears a red pointed cap, a green and white sweater, red-striped blue culottes, and tiny black boots. She stands in the middle of a forest scene with various fungi, flowers and other plants around her, including a strawberry bush, a pine cone, acorns, and amanita mushrooms.

When you crack open one of Phoebe Wahl‘s intricately illustrated and thoughtfully plotted children’s books, you may very well be opening a treasure chest. But the scintillating trinkets and down-right adorable baubles Wahl offers you are not so precious that they must be held at a remove, kept behind glass or under the belly of a sneering dragon. Instead, Wahl wants you to hold them, feel them, cup and ponder them delicately close to your heart and mind, like you might do with a freshly fallen oak leaf or a young phlox bloom at the first sign of spring or a glimmering pebble that sings out its iridescence from the creek bed. Continue reading “Author-Illustrators We Love: Phoebe Wahl 🍄”