Libraries Week is an annual celebration of the best that libraries have to offer. This year Libraries Week takes place between the 4th and 10th October, and highlights the central role that libraries play in their community as a driver for inclusion, sustainability, social mobility and community cohesion. Your library is taking action and changing lives!
Picture books are a wonderful way of sharing and celebrating all that libraries do to make children’s lives better. Here are a few that I have shared, read and enjoyed with children, I hope they work their magic for you too.
We Want Our Books by Jake Alexander
We Want Our Books is a debut picture book by Jake Alexander with an important message that even the smallest voice can make a difference when it is used for good.
Rosa has lots of questions and her Dad knows that the library is the place for her to find the answers. However the library is closed and not just for the day but for ever to be replaced by a restaurant. Rosa and her sister decide to put on a protest and and do everything they can to try to save their library. Although at first people are too busy or too preoccupied to join the girls Rosa and Maria persist and gradually other voices join theirs and united they can make a big difference.
We Want our Books is an inspiring story and a rallying cry to us all to save our libraries before it is too late. The tone is positive and stresses the power of communities to alter decisions that affect them all and the fact that this is started by two young girls is an empowering message for children. Jake Alexander has presented an important subject in a child friendly way. The text is short but conveys the message succinctly and the bold illustrations support the story with speech bubbles and placard messages. The front endpapers show empty shelves with just a few books scattered about whereas those at the end depict well stocked library shelves ready and waiting for users to borrow. It is lovely to see the wide range of people using the library when it reopens, a microcosm of society just as it should be. A picture book about books, libraries and the important role they play in communities is one to cherish.
Madeline Finn and The Library Dog by Lisa Papp.
A personal favourite. A gentle story offering hope and encouragement to children who may find reading difficult. The calming illustrations with their slightly old fashioned feel perfectly match the text that is a celebration not only of libraries but also of the “reading dogs” scheme.
Madeline Finn does NOT like to read. But she DOES want a gold star from her teacher. But, stars are for good readers. Stars are for understanding words, and for saying them out loud.
Fortunately, Madeline Finn meets Bonnie, a library dog. Reading out loud to Bonnie isn’t so bad; when Madeline Finn gets stuck, Bonnie doesn’t mind. As it turns out, it’s fun to read when you’re not afraid of making mistakes. Bonnie teaches Madeline Finn that it’s okay to go slow. And to keep trying.
A Library Book For Bear by Bonny Becker and Kad MacDonald Denton
This is a treat to read aloud being full of humour. Bear is a very reluctant library user but is won over by his friend Mouse (small but determined) and a library storytime session that illustrates perfectly that somewhere there is the right book for everyone. Even bear.
When Bear reluctantly agrees to go with his friend, Mouse, to the big library, neither rocket ships nor wooden canoes are enough for Bear’s picky tastes. How will Mouse ever find the perfect book for Bear?
The Midnight Library by Kazuno Kohara
This picture book is suitable for the youngest of listeners. The concept of a library coming to life at night to cater for the needs of a small army of animals is very appealing to children and the ”tiny librarian’ adds to the almost fairy tale feel. The distinctive illustrations in black, midnight blue and yellow create a secretive atmosphere in this very special library.
When we are fast asleep in bed, the Midnight Library opens its doors to all the night-time animals. Inside the library the little librarian and her three assistant owls help each and every animal to find the perfect book. But with a noisy squirrel band, an upset wolf and a slow-reading tortoise to help, they could all be in for a very busy night.
How the Library (Not the Prince) Saved Rapunzel by Wendy Meddour and Rebecca Ashdown.
An absolutely wonderful twist on a traditional tale that will lift the spirits of any librarian or book lover. This happy story told in rhyme, accompanied by vibrant illustrations, relates how Rapunzel is released from a drab and dreary life not by a dashing Prince Charming but by a job in the library and the discovery of books.
Rapunzel sits on the sixteenth floor of an