Arrr! It’s Talk Like a Pirate Day!

Posted on Thursday, September 19, 2019 by Molly

Pirate books

Avast ye! All hands hoay you Landlubbers! Today, September 19th, is International Talk Like a Pirate Day! So, although you can’t climb aboard the Jolly Roger and brandish your cutlass as in days of old, at least you can sound like a pirate one day out of the year. Here’s a link to some pirate terms and phrases that will get you talking like an old seadog in no time!

Along with having their own special “language,” pirates also loved to sing. Working on sea-faring vessels was hard work, so they often sang songs, or “sea shanties” to pass the time and make the job go faster. Here’s a pirate song that you and your family can sing on International Talk Like a Pirate Day or any day of the year!

If You Want To Be A Pirate (To the tune of: “If You’re Happy And You Know It)

If you want to be a pirate,
Swab the deck. (swish, swish)
If you want to be a pirate,
Swab the deck. (swish, swish)
If you want to be a pirate,
REALLY want to be a pirate,
If you want to be a pirate,
Swab the deck. (swish, swish)

Additional verses include: “walk the plank” (stomp, stomp); “shout ahoy!” (Ahoy! Ahoy!).

End with this verse: If you want to be a pirate “do all three” (swish, stomp, Ahoy!).

(Credit MOJIM Lyrics)

If you would like to learn more about pirates, DBRL offers a wide assortment of pirate books for children of all ages. Here are just a few.

Books We Love: How Do You Care for a Very Sick Bear

Posted on Monday, September 16, 2019 by Megan

How Do You Care for a Very Sick Bear bookThey say laughter is the best medicine, but personally I think a good book can also do the trick! Luckily you can have both with Vanessa Bayer’s “How Do You Care for a Very Sick Bear.” You may know Vanessa Bayer from her work on Saturday Night Live, and now she has written her first picture book, inspired by events from her own adolescence.

When Vanessa was in high school, she was diagnosed with leukemia, and she had a group of friends who stood by her side. Her friends would visit or not visit, depending on how she felt, and they would always make sure she was up to date on the latest gossip. “How to Care for a Very Sick Bear” is a great story for kids and adults alike who have sick family or friends. The words and illustrations are very sweet and are a great way to talk about compassion and empathy.

Check out this booklist for other stories about dealing with physical illness, feeling sad, loss and caring for any sick bears you might have in your life. 

Learn and Play: World Book Early Learning

Posted on Thursday, September 12, 2019 by Brianna

picture of home page of early learning

Do you have a kiddo who craves nonfiction? What about a child who is just starting to learn to read? Try setting your child up with World Book Early Learning. This recently revamped resource has a plethora of videos, photographs, stories and games, all on a variety of topics. If you’re familiar with the old version, this one boasts a new design in addition to more content. Kids can choose a topic that interests them, like dinosaurs or sea creatures, and easily access all of the content in that category. Some stories are labelled by Lexile level to help grownups direct kids to content appropriate to their reading level. All of the stories and information pages have the option to listen to a voice-over while following the highlighted words.

dolphin paint by numbersEach topic has videos and pictures to explore, as well as games and activities. One of my favorites is the paint by number activity, which even incorporates some math problems. After reading about sea turtles and watching a video of a stingray, I played a sea creatures matching game and did a dolphin paint by number. There’s oodles of fun content, and even a page for grown ups. This invaluable part of the site features lesson plans and Lexile levels to accompany the various stories, and even links to a foldable version of the book that you can print and use at home or in the classroom. They also provide curriculum correlations for early childhood through second grade.

I had way too much fun exploring this great resource, and I bet your kids will too! Just log in with your library card number and password and you are ready to go.

The “Be Yourself!” Book List

Posted on Monday, September 9, 2019 by Jessica M

What about a person forms their identity?


  • Age
  • Habits
  • Quirks
  • Families
  • Gender
  • Religious affiliation
  • Hobbies
  • Cultural background
  • You name it!

Everyone is different! Each one of these things listed above makes us who we are. There are people who have curly hair and people who have straight hair; people who are right-handed and people who are left-handed; people who like to sew; people who enjoy watching birds; people who love art and so on!

To celebrate people and their diverse identities, I have put together a very small list of books I like to use when I talk about being true to yourself and your cultural background. It’s called “Be Yourself!” This list is limited. (A hundred different books from a hundred different cultures would still not be enough books to showcase every different thing about everyone.) The important thing is to keep looking for those books and appreciating them for what they are, just like we do with people.

Here are some of my favorites.

Be Who You Are” by Todd Parr

This book uses colorful illustrations and examples to showcase that no matter who you are, what you do or what you look like, you should always be yourself.

