There’s more than one way to use a book…

Kids at Divoll Branch created a domino-style chain reaction using library books!  Let the books fall where they may.



Fire-Breathing Fun!

It’s starting to get really cold outside, so it’s time to talk about a subject to warm you up—dragons! Get your cocoa ready for these heart-warming stories.


Not Your Typical Dragon by Dan Bar-el
Everybody knows your typical dragon breathes fire.  But when Crispin tries to breathe fire on his seventh birthday, fire doesn’t come out – only whipped cream! Each time Crispin tries to breathe fire, he ends up with band-aids, marshmallows, teddy bears?  When a family emergency breaks out, it takes a little dragon with not-so-typical abilities to save the day.  With wry humor and whimsical illustrations, Not Your Typical Dragon is the perfect story for any child who can’t help feeling a little bit different.

The Library Dragon by Carmen Agra Deedy
In The Library Dragon, Miss Lotta Scales is the thick-skinned library dragon with a burning love of books that jealously guards the library at Sunrise Elementary School. But when an unsuspecting child wanders into the library and begins to read aloud joyfully from a storybook, Miss Lotta Scales is transformed into Miss Lotty, a gentle school librarian.

There’s No Such Thing as a Dragon by Jack Kent
When Billy Bixbee finds a tiny dragon in his bedroom, his mom tells him, “There’s no such thing as a dragon!” This only makes the dragon get bigger. He grows, and grows, and grows, until he’s bigger than Billy’s house–and that’s just the beginning! Charming text and playful illustrations show that a little attention can make a big difference, no matter what size the problem.

The Best Pet of All by David LaRochelle
This boy-wants-dog story with a twist is both snappy and endearing. The little boy’s mother won’t let him have a dog. Dogs are too messy and too loud. But she says he can have a dragon for a pet if he can find one. Enter the coolest but naughtiest pet ever. The dragon is messier and louder than any dog. And he will not leave. How will the boy ever get a dog now?

When a Dragon Moves In by Jodi Moore
On a beautiful day at the beach, a young boy brings his bucket, shovel, and imagination, and builds a perfect sand castle. Right away, a dragon moves in. The boy decides to befriend his dragon and they spend time roaming the shore, flying a kite, braving the waves, defying bullies, and roasting marshmallows–all while Dad is busy sunbathing and Mom is engrossed in her book. Unfortunately, no one believes the boy when he tries to share the news of this magnificent creature. That’s when the mischief begins, and the dragon becomes a force to be reckoned with. While adults will recognize the naughty antics as a ploy for attention, children will dissolve into giggles as the dragon devours every last sandwich, blows bubbles in the lemonade, and leaves claw prints in the brownies.

The Dragonsitter by Josh Lacey
It had sounded so easy: Eddie was to look after Uncle Morton’s unusual pet for a week while he went on vacation. But soon the fridge is empty, the curtains are on fire, and the mailman is fleeing down the front path…The Dragonsitter is the first title in a new chapter book series, written completely in e-mails, that will have readers laughing out loud and begging for more!

Dragonbreath by Ursula Vernon
Danny Dragonbreath is not the best student in school.  He can’t breathe fire on command.  But if you ever find yourself caught in the tentacles of a giant squid at the bottom of the ocean . .He is just the dragon to have in your corner.

Life-Size Dragons by John Grant
Written by Hugo Award-winner John Grant — Life-Size Dragons delves into mythology to reveal the natural history, evolution, anatomy, behavior, and every other aspect of a variety of dragon species. How clever are they, really? Do any still live in the modern world? Dragon-obsessed youngsters (and which one isn’t?) will want to look and learn.

After you’ve warmed up with these fiery tales, make your very own dragon snack and dragon craft:


Happy Birthday Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.!

*All Library locations will be closed on 1/18 for Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.

Young patrons visiting Kingshighway Branch in early January read about the life and ideals of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., as well as how to become part of making Dr. King’s dream a reality.

