DCPLive is a blog by library staff at the DeKalb County Public Library!


For me, there is one Disney princess that stands out from the rest and that is Belle from Beauty and the Beast.  I identify with her because she is a princess who reads. I also like how the movie discusses appreciating people for who they are as opposed to what they look like.Belle

Bob Thomas, in his book Disney’s Art of Animation, discusses Walt Disney’s beginnings in film with characters such as Mickey Mouse and Snow White (the first princess). Last Christmas, I watched a documentary about how Snow White was made into the first feature film for Walt Disney. It discussed in length the process of getting to the finished result.  The journey continued after Walt Disney passed on with The Little Mermaid and then Beauty and the BeastThe Little Mermaid was the first feature made after Walk passed and Beauty and the Beast the second. Thomas goes onto to share the updates of animation and storyboarding in the process of making Beauty and the Beast.

Beauty and the Beast was adapted from the original story by Ms. Jean Marie Leprince De Beaumont.  We have some versions of the translation here at the library. In the original, there was no Gaston or animated inanimate objects that acted like servants.  Did you know that Belle actually had sisters?  These sisters were considered Belle’s enemy instead of Gaston.  The character of the beast is different as well.  He was more polite and not like the Disney version of the  character. Beauty and the BeastThe finished product  of  1991 Beauty and the Beast is a personal favorite of mine.  It is also a DVD we carry in the DCPL system.   I still remember all the words to songs like “Belle” or “Be Our Guest.”  I revisited the movie over the weekend and enjoyed it just as much as the first time seeing it in the theater.  We have a special edition DVD of the 1991 movie which includes a preview of the live action Beauty and the Beast that is in theaters now.

Be Our Guest and check out these fabulous books and media about Beauty and the Beast:

Beauty and the Beast 1991 movie

Beauty and the Beast soundtrack

DISNEY’S ART OF ANIMATION:  From Mickey Mouse to  Beauty and the Beast by Bob Thomas

Beauty and the Beast by Ms. Jean Marie Leprince De Beaumont (There are also other versions of this story in the DeKalb Library System)

Disney’s Beauty and the Beast by A.L. Singer


Mar 24 2016

Mommy and Me

by Hope L

MommyRecently the Workplace Advisory Group of the DeKalb County Public Library volunteered for a project to help the Mommy and Me Family Literacy Program located in Clarkston.  The DCPL volunteers will be fixing up a space in the school for mothers and their children to read and relax during their school day.

The Mommy and Me Refugee Family Literacy Program is a nonprofit school located in the heart of Clarkston where immigrant mothers and their children learn together.

When I found out about this program, I was delighted.  For a time I worked at the Clarkston Branch of DCPL, and it was (and is) a very busy place!  There were many immigrant children, most of them refugees whose families fled to this country from their homelands.

According to their website, the school’s students come from more than a dozen countries from around the world: Eritrea, Burma, Bhutan, Rwanda, Somalia, Sudan, Iraq, Afghanistan, Iran, The Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, and Burundi.

From the Mommy and Me website,

​We are a nonprofit school located in the heart of Clarkston, Georgia where immigrant mothers and children learn together.

A family literacy program, we offer four components of instruction: (1) ESOL classes for refugee women, (2) onsite early childhood development program for their young children, (3) Parent and Child Time sessions to promote family engagement, and (4) weekly workshops on parenting, health/nutrition, and life skills.

“Clarkston’s transformation dates back to the late 1980’s, when the U.S. State Department and various resettlement agencies chose Clarkston as an ideal site for refugee resettlement.  A mass exodus of middle-class whites to Atlanta’s more affluent suburbs left behind inexpensive apartments that could serve as affordable housing for newly arrived refugee families.  The easternmost stop on MARTA, Clarkston also offered its residence access to public transit and a commute to employment opportunities in Atlanta.”

