Learning About Endangered Species

Posted on Thursday, August 15, 2019 by Molly

TigerIn 1973, the United States passed the Endangered Species Act “to provide a framework to conserve and protect endangered and threatened species and their habitats.” According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), an endangered species “is one that meets any one of the following criteria: a 50–70 percent population decrease over 10 years, a total geographic area less than 5,000 km2 (or local population area less than 500 km2), a population size less than 2,500 adults, a restricted population of 250 adults or a statistical prediction that it will go extinct within the next 20 years.”

Why should human beings be concerned about vanishing species?

First, individual species do not live in vacuums, but rather as part of unique communities known as ecosystems. As such, the struggles of one species can profoundly impact the rest. Further, like dominoes, ecosystems impact one other. Ultimately, we are all affected. According to the Endangered Species Coalition, “Humans depend on healthy ecosystems to purify our environment. Without healthy forests, grasslands, rivers, oceans and other ecosystems, we will not have clean air, water or land. If we allow our environment to become contaminated, we risk our own health.”

In her book, “Don’t Let Them Disappear: 12 Endangered Species Across the Globe,” author Chelsea Clinton profiles 12 of today’s endangered species. This title, beautifully illustrated by Gianna Marino, is an informative read that includes a “What can you do?” section for those looking for ways to help endangered and threatened species.

DBRL carries a wide variety of books on this subject. Here are just a few!

Moon Landing Fun!

Posted on Thursday, August 8, 2019 by Brianna

Summer Reading is over, but that’s no reason to leave behind all the fun you can have with an outer space theme! Just last month was the 50th anniversary of the first moon landing, so why not celebrate with these moon landing activities?

child holds up finished rocket art

Blast Off Collage

Try making this blast off collage with your little ones. You’ll need the following supplies:

  • Rocket on any color paper (You can use the template on page 4 of this file)
  • Black paper
  • Tissue paper (various night sky and fire colors)
  • Glue sticks
  • Star stickers (optional)
  • Markers or crayons

After coloring and cutting out the rocket from the template, set it aside and prepare your night sky background. Tear up bits of tissue paper (that’s the extra fun part!) and glue them on the black paper to give texture to the sky. Try using blues and purples for the sky, and save orange and red for the rocket. If you have star stickers, add them to the sky as well! Then glue the rocket onto the black paper, and add some flame colored tissue paper to the bottom of the rocket. We have liftoff!

Moon Sand

Now that you have a rocket, it’s time to create a moon surface to land on. Little astronauts will delight in playing with this extremely soft moon sand! You’ll need the following:

  • 4 cups flour
  • ½ cup baby oil
  • Large bowl
  • Spoon (optional)
  • Large bin or tray
  • Toy cars or people (optional)

Using your hands or a spoon, mix the flour and baby oil together in a bowl to make moon sand. Double the recipe if you want more sand to enjoy. Spread out the moon sand in a large bin, and invite the kids to play! (For easy cleanup, set up this activity on a tarp or old sheet.) Toss in some toy people or cars, and your little ones can reenact the moon landing or start the first lunar colonization attempt. Let them lead the play, and see where their imaginations take you!

LGBT+ Picture Books for Kids (That Adults Also Enjoy)

Posted on Monday, August 5, 2019 by Jessica M

Selective Focus Photography of Scrabble Pride on White and Multicolored BackgroundOne of my favorite events is coming up in Columbia! On Saturday, August 24, MidMO PrideFest will be kicking up a glitter storm down at the Rose Music Hall.

While June is traditionally set aside as Pride Month to honor the Stonewall Riots, residents of Mid-Missouri are lucky enough to celebrate Pride twice. This family-friendly event celebrates the LGBT+ community and their allies. The event includes fun vendors, information booths and live performances.

BONUS: The DBRL Bookmobile, Jr. crew will be at MidMO Pridefest from 1 to 6 p.m. on Saturday, August 24. That’s right—if your family is headed to MidMO Pridefest this year, you’ll see the library there! Feel free to join us and bring your library cards to check out fun materials or learn about library resources. We can also MAKE library cards if you need one!

