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”

Brianna’s Books: March Favorites 2024

Posted on Monday, March 4, 2024 by Brianna

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It was hard to narrow down my list this month! There are some great books coming out in March.

Picture Books

coverAll Aboard the Alaska Train” written by Brooke Hartman and illustrated by John Joseph

This is the perfect book for train and nature enthusiasts alike! Readers are invited to board the (apparently iconic) Alaska Train, as it races, rumbles, rattles and rambles its way through Alaska. Each new page turn features an Alaskan animal, with engaging rhyming text that will encourage little ones to guess the animal before the reader states it. The animals surreptitiously join the passengers on the train as it travels through various landscapes and habitats. Finally, the train is stalled at the foot of a tall mountain, and the animals all get off the train to help push it up the tracks. While the plot isn’t a main focus here, little ones will love seeing all the different types of animals, and the excellent rhythm of the text keeps things moving briskly. My toddler currently loves trains and animals, so I’m looking forward to sharing this one with him! Continue reading “Brianna’s Books: March Favorites 2024”

Meet the Mushrooms 🍄🍄

Posted on Monday, February 26, 2024 by Grae

. . . and other fun-guys, or fungis!

Do you have a budding mushroom and/or fungi lover in your life? You’re not alone; there is definitely something sporing in the air and plenty of fungus among us. Okay, that might be enough puns for now, but it does seem like the mushroom has been popping up everywhere lately, from cute accessories to interior décor to critically-acclaimed documentaries to your very own backyard or favorite spot of Missouri greenspace. I like to think the mushroom’s trendiness is due to the fact that there’s a little something for everyone in the fungi kingdom. Fungi are, after all, neither plant nor animal, but some other creature in-between or beyond. Plus, the technicolor spread of variety amongst fungi makes mushrooms, which are technically the fruit or fruiting body of a fungus, both adorable and endlessly fascinating —as well as in some cases, appetizing!

So, if you have gotten thoroughly tangled up in the mycelium (root-like structures of a fungus), or are just starting to sprout interest in the subject, I’ve compiled a list of resources for the aspiring mycologist (a.k.a. mushroom scientist). Read on for some cap-tivating choices. . .

For the littlest caps, try “Meet the Mushrooms!

Cover of the board book "Meet the Mushrooms!" featuring mushrooms of all colors, shapes and sizes with cute, happy faces smiling in a forest scene.

This sturdy board book features interactively layered die-cut cardboard pages so the very youngest of mycologists can explore the various colors, shapes and sizes of all kinds of little mushroom guys. 😊 Continue reading “Meet the Mushrooms 🍄🍄”

DIY Winter Village

Posted on Monday, February 19, 2024 by Megan

As I write this blog (on February 8) the weather is bright and sunny. The temperature is currently 67°F which is 32 degrees above average. If this continues by the time you read this, it might feel like summer, and I might feel a little sheepish writing a blog about creating your own winter village. But it is still technically *checks notes* WINTER! I even looked up the daily average for Columbia, MO and we usually see temperatures closer to 45°, and once way back in 1903, it was -6°F. So we’re gonna party like it’s 1903 and make our own indoor winter village!


  • House template
  • Your favorite art supplies (markers, crayons, colored pencils, GLITTER — go wild)
  • A large piece of paper (we used blue paper but you could use anything — even an old brown paper bag)
  • Tape or glue


  • Download and print your house template.
  • Decorate your house and cut it out.
  • Using tape or glue, adhere your house to your large piece of paper.
  • Hang it up and enjoy!

Note: If you come to the Columbia Public Library before the end of February, we’ll have supplies for you to help us make our winter village. Color a house during your visit and leave it with us, and we’ll add it to our community mural. You can visit the mural on the first floor near the Children’s Desk.

Brianna’s Books: February Favorites 2024

Posted on Monday, February 5, 2024 by Brianna

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I’m back and I’m excited to share with you all some of the new books coming out this month! As always, if you prefer reading or listening digitally, check the catalog after the book’s publication date to see if we have the eBook or e-audiobook.

Picture Books

coverWhat’s New, Daniel?” written and illustrated by Micha Archer

Alright, I know that it’s not actually spring yet. But we can still prepare for it! Daniel is visiting the park with his grandfather, and Grandpa asks him what’s new. As adults, we’re used to casually using phrases like this, but Daniel takes the question very literally and ventures out into the park to seek an answer. Daniel finds new baby ducklings, a snake with new skin, and tadpoles with new legs as well as many other springtime discoveries. As he reports back to Grandpa, he adds his own new developments, like the ability to whistle and a new tooth. The vibrant acrylic and collage illustrations joyfully herald spring and will likely inspire other young nature lovers — it’s the perfect book to enjoy as we’re finishing out winter. Continue reading “Brianna’s Books: February Favorites 2024”

A Generational Look at Influential Childhood Books

Posted on Monday, January 29, 2024 by Laura W

Do you ever start a project assuming it will go one way, only for it to end up turning around, doing a cartwheel and laughing at your assumptions? This project did that to me. Originally, I questioned whether or not we would be able to see a difference between the childhood books that were influential to different generations. I ended up wondering about universal themes instead.

Before working at the library, I was never really a part of any multigenerational workplaces. When working in a preschool, it was really just people relatively close to my age. When nannying, it was just me. Now I regularly work with people of all ages, from late teens to early 70s and everything in between. Because of this, I have become fascinated with the little generational differences that pop up, from how we talk to each other to our reactions to external events. Knowing that, working in a library, most of us have pretty deep connections to books, I began to wonder whether some of the generational difference I saw came from the books we consumed in our youths. With this in mind, I staged informal interviews with 20 of my coworkers, hoping to uncover trends in the responses across the different ages.

Continue reading “A Generational Look at Influential Childhood Books”

Shrink or Grow? Gummy Worm Experiment

Posted on Monday, January 22, 2024 by Robyn

Did you know that gummy worms were invented in 1981, almost 60 years after the first gummy bear? Hans Riegel, a factory worker in Bonn, Germany (who later went on to start the Haribo company) originally made the bears with black licorice, which isn’t my jam. But that paved the way for worms, inspiring one of my favorite childhood treats: dirt and worms. Maybe that’s why this experiment grabbed my attention when I was browsing “The Curious Kid’s Science Book.” When submerged in different substances overnight, will gummy worms shrink, grow or stay the same? It’s a pretty simple setup (minimal supplies most of you already have at home) with a fun ending. Plus, there will surely be leftover worms for you to gobble up!

Gummy worm image
Original image by Willis Lam; background added
Continue reading “Shrink or Grow? Gummy Worm Experiment”

Watercolor Winter Hat Craft

Posted on Monday, January 15, 2024 by Katie

Does anyone else start to miss bright colors in January? This is the time of year I find myself thinking about dying my hair, seeking the brightest socks in the drawer and choosing the doughnuts with the most sprinkles. That is one of the reasons I chose this craft to share. The watercolor paints are so bright and cheerful. Perfect for a cold winter day.

Watercolor Winter Hat craft

Continue reading “Watercolor Winter Hat Craft”