Prideful Picture Books

Posted on Wednesday, June 12, 2024 by Grace

June is Pride Month, which is celebrated by honoring the LGBT+ community and their experiences. If you’re unfamiliar with the acronym, LGBT+ stands for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and everyone else in the queer community (the “+!). Anyone can be a member of the LGBT+ community, regardless of their background, ethnicity, religion or age. The reason these identities are grouped together in the LGBT+ acronym is that many of these people share similar experiences — in many places, it is dangerous to be openly gay or trans because of the backlash that one can receive. This is why the concept of Pride is so crucial to queer culture; the right to be openly proud of yourself, to openly be yourself, is not guaranteed to every person. Through sharing stories about the joy and challenges of the queer experience, authors seek to encourage seeing queer people as people first and foremost. There are about as many different kinds of people in this world as there are people in it. As parents and caregivers, familiarizing kiddos with experiences different from their own allows for a greater sense of empathy to develop. Continue reading “Prideful Picture Books”

Upcycling Crayons!

Posted on Monday, June 10, 2024 by Katie

As you can imagine, the library goes through a great number of crayons. Recently we gathered all the broken ones and brainstormed our options. One brave soul (myself) volunteered to use silicone molds to melt them into “new” crayons to be used again. 

Read on to vicariously refresh these crayons with me!

DIY Crayons

Continue reading “Upcycling Crayons!”

Brianna’s Books: June Favorites 2024

Posted on Monday, June 3, 2024 by Brianna

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It’s summer (almost)! If you’re wanting to stay inside and read lots of books to avoid the heat and cicadas, I’ve got you covered. I’d rather be covered in piles of books to be read than covered in cicadas.

Picture Books

Not-a-Box City coverNot-a-Box City” by Antoinette Portis

This is a sequel of sorts to Portis’ “Not a Box,” but you can absolutely read this one first. The protagonist bunny is excited to build a city out of a plethora of cardboard boxes. When other animals offer to help, the bunny reluctantly agrees while emphasizing, “But this is my city.” When some helpers don’t consult the bunny first, it leads to hurt feelings that are soon repaired. Bunny even learns to appreciate sharing their joint creation. Though it’s not explicitly stated, this would be an excellent book to start conversations with big siblings who are learning how to let others be involved. The simple illustrations and text are charming, and could easily inspire more cardboard box play! Continue reading “Brianna’s Books: June Favorites 2024”

Have You Heard the Buzz? It’s World Bee Day!

Posted on Monday, May 20, 2024 by Whit

By this point in the year, I’m sure you’ve seen a bee or two buzzing along from one flower to the next, gathering their food of nectar and pollen to take back to their beehive. Fun Bee Fact: There are over 450 species of bees in Missouri. Worldwide, there are 20,000! That’s a lot of bees!

Out of 450 bees local to Missouri, can you guess which bee is not native?

Image of bee on a flower If your guess is the honeybee, you would be correct!  Honeybees were brought to the United States during the 1600s from Europe and are now commonly found in Missouri.

Other bees local to Missouri include Bumblebees, carpenter bees, and leafcutter bees. Each species of bee has a different role, but they all play a big role in our environment.  Take a look at this guide by the Dept of Conservation and the St Louis Zoo to learn about the variety of bees we have.  

So what is it with all this bee buzzzzzz today? Continue reading “Have You Heard the Buzz? It’s World Bee Day!”

Picture Books for Graduation and Other Milestones

Posted on Wednesday, May 8, 2024 by Laura

As the school year winds down, the air is full of possibility. May brings bittersweet endings and exciting new beginnings. And if you have a graduate in your life, whether kindergarten, college or anywhere in between, a few things are certain:

  1. The graduation cap will most definitely fall off their head. (Does anyone actually know the proper way toThe cover of the book Oh, the Places You'll Go! features a child in a yellow suit and cap standing on top of colorful, concentric circles. wear one? Asking for a friend.)
  2. Pomp and Circumstance” will be stuck in your head for the next week.
  3. The graduate will receive a copy (or two or three) of Dr. Seuss’ “Oh, the Places You’ll Go!

Since its publication in 1990, Oh, the Places You’ll Go! has remained one of the most popular graduation gifts, evidenced by the fact that it shoots to the top of the children’s bestseller list each spring. As this clever Washington Post article observes, it’s the perfect (if cliché) choice for all ages: kids can’t resist Dr. Seuss’ whimsical rhymes, while older graduates appreciate the encouraging message and the nod to their own childhood nostalgia. It’s no wonder that nearly three generations have unwrapped a copy for each of their major life milestones.

As I approach my own master’s degree commencement, I’ve been reflecting on what these educational milestones have meant to me over the years. For me, these are times not just to revel in my own accomplishments but to remember all the love and encouragement that brought me here. I remember my parents staying up late with me as I struggled through school projects, first by my side at the dinner table and now from miles away over the phone. I remember my grandparents, aunts, uncles and other family members who met me at the finish line with parties, flowers and cards. And I remember classmates, friends and now my husband who have commiserated with me through it all. Continue reading “Picture Books for Graduation and Other Milestones”

Helping Kids With Dyslexia: Resources, Tips and Tricks

Posted on Monday, April 29, 2024 by Laura W

It can be so incredibly overwhelming when you learn your child might have dyslexia. So many questions could pop up all at once. Will they ever learn how to read? What can I do to help? Are there any resources to help me? Luckily, we have answers to many of those possibly scary questions. You aren’t alone in trying to figure this out. Dyslexia is not a sign that a person will never read. It just means they may need a little extra support as they learn how to work with their brain. Remember, as with most things, stay informed and you’ll soon see just how capable your kid really is. Keep reading for an overview of some of the current best research-based practices and how the library can help. Continue reading “Helping Kids With Dyslexia: Resources, Tips and Tricks”

April Showers Make the Best Wildflowers

Posted on Thursday, April 11, 2024 by Billy

March 19 marked the first day of spring, and with it, the turn of a season. While warmer weather and longer daylight hours are much appreciated features of the new season, my favorite aspect is the emergence of spring wildflowers. After a long winter, seeing the pops of color makes me feel like Earth is waking up, sparking inspiration and excitement. 

In this post, I’ve compiled a small collection of my favorite native wildflowers that can be found in April, a little information about why they’re so cool, and some insight into where you might find them. You can treat this blog post as a scavenger hunt, with the objective of learning a little bit more about Missouri’s natural heritage. 

While out on your hunt, I highly recommend this resource from the Missouri Department of Conservation, which is a helpful guide that covers spring wildflowers. If you find any plants you’d like to identify that aren’t on this list, you’ll likely find the answers in that guide.

Wildflowers to Look Out for:


First on the list is an interesting-looking plant, the toadshade (scientific name, Trillium sessile).

Unlike many plants, which produce bright, sweet-smelling flowers to attract pollinators, this plant takes a different approach. Toadshade is pollinated by bugs that typically prefer dead or rotting things, like flies and beetles, and therefore, has a rather fetid smell. 

If you can get past the smell, seeing this plant growing on the forest floor can be exciting. The leaves are arranged in the shape of a palm, satisfyingly symmetrical, and the single flower is long and dark. As the name implies, it looks like an umbrella made perfectly for a toad to relax under. 

Toadshade flower

Continue reading “April Showers Make the Best Wildflowers”

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”