Check Out Cubelets Robotic Blocks!

Posted on Thursday, November 14, 2019 by Kristy

Do you love robotics, electronics, engineering and coding? If so, check out the newest library STEAM Kit: Cubelets!

What are Cubelets?

Cubelets are robotic blocks that you can snap together to form different types of robots. They are simple enough that a four-year-old can play with them but complex enough that teens enjoy tinkering with them too. Making robots with the Cubelets blocks is easy, intuitive and a lot of fun! Every Cubelets robot needs a sense block (black), an action block (clear) and a battery block (dark blue). The battery block has an on-off switch; make sure it’s on before you start to play. Just snap these blocks together and you’ve built a robot!


Older kids can download the apps for even more fun!

Cubelets AppCubelets App (Beginner)
The Cubelets App is your portal to new ways of playing with Cubelets using a remote control or “personality swap.” Available for Android 4.4 (KitKat) or newer, including Fire OS versions and iOS 9 or newer.

Cubelets BlocklyCubelets Blockly (Advanced)
Use Cubelets Blockly to learn how to program your own robots. Create countless new robots and behaviors with the parallel programming. Available for Bluetooth-enabled Mac, PC (Windows 10) or iPad (iOS 9 or newer).

Inspired to give Cubelets a try? Check one out from your library or bookmobile!

Read-Alouds to Warm Your Heart

Posted on Monday, November 11, 2019 by Amanda

This weeks showcasing of Building Block contenders includes fabulous books with animal characters! Wrap up in a cozy blanket, snuggle your pets and kiddos close and get ready to learn about these great reads.
The Rabbit Listened, Hello Hello and Can I be Your Dog are three animal picture books that promise to please!

The Rabbit Listened” By Cori Doerrfeld

Taylor has built the best block tower ever, only to see it crash before his eyes. Different animals parade across the pages offering solutions to help Taylor feel better. Chicken wants to talk, Bear suggests shouting and getting angry, Elephant demands they fix the tower immediately! Taylor, sadly, does not feel like doing any of those things. Thankfully, an understanding Rabbit comes to Taylor’s aid and simply listens. Cori Doerrfeld shows the magical power of listening and empathy through this simple yet beautiful picture book. This is a must read for teaching children how to cope with their big emotions. The book also provides a powerful reminder for caregivers, sometimes simply sitting with and listening to your child is all they need.

Hello Hello” By Brendan Wenzel

Animals leap off the pages in bright colors and patterns in Hello Hello.

If your child loves the zoo, learning about animals or is a budding scientist, “Hello Hello” by author-illustrator Brendan Wenzel is sure to please! Bright colors and rich textures fill the pages as Wenzel introduces over 90 animals to young readers. Little ones say hello to the bare-necked umbrellabird, whale shark, rainbow agana and more! The back of the book contains a helpful index with the animal’s names in order of appearance⁠—a great learning aid that makes this book a timeless educational tool. Many animals featured are endangered, near threatened or part of vulnerable populations. Wenzel suggests that learning about these animals is the first step to helping them!

Can I Be Your Dog?” By Troy Cummings

Arfy wants a home to call his own, maybe he should write a letter!

I might be biased, but this book is my favorite on this years nominee list. Picture books with cute puppies are too adorable to pass up! Troy Cummings weaves together a heart-wrenching story featuring Arfy the homeless pup. Arfy is just a good ol’ dog in search of a home. To conduct his search, he sends letters to folks across town asking if he can be their dog. Letter after letter turns Arfy away. How can the fire department and junk yard not have any openings for such a good boy? Finally, Arfy receives a letter of his own⁠—a happy one! Who will Arfy belong to? Read to find out! This book is fabulous read aloud, as it is written in epistolary format. Each letter is typed in different fonts, lending the book to be read with a variety of voices and tones. Kids will be on the edge of their seats waiting to see what happens to their favorite dog!

Once you have read at least five Missouri Building Block Picture Book Award nominees, help your child vote for their favorite. Voting is open to children in kindergarten and younger and goes through December. The winner will be announced in February. Will your favorite book win?

Happy Reading!

Best Read-Alouds About…Monsters Eating Friends!