Stand Tall, Molly Lou Melon” by Patty Lovell

Molly Lou Melon’s grandmother teaches her that despite her imperfections, as long as she believes in herself and what she can do, other people will believe in her and her abilities as well.

Perfectly Norman” by Tom Percival

Norman grew up perfectly normal…until he grew wings. He doesn’t want to be different, so he tries to hide his wings. He becomes too hot and can’t play with others. He must decide to be himself or continue to suffer.

A Normal Pig” by K-Fai Steele

Pip the pig feels very normal about everything in her life until a new pig comes to town. The new pig makes fun of her food, her art and who she is. She’s upset until her mom takes her to the city and shows her how many differences there are between pigs: language, appearance, food cultures, etc.

The Day You Begin” by Jacqueline Woodson

This book focuses on differences between students. There is a moment where language is a barrier, different food types cause friction, and people question their own lives and experiences due to hearing stories from others. It’s a book about reflecting on life and understanding that all experiences are valid and different.

Flashlight Fun: Illuminating Crafts and Books

Posted on Wednesday, August 28, 2019 by Kristy

At one of our recent library programs, we made a paper flashlight craft that all of the kids and parents adored. It was so popular that I’ve written up some instructions so you can make this craft at home!

What you need:

  • Image or drawing you want to trace
  • Clear sheet of plastic
  • One sheet of black paper and one sheet of white paper
  • Black Ultra Fine Sharpie
  • Regular Sharpies in multiple colors
  • Tape
  • Flashlight template
  • Sheet of white cardstock
  • Scissors

What you do:

  • Draw your own picture or find a one that you want to trace.
  • Lay the clear plastic sheet over your picture, and trace the outlines with a black Ultra Fine Sharpie.
  • Remove the plastic sheet with your tracing, and lay it over a sheet of plain white paper.
  • Color your picture in with colored Sharpies, working left to right (if you are right-handed) so you don’t smudge your work.
  • Remove the plastic sheet from the white paper. Tape the plastic sheet to the black paper across the top to hold them together.
  • Print the flashlight template onto white cardstock.
  • Cut out the flashlight. You can color in the handle of the flashlight if desired, but leave the “light” at the top white.
  • All done! Place the flashlight between the plastic sheet and black paper, and see what happens!

Want to have even more flashlight fun? Then check out Emily Sollinger’s A Bedtime Shadow Book series! This series lets you shine a light into the images, and the images transfer onto the wall. How cool is that?

Celebrate National Dog Day!

Posted on Monday, August 26, 2019 by Amy

Wag your tails and put your paws in the air—August 26th is National Dog Day! This special day of celebration was created to honor dogs for all that they do for us. Beyond the sweet snuggles and slobbery kisses, dogs help humans out in countless ways. From watch dogs who guard and keep us safe to service dogs who lead and assist people with special needs, there’s no end to the love and companionship dogs provide us. Sometimes dogs even need our help too. Rescuing a dog from a troubled situation and providing a loving home is a great way to spread love and joy.

To help with the celebration, check out some of the great reads the library has to offer.

"Operation Rescue Dog"Operation Rescue Dog” by Maria Gianferrari

"Search and Rescue Dogs on the Job"Seven-year-old Alma, lonely and desperately missing her mother, decides to get a dog as a surprise for Mami’s return. Not only does she find a puppy that needs rescuing, but she also discovers that the pup rescues her in return.

Search and Rescue Dogs on the Job” by Mirella S. Miller

This book describes the awesome work search and rescue dogs do. It goes into what makes a good search and rescue dog and all the different places they work.

 "Lucky Dog: Twelve Tales of Rescued Dogs"Lucky Dog: Twelve Tales of Rescued Dogs” by Kirby Larson

This chapter book is a collection of stories about the Pawley Rescue Center, where rescued dogs find their way into hearts and homes.

Craig & Fred: A marine, A Stray Dog, and How They Rescued Each Other” by Craig Grossi

"Craig & Fred: A marine, A Stray Dog, and How They Rescued Each Other" by Craig Grossi“Craig and Fred” tells the uplifting true story of a U.S. Marine, the stray dog he met on an Afghan battlefield, and how they saved each other and now travel America spreading a positive message.

"When You Wander: A Search-and-rescue Dog Story" by Margarita EngleWhen You Wander: A Search-and-Rescue Dog Story” by Margarita Engle

A dog that has just graduated from “sniffing school” advises readers what to do if they become lost in the woods; he assures them that his smart nose will lead him to where they are. “When You Wonder” also includes lots of cool facts about dogs’ noses!

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!