After reading about Dr. King’s life, young patrons at Kingshighway made “friendship flowers” with petals created by hand forms representing the diversity in each of our circles of acquaintances.

Check out some of these biographies to learn more about Dr. King’s life and work:


Martin’s Big Words: The Life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. by Doreen Rappaport
A picture book biography introduces the ideas and accomplishments of a gifted and influential speaker by using some of his own words to tell the story.

Martin Luther King Jr.: Great Civil Rights Leader by Jennifer Fandel
Tells the story of Martin Luther King, Jr., the civil rights activist who brought about change through peaceful methods such as boycotts, marches, and speeches.

What Was Your Dream, Dr. King?: and Other Questions About Martin Luther King, Jr. by Mary Kay Carson
An introduction to the example and achievements of the influential civil rights leader poses and answers key questions about his life and time, offering insight into such topics as segregation, the 1963 Civil Rights March, and the history and purpose of his famous speeches.

Martin & Mahalia: His Words, Her Song by Andrea Davis Pinkney
Explores the intersecting lives of civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr. and gospel singer Mahalia Jackson at the historic moment when their joined voices inspired landmark changes.

Book Weekend – New Award Winners!

Last Stop on Market Street.   Matt de la Pena won the Newbery Medal for this tender quiet marketstory of a boy learning from his grandmother the true meaning of wealth.   Christian Robinson won double honors from the Caldecott award and the CSK award for his vibrant illustrations of life in a city.

Finding Winnie: the True Story of the World’s Most Famous Bear by LiWinniendsay Mattick.   A Canadian soldier adopts a homeless bear cub, taking it with him almost to the WWI frontlines.  A few years later boy named Christopher Robin meets the now grown bear in a London zoo. A mother weaves these strands into a bedtime story for her son, rich with history and creativity.

Sophie Blackall won the Caldecott for her illustrations, which funny, since bears are not her usual subject!  Blackall creates whimsical children best seen in picture books such as Big Red Lollipop by Rukhsana Khan and And Two Boys Booed by Judith Viorst.


Trombone Shorty by Troy Andrews also won double honors for best illustrations from the CKS award and Caldecott award!  Bryan Collier uses colorful cut-outs to bring the true life story of a boy who began making music at age 4. New Orleans music and culture comes to life, dancing and parading through the mixed-media artwork.

Adventures in the World of Books

The world of books are filled with adventure, creativity, and imagination. This month, check out one or all of these fantastic reads about the magic of books, with adventurous tales and books that bring can bring their stories to life, literally! It’s never too late to fall into a good book and explore a new world.


The Island of Dr. Libris by Chris Grabenstein
What if your favorite characters came to life? Billy’s spending the summer in a lakeside cabin that belongs to the mysterious Dr. Libris. But something strange is going on. Besides the security cameras everywhere, there’s Dr. Libris’s private bookcase. Whenever Billy opens the books inside, he can hear sounds coming from the island in the middle of the lake. The clash of swords. The twang of arrows. Sometimes he can even feel the ground shaking. It’s almost as if the stories he’s reading are coming to life! But that’s impossible . . . isn’t it?

The Whisper by Pamela Zagarenski
Step inside the pages of a little girl’s magical book as she discovers the profound and inspiring notion that we each bring something different to the same story. Two-time Caldecott Honor artist Pamela Zagarenski debuts as an author in this tender picture book about the joy of reading.

The 39-Story Treehouse by Andy Griffiths
Andy and Terry are once again inviting readers to come hang out with them in their astonishing 39-story treehouse (it used to be 13 stories, then 26 stories, but they keep expanding). And this year they will have even more time to jump on the world’s highest trampoline, toast marshmallows in an active volcano, swim in the chocolate waterfall, pet baby dinosaurs, and go head-to-trunk with the Trunkinator, since Terry has created the greatest invention that he–or anyone else–has ever invented . . . a Once-upon-a-time machine that will write and illustrate their entire book for them!  What are you waiting for? Come on up!