Posted on Monday, November 4, 2019 by Jessica M

Who doesn’t love a good story about monsters eating people? The 2019 Missouri Building Block nominees “Eat Pete,” “I Just Ate My Friend” and “Beware the Monster” are three hilarious books that cover this topic. Each one of these stories features a cute monster up to some mischief. Kids love these books because of their illustrations, funny storytelling and the creative monsters that are featured in each book.

Eat Pete! - Rex, Michael

Eat Pete” by Michael Rex

In “Eat Pete,” a monster climbs in through Pete’s window! Pete isn’t scared of this monster—he’s excited because he wants someone to play with him. The monster plays along for a bit, but he wants to eat Pete! Pete is unaware of the danger as they go on imaginary adventure after adventure, setting up parking lots, having races, becoming pirates looking for treasure and so many more! While the monster has a lot of fun, he eventually gobbles up Pete. As he continues to play, now alone, the monster feels regret. He spits Pete out and apologizes for eating him. The two make up and continue to be friends. It’s a cute book about treating people with respect and valuing friendship.

I Just Ate My Friend - McKinnon, Heidi

I Just Ate My Friend” by Heidi McKinnon

The book opens with a cute little orange monster feeling regret after eating his friend. He is terrified that he has eaten his only friend in the world. After going on a journey asking others to be his friend, our little orange monster finds a new friend: a little blue monster. The book continues on with them being friends, until, unfortunately, the blue monster gobbles up the new orange friend and the book restarts with the line, “I just ate my friend.” It’s a very short and sweet book that touches on valuing friendship and understanding what happens if you lose a friend.

Beware the Monster! - Escoffier, Michaël

Beware the Monster” by Michaël Escoffier

“Beware the Monster” by Michaël Escoffier and illustrated by Amandine Piu is a cute book with very colorful images. The setting is in a forest, and the pages rotate between a far away and close up perspective. The narrative follows a very hungry and very scary monster. First, the monster starts with eating the apples, then the trees, the cows, and lastly, he comes to eat the child reading the book. The child escapes because the monster has eaten too much and made himself sick, so he decides to take a nap instead. Escoffier makes the book interactive, with the narrator talking directly to the people holding the book.

If you’re looking for some fun songs to go along with your monsters-eating-people literature, I have a couple of favorites about monsters and friendship. The first one features lots of fun vocabulary words that your child will enjoy as you identify parts of the body as you sing. Continue reading “Best Read-Alouds About…Monsters Eating Friends!”

ROARingly Good Dinosaur Books!

Posted on Monday, October 28, 2019 by Amy

Roar! Stomp! Smash! That’s what dinosaurs normally do…right? Well, in the following two interactive Missouri Building Block Award nominees, the dinos take a different spin on life.

Cookiesaurus Rex book cover

Cookiesaurus Rex” by Amy Fellner Dominy and Nate Evans

Frosting, sprinkles, a dinosaur cookie in a tutu—this book has it all. Readers take part in this fun tale of a dinosaur who does not like his frosting attire. Cookiesaurus Rex won’t be satisfied until he made the king of all cookies! But oh, what a delicious ending readers have in Crunch the Shy Dinosaur book coverstore for them.

Crunch, the Shy Dinosaur” by Cirocco Dunlap

Crunch the Dinosaur will delight readers in this interactive story about making friends slowly but surely. Crunch might seem a little different at first, but he warms up as readers sing and say hello. This is a wonderful story that subtly reminds and teaches readers the importance of patience when making a new friend.

Once you have read at least five Missouri Building Block Picture Book Award nominees, help your child vote for their favorite. Voting is open to children in kindergarten and younger and goes through December. The winner will be announced in February.

Have You Been Bitten by Creativebug?

Posted on Friday, October 25, 2019 by Tess

Have you heard the news? DBRL now offers free online arts and craft classes through Creativebug. (All you need is your library card!)

Creativebug offers online arts and crafts workshops and techniques for kids and adults⁠—all presented in video format. Unlike Pinterest, YouTube and other social media, Creativebug has no advertisements or commercials, and their downloadable recipes, templates and patterns are wonderfully simple. I love that the classes are split into chapters, so that it’s easy to skip parts that you already understand. The instructors will answer your questions in the comments, and they even tell you what materials you need at the beginning. The class instructors are all amazing, well-known artists who are on a mission to help others spark their creative spirit. 

