Honoring International Transgender Day of Visibility

Posted on Thursday, March 31, 2022 by Julia Deters

March 31 is the International Transgender Day of Visibility. This day was created to celebrate transgender people and raise awareness of the discrimination they face still today. One of the best ways to better understand someone’s experience (and often our own) is through reading. Here’s a list of books that feature transgender characters or explore gender identity. Below are a handful of my personal favorites. 

Being You” works wonderfully as a first-introduction-to-gender book for young ones.

"Being You" book cover

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First Chapter Books

Posted on Thursday, March 17, 2022 by Katie

Jumping from the lower shelves of picture books to the taller shelves of chapter books can be a big step, not only for the young reader making the journey, but their family as well. Often, parents and caregivers ask for book recommendations for children who are reading on their own but are not ready for longer chapter books. These kiddos are confidently reading books in the “Beginning to Read” section, such as Frog and Toad and are ready for a longer story. Luckily the library has a great stock of chapter books for young readers first exploring these longer titles. Continue reading “First Chapter Books”

Math Fun for Pi Day

Posted on Monday, March 14, 2022 by Laura

It’s March 14th, and today’s date happens to share some numbers with a very important mathematical constant: pi!

Pi expresses the ratio of a circle’s circumference to its diameter. Simply put, the distance around a circle is just a little more than three times the distance across a circle (3.14, to be more exact). Pi is an irrational number, which means its decimals go on and on forever with absolutely no end in sight! Each year, students and fun-loving scientists celebrate March 14, or Pi Day, with all kinds of fun math activities. And what better day than today to indulge in a delicious slice of pie and calculate its area while you’re at it?

A large pi symbol surrounded by colorful numbers on a plain white background.
Photo via Vecteezy.

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What’s That Smell?

Posted on Thursday, March 10, 2022 by Adam

A few months ago, due to catching COVID-19, I lost my sense of smell for the first time in my life. It was quite a shock to wake up one morning and be unable to recognize strong scents like garlic, vinegar and bleach. Thankfully my sense of smell has returned, and I have been grateful to once again recognize the wonderful aromas of coffee, food, flowers and countless other things (even if it was kind of nice to avoid smelling some not-so-wonderful scents for several weeks). In honor of our miraculous noses, and the over one trillion odors that the human nose can detect, I have highlighted a handful of children’s books — fiction and nonfiction — that focus on all aspects of smell.

For a couple of primers on how our sense of smell works, “What is Smell?” by Molly Aloian, and “Smelling,” by Martha E.H. Rustad, are both great photo illustrated books that will give young readers a thorough rundown of the science behind scent.

For more on the science of smells, Kay Edward’s “Stinky Science” examines “why the smelliest smells smell so smelly” in a very funny way, with chapter titles like “How You Smelt What You Got Dealt” and “The Structure of Stinks.” And in “How to Make a Mystery Smell Balloon,” by Lori Shores, you’ll learn, through easy step-by-step instructions, how to create a fun science project that will have your friends crinkling their noses and asking, “What’s that smell?!” Continue reading “What’s That Smell?”

Celebrating Youth Art Month with Ekphrasis

Posted on Monday, March 7, 2022 by Grae

2022 Youth Art Month winning flag design for Missouri by 6th grader Lula George. The design features a blue background over which two pieces of chain are linked together. Text of the 2022 theme “Art Connects Us” runs through the chain links. Inside the negative space on the left side of the flag is a white flower with yellow center, a representation of the state flower, the hawthorn. Inside the negative space on the right side of the flag is a drawing of a bird, a representation of the state bird, the eastern bluebird. At the top-center of the flag, text reads “youth art month,” while at the bottom-center text reads “Missouri.”
The 2022 winning flag design for the state of Missouri, created by 6th grader Lula George. Image courtesy of the Missouri Art Education Association.

Welcome to Youth Art Month! Every March in the U.S., countless educational institutions, museums, nonprofit organizations, state legislatures and libraries celebrate Youth Art Month, or the delightful acronym YAM. Founded in 1961 as Children’s Art Month by the Art & Creative Materials Institute (ACMI), YAM champions the visual arts and encourages the participation in and the development of arts education across the nation’s youth population from kindergarten to 12th grade. At the national level, YAM is run by the Council For Arts Education (CFAE), which coordinates a yearly theme and flag-design competition across all 50 states. Each state submits a student-designed flag interpreting the yearly theme, which is then showcased at the YAM Museum at the National Art Education Association Convention. The theme for 2021-2022 is “Art Connects Us,” and this year’s convention ran last week from March 3-5. Continue reading “Celebrating Youth Art Month with Ekphrasis”

Brianna’s Books: Early 2022 Favorites

Posted on Wednesday, March 2, 2022 by Brianna

Brianna's Books Banner

I’m baaaack! I missed writing for you all! I’ve recently returned from maternity leave, so I’ve got so many fun books from January and February to share with you. I promise that next month we’ll be back to our regular brand new releases, but in the meantime please enjoy these titles from the beginning of the year. Read to the end for a picture of my sweet little bibliophile!

