Brief summary: Henley is not a reader. The book was too hard; another was too boring. He could not find a book that had his interests. He preferred playing outside. One day in school, his teacher assigns her students to bring in their favorite book to class tomorrow. Henley goes to the library after school and asks the librarian to help him find his favorite book in the whole wide world. Nothing.
He goes to the bookshop and asks the owner, Mrs. Rackley, if she could help find him a book that he could call his favorite. Again, after looking at several books, Henley does not find one. He goes home and tells his mother his problem. She says something to her son that helps him find his favorite to share the next day. What book is it?
Comments: So good to see how he went to the public librarian and bookstore owner to help him. Henley, I did not have an elementary library either. I had to find my books at the public library.
I love that he was able to find his favorite book and have something so meaningful to share with his classmates. This could be a great introduction for primary students to reflect and share their favorite stories or perhaps an end-of-the-year summary of the favorite books they enjoyed that school year.
Rectangle Time by Pamela Paul; illustrated by Becky Cameron. 2021. Published by Philomel Books.
Brief summary: A thoughtful cat enjoys rectangle time with his boy and father and helps in any way he can to make it superb. He always sits in someone’s lap and scratches his face on the rectangle. Soon, he notices that there are two voices at rectangle time and decides to add his. As time goes by, he hears that rectangle time is now silent and only with the boy. The cat decides he will break the quietness.
Years pass. The cat sees how rectangle time is now with two again, but they are sitting in silence at opposite sides of the room. The cat pokes the boy to let him know he is still contributing with this special ritual. The cat believes it is an accident when the boy removes his helpful paw.
More time passes and the cat concludes the boy is not enjoying his rectangle time by himself on his bed, so the supportive cat sits on the rectangle. He gets dumped on the floor and realizes it was not an accident. The caring cat decides to re-position himself. Will this persistent feline ever find the right way again to share rectangle time?
Comments: Whenever we have story time in elementary school, we call it “circle time” when the children would gather around in sort of a circle and listen/participate with a read aloud. “Rectangle time” is such a cute name showing that story time is through the cat’s perspective and how it changes over the years as the boy grows older.
Definitely a good choice for library media specialists and teachers to share.
Brief summary: Jose, a garbage collector, begins his nightly route in Bogota, Columbia. Jose keeps the books others discard in the trash and adds them to his own library. Each Saturday, he kindly opens his home full of shelves of books for others to borrow, as there is not a library in their area.
Comments: There is a parallel story of a boy in the neighborhood also named Jose who looks forward to Saturday when he can borrow a book from the garbage man’s home library.
This is a superb story to remind many of how lucky we are in the USA to have more free access to books with so many public libraries and Little Free Libraries.
The back pages have an Author’s Note, Featured Books, and Selected Online Sources. There are photos of Jose in the back too.
I thought of that famous quote, “One man’s trash is another man’s treasure,” as I was reading this picture book. I also reflected upon what my life would be like without having a public library close to where I live.
The Book Hogby Greg Pizzoli; illustrated by Greg Pizzoli. Published by Disney Hyperion.
Brief summary: The book hog loved the smell of books, buying them, and being surrounded by them. However, he could not read. One day as he was taking a walk, he came across a building that SMELLED like books. He went inside to find thousands of books. Miss Olive, a children’s librarian, offered to read a book with him. Over time, he learned to read and love books for their stories as well as how they felt(and smelled!).
Comments: Adorable story to read to primary young readers. The illustrations are mainly orange, pink, and green. The end pages are tiny pink and green dots.
If I was still a school librarian(and not retired), I would read this book the first day kindergartners came to visit the school library and then open up a conversation to see if any of my students ever visited a public library explaining that they now have another type of library they can visit each week.
Little Libraries, Big Heroes by Miranda Paul; illustrated by John Parra. 2019. Acrylic paint on illustration board. Published by Clarion Books.
Brief summary: In 2009, Todd Bol cut up an old door and made a small box resembling a tiny one room school house. He filled it with books and set it on his lawn with a sign…free books. Rick Brooks, a friend of Todd’s, suggested that they could make hundreds of these for people to place throughout the country. After awhile, the idea took off. Each Little Free Library has a number to keep track of all of them. People around the world heard about the idea and liked it. Soon Todd and Rick In 2011, the organization became an official nonprofit.
“Take a Book; Share a Book”
Back pages have these sections: Author’s Note, More About Little Free Libraries, More About the People and Events in This Book, and To Learn More.
The Book of Goldby Bob Staake; illustrated by Bob Staake. 2017. Digitally illustrated. Published by Schwartz & Wade Books.
Brief summary: Little boy Isaac Gutenberg is taken to the New York Public Library in 1935 where he sees the two lions, Patience and Fortitude. His parents love books and try to pass that love to their son who is bored in the library. His parents leave and walk into an antique store where Isaac sits in the middle of the floor waiting for them to find a gift for a relative. The storekeeper tries to entertain the boy but without success until he shares the legend of the Book of Gold.
Upon Isaac’s life quest to find the one book that answers all questions and is solid gold, he reads many books over the years learning about many wonderful facts. Towards the end of his life, old man Isaac Gutenberg is back in the New York Public Library sharing the legend of the book of gold with a youngster.
Comments: The end pages are rows of books. The words of this book have white lettering on a black background. This does have a lot of words for young readers, so I would suggest it as a read aloud in addition to one they could read alone. The illustrations are colorful and have action in them that shows the years passing by as the boy grows through the decades to an old man.
The Library Bookby Tom Chapin and Michael Mark, illustrated by Chuck Groenink. 2017. Illustrations done digitally and in pencil. Published by Antheneum Books for Young Readers.
Brief summary: A young girl goes to the library on a rainy Saturday morning and discovers several favorite characters and stories inside as she walks throughout the library looking for library books to check out.
Comments: Love that Tom Chapin’s song is now in book form. The illustrations are full and colorful and make the song come alive as the child walks through the library seeing children book characters around her. The library is full of fun and imagination as she decides what books to check out. This is definitely a great choice to have in any library collection.