The Wishing Spell by Chris Colfer
Alex and Conner Bailey’s world is about to change, in this fast-paced adventure that uniquely combines our modern day world with the enchanting realm of classic fairy tales.  The Land of Stories tells the tale of twins Alex and Conner. Through the mysterious powers of a cherished book of stories, they leave their world behind and find themselves in a foreign land full of wonder and magic where they come face-to-face with the fairy tale characters they grew up reading about.  But after a series of encounters with witches, wolves, goblins, and trolls alike, getting back home is going to be harder than they thought.

The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore by William Joyce
Morris Lessmore loved words.  He loved stories.  He loved books.  But every story has its upsets.  Everything in Morris Lessmore’s life, including his own story, is scattered to the winds.  But the power of story will save the day.  Stunningly brought to life by William Joyce, one of the preeminent creators in children’s literature, The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore is a modern masterpiece, showing that in today’s world of traditional books, eBooks, and apps, it’s story that we truly celebrate-and this story, no matter how you tell it, begs to be read again and again.

Spread the magic by making your own mini book!  Kids can make their own books to share their imagination and storytelling abilities with this easy craft; instructions courtesy of Tinkerlab.


Go, Go, Gorillas!


The One and Only Ivan, by Katherine Applegate
Ivan is an easygoing gorilla. Living at the Exit 8 Big Top Mall and Video Arcade, he has grown accustomed to humans watching him through the glass walls of his domain. He rarely misses his life in the jungle. In fact, he hardly ever thinks about it at all. Instead, Ivan thinks about TV shows he’s seen and about his friends Stella, an elderly elephant, and Bob, a stray dog. But mostly Ivan thinks about art and how to capture the taste of a mango or the sound of leaves with color and a well-placed line. Then he meets Ruby, a baby elephant taken from her family, and she makes Ivan see their home–and his own art–through new eyes. When Ruby arrives, change comes with her, and it’s up to Ivan to make it a change for the better.

Gorilla, Monkey & Ape, by Ian Redmond
Photographed in full color. Take a close-up look at the amazing behavior of our nearest relatives. Learn why howler monkeys burst into song at dawn, what it really means when a mandrill yawns, and why the biggest primate is a vegetarian

Amazing Gorillas! by Sarah L. Thomson
Amazing Gorillas! is the third paperback title in an exciting series of non-fiction I Can Read Books that features kids’ favorite animals and spectacular photographs from the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS). The exceptional writing and design of the I Can Read Books-paired with WCS’s global research and conservation efforts, educational programs, and stunning photographs-make this a standout series for children, caretakers, and teachers!

Little Beauty, by Anthony Browne
With his hyper-realistic artwork full of striking detail, the award-winning Anthony Browne tells a story of an unlikely friendship. Once there was a very special gorilla who had almost everything he needed. There was only one thing he didn’t have: a friend. With no other gorillas at the zoo, the keepers try something new. Will the gigantic ape strike a bond with another sort of creature, one as tiny and innocent as a kitten? Sparked by the story of a real gorilla who learned to sign, Little Beauty is a celebration of a most surprising friendship

Good Morning, Gorillas, by Mary Pope Osborne
Jack and Annie are ready for their next fantasy adventure in the bestselling middle-grade series–The Magic Tree House! Gentle giants or giant monsters? That’s the question Jack and Annie have about gorillas when the Magic Tree House sweeps them to the mountains of Africa. There they meet a group of amazing and sometimes frightening mountain gorillas. Annie knows how to play with the creatures right away. But Jack is left out. Will the gorillas be able to teach him some special magic?

A visit to the St. Louis Zoo is always fun! Before you go, read up on the gorillas you’ll see there.

If you can’t get to the zoo, make your own gorilla! This is a cardboard version of a traditional wooden toy, with a small modification to give it swinging legs. Instructions for the Swinging Gorilla can be found here.