The Night Library by David Zeltser and Raul Colon

The Night LibraryThe Night Library by David Zeltser and Raul Colón. 2019. Published by Random House.

Brief summary: A young boy receives a book on the eve of his eighth birthday and is not pleased. He goes to bed only to wake up in the  night by  purring of a white lion sitting in the snow outside his window . The boy goes outside and is greeted by Fortitude who gives him a ride through the moonlit city to the New York Public Library where he takes the boy inside the empty building. Familiar books move about the library making different shapes. Patience, another white library lion, joins them as the boy remembers his grandpa reading several of the books to him. Patience decides that it is time the boy returned home as Fortitude goes back onto his place in front of the library turning into a statue again.

Comments: Author’s Note in the back tells about the lion statues that were planned by Edward Clark Potter with the Piccirilli brothers carving them from pink Tennessee marble. After several earlier names, they were later named by a New York City Mayor, Fiorello LaGuardia, during the Great Depression to help people remember important virtues to get through hard times. Patience and Fortitude stuck.

The NYP Library’s slogan  is “Read Between the Lions”.

As a school librarian, I would read this book to students during National Library Week being sure to pair it with the photos of the lions outside of the library.

For more information about the lions: https://www.nypl.org/help/about-nypl/library-lions

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