Learn and Play at Home: Animal iPad Apps

Posted on Thursday, June 25, 2020 by Jessica M

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”

The Case for Video Games

Posted on Thursday, May 28, 2020 by Tess

Tess playing ZeldaGrowing up, my family didn’t own gaming consoles. They were expensive, and, according to my parents, a waste of time. Thus, going into my teen years, I had a rather disdainful outlook toward the “gamers” of the world. I couldn’t understand the obsession with sitting in front of a TV for hours on end, mashing buttons. 

But then I met my (now) husband. He was funny, an accomplished musician, an A student, active in his scout troop and yet he still played video games. After a few years of dating, he finally convinced me to play The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword. To say I was skeptical was an understatement; really I was just doing this for him as a birthday gift. I figured, elementary school kids can do it, how hard can it be? Oh boy, was my snooty little patootie about to learn just how much I’d been misjudging gamers.  Continue reading “The Case for Video Games”

Virtual Activity Bundle: Food

Posted on Wednesday, May 20, 2020 by Megan

Virtual Activity Bundle: FoodFood can be an extremely fun topic for preschoolers. Food can be delicious (chicky nuggies), divisive (peas: a food…or a projectile?) or it can be the perfect accessory to any outfit (why yes, this is a new ketchup stain, thanks for noticing).

Use the resources below to explore everything from how we grow food to making your own dinner. You and your kiddo may want to grab a snack before chowing down on these activities!  Continue reading “Virtual Activity Bundle: Food”

Brianna’s Books: Excellent eBooks (Part 3)

Posted on Thursday, May 14, 2020 by Brianna

Here’s the next round of digital goodies that I’ve purchased recently!

Picture Books


The Button Book” written by Sally Nicholls, illustrated by Bethan Woollvin

I LOVE interactive books! In this book, the characters come across buttons that do different things. A button may cause them to clap, or sing, or bounce—actions that the readers and listeners can gleefully participate in. Not only does this book highlight fun actions, it also reinforces colors and shapes as each button is different.



Boxitects” written and illustrated by Kim Smith

Cardboard boxes are serious business. Meg is a boxitect, someone who creates astounding things out of cardboard boxes. When a new boxitect arrives at her school, she learns important lessons about teamwork. If you have any spare boxes laying around your house, this STEAM book will be a great inspiration for some creative time away from screens.


Tomorrow Most Likely” written by Dave Eggers, illustrated by Lane Smith

Here’s a bedtime book that focuses on tomorrow. A child and his mom imagine all the things they’ll see and do tomorrow, from ordinary things like admiring blue skies to outrageous things like riding whales and eating clouds. The multimedia illustrations are full of energy and humor, and the book celebrates living with anticipation and hope. Continue reading “Brianna’s Books: Excellent eBooks (Part 3)”

Middle Grade Fiction Featuring Mental Health

Posted on Thursday, May 7, 2020 by Kristy

Did you know that 1 in 5 people will experience mental illness during their lifetime? And everyone, kids included, faces challenges that can impact their mental health. May is Mental Health Month, and this is an important topic for kids to learn about and discuss. Maybe your child is dealing with mental health issues of their own or perhaps they know someone who struggles with mental illness. As with all important topics, books can do a great job of exploring these ideas in a way that is both compelling and helpful.

Below are some powerful middle grade books concerning mental health. All of these books are accessible in electronic format through OverDrive using your library card. I recommend these titles for kids in the 8-12 age range. (These books do cover complex and sometimes dark topics, so you may want to read them first or be on standby if your child has questions.)

After Zero book coverAfter Zero” by Christina Collins

Elise carries a notebook full of tallies, each page marking a day spent at her new public school, each stroke of her pencil marking a word spoken. A word that can’t be taken back. Five tally marks isn’t so bad. Two is pretty good. But zero? Zero is perfect. Zero means no wrong answers called out in class, no secrets accidentally spilled, no conversations to agonize over at night when sleep is far away.

Elise isn’t sure she could speak even if she wanted to—not to keep her only friend, Mel, from drifting further away or to ask if anyone else has seen her English teacher’s stuffed raven come to life. Suddenly, the discovery of a shocking family secret helps Elise realize that her silence might just be the key to unlocking everything she’s ever hoped for. This book takes you along Elise’s journey, covering subjects such as anxiety, depression and obsessive compulsive disorder. Continue reading “Middle Grade Fiction Featuring Mental Health”

Virtual Activity Bundle: Birds

Posted on Monday, May 4, 2020 by Kristy

Welcome to our very first virtual activity bundle! For many years, we’ve been creating book bundles for our patrons. Books bundles are a stack of our favorite books on different subjects, all lovingly bundled together and ready for you to grab and go. They’re a great way for parents and caregivers to quickly pick up quality books without looking through our huge collection of picture books.

While we still plan on making (and possibly even expanding) book bundles, the youth services team is extending this idea so that you have access to great materials from the comfort of your home. That’s where virtual activity bundles come in! In these bundles, we will compile a list of books, songs, videos, at-home activities and other resources that you can use to explore different subjects with your child. Each virtual activity bundle will be based around a theme and will be geared towards a certain age group.

Without further ado, let’s get started with our first virtual activity bundle!

Virtual Activity Bundle: Birds

Chirp! Cheep! Caw! These are some of the happy sounds you might hear outside your window from our favorite feathered friends—birds! Birds are such beautiful and interesting creatures; my little one can watch the birds eating from our bird feeder all day long. If you and your child want to explore the fascinating subject of birds, check out the resources and activity below. Continue reading “Virtual Activity Bundle: Birds”

Coronavirus Explained: eBooks for Kids

Posted on Thursday, April 30, 2020 by Kristy

Having trouble explaining to your kids just what exactly is going on these days? The current pandemic can be confusing and emotional for us adults, which makes discussing it with kids challenging at best. There’s a fine balance between telling children the facts and over-explaining the pandemic to the point of panic or confusion. To help parents out, there have been several picture books quickly created to discuss COVID-19 in a realistic way that is also hopeful and kid-friendly.

Here are two eBooks that I have found helpful when explaining COVID-19 to kids. (You’ll want to read these with your child to explain concepts and field questions.)

Coronavirus: A Book for Children” written by Elizabeth Jenner, Kate Wilson and Nia Roberts; illustrated by Axel Scheffler

This informative and accessible guide for young readers defines the coronavirus, explains why everyday routines have been disrupted and lays out how everyone can do their part to help. With child-appropriate answers and explanations, the book addresses key questions such as:

  • How do you catch the coronavirus, and what happens if you have it?
  • Why are people so worried about it?
  • Is there a cure?
  • Why do we have to stay home?
  • What can I do to help?
  • And what happens next?

Continue reading “Coronavirus Explained: eBooks for Kids”

2020 Missouri Book Champions!

Posted on Friday, April 24, 2020 by Kristy

Award collageThe librarians of Missouri believe that exposing students to quality literature impacts their future reading habits. The MASL (Missouri Association of School Librarians) Readers Awards encourage students in grades one through twelve to explore new literary genres, to recognize excellence in writing and illustrating and to experience the joy of literature.

DBRL has purchased digital versions of the MASL award winners so you can check out and read them from the comfort of your home. Enjoy!

And the 2020 award winners are…

Show Me Readers Award Winner


The Legend of Rock Paper ScissorsLegend of Rock Paper Scissors

If you could fit a big budget Hollywood action movie into a tiny and ridiculous picture book for children, this would be it. Rock feels no joy in squashing Apricot. Paper outwits Computer Printer with ease. Not even Dinosaur-shaped Chicken Nuggets can defeat Scissors! Will they ever find worthy adversaries? This is the origin story of the legendary game played across the world.

Mark Twain Award Winner


One for SorrowOne For Sorrow

Against the ominous backdrop of the influenza epidemic of 1918, Annie, a new girl at school, is claimed as best friend by Elsie, a classmate who is a tattletale, a liar, and a thief. Soon Annie makes other friends and finds herself joining them in teasing and tormenting Elsie. Elsie dies from influenza, but then she returns to reclaim Annie’s friendship and punish all the girls who bullied her. Young readers who revel in spooky stories will relish this chilling tale of a girl haunted by a vengeful ghost. Continue reading “2020 Missouri Book Champions!”

Brianna’s Books: Excellent eBooks (Part 2)

Posted on Wednesday, April 8, 2020 by Brianna

Here’s round 2 of some excellent eBooks (and audiobooks) I’ve been purchasing for you!

First of all, I wanted to make sure you can still access all your favorite series. We now have all ten of The Bad Guys books in eBook format, as well as all of the Baby-sitter’s Club graphic novels, including the newest Little Sisters book. I also picked up all of the Wings of Fire downloadable audiobooks. If you’re wanting something a bit more haunting, try Mary Downing Hahn’s eBooks and audiobooks.

New Chapter Books Online

Wayside School Beneath the Cloud of DoomWayside School Beneath the Cloud of Doom” written by Louis Sachar, illustrated by Tim Heitz

Guess when the last Wayside School book came out? 1995! 25 years later and we have the next book in this delightful series. While I haven’t read this newest one yet, what I loved about the first books is the perfect combination of comedy and kindness in each chapter. Definitely check out this new book, but if you want to go back and read the others first, we have all of those in eBook format as well.


Narwhal on a Sunny NightNarwhal On a Sunny Night” written by Mary Pope Osborne, illustrated by AG Ford

Here’s another new book to try! This is the latest in the Magic Tree House series, in which Jack and Annie get to meet Lief Erikson—and narwhals of course. We have this one in eBook and downloadable audiobook. Once you’ve finished it, bring in a little nonfiction fun with the companion book “Narwhals and Other Whales.”



Tristan Strong Punches a Hole in the SkyTristan Strong Punches a Hole in the Sky” written by Kwame Mbalia

Fans of Percy Jackson should definitely check out this Rick Riordan Presents book. Mbalia crafts an adventure with African-American folklore, West African mythology, and a relatably imperfect hero. When Tristan accidentally punches a hole into another world, he must team up with John Henry and other heroes to save that world.


Continue reading “Brianna’s Books: Excellent eBooks (Part 2)”

Brianna’s Books: Excellent eBooks (Part 1)

Posted on Monday, April 6, 2020 by Brianna

My own personal pile of library books is starting to dwindle at this point. If your family is in the same boat, why not check out some of our materials on OverDrive/Libby? The great thing about these eBooks and audiobooks is that I can purchase them and they show up in our catalog later that same day. With no shipping times, it makes it easy for me to keep up with your holds, so hopefully you won’t have to wait too long for anything!

Below are some electronic picture books that I’ve recently purchased for your viewing pleasure. Enjoy!

Dragons Love TacosDragons Love Tacos” written by Adam Rubin, illustrated by Daniel Salmieri

Dragons and tacos. Enough said. If you haven’t read this delightful picture book yet, definitely check out this eBook. This particular one is actually an audiobook as well, so if your kiddo loves this story as much as I expect, they can just keep listening on repeat. Of course we have the sequel too!



Grumpy Monkey” written by Suzanne Lang, illustrated by Max Lang

Grumpy days are inevitable, especially with all the changes little ones are experiencing recently. Not only is this a fun read-aloud, it also teaches an important lesson about giving others space to work through their feelings.



Sulwe” written by Lupita Nyong’o, illustrated by Vashti Harrison

Actress Lupita Nyong’o has written this beautiful story about colorism and self-love. Sulwe is the darkest person in her family and struggles to come to terms with that. She tries various ways to lighten her skin, to no avail. When a shooting star comes through her window and relates a fable of the two sisters Night and Day, Sulwe realizes that dark is beautiful.

Stay tuned for Part 2 of this blog coming on Wednesday, April 8, where I’ll write about some awesome eBooks for older kids that I’ve purchased. See you then!