A special way that I like to celebrate Pride is with my favorite LGBT+ children’s books. Recently, I consulted with some of my fellow library associates to get a diverse range of books covering topics like gender, sexuality, different types of family, found family and identity. I compiled these books into a new list, LGBT+ Picture Books for Kids (That Adults Also Enjoy).

I have included some of my favorite examples below!

"Pride Colors" book

Pride Colors” by Robin Stevenson is a cute board book made for the early Pride crowd. It focuses on the rainbow flag associated with Pride. The pictures are bright and colorful and will keep any baby’s attention.

"It Feels Good to be Yourself" book

It Feels Good to Be Yourself” by Theresa Thorn is an introductory book to gender identities. It talks about students learning about each other’s gender identities and accepting people’s desired pronouns.

When Aidan Became a Brother” by Kyle Lukoff is one of my favorites. Aidan’s family mistook him for a girl when he was younger. But they have grown as a family, accepted his preferences, and are preparing to have a second baby. Aidan is a "When Aidan Became a Brother" booklittle apprehensive about this experience, wanting to protect his new sibling from the experience he had growing up in a gendered environment. Aidan wants to be the best older brother he can be!

"Introducing Teddy" book

Introducing Teddy” by Jess Walton stars Thomas the Teddy. Thomas has a secret that they need to tell their human, Errol. It’s very difficult for Teddy, and they worry that Errol won’t want to be friends anymore. The teddy reintroduces herself as Tilly, a girl bear. Errol, the human boy, values their friendship more than anything and wants Tilly to just be happy. Nothing changes between them, they’re the same people, and Tilly is just happier being herself.

From our library family to yours, happy Pride!

Kids Books for Vacations (and Staycations!)

Posted on Thursday, August 1, 2019 by Lyndsey

This summer has flown by! How is it already August? But have no fear, there’s still some time before the kids head back to school. If you’re planning a family vacation or staycation to wrap up your summer, then check out these books to prepare your kids and build excitement for the upcoming adventure!

Hattie and HudsonChu's Day at the Beach Book Cover” by Chris Van Dusen

Hattie enjoys a day at the lake and makes an unexpected friend. Next time you’re at the lake, you might just wonder what magic lay beneath the surface. 

Chu’s Day at the Beach” by Neil Gaiman and Adam Rex

Follow Chu and his family on their trip to the beach! All goes awry when Chu has a big sneeze and breaks the sea. Will he and the other beachgoers be able to fix it? 

Fergus Barnaby Book CoverFergus Barnaby Goes on VacationAmazing Staycation Book Cover” by David Barrow

Packing is my least favorite part of vacation. I always forget something. Fergus also has a hard time and must run around his apartment building gathering the items he needs for his trip. 

Harry and Clare’s Amazing Staycation” by Ted Staunton

Arthur's Family Vacation Book CoverStaying home can sometimes take you the farthest distance. Harry and Clare use their imaginations to travel to Mars and fight pirates, all while navigating sibling dynamics. 

Arthur’s Family Vacation” by Marc Brown

Sometimes things don’t go as planned, and that’s ok! See how Arthur learns to make the best of a bad situation. 

You can check out these and the following titles about vacation at your local DBRL branch:

Enjoy the rest of your summer!

Painting Without Brushes

Posted on Thursday, July 25, 2019 by Tess

Child finger paintingWe all know the truth in the old adage, “It’s not about the destination, it’s about the journey.” The great triumph isn’t in arriving at the park with your child; it is in smelling the flowers in the neighbor’s garden, seeing a bluebird’s nest and hearing the wind rustling in the trees. The same principle applies whenever we make art with children. This is called process art! The Museum of Contemporary Art says that “in process art, the means count for more than the ends.” Children learn more through play and experimentation than coloring inside the lines and making cookie-cutter crafts. Below are some fun ideas you can try at home to begin incorporating process art into your child’s play time!


Squeeze two paint colors inside of a ziplock bag, gently roll out the extra air, and seal it tight. Duct Tape the top, and then let your little one explore the bag. Your infant will enjoy watching the colors combine as they squish the bag with their hands and feet. (Realistically, they’ll also explore them with their little mouths, so keep a close eye on them!) 

Older Infants:

When your little one begins to cruise and walk, take the ziplock painting and tape it to a low window! They’ll use their legs and core to hold themselves up as they combine colors with the light pouring in behind the ziplock bag. 