To find out more about the program or to volunteer or make a donation, click on the link below:

Mommy and Me Family Literacy | about us




Dec 20 2012

The Children

by Veronica W

Mine has been a seat of honor. For over twenty years I have been privileged to work with the little ones; from chubby-legged toddlers in Building Blocks to raucous teens in a library scavenger hunt. When they haven’t come to me, I have gone to them, in the schools and in the daycares. If you want an adrenaline high, stand in front of 30 upturned little faces and watch their glee as they roar like a lion or their wonder as a story unfolds.

Therefore, in the midst of the festivities of this holiday season and for the coming new year, I wish all parents and grandparents, all teachers, all caregivers and all who have a child to love, the joy of watching them grow up. For those of us who have only the memories to hold on to, may those memories gladden our hearts and bring us a measure of peace.

A song, written by Barry De Vorzon/Perry Botkin and recorded by the Carpenters in the 1980s, has always been very dear to my heart. May the words resonate with you as well.

Bless the beasts and the children
For in this world they have no voice, t
hey have no choice.
Bless the beasts and the children
For the world can never be, t
he world they see.
Light their way w
hen the darkness surrounds them
Give them love, l
et it shine all around them.
Bless the beasts and the children
Give them shelter from the storm
Keep them safe, k
eep them warm
Light their way, w
hen the darkness surrounds them
Give them love, l
et it shine all around them.
Bless the beasts and the children
Give them shelter from the storm
Keep them safe, k
eep them warm.
The children
The children
The children.


When I was five my grandmother tied one of her checked terry cloth aprons around my chest, stood me on a stool, handed me a butter knife and an egg and told me it was time I learned to cook.  That’s how I learned to fry eggs, eggshells in the egg, egg in the hot bacon grease and my five year old self just as proud as I could be.  Now, I know you’re horrified because none of you would ever put a five year old anywhere near a functioning gas burner or a pan of hot grease but let’s just recall that times were different—remember when child car seats hooked over the front seat and weren’t actually intended to restrain a child?  Sometimes I’m amazed I survived my childhood.

What’s particularly interesting  about my grandmother deciding I needed to learn how to cook (thanks to her I could put a full meal on the table for a family of six by the time I was 11) is that the only thing my mother could do in the kitchen when she got married was peel potatoes.  My grandma would be the first to tell you she  wasn’t a fancy cook, but that she was more than competent in the kitchen, yet it was my father who had to teach my mother how to roast a chicken, among other things.  I puzzled over this for a long time but the scales fell from my eyes the first time I tied an apron around a junior member of the Kitchen Patrol at my house.  I handed over an egg and butter knife and wound up a gibbering idiot with, quite literally, egg on my face.

It’s not easy to teach someone who is still developing fine motor skills and an attention span how to crack an egg and get it into a bowl.  It takes patience and a willingness to settle for less than perfect results.  Knowing my grandma, I imagine she decided it was just easier to do it herself than to fuss with the mess and bother of teaching my mother.  Of course, by the time I came around she wasn’t worrying about putting out three meals a day for a family of seven and I think she could afford to be a little more relaxed.

Cooking with my family is still a source of deep pleasure for me—most of the best moments of my life have happened in a kitchen.  The Junior Kitchen Patrol and I spend many hours cooking together.  We make bread, brownies, biscotti, pizza, jello.  Jello is in fact the hot favorite at the moment (don’t ask—there’s no way to explain it) with pizza  running a close second.  It’s not all fun and games.  Cooking with children is a scholarly activity.   We do addition (2 eggs + 2 eggs is ?) fractions (slice that pizza in into eighths!) we work on  fine motor skills (try peeling your own shrimp for dinner and see how good you get) and we even squeeze in chemistry (contrary to what some people at my house think the sugar in bread dough does not give yeast gas—we’re still working on that concept.)  Yes, sometimes I wind up gibbering, and I keep the frying-things-in-grease jobs for myself, but Junior KP can crack an egg with no mess these days and we’re both pretty proud of that.  Cooking with a child does take longer but it’s a pretty rewarding pasttime and I’m glad my grandma had the luxury of figuring that out.