There are classes for creative types of all kinds: sewing, quilting, knitting, crocheting, jewelry making, party planning, baking, cake decorating, sketching, painting, drawing, calligraphy, gift wrapping and much more!

Here are some of my favorite children’s projects that I’m excited to try!

Kid’s Embroidered Pillow

Take your kid’s unique doodles and drawings and turn them into a textured piece of art! These would make beautiful one of a kind gifts or bedroom decorations. 


Galaxy Slime

What’s more fun than making some messy slime? Making sparkly, swirly galaxy slime!


Last Minute Halloween Costumes

So you just found out that your kid was invited to a costume party…in 2 hours! Quick, to Creativebug! I love this simple giant beard idea.


Gifts From You for Kids

The holiday season is fast approaching, so what better time than to start on some projects for the little people in your life?

What toddler or preschooler wouldn’t love a set of handmade felt puppets? Puppet shows are just the cutest! 


Adorable Matching Outfits

There are beginner sewing lessons for children’s clothes where you can learn to make pants, dresses, shirts and leggings! 

Honestly, I could keep going, but you’ve just got to check it out for yourself! Just have your library card handy and head over to Now go forth and create! 


All Photos are from 

Vote for the 2019 Missouri Building Block Picture Book Award

Posted on Wednesday, October 23, 2019 by DBRL Kids

Missouri Building Block logoListed below are the Missouri Building Block Picture Book Award nominees for 2019! These books encourage reading aloud to children and are selected annually by a group of children’s librarians from Missouri.

Read to your child at least five of the books from the following list of 10 titles, and then vote for your favorite. Voting is open to children in kindergarten and younger and goes through December. The winner will be announced in February. Continue reading “Vote for the 2019 Missouri Building Block Picture Book Award”

Best Bear Read-Aloud Books!

Posted on Monday, October 21, 2019 by Erin

For the next four weeks, we will write about about all ten of the awesome Missouri Building Block Picture Book Award nominees for 2019. Selected annually by a group of children’s librarians from Missouri, these award nominees encourage reading aloud to children. The books nominated for this award make for exciting and engaging story times for any group of kids. These first two nominees are great books that focus on bears.

Where is Bear bookWhere Is Bear?” written and illustrated by Jonathan Bentley

Can you help a young boy find his bear before he goes to bed? This book is a great interactive book. Kids will think they have found the bear and start telling you the bear is on the page, when the reader is actually A Perfect Daylooking for a teddy bear! I love this book as a read aloud. Even adults get into it!

A Perfect Day” written and illustrated by Lane Smith

What does a perfect day mean to you? Cat, Bird, Dog and Squirrel are enjoying a beautiful day. But when Bear comes along, will he find the same things beautiful? Lane Smith has created gorgeous illustrations that’ll transport you into this beautiful world.

Once you have read at least five Missouri Building Block Picture Book Award Nominees, help your child vote for their favorite! Starting this Wednesday, October 23, you can vote online from the Kids & Parents web page. The winner will be announced in February.

October Is for Apples!

Posted on Thursday, October 17, 2019 by Molly

AppleEvery October, a friend of mine sets aside one weekend to make apple butter. This event, which has been a part of her family for generations, draws relatives from across the nation. Processing bushels of apples into apple butter is hard work that requires many hands. But overall, everyone returns each year because apple butter weekend is a wonderful opportunity to create family memories.

This same sense of family ties, dedication and togetherness is beautifully depicted in the book “Applesauce Day” by Lisa J. Amstutz. From picking the apples from the trees to cooking them in the same pot used by their ancestors, Maria and her family share a special family tradition. And while the apples cook, family members reminisce about past applesauce days and look forward to future times together.

Celebrate October (and apples!) with your family! Here are just a few of the delicious titles we have on hand.

For some additional seasonal fun, select an apple themed DVD. Here are a few from our collection.

Books We Love: Little People, Big Dreams

Posted on Monday, October 14, 2019 by Amanda

Little People, Big Dreams booksBooks provide windows into the lives and worlds of others, so what better genre to provide that experience than memoirs and biographies? Finding accessible and approachable biographies for younger children can be a bit tricky, however. Tough topics, unfamiliar dates in history and text-heavy pages pose big barriers for young people to comprehend and learn. Thanks to Isabel Sanchez Vegara, author of the Little People, Big Dreams biography series, showcasing role models and world changers has never been easier!

