Nature Journal

Posted on Monday, March 29, 2021 by Erin

Picture of nature journal and plant pressThis year marks 10 years that I’ve been living in Columbia, and one thing I really appreciate about the city is all the nature areas. (I grew up in a town that had a small number of trees and only three parks.) By celebrating the Missouri Bicentennial, I am constantly learning more about Mid-Missouri. When the weather gets warmer, I cannot wait to see more of Columbia and the surrounding areas. My hope this spring is that you will explore beautiful Missouri, too.

Need ideas on activities to do while you’re out and about? Look no further than this nature journal! In it you’ll find multiple days’ worth of prompts and suggestions to enhance your outdoor adventures. Continue reading “Nature Journal”

1,000 Hours Outside

Posted on Monday, March 22, 2021 by Amy

children reading outsideIt is said that the average American child spends 1,200 hours a year in front of a screen. Thanks to Ginny Yurich, the 1000 Hours Outside movement was born to combat this staggering number. There’s no question that time outside and in nature benefits children as they grow. Being outside can offer kids much needed free play time, which is important for brain development. If 1,000 hours outside seems daunting, start with the goal of 100 hours outside and build from there! Below are some great resources to help you on this journey towards more hours spent outside.


CLICK HERE for free outdoor time tracker templates. You can print out 1000 or 100 hour trackers. There are lots of great design options to choose from. Continue reading “1,000 Hours Outside”

Let’s Talk About Time Travel!

Posted on Thursday, March 18, 2021 by Molly

Pocket watchesLike many people, I am fascinated by the concept of time travel. According to National Geographic, “More than 50 scientific papers are published on time travel every year.” Not surprising, numerous books have also been written on the subject. Remember Washington Irving’s “Rip Van Winkle,” and H. G. Wells’ “The Time Machine“? Movies, such as the classic “Back to the Future” trilogy, “Jumanji” and “A Christmas Carol” further sparked our imaginations. Continue reading “Let’s Talk About Time Travel!”

Picture Book Biographies for Women’s History Month

Posted on Monday, March 15, 2021 by Megan

Text: Biographies for women's history month. Image of girl with fist in the air and a jacket with the letters girl power.

Happy Women’s History Month! Every March since 1988, Americans have celebrated Women’s History Month, honoring all the amazing contributions women have made throughout time. Personally, I’ve been celebrating women’s history every day since I was born!

Here are a couple of my favorite new biographies celebrating outstanding women and their achievements:

Image of book cover for Planting Stories The Life of Librarian and Storyteller Pura BelpréPlanting Stories: The Life of Librarian and Storyteller Pura Belpré” written by Anika Denise and illustrated by Paola Escobar
Belpré originally came from Puerto Rico to New York City to attend a wedding and ended up staying! She answered an ad in the newspaper for a bilingual librarian at the New York Public Library, and while there, she told stories and did programs in Spanish for children. She soon discovered that the library had no children’s books in Spanish, so she began to write her own stories! This is a delightful biography about an amazing librarian who saw a need and creatively found a way to meet it. Her legacy continues with the American Library Association award named for her. The Pura Belpré award is presented to Latinx authors and illustrators for outstanding portrayals of Latinx culture in literature.

Image of book cover for The Only Woman in the Photo Frances Perkins & Her New Deal for AmericaThe Only Woman in the Photo: Frances Perkins & Her New Deal for America” written by Kathleen Krull and illustrated by Alexandra Bye
Perkins was dedicated to learning all she could and went to college in a time when many women did not receive much education. During her years at school, she was required to observe working conditions in local factories and mills, and she saw how poorly women and children were being treated there. After witnessing the tragic Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire, she started advocating for safer work environments for everyone. Her grandmother always said “When someone opens a door to you, go forward.” She followed that advice all through her life, including when Franklin Roosevelt asked her to serve in his presidential cabinet, making her the first woman to hold such a position.

I’ve included these books and more on a new book list to celebrate formidable women: “Picture Book Biographies About Women.” These awesome ladies come from all over the world and have achieved greatness in their respective fields. Firefighters, ballerinas, doctors, politicians and more come together to answer the age-old question:

Who run the world?


Brianna’s Books: March Favorites 2021

Posted on Thursday, March 11, 2021 by Brianna

Brianna's Books Banner

As always, I am so excited to share these books with you! Don’t forget to put holds on whatever interests you, and remember that not all of these have been released yet. I can’t buy the ebooks or downloadable audio until their release date, so if you check the catalog later you might be able to snag a digital copy!

Picture Books

I Am Not a Dog Toy” written by Ethan T. Berlin and illustrated by Jared Chapman

Sometimes friendship can surprise us. When a fancy stuffed animal bear (with pockets!) is given to a little girl for her birthday, the girl is unimpressed. The bear is sure they will be best friends, but the girl carelessly tosses him into the dog’s water bowl instead. The dog is delighted. The bear endures callous treatment from the girl, all while the dog tries to convince him how much fun they could have together. Eventually the bear comes to realize that friendship only means something when it’s reciprocated. Not only is this a great chance to discuss friendship with your little one, the story is told all in dialogue, which makes it a perfect choice to read aloud! Continue reading “Brianna’s Books: March Favorites 2021”

Build a Bird Nest

Posted on Monday, March 8, 2021 by Maria

Picture of the completed bird nest craft activity

This arts and crafts project encourages children to use their fine motor skills and creativity to make a hanging to celebrate spring. Younger children can tear the different papers into strips to create the sky and the elements of the little bird’s nest. Older children may enjoy cutting the twigs rather than tearing and weaving them together to form the nest. This is a fun project that will result in a pretty hanging your child will be proud of. Continue reading “Build a Bird Nest”

Virtual Activity Bundle: Spring

Posted on Thursday, March 4, 2021 by Adam

Virtual Activity Bundle: Spring

Spring is almost here, FINALLY! For many families, this has been a particularly stressful and difficult winter, filled with navigating the unfamiliar terrain of COVID-19 and virtual schooling. Here’s hoping the warmer weather will bring with it a greater sense of ease. To celebrate the new season, here are some great books, songs, videos and a fun activity that will hopefully help your family appreciate the joys and wonders of this most rejuvenating time of year.



Goodbye Winter, Hello Spring,” by Kenard Pak

A boy and his dog take a walk through a winter night and take cover during a snowstorm. When they wake up in the morning, they see the first signs of spring as the ice and snow begin to thaw. On their morning walk, they say hello to the new leaves, budding flowers, green grass and the singing birds who have returned. Continue reading “Virtual Activity Bundle: Spring”

Virtual Activity Bundle: Bugs

Posted on Thursday, February 25, 2021 by Jessica S

Virtual Activity Bundle: Bugs

Bugs are the best. They are the squishiest, the smallest and the creepy crawliest! I love to see them—from a distance. In this Virtual Activity Bundle, I will share some of my favorite bug-themed activities, books, music and more. Enjoy!



Title details for Ask a Bug by DK - Available

Ask a Bug” by DK

This book will take the reader from the intimate details of the creature’s life (Are bugs born as eggs? What do they eat? How fast do they grow?) to the bigger picture, offering a chance to explore their wider habitat and their friends and enemies. Continue reading “Virtual Activity Bundle: Bugs”

2020 Missouri Building Block Award Winner

Posted on Monday, February 22, 2021 by Amy

Children across Missouri have voted, and the winner of the 2020 Missouri Building Block Award goes to “Dandy” written by Ame Dyckman and illustrated by Charles Santoso. About 8,700 preschoolers and kindergartners participated, choosing “Dandy” as their favorite.


Dandy” is a laugh-out-loud story of a father desperate to destroy the dandelion marring his perfectly manicured lawn and his daughter’s fierce attempts to save it. When Daddy spots a solitary weed in his lawn, he’s appalled (along with all of his neighborhood friends). But his daughter Sweetie has fallen in love with the beautiful flower, even going so far as to name it Charlotte. Racing against time and the mockery of his friends, Daddy has to find a way to get rid of the errant dandelion without breaking his little girl’s heart.

Continue reading “2020 Missouri Building Block Award Winner”