Exquisite Entomology

Posted on Monday, March 27, 2023 by Beth

In Lewis Carroll’s “Through a Looking Glass,” a gnat asks a little girl named Alice, “What sort of insects do you rejoice in where you come from?” “I don’t REJOICE in insects at all,” Alice explained, “because I’m rather afraid of them — at least the large kinds.”

For the most part, like Alice, we do not “rejoice” in insects in the United States, much to the dismay of entomologists like Dr. Dino Martins, author of “You Can Be An Entomologist!” In this colorful overview, Dr. Martins speaks directly to kids, explaining why entomologists study bugs and how bugs are helpful.

"You Can Be An Entomologist!" by Dr. Martins

Dr. Martins says that all we need to be an “insect watcher” is curiosity and patience. But what if the thought of watching bugs is scary?

Ruby and the Itsy-Bitsy Icky Bug” is an excellent book to read to warm up bug-reluctant readers. One day while stuck in time out, Ruby discovers a bug on her window. When the bug won’t fly away, and they are forced to spend more time together, Ruby slowly discovers that the bug maybe isn’t so icky after all. Continue reading “Exquisite Entomology”

Happy Chips & Dip Day!

Posted on Thursday, March 23, 2023 by Robyn

Today is Chips & Dip Day! What are your favorite chip and dip combos? I can’t turn down a bowl of guacamole and tortilla chips or garlicky hummus and pretzels. The other day a friend of mine mentioned gooey, baked brie cheese served with jam on crackers and my mouth is still watering. And what about sweeter variations like Nutella and graham crackers or peanut butter and apples?

So, you may be thinking I’m stretching the boundaries of what are often considered chips and dips. But why not? After all, according to some sources, the potato chip was invented (or at least popularized) by an irritated chef playing a trick on a demanding customer. So, in that spirit of play, I offer you some dip recipes to try. Of course, you can always make or buy your family’s favorite dip! Get your family members involved and celebrate Chips & Dip Day together! 

Image source: “Cool Game Day Parties”

Continue reading “Happy Chips & Dip Day!”

Graphic Novels We Love: Horse Trouble

Posted on Monday, March 20, 2023 by Megan

Horse Trouble bookcover

Hello. My name is Megan, and I am a late bloomer. I only recently realized that I’m a horse girl. Some people were born horse girls and they grow up dreaming of riding horses, but not me. I’m more of a horsewoman who has no desire to ride horses but loves to look at horses, read about horses and watch movies or shows about, you guessed it, horses.

Tina Belcher from Bob's Burgers riding a horse.

Whether you are a born horse girl or came to it later in life, you should read “Horse Trouble” written and illustrated by Kristin Varner, but don’t worry, being a horse girl is not a requirement for reading this book, you just need to love a good story. “Horse Trouble” is the story of Kate, who is a 12-year-old girl who loves horses and is fat (self-described). Kate struggles with a lot of things you’d expect in a coming-of-age horse girl book — her family doesn’t have enough money for her to have a horse, so she works in the stables to pay for riding lessons. Like most teens/tweens, Kate also has some ups and downs with her mom and has some body image issues. The relatable and well-told story combined with the adorable illustrations makes this graphic novel a sweet read. Pick this up if you loved “Roller Girl” by Victoria Jamieson, “Nat Enough” by Maria Scrivan or the movie “Turning Red.”

Dreamy Bedtime Books

Posted on Monday, March 13, 2023 by Laura

Daylight saving time is upon us, and brighter evening skies can certainly boost our moods and signal warmer days ahead. But if you’re a parent or caregiver, daylight saving time can also make bedtime MUCH more challenging! Any changes in sleep routine can be super disruptive for kids, and “springing forward” can result in grumpiness and sleep deprivation that lingers for days.

Pediatricians and sleep experts stress that creating and sticking to a nightly routine is crucial as the days stretch longer. For many families, this routine is capped off with a bedtime story. On those bleak nights when sleep seems so far away, a blissful bedtime read may just be the perfect remedy for rambunctious little ones and stressed-out caregivers alike. For this list, I went in search of books with gentle rhymes, dreamy illustrations and sweet sentiments for saying “good night.” Continue reading “Dreamy Bedtime Books”

Brianna’s Books: March Favorites 2023

Posted on Thursday, March 9, 2023 by Brianna

Brianna's Books Banner

I’ve got some treats for you this month! Tasty picture books, a new fantasy series opener and a historical fiction for horse lovers. I can’t think of a better way to finish out the last few days of winter than spending time with some new books.

