Winner of the 2015 Missouri Building Block Award – Naked!

"Naked!" book cover

The children across Missouri have spoken, and the winner of the 2015 Missouri Building Block Award goes to “Naked!,” written by Michael Ian Black and illustrated by Debbie Ridpath Ohi.

Over 20,000 preschoolers and kindergartners participated, choosing “Naked!” as their favorite. “Naked” had almost twice as many votes as the second place finisher “Digger Dog.” Continue reading

2015 Missouri Building Block: I’m My Own Dog

 I'm My Own Dog book cover

Attention dog lovers!  The tough little bulldog in David Ezra Stein’s “I’m My Own Dog” will grab your heart, and its inner monologue will tickle your funny bone. This pooch is quite content to curl up at its own feet and fetch its own slippers, until that tricky itch that can’t be reached sneaks up. Then the bulldog finds a human to train. You’ve got it:  “I’m My Own Dog” comically turns traditional pet and human roles on their heads.

Once you’ve read this book several times and your kiddos have named the dog and learned half the sassy dog’s lines, you may be ready to branch out. We would suggest you try the activities on Candlewick Press’ Publisher site or The Missouri Building Block Award activity sheet. Continue reading

Scheduling Your Story Times

Kids enjoying story timeMany patrons small and tall enjoy our story times. We have story times for different age groups, and we try to keep our story times on a fairly regular schedule (only occasionally interrupting for a special program such as a visiting performer or annual Summer Reading-themed programs or wrap-up). All three branches have their own story times divided by age.

Columbia just made some small changes to its regular line-up to give flexibility to parents with babies. In addition to having Baby, Oh, Baby on Mondays at 10:30, parents can now bring their little ones to Thursday Baby, Oh, Baby at 9:30.  See below for the regular schedule, and click this flyer to see all the specific Columbia story times for September through November. Continue reading

Missouri Building Blocks 2014: Moo!

Illustration from the picture book, Moo!It’s hard to express how much I love, love, LOVE “Moo!” by David LaRochelle! But I will try.

1. I love a good laugh, and reading “Moo!” will make your whole crew chuckle. If you have a 3-year-old, there might even be floor rolling involved. Who can ignore the hilarity of a cow who “borrows” a car?

2. I adore how LaRochelle brilliantly showcases the art of emotional expression. Believe it or not you can tell a whole adventure using only one word: Moo-Moo? Moo! I find the kiddos really get into this aspect of the book if you practice being sad cows, happy cows and excited cows before you launch into the more complicated moos explored in the book.

3. I dance with excitement when a book leads to more fun! “Moo!” naturally launches into creative and educational activities. Check out LaRochelle’s website for handy activity guides, puppet patterns and more. Your friendly state librarians have also gathered ideas on the MLA award page and Pinterest board. Personally, I’m dying to write “Baa!” – the sequel to “Moo!”

Still skeptical? Grab a copy and see for yourself. And remember to help your child vote for his or her favorite Missouri Building Block Picture Book after you’ve read at least five titles.

“But I’m Not Tired!”

boy asleep with bookThe bedtime story already has been deeply planted in the early literacy landscape, the collective nostalgia and routines for tricking little ones into falling asleep. We have heard the benefits of reading to your baby bumpkins and terrible twosers daily touted near and far, but does the time of day a child is read to actually make any difference?

The answer is, um…well, probably. Maybe. Depends?

While there is some research on that question, obviously everyone is different. Personally, I am a big fan of the bedtime story, so what follows will be my case for the institution.

For one thing, your children are put to bed every day, so there’s a built-in “reminder” that allows reading to easily become part of a routine that’s already necessary. Plus, “bedtime story” rolls off the tongue a lot easier than, say, “after-school snack story.” If you have a snugglebunny or two who land closer to the reluctant side of the sleeper spectrum, sometimes a calming routine can help. According to chair of the Early Childhood Committee of the American Academy of Pediatrics, Peter Gorski, M.D., the most cognitive benefits from reading are reaped when the child’s experience with books is enjoyable and associated with love, safety and comfort. Well, what is more loving and comfy than being tucked in, surrounded by a beloved stuffed animal or two, while mom and/or dad tell you a story? Letting your nugget choose the story they want to hear can be both a bedtime selling point and encourages a positive association with being read to. Continue reading