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8 Amazing Picture Books About Librarians

April is National Library Month; and in anticipation of that, I am sharing these 8 amazing picture books about librarians, and of course, libraries!

There are so many reasons to love books. One of them being that I learn about people I did not know about earlier (and should have). The joy of discovery is always new, always fresh – for each time I read a book and discover something – like a pirate with a treasure chest or a kid in a candy store (to state the obvious cliched examples!!). This is definitely one of my favorite reasons!!

And books about books have a magic of their own. Which is why books about librarians, one of those jobs I know I would love having, as well as books about libraries also hold a special place in my heart; and will always tempt me. What about you?

A shout-out to all the librarians I know and have gotten to know through the world of blogging over the years!! To all you librarians out there, thank you!! And do let me know your favorite books about librarians, aka you??

Also, while libraries and bookstores and other bookish places can easily find their way into today’s top ten list (places in books I would love to live), I have chosen real places (for a change from previous such listings). Click here to go to that list.

This post contains Amazon and other affiliate links, that at no additional cost to you, I may earn a small commission. Please see the full disclosure for more information. I only recommend products I would (or have already) use myself.

8 Amazing Picture Books About Librarians

That Book Woman

Book Info

Title: That Book Woman
Author: Heather Henson
Illustrator: David Small 
Length: 40 pages
Genre: Children’s Historical Fiction (4 – 8 years,, and up)
Publisher: Atheneum Books for Young Readers (October 7th 2008)
Source: My e-copy

My Thoughts

One of my favorite books of 2020 was The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek. And when I saw this beautiful picture book titled That Book Woman, I knew I had to check it out.

A fictional tale told from the perspective of a boy who thinks books contain nothing but ‘chicken scratch.’ It is totally heartwarming and amazing to watch his transformation in this beautifully illustrated picture book. It is based on the real-life Pack Horse Librarians, who brought library books to rural Appalachian families in Kentucky. Their tireless and often-times brave efforts to ensure books reached these far-flung and poor families helped many to keep reading; and inspired many more to become readers, like young Cal in this book.

Both the art work and the narrative tell this inspiring, touching story beautifully in their own way; and together they of course work magic, like wondrous picture books always do. Henson magically weaves local dialect into a lyrical narrative without it sounding forced or losing meaning; and David Small’s art tells this story all on its own for the very youngest of readers while being gorgeous artwork as well!

And then there is the informative backmatter with an author’s note that is not to be missed, along with more resources for curious readers.

Get It Here

Amazon  ||  IndieBound


The Lady With the Books

Book Info

Title: The Lady with the Books: A Story Inspired by the Remarkable Work of Jella Lepman
Author: Kathy Stinson
Illustrator: Marie Lafrance  
Length: 32 pages
Genre: Children’s Historical Fiction (4 – 7 years, and up)
Publisher: Kids Can Press (October 6th 2020)
Source: NetGalley digital review copy

My Thoughts

Another fictional tale based on a true story – of another inspiring woman – whose love for and of books ensured that kids did not lose out on the joys of reading during a grim time.

This book is from the point of view of two siblings who end up in a book exhibition as they wander around war-torn Munich in search of food. And within books like Babar, Ferdinand, Heidi, and Pippi, they discover hope and healing and strength.

Backmatter includes information about Jella Lepman (the lady with the books), about IBBY(International Board on Books for Young People), and the International Youth Library. It also includes so many interesting literary facts as well as photos along with additional resources.

Get It Here

Amazon  ||  IndieBound

The Librarian of Basra: A True Story from Iraq

Book Info

Title: The Librarian of Basra: A True Story from Iraq
Author/Illustrator: Jeanette Winter
Length: 32 pages
Genre: Children’s Nonfiction/Middle East, History, Literary Biographies (4 – 7 years, and up)
Publisher: Harcourt (January 1st 2005)
Source:

My Thoughts

I read this book years ago, and somehow, this story has withstood the test of time and age to stay fresh in my memory still. My complete review of the book is here; but in short, this book shows how war can impact lives and nations. It also heart-touchingly portrays the importance of books and the courage of unsung heroes, like that of Alia Muhammad Baker, the titular librarian of Basra.

Get It Here

Amazon  ||  IndieBound

Digging for Words: José Alberto Gutiérrez and the Library He Built

Book Info

Title: Digging For Words: José Alberto Gutiérrez and the Library He Built
Author: Angela Burke Kunkel 
Illustrator: Paola Escobar  
Length: 40 pages
Genre: Children’s Books about Books/Literary Biographies (4 – 7 years, and up)
Publisher: Schwartz & Wade Books (September 8th 2020)
Source: Library

My Thoughts

This was one of the books nominated for the Cybils awards; I had a chance to read just enough of the book earlier. But I had to borrow it again from the library simply because….well, it needed to be read and seen and cherished, both for the inspiring story and the amazing artwork of the super-talented Paola Escobar!