Isabel began her quest to write this series in order to provide quality learning experiences for her nieces.

“I had discovered a ton of great children’s books for my oldest nephew Ernest; full of brave, enthusiastic boys ready to conquer the world. But these sorts of books didn’t seem to exist for little girls and so I thought to myself, wouldn’t it be great to change that? I wanted to show Alba and Claudia some real female characters who had had the determination to believe in their dreams and make these dreams a reality.”

Check out more of the author interview here. Although the series was originally inspired to focus on female leaders and innovators, it has since spread its wings to include male movers and shakers.

So, what sets this children’s biography series apart from the rest?

The Illustrations

While Isabel carefully researches and crafts the written elements of the series, she also is mindful of the visual impact it will have in teaching and appealing to her young audience. Though the books possess a cohesive theme, individual illustrators are selected for each publication. Vegara claims, “These books would be nothing without the extraordinary talent of all the illustrators I work with. To me, finding the right illustrator—someone who brings each character to life—is a very important part of the process (and it’s lots of fun!)” Continue reading about Isabel’s creative process here.

Little People, Big Dreams books

The Length

Each book feels like a typical picture book and is written to work as a read aloud. Caregivers will enjoy sharing stories of their favorite heroes in a short time frame with their littles. “Bigger” littles will enjoy thumbing through the pages, carefully digesting the exquisite pictures and diving into a new, inspiring story. Little People, Big Dreams provides historical and cultural lessons without overwhelming young readers with length and breadth. Each story starts with the person of interest as a young person, making it even more approachable and interesting for little learners. This series has expanded to include some board books as well!

Additional Information

Little People, Big Dreams books

I was already sold on the series upon initially finding the book highlighting David Bowie—how awesome!  However, the additional information section at the back of each book takes what is already a great resource and perfects it. The last few pages of each book display a timeline highlighting the person of interest’s life and achievements, alongside a list of additional resources to check out. Adding these few pages allows for these books to appeal to older readers who are in the beginning stages of learning how to research and write informative essays.

Since debuting in 2014, Little People, Big Dreams has grown into an inclusive, broad, informative series that is a must for younger and older readers. I highly encourage checking out our catalog and placing some on hold for your little. Inspiring your kids to learn about their role models and encouraging their dreams has never been easier!

Everyday Diversity in Picture Books

Posted on Thursday, October 10, 2019 by Brianna

We had a request in our Early Childhood Educators Facebook group for books that have diverse characters without being about diversity specifically. One of the beautiful things about art and literature is that we can see ourselves reflected in the stories. Yet it can be discouraging for young readers if they never see someone who looks like them. Now don’t get me wrong, I absolutely love books like “Suki’s Kimono,” but sometimes you just want a story that includes different cultures and ethnicities without singling them out. If you’re looking for picture books that feature diverse characters without being about the civil rights movement or Dia de los Muertos, look no further!

cover art of A Couch for Llama

A Couch for Llama” by Leah Gilbert

This exuberant book features a racially mixed family as well as a very silly llama. The Lago family buys a new couch, but as they’re driving it home the straps come undone and the couch sails off the car and into a llama’s field. The llama is confused at first, but quickly grows to love the couch—as readers will love this story.

We Don’t Eat Our Classmates” by Ryan Higgins

cover art of we don't eat our classmates

Penelope is a T-Rex starting school in a classroom full of children…who are delicious. Children will identify with Penelope’s classmates of varying skin tones and religious headwear, but they might identify most with Penelope as she learns to control her impulses and make friends.

cover art of mary had a little glam

Mary Had a Little Glam“by Tammi Sauer

This book is absolutely fabulous. Despite starring an African-American girl as the main character, this story is NOT about her hair or civil rights. Instead, it’s about her passion for accessorizing and how she inspires her school to have a little more glam. Mother Goose Elementary School is filled with nursery rhyme characters, but the students and teachers are refreshingly diverse. A joyful read!

Ada Twist, Scientist” by Andrea Beatycover art for ada twist, scientist

Not only does this book feature an African American family, it also promotes girls in STEM fields! Like any good scientist, Ada is full of questions—and unafraid to make a mess. Her curious and methodical mind will delight readers and perhaps even inspire girls of color to pursue science.

For more picture books with diverse characters, check out this book list!