There’s lots of nontoxic and washable paint on the market, but one of my favorite art activities with toddlers is yogurt painting! Lay out a tarp outside in the shade, put a variety of flavors in small cups, and let your little artists have fun! They’ll explore color, texture and scents. (And let’s be honest, they’ll take a taste too.)


Let your preschooler create with a tried and true classic—bathtub paint. They can spread it on their feet, hands, the bathtub, rubber ducky and the walls, and then scrub it all off at the end of bathtime. This is a great incentive to get reluctant bathers in the tub, and the cleanup is so easy! 

Want to extend the fun? Come join us at our upcoming program “Painting Without Brushes” at the Columbia Public Library where toddlers and preschoolers will be using an assortment of non-traditional mediums to create open ended art. To register, please call 573-817-7160.

Painting Without Brushes

Back to School Countdown!

Posted on Monday, July 22, 2019 by Amy

New shoes? Check! Fresh pack of crayons? Check! Books to help your future preschooler or kindergartener transition into school…? Fear not! Your local library has you covered. We have done the work for you and compiled a list of books perfect for your new student-to-be. (Here’s a PDF if you want to print it!) Below I have highlighted a few of my personal favorite back to school books to share with your kiddos.

Kindergarten is COOL!

Kindergarten is COOL!” by Linda Elovitz Marshall
K is for KindergartenWhether it’s early-morning jitters or becoming familiar with new classroom routines, this sweet and bouncy story will have expectant kindergarteners saying, “Kindergarten is cool!”`

K is for Kindergarten” by Erin Dealey
Here comes kindergarten! Whether your little reader is gearing up for the first day of school or making their way through the school year, “K is for Kindergarten” will help guide them with silly rhymes and fun activities from A to Z.

Pete the Kitty’s First Day of Preschool” by Kimberly & James Dean
It’s a big day for Pete the Kitty; it’s his first day of preschool! He meets his cool teacher, sings a few fun songs and even It's the First Day of Preschool, Chloe Zoe!Pete the Kitty's First Day of Preschoolgets to paint. Who knew preschool could be so much fun?

It’s the First Day of Preschool, Chloe Zoe!” by Jane Smith
Chloe Zoe is starting preschool today, but she’s a little nervous. What if she doesn’t like it? Mommy tells her that she will get to do lots of cool activities, but Chloe Zoe isn’t so sure. She’d rather stay at home and play with her little sister. Will Chloe Zoe discover how fun preschool is before the day is over?


Exploring Unique Hobbies

Posted on Friday, July 19, 2019 by Molly

child taking photoMerriam Webster defines the term hobby as “a pursuit outside one’s regular occupation engaged in especially for relaxation.” But when it comes to children, this definition seems too limited. This is because new and different experiences are fundamental to helping children learn about themselves and the world around them, whether they are collecting rocks or participating in sports.

According to the Child Development Institute, hobbies “teach children to set and achieve goals, solve problems and make decisions.” Hobbies open doors to meeting others with similar interests. Further, childhood hobbies can lead to future careers. For instance, a child is interested in the weather may become a meteorologist. A child who enjoys bird watching might pursue ornithology. Or, if they are fascinated by outer space, your child might become an astronaut!

If you and your child are looking for some new and exciting hobby options, DBRL offers a wide variety of books to get you started. Here are just a few, which are guaranteed to spark some interest.

Sensory Space Activities

Posted on Wednesday, July 17, 2019 by Brianna

Recently we had a sensory program at the library for little ones birth to three years old. To fit with Summer Reading, we made everything outer space themed! You can try recreating these at home, or go in your own direction.

cardboard box with christmas lights

Constellation Box

This station was very popular with some of our youngest participants! Babies loved laying on the soft blanket and looking up at the ‘stars.’ To make this, we found a large box and grabbed a string of Christmas lights. After reinforcing the edges of the box with duct tape, we poked holes in the cardboard so we could stick individual lights through. You could create specific constellations, or just fill the space with the lights like we did. Creating the box will take a little time, but it’s well worth the effort!