Silver spoon for children: favorite Italian recipes recipes adapted and edited by Amanda Grant

FamilyFun cooking with kids from the experts at Family Fun Magazine

Salad people and more real recipes: a new cookbook for pre-schoolers and up by Mollie Katzen

Kids cook 1-2-3: recipes for young chefs using only three ingredients by Rozanne Gold

Children’s baking book recipes and stylings by Denise Smart

Toddler cookbook by Annabell Karmel

Kitchen science by Peter Pentland

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Feb 3 2010

Happy New Year!

by Nancy M

Chinese New Year, that is. Chinese New Year is a centuries-old celebration that is based on the Chinese lunar calendar. The New Year celebrations begin on the first full moon of the year and last for about a week to 15 days.  This year marks the year of the Tiger and will begin on February 14. Festivities take place all over the world and many images that characterize the New Year include dragons, lanterns, fireworks and parades. Check out some wonderful images from last year’s celebrations at The Big Picture.

If you would like your child to learn more about Chinese New Year, the Library is an excellent resource! Check out the following books:

Celebrate Chinese New Year by Carolyn Otto

Paper Crafts for Chinese New Year by Randel McGee

D is for Dragon Dance by Ying Chang Compestine

The Chamblee Library will be hosting fun and festive programs in honor of the New Year and the Year of the Tiger. Children can drop by the Library by February 13 to pick up a tiger to decorate and enter in their Chinese New Year Art Contest and they can attend the Chinese New Year Craft on February 6. And don’t miss out on Chamblee Library’s Chinese New Year Celebration kickoff on February 13. There will be traditional drumming, dancing, and more! For more information call the Chamblee Library at (770) 936-1380 or check their online event schedule.


Jan 6 2010

What’s Cooking @ the Library?

by Nancy M

Every year, like so many others, I half-heartedly attempt a New Year’s resolution. Gone are the days where I try to guilt myself into going to the gym, being more organized, and wasting less time on Facebook. As I get older, I realize I’m just setting myself up for failure. But last year in an attempt to save more money and eat healthier (hopefully eliminating the gym altogether), I resolved to stop eating out so much and start cooking at home. While my resolution wasn’t a complete success—I still like to eat out a lot—I did learn that I actually can cook. Well, I can follow a recipe. This year I plan on getting more serious, which isn’t that hard to do since the Library has tons of great cookbooks with cuisines from all over the world. It’s fun to bring a new one home and try out the recipes rather than commit to buying one. A few of my favorites include:

barefootcontessaBarefoot Contessa Back to Basics by Ina Garten

cleanfoodClean Food: A Seasonal Guide to Eating Close to the Source by Terry Walters

howtocookHow to Cook Everything: 2,000 Simple Recipes for Great Food  by Mark Bittman

There are also some great websites and cooking blogs worth checking out:

Fine Cooking

Their slogan is “We bring out the cook in you” and I couldn’t agree more. Thousands of free top-notch recipes that make me look like I am a better cook than I really am.

The Pioneer Woman

Ree Drummon, a.k.a. Pioneer Woman, shows how to cook delicious homemade fare with step-by-step photos.


Life is about to get much easier since I discovered this site. You simply type in the ingredients you have at home and Supercook finds you a recipe. You can also start an account and keep a running list of ingredients.

The Library has plenty of cookbooks for children and teens. These books can help children learn their way around the kitchen and teach them the importance of eating right; international cuisines can serve as an introduction to a new culture.

growitGrow It Cook edited by Deborah Lock

holyHoly Guacamole!: and Other Scrumptious Snacks by Nick Fauchald

cookThe Spatulatta Cookbook by Isabella and Olivia Gerasole

Cookbooks can be found in your Library under the Call Number 641. Books about food and culture can be found under 394.

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Dec 14 2009

The Best Thing to Spend on Children

by Patricia D

Years ago I had the pleasure of working with Mr. Eddie Bonnemere.  He had played piano for Duke Ellington and told wonderful stories of late rehearsals and long road trips.  One story that stuck with me was this: whenever the band finally stopped for a meal Mr. Ellington would return thanks not only for the food but for the time and company as well.  All these years later I’m still grateful to Mr. Ellington, by way of Mr. Bonnemere, for reminding me that time and the people we choose to spend it on are precious.

