A wise librarian once told me that the mission of a library is about so much more than lending books; it’s also about getting to know the patrons and connecting them with books they’ll want to share with others. This month’s picture book favorites feature libraries (and librarians) doing what they do best, bringing readers and books together. Enjoy!
“Bunny’s Book Club” written by Annie Silvestro and illustrated by Tatjana Mai-Wyss (Copyright 2017, Doubleday Books for Young Readers) is about a book-loving rabbit named Bunny. All summer long, he hid in the bushes outside the library and imagined himself having adventures just like the ones the librarian read to the children. In the fall, when story time moved inside the library, Bunny missed the books so much that he climbed through the book return door to be near them. Luckily, the library was closed at the time. Before long, he came back out through the book return, bringing several books he had chosen to borrow. After many more nightly trips to the library, he shared his secret with some curious friends, who joined him for a “field trip” to see the library for themselves. They were all so busy that no one noticed the librarian coming in the front door. Shocked and scared at being caught, they prepared for the worst. The librarian explained to them that “all libraries have rules,” before she gave each of them a library card. The book concludes with a two-page spread showing Bunny and his friends during a meeting of “Bunny’s Book Club.” This sweet story, with illustrations that will have you lingering to enjoy them, is a picture book treasure.
“Miss Dorothy and Her Bookmobile” written by Gloria Houston and illustrated (beautifully) by Susan Condie Lamb (Copyright 2011, HarperCollins Children’s Books) is based on the life of Dorothy Thomas, whose love of books and people inspired her at a young age to become a librarian. Soon after graduating college, she married and relocated to the mountains of North Carolina. There she found plenty of friends and neighbors who shared her love of reading, but there was no library. Eventually, her friends and neighbors pooled their resources and bought a bookmobile, agreeing that Dorothy would be their librarian. She spent many years sharing her love of books while driving the bookmobile through hills and valleys to visit schools, farms, post offices, grocery stores, churches, parking lots, factories, and even the courthouse steps. When one of her patrons donated a little white house to serve as the community’s new library, people came from near and far to visit the place where Miss Dorothy would share her love of books (and people) with them. To me, this book underscores the importance of small-town libraries and the librarians who dedicate themselves to breathing life into them.
“The Children Who Loved Books” written and illustrated by Peter Carnavas (Copyright 2013, Kane Miller division of EDC Publishing) tells the story of two children, Angus and Lucy, who “didn’t have very much.” The truth was that their family didn’t have things like televisions, cars, or even a regular sized house, but they did have hundreds of books. When Angus and Lucy’s father decided that books were taking up too much space in their tiny home, he got rid of them. The distance this created between the family caused things to be different for a while, until Lucy brought a book home from the library. Sitting together that evening, the family listened as Dad read the story to them. They soon realized that the book had brought them close to each other again. The next morning, Dad took his family to the library, where they found all the books they would ever need. This simple story is a gentle reminder that books can take us just about anywhere we want to go, while bringing us together at the same time.
If you have a favorite picture book about libraries (or librarians) to recommend, I’d love to hear about it.
Happy reading! 😊