asteroid field ball pit

Asteroid Field Ball Pit

In Star Wars, Han Solo tells C-3PO to never tell him the odds of surviving an asteroid field. Our asteroid field is much more safe! Toss some balls of various sizes into a plastic pool to contain them, and with a little imagination, you’ve got your very own asteroid field. We threw in some pieces of foil blanket for some extra texture, and little ones were delighted. Not only are the asteroid balls fun to play with, they’re a great way to improve motor skills, as well as hand-eye coordination if you take turns rolling them to each other.

lightboard with stars and colors

Hubble Telescope Light Board Art

For this station, we were inspired by images captured by the Hubble Space Telescope. We glued stars onto overhead transparencies, then placed them on a light board. Little ones put different colors of cellophane on the light board and had fun layering them to make new color combinations. The results were beautiful!

three calming sensory bottles

Galaxy Calming Bottles

We love sensory bottles, and these were no exception. We used Voss water bottles, but you can use whatever you like as long as it’s sturdy and you can seal it. To stick with our outer space theme, we made one night sky bottle, one inspired by the sun, and one glow in the dark. To make the night and sun ones, we used baby oil, candy coloring dye, lots of glitter and some star-shaped confetti. The glow in the dark bottle is just glow in the dark glue and hot water. Continue reading “Sensory Space Activities”

Stranger Than Fiction: A Universe of Facts

Posted on Thursday, July 11, 2019 by Kayla Thompson

Space has been the inspiration and setting for many fictional stages. Authors like Orson Scott Card, H. G. Wells, George Lucas, and Jason Fry have dazzled us with their out of this world narratives of aliens and space adventure. Each fictional world creates its own idea of the strange and interesting things that might be going on in our universe. However, sometimes the facts can be stranger than fiction!

Reading nonfiction with your child can be just as fun as reading fiction, and it’s a good way to introduce young minds to the world around them. It’s never too early to share nonfiction books with young readers! You can get started with some great nonfiction based on this year’s Summer’s Reading program “A Universe of Stories.” Below is just a suggested list. If the text seems too complex, read what you’d like from it and just talk about the pictures with your child. In this way, nonfiction books for all ages can be shared as a family.

Books for babies and toddlers

Continue reading “Stranger Than Fiction: A Universe of Facts”

So Long, Stray Socks!

Posted on Monday, July 8, 2019 by Jessica M

They say a person loses over 1000 socks in their lifetime. What happens to all those socks? Did they disappear in the wash? Did they unexpectedly make a vacation without us when we were packing to go to Grandma’s? The animals in our households suddenly look a little too innocent. Did the dog take one of them and use it as a chew toy? Has the cat stowed away a collection of them in a nest under someone’s bed?

No matter how they disappear, losing a sock is a hard thing for a family. In order to help our community cope, I want to celebrate with some sock-themed literature. It’s time to hold your favorite socks close—the fuzziest of the fuzzy socks, the softest of the cotton socks, the brightest neon-colored socks you have—and enjoy some of these fun reads:

I Lost My Sock!” – P. J. Roberts

A cute story focusing on animal characters. Fox has lost one of his blue socks. He asks Mr. Ox to help him find it. They find all sorts of different socks in different patterns and sizes.

Have You Seen My Blue Socks?” – Eve Bunting

A small duck has lost his brand new pair of blue socks. He sets off on a journey to ask all of his close friends if they have seen where they might have disappeared to.

Where’s my Sock?” – Joyce Dunbar

Pippin is having a bad day. He lost the match to his sock. Tog tries to help him find it, but as their journey progresses, they can’t seem to find the match to Pippin’s yellow sock with red clocks.

A Pair of Socks” – Stuart Murphy

A fun story told in the perspective of a sock. The sock cannot find their match anywhere!

Fox in Socks” – Seuss

A book by Dr. Seuss that includes fun words and wordplay as Mr. Socks Fox tries to teach Mr. Knox a tongue twister.

Ducks Don’t Wear Socks” – John Nedwidek

Emily finds herself being a little too serious. This changes after she meets Duck. Duck decides that he needs to wear socks, despite Emily’s discomfort that, “Ducks don’t wear socks!” This continues with other articles of clothing until he changes Emily’s serious and self-conscious mood. Continue reading “So Long, Stray Socks!”