Now, let me get to my point.  As a children’s librarian I am frequently asked, especially this time of year, by Grandma and Uncle and godpapa to help them choose books for the darling young person in their lives.  They have gotten the message that books are good for youngsters and are eager to do their part in setting that child on the path to academic success.  There’s a second, delicious part to the equation though.  Books are great gifts, but they are all the better when a much loved adult spends time reading them with the child.  If the adult is too far away there is reading together over the phone, or a video call, or even a homemade read-along with a CD or (yikes) a cassette tape of the adult reading.  Jim Trelease can tell you all about the benefits of reading aloud, even to older children, and offers many wonderful suggestions.  Any children’s staff member at DCPL can do the same.  So, buy the books, check them out of the library, it really doesn’t matter either way but be certain to treat yourself, and that special child, to time together talking, laughing or crying over a book.  Books are great, but books + time together is the best.


2009-11-6_Pre-K_Library_Class[2]Congratulations to Hightower Elementary School for being the first school in the DeKalb County School System to have all their pre-kindergarten students sign up for library cards! The undertaking was accomplished with the dedication of the pre-k teacher, Elaine Swartley, Hightower’s teacher-librarian, Kia Wansley, as well as the parents and the DeKalb County Public Library System. These people worked together to ensure that these children did not miss out on a free and wonderful opportunity, as children of any age in DeKalb County can receive library cards.

One of the best ways that you, as a parent, teacher, or caregiver can support literacy in children is to encourage them to use the library. The library has thousands of books, reference materials, audiobooks and educational videos as well as internet access and a wide variety of free programs specifically for children and teens.

So what are you waiting for? Stop by your local branch and sign your child up for a Library card today!  Adults may also apply online for a library card.


Sep 4 2009

The End of the Rainbow

by Jesse M

reading-rainbowOn Friday, August 28, the award winning children’s program Reading Rainbow aired its final episode. It marked the end of an era. For the past 26 years, host LeVar Burton has introduced countless children worldwide to the joys of reading. In that time the show has been the recipient of over 250 awards, including 26 Emmys (ten for “Outstanding Children’s Series”), a Peabody, and nine Parent’s Choice Awards. While the show stopped producing new episodes in 2006, PBS had continued to air reruns until last month, when lack of funding made it impossible for them to renew the show’s broadcast rights. This unfortunate happenstance is at least partially due to a paradigm shift in children’s literacy work which asserts that the focus should be on teaching the mechanics of reading instead of attempting to foster a love of books, as Reading Rainbow did (See the NPR article for more on this).

The Library has many Reading Rainbow videos available for checking out.   Additionally, the Reading Rainbow section of the PBS kids website is still running and will remain accessible until December 2009.

I was a huge fan of the show as a kid, and though it has been many, many years since I last had the pleasure of viewing it, I still remember the words to the theme song. I bet you do too.

Correction: originally, this post said that the Reading Rainbow series was not available at the Library.  This was a mistake, and has been corrected above.  Thanks to the readers who pointed this out to us!


Jun 24 2009

Vintage Children’s Books

by Nancy M

funniest1There is something so delightfully nostalgic about coming across an old children’s book that I read as a child. Little Golden Books, anybody? Seeing the colorful illustrations that I would pore over as a kid brings back those halcyon childhood days and reading the charming stories reminds me of why I became a children’s librarian in the first place. DeKalb County Public Libraries house thousands of children’s books and there are many hidden treasures just waiting to be rediscovered. Here are some of my favorites:

Frederick (1967) by Leo Lionni


The Giant Jam Sandwich (1973) by John Vernon Lord


Too Many Mittens (1958) by Florence and Louis Slobodkin


The Story of Ferdinand (1936) by Munro Leaf


I came across this blog recently, which brought back even more wonderful book memories and helped me to discover some new ones I have never read.

What are your favorite vintage children’s books?