Using a parallel dual narrative of the featured Jose as well as a young boy name Jose, this book takes readers on a journey of magic that is books. This particular journey begins with a garbage truck, and the destination is – Paradise – for that is the name of the library José Alberto Gutiérrez built, and that the little boy Jose frequents.

And so apt as well, for as one of my favorite quotes says, “I have always imagined that paradise will be a kind of library” [Jorge Luis Borges]

The short author’s note at the end includes more information and lists additional resources for readers wanting to learn more.

Get It Here

Amazon  ||  IndieBound

Miss Dorothy and Her Bookmobile

Book Info

Title: Miss Dorothy and Her Bookmobile
Author: Gloria Houston
Illustrator: Susan Condie Lamb  
Length: 32 pages
Genre: Children’s Nonfiction/Literary Biographies (4 – 8 years, and up)
Publisher: HarperCollins (January 25th 2011 )
Source: Library

Miss Dorothy and Her Bookmobile is an inspiring story about the love of books, the power of perseverance, and how a librarian can change people’s lives.

My Thoughts

Set in the Blue Ridge mountains in North Carolina, this book reminded me of the Pack Horse Librarians from the first book featured today.

From the time she was a little girl, Dorothy knew she wanted to be a librarian, especially one in a big red brick one like the one in her town. But when she found herself in a place nestled in the mountains and far away from any red brick libraries at all, she created one! And soon, Miss Dorothy and her bookmobile brought the joys of reading and of books to many in those mountains.

The lyrical narrative and the softly beautiful illustrations work together to tell this inspiring story that brings truth to the phrase “bloom where you are planted.”

Get It Here

Amazon  ||  IndieBound

Planting Stories: The Life of Librarian and Storyteller Pura Belpré

Book Info

Books About Librarians

Title: Planting Stories: The Life of Librarian and Storyteller Pura Belpré
Author: Anika Aldumay Denise 
Illustrator: Paola Escobar  
Length: 40 pages
Genre: Children’s Nonfiction/Literary Biographies (4 – 8 years, and up)
Publisher: HarperCollins (January 15th 2019)
Source: Library

My Thoughts

So so gorgeous, and so very inspiring too!! Another one illustrated by Paola Escobar, and now I feel I can recognize her stunning, vibrant artwork anytime I see it in the future.

It was wonderful to read about Pura Belpré; and I was surprised I had no idea about her, considering that I have read so many books that have won the Pura Belpré award in recent years. So while I feel I should have known more about her already, I am glad I do now.

I loved how Anika Aldumay Denise presents both the highs and lows of Belpré’s life realistically yet with the gentleness for its young audience. The narrative engages readers right from the very start, transporting us into Belpré’s journey from Puerto Rico to the NYPL and more.

And Escobar’s bright, colorful, imaginative, and charmingly realistic artwork full of myriad details that will delight complement this wonderful story to perfection.

Last but not the least, backmatter that is not to be missed includes an author’s note, selected bibliography, and additional resources (films, articles, and more further reading), along with a list of books written by Pura Belpré that are referenced in the story itself.

Get It Here

Amazon  ||  IndieBound

Schomburg: The Man Who Built a Library

Book Info

Title: Schomburg: The Man Who Built a Library
Author: Carole Boston Weatherford 
Illustrator: Eric Velásquez   
Length: 48 pages
Genre: Children’s Nonfiction/Historical, Literary Biographies (9 – 12 years, and up)
Publisher: Candlewick Press (September 12th 2017)
Source: First a NetGalley digital review copy; and now my personal e-library

My Thoughts

It is purely a coincidence that this story about a Puerto Rican luminary associated with the NYPL follows another one of the same in my listing here today. But coincidences sometimes are marvelous, like this one happens to be!

I first read this a couple of years ago when I requested it from NetGalley but failed to share it at the time. So when I started writing this post, I recalled this book as well and simply had to get it for myself, read it, and share it with all of you.

Gorgeous artwork that are like paintings and inspiring, engaging free verse come together to tell the story of Schomburg as well as others who made an impact on him. While the book does seem text-heavy for a picture book, the intended audience is also a little older (9 – 12 years). Readers discover as they move through this luminously illustrated lyrical book how Schomburg’s quest for learning more about the history of his own people led to something else; to a library and to things more magnificent in their intangibles.

Another must-read.

Get It Here

Amazon  ||  IndieBound

Waiting for the Biblioburro

Book Info

books about librarians - waiting for the biblioburro

Title: Waiting for the Biblioburro
Author: Monica Brown 
Illustrator: John Parra  
Length: 32 pages
Genre: Children’s Books about Libraries, Literary Biographies (5 – 8 years, and up)
Publisher: Tricycle Press  (first published July 2011)
Source: Library

My Thoughts

I was transported to Ana’s world seamlessly through the pages of this book. Sweet, colorful illustrations that will appeal to its young readers and a straightforward narrative show readers how books can bring joy yet again. The biblioburro, like Dorothy’s bookmobile and like the pack horse libraries, brought (and continues to bring even today), the wonders of reading to those who had no access to books and libraries in remote villages of Columbia.