Picture Books

Mina” by Matthew Forsythe

This cover might look familiar for those of you that enjoyed “Pokko and the Drum.” Forsythe is back with another beautifully illustrated forest tale, this time starring a mouse. Mina is a quiet mouse, content in her cozy house with her books, but her enthusiastic and optimistic father is always bringing home surprises. When he brings home an enormous “squirrel” that looks an awful lot like a cat, Mina starts to worry. This book is filled with delicious tension as the two mice try to live in their small home with their very large pet “squirrel,” all while Mina attempts to convince her father of the danger. The author said he got the idea for this story at the start of the pandemic, when he was thinking about who we allow into our bubbles. This could be a great conversation starter for little ones who can handle some suspense! Continue reading “Brianna’s Books: Early 2022 Favorites”

Brighter Beginnings: Pregnancy, Birth and Aftercare Needs

Posted on Monday, February 28, 2022 by Amy

Brighter Beginnings

Connecting parents and families to support for healthy pregnancies, healthy births and bright beginnings in life for all Boone County kids.

Today, I’m going to highlight one of our fantastic community resources: Brighter Beginnings. This service is a collaborative of home visiting, social service and healthcare providers that seek to expand and simplify access to support for pregnant families in Boone County. Based on responses to a brief referral questionnaire, you will be connected to a program that you are eligible for, tailored to your needs and goals. This means quicker connections, and no more “shopping around” for help when you need it most. Continue reading “Brighter Beginnings: Pregnancy, Birth and Aftercare Needs”

Sharing Stories With Pets

Posted on Thursday, February 24, 2022 by Katie

A wonderful way for a child to practice their reading skills is to read to the family pet. This is true if the pet is a cat, dog, turtle, fish, hamster, rock or another critter. It’s especially true when said pet will sit quietly for the story (and at least pretend to pay attention).

Often when we read to other people, there is pressure to not stumble over new words, to speak loudly and clearly and to read to the end of the book. When a child is reading to an adult, or even an older sibling, it can be hard for the audience to just listen and not interrupt with corrections. This can cause the reader to lose their place or feel embarrassed. If there are multiple corrections, the reader may become anxious about making more mistakes, and this anxiety can actually lead to more mistakes, causing the reader to lose confidence. Continue reading “Sharing Stories With Pets”

DIY Kaleidoscope

Posted on Monday, February 21, 2022 by Anna

Create your own kaleidoscope at home! This STEM activity fosters creativity and encourages kids to learn about and play with light, reflections and symmetry.

How does it work?

When you look into a puddle after it rains and see a cloud or you’re brushing your teeth and can see yourself in the mirror, you’re experiencing a reflection. A reflection is light bouncing off a surface. 

If you stand right above the puddle, you’ll see yourself. But, if you stand a foot away, you might see a cloud or building or a friend. This is because of the Law of Reflection Continue reading “DIY Kaleidoscope”

Folklore and Fairy Tales From the Black Diaspora

Posted on Friday, February 18, 2022 by Grae

Each February in the U.S. we celebrate Black History Month, honoring and reflecting on the powerful and resilient histories and cultural legacies of Black Americans and their diaspora. This month-long tradition began with the founding of the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History by Carter G. Woodson in 1915 and continues on due to the many scholars and activists who comprise the Association for the Study of African American Life and History, or ASALH for short. Each year since 1928, ASALH has curated a particular theme in order to highlight the variety of experiences that constitute and affect the lives of Black folks in the United States and in our larger global society. This year’s theme, Black Health and Wellness, “acknowledges the legacy of not only Black scholars and medical practitioners in Western medicine, but also other ways of knowing (e.g., birthworkers, doulas, midwives, naturopaths, herbalists, etc.) throughout the African Diaspora.”

While both ASALH and the library are hosting a variety of virtual events you can attend, it is equally as important to be reading, listening to and learning from and about Black authors, artists, historians, activists, scholars and creators every month, week and day of the year. Other staff members have curated excellent lists highlighting picture books on Black historical figures and events, as well as texts on antiracism and Black experiences for young adults, but I want to focus on the rich storytelling traditions and folklore of Black Americans and their diaspora. Consider adding such delights as “The Talking Eggs,” “Mirandy and Brother Wind,” “Beautiful Blackbird” and more to your story-time routine. 

You can find the full list of titles here, but read on below for descriptions of some of my favorite tales! 

Cover of The Talking Eggs featuring a watercolor illustration of a young Black girl holding hands with an older Black woman walking through the woods. The child is carrying a basket of white eggs and the old woman uses a thin walking stick..

The Talking Eggs” by Robert D. San Souci and pictures by Jerry Pinkney 

Continue reading “Folklore and Fairy Tales From the Black Diaspora”