Picture Books

Ramen for Everyone coverRamen for Everyone” written by Patricia Tanumihardja and illustrated by Shiho Pate

Do illustrations of food tickle your tastebuds? They sure do for me! This book is full of delicious pictures of ramen that had me searching for the nearest ramen restaurant. Hiro is a little boy who loves ramen, especially when his dad makes it every Sunday. His dad follows a recipe passed down from his father, and Hiro carefully observes and takes notes every time. When he turns seven, Hiro decides it’s time to make his own perfect bowl of ramen! But things are a lot more difficult than anticipated, and it takes some encouragement from Dad to prevent Hiro from giving up. The illustrations are reminiscent of manga, and the text is filled with action words that capture the excitement and joy in the kitchen. The lesson about perseverance and being okay with something that’s less than perfect would be a great conversation topic as you enjoy a bowl of ramen with your kiddo! (Full disclosure: as of the writing of this blog, I have not actually ever eaten real ramen. I hope that by the time you’re reading this, I will have remedied that.) Continue reading “Brianna’s Books: March Favorites 2023”

Worm Moon

Posted on Monday, March 6, 2023 by Grae

Each month, or more precisely every 29.5 days, here on earth we are treated to the most extraordinary of ordinary sights, a constant and recurrent phenomenon that occurs no matter the weather or season; no matter where we are located or who we are with; no matter, indeed, whether or not we can actually see or perceive this sky-high dazzling with our eyes or an enhanced lens. Can you guess what I’m referencing? Perhaps a small poem by contemporary children’s book author Amy Sklansky would help:





for the world.

Continue reading “Worm Moon”

Celebrate World Poetry Day

Posted on Thursday, March 2, 2023 by Adam

World Poetry Day, which takes place every year on March 21, was founded in 1999 by UNESCO (The United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization) to celebrate, in their words, “one of humanity’s most treasured forms of cultural and linguistic expression and identity.” It was intended as a day to honor poets and to bring greater public awareness to all the different types of poetry. To celebrate this upcoming day, I wanted to highlight the various types of poetry books that we have available to grade school readers, especially those who may just be getting interested in or exposed to poems as a creative expression. Continue reading “Celebrate World Poetry Day”

It’s Always a Good Time to Celebrate Black History

Posted on Thursday, February 23, 2023 by Beth

Books are often the first exposure children have to the broader world outside of their homes. I have spent much of the past few weeks thinking about these early reading experiences, especially as it relates to Black History Month, and I focused on two questions:

  • How important are these early book choices, whether we are making them with our children or for our children?
  • When should parents and caregivers start intentionally choosing books for children that directly address topics like race and racism? Especially white parents and caregivers, like me?
Author Amina Luqman Dawson’s first novel Free Water, a middle-grade book about a secret community of formerly enslaved people living in the wilderness, received both the 2023 John Newbery Medal and the Coretta Scott King Book Award from the American Library Association. She is the first African American author to win both awards.

I turned, as I often do in these crucial parenting moments, to the experts for some support. Luckily, I only had to turn as far as the list of people and places I follow on Instagram. One of my favorite follows — and one of the country’s leading voices on the importance of Black history for early education — started her career right here in Columbia. Dawnavyn James is a Stephens College graduate and former kindergarten teacher at Parkade Elementary, where she gained national recognition for her TikTok videos and Black History Club toolkit. Continue reading “It’s Always a Good Time to Celebrate Black History”

Books We Love: I Am Not a Label

Posted on Monday, February 20, 2023 by Megan

“I Am Not a Label: 34 Disabled Artists, Thinkers, Athletes and Activists from Past and Present” by Cerrie Burnell and illustrated by Lauren BaldoI love books! Which is great since I work in a library, but I specifically really love nonfiction books. Fiction books are a great way to escape or get lost in a story, but I have to say nonfiction books are some of my favorites. I love learning new things about the world around me and I love learning about real people just living their lives. When I picked up “I Am Not a Label” it was love at first sight. “I Am Not a Label: 34 Disabled Artists, Thinkers, Athletes and Activists from Past and Present” by Cerrie Burnell and illustrated by Lauren Baldo is a beautifully illustrated book about people from all over the world with disabilities. Continue reading “Books We Love: I Am Not a Label”

Melted Snowperson Art

Posted on Thursday, February 16, 2023 by Katie

I love winter, especially snow. This is probably one of the reasons I love sharing winter-themed activities. I’ve also discovered a new appreciation for crafts that can be adapted in multiple ways.

These melted snowpeople can be created with or without paint, allowing children to practice fine motor skills while creating art. 

Continue reading “Melted Snowperson Art”