Luis Soriano continues operating the biblioburro even today, as it is still needed in his country. And you can support the efforts and read more about it on his Facebook page that I discovered as a result of writing this post.

Get It Here

Amazon  ||  IndieBound

My Bookshop Page for Books About Librarians (and Libraries, etc)

Amazing Picture Books About Librarians

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8 Amazing Picture Books About Librarians

Real Places From Books I Would Live In

This week’s Top Ten Tuesday theme is Places In Books I’d Love to Live; and I have done similar posts before. Like this Quick Guide to Ten Fictional Bookish Places You Will Wish Were Real. I also listed places I would love to travel to and those I would stay away from. Other posts included Books That Inspire Travel, and one titled Have Books, Will Travel!

So today I decided to list real places instead; the ones I have read about in myriad books (I mention a few of them for each location below). This is just ten random places that popped in my head as I made the list; and I know there are tons more I would add if I think on it more.. But ..

  • England (various places; ranging from the Yorkshire moors with reads like The Secret Garden to Bath thanks to Austen, and rural Kent because of The Darling Buds of May; and of course London because of historical romances like Julia Quinn’s Bridgerton series)
  • Paris (from early reads like The Three Musketeers, to more recent ones like Anna and the French Kiss)
  • New York (so many books to list here; but here you go; The Lions of Fifth Avenue is one, well it is one of the books about librarians and libraries too!)
  • Along the Mississippi (pretty random, I know, but considering I reread the books because of my teens’ required reading & of course, thanks to Mark Twain)
  • Ireland (Nora Robert’s Irish Born trilogy ensured I was in love with Ireland years before I fell in love with Ireland through The Outlander series again)
  • Japan (Phone Booth at the Edge of the World, Genji, among others)
  • Russia (because of the many Misha magazines, folk and fairy tales I read as a little girl)
  • Canada (including of course Prince Edward Island, Anne of Green Gables being one inspiration of course)
  • Greece (Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants among many others)
  • India (last but not the least; the books are too many to list, and to me, it is family too!)

And Now, the End of This Post

Dear reader, as always, I welcome your thoughts, comments, and suggestions, as well as recommendations for similar books to the ones listed above. Any favorite books about librarians, or libraries, or similar? Do let me know. And also places you would love to live in? Be it real or fictional.

Linking this post towards IMWAYR to join other wonderful bloggers (some of whom are librarians) at TeachMentorTexts.

34 thoughts on “8 Amazing Picture Books About Librarians

  1. I remember the first librarian I met. in the Levittown Public Library. She also worked the bookmobile that came within 4 doors of my house for 2 years (when they killed the bookmobile program). she introduced me to the “Henry” detective series and one where a pig was the main character. (Sorry, these memories are 66 years old. )

  2. What a wonderful idea to share books about librarians! They definitely do deserve our appreciation. I don’t know much about the pack-horse librarians, so That Book Woman sounds fascinating! I am also unfamiliar with Pura Belpré despite her award, so I should definitely take a look at Planting Stories! The Librarian of Basra sounds great as well. I appreciate your thorough looks at each of these books—I feel like I got a little taste of each one from your post! Thanks for sharing!

  3. Oh I have to get Miss Dorothy book and read to Lia! We love the Blue Ridge Mountains! Also your post brought back memories of my high school liabrarian, she was the sweetest and most knowledgeable one when it came to needing help finding information on a particular subject.

  4. This is a great list of books. I remember as a child (before our town had a permanent library) getting so excited about the mobile library and was always one of the first people waiting impatiently with my pile of books and my library card then I got home with my new ones and that was me back in book world.

  5. So many great books to read,d and I would love to read this one first “Digging for Words: José Alberto Gutiérrez and the Library He Built.” It has a very interesting story, and will def get a copy of it.

  6. Great collection — I’ve read some of them, and want to find the rest.

    I’m currently reading The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek! Glad to hear you endorse it.

  7. YAY, 8 great picture books I haven’t read yet!
    I thought “Miss Brooks Loves Books (And I Don’t)” would be on the list, or “Do Not Bring Your Dragon to the Library” But I’m glad they weren’t because that meant I was introduced to EIGHT books I haven’t read instead of six.

    1. I did not know about the Miss Brooks book (so thanks for the intro and I will look for it).. Since I was looking for real life librarians for this post, these were the eight I ended up with (and there are some I left out too, maybe a future post).. and glad to add eight books to your list

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