Books We Love: Meg, Jo, Beth and Amy

Posted on Monday, August 19, 2019 by Megan

One of my favorite novels is “Little Women” by Louisa May Alcott, and I am a sucker for any adaptation (be it audiobook, play, or movie). I think I have seen every movie version, including the ill-advised 1970s one that starred Jan Brady (Eve Plumb) and Captain Kirk (William Shatner). The latest iteration I enjoyed is the graphic novel Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy” by Rey Terciero. This retelling has all the major touchstones and plot points you would expect, while also making the characters fully-realized modern young ladies. Set in present day New York, the four young sisters and their mother live in a small apartment while their father is deployed in the Middle East, and throughout this delightfully-illustrated graphic novel, Terciero does an excellent job of adding her take on some of the hallmarks of Alcott’s beloved book.      

The original story was progressive and endearing, and this graphic novel really shows its timelessness. I know I’m not alone in thinking that we can all see some of ourselves in each of the March girls, whether it is Meg’s practicality and touch of vanity, Amy’s desire for the finer things or Beth’s sweet nature; but it is still Jo’s independence, and her quest for self-actualization, that still most resonates with me. (As a young girl, I related to Jo⁠—her craving for adventure and desire to cast aside some girlish conventions in favor of carving out her own path. Although I will admit I was thoroughly shocked when she declined Laurie’s marriage proposal! The 1995 movie version had Christian Bale cast as Laurie, and he will forever be my first love, even though I married my own wonderful and handsome Professor Bhaer!)

This new graphic novel is faithful to the essential characteristics of the girls and the heart and spirit of the original novel, and Terciero’s retelling is sure to become a classic itself! I know I will be recommending it to fans of Alcott and graphic novels alike.

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!

New Homework Helper for Kids and Teens

Posted on Monday, August 12, 2019 by Erin

ReadIt!One of the perks of your library card is access to all the digital resources that we have to offer, and DBRL has over 70 online resources for all ages. We’ve recently acquired a cool new online tool called Read It! Geared toward middle and high school students, this resource provides basic knowledge on a wide variety of topics.

While Read It! is great for anyone looking to learn more about topics like U.S. history, world civilizations and science, it is particularly helpful for English language learners. The articles are short and concise, and you can use the “listen” feature to hear the article read out loud. There’s also an option to translate the article into 34 different languages!

Ready to explore this database and learn something new? Then click here to give Read It! a try. Happy Reading!


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!

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.

Books We Love: “House of Dreams: The Life of L. M. Montgomery” by Liz Rosenberg

Posted on Monday, July 15, 2019 by Megan

House of Dreams bookIf you’ve read some of my previous blogs, you’ll know that I love “Anne of Green Gables” by L. M. Montgomery—the books, the movies, the graphic novels, I love them all!  So you can understand why I was delighted when I discovered a new juvenile biography about Montgomery. “House of Dreams: The Life of L. M. Montgomery” by Liz Rosenberg is a comprehensive biography about Lucy Maud and is a book best suited for older readers who are already familiar with Anne.

Maud (without an “E”–sound familiar?) was an interesting character in her own right. As with many authors of her time, she kept copious notes and journals, which Rosenberg incorporates in her own text. Montgomery’s journals have been published and are out there for you to find if you have a mind to do it, but even the most ardent Anne fans might find them tedious (as I did). However, Rosenberg’s book does a wonderful job of condensing Montgomery’s life with the facts we know about her and what she chose to record.

On the surface, you can see a lot of Montgomery in her fictional character Anne, but in real life Montgomery was a very complex person that struggled with bouts of depression, ill-matched suitors, rejection and a loveless marriage. While these are tough topics for juvenile readers, Rosenberg doesn’t pull any punches and presents the facts as we know them, even in cases where Montgomery herself left the truth out of even her own private journals.

I recommend this book as a great companion piece for those readers who are interested in going beyond Green Gables to find an L. M. Montgomery was a flawed human being and was able to create an equally flawed character who has withstood the test of time. This book made me think of one of my favorite L. M. Montgomery quotes: “Tomorrow is always fresh, with no mistakes in it yet.” Like Lucy Maud, we all have faults, but we just have to keep chasing those tomorrows.

Military Deployment Book List

Posted on Wednesday, July 3, 2019 by Brianna

As America celebrates independence, it’s important to remember the families of those still fighting for our country. Holidays like Independence Day can be rough for children with deployed parents, but these picture books should offer some comfort.

cover of Sometimes We Were Brave

Sometimes We Were Brave” by Pat Brisson

This sweet book demonstrates how to keep going, even when you’re a little bit afraid. Jerome’s mother is in the Navy, and when she’s gone he worries about her. The description of daily life while waiting for her, along with the comforting illustrations, should help children find their own bravery despite anxieties.

cover of Papa's Backpack

Papa’s Backpack” by James Christopher Carroll

This beautifully illustrated book describes a bear cub’s desire to travel with his soldier papa bear, even though he knows he cannot. Animals march to do battle in a stylized landscape that evokes modern military conflict without being too alarming. The bear cub speculates about traveling with his papa, but ultimately gives him a doll to take instead. A visually intriguing story that explores the feelings of children who must be left behind.

Tuesday Tucks Me In: The Loyal Bond Between a Soldier and His Service Dog” by Luis Carlos Montalván

This book doesn’t deal with deployment so much as life after coming home. Through touching photographs, Tuesday the service dog narrates his relationship with a healing army veteran. Children will fall in love with Tuesday and gain a better understanding of how service dogs can help veterans.

For more books on this subject, check out our military deployment book list.

4th of July Fun: Water-works

Posted on Friday, June 28, 2019 by Kristy

Looking for some 4th of July fun with your little ones that doesn’t involve loud noises and fire? Try making some colorful water-works, a simple experiment that shows the interaction between oil, water and food coloring.

What you’ll need:

  • Water
  • Vegetable oil
  • Food coloring (Any color will work, but blue and red are fun if you want to be patriotic!)
  • Glass container (Large jars work great!)
  • Bowl
  • Fork

What you’ll do:

  1. Put 3 tablespoons of vegetable oil into a bowl.
  2. Add 3 drops of 3 different food coloring colors. (Don’t mix them, or it might look muddy!)
  3. Use the fork to comb through the food coloring droplets, making them into multiple smaller droplets.
  4. Fill your glass container with water.
  5. Pour the contents of the bowl into the container of water. If you pour it quickly, you get a fast firework show with lots of pizzaz! If you pour slowly, you can extend the fun.
  6. Watch as the oil goes to the top and the food coloring falls through the oil, into the water. This will create beautiful “fireworks” sure to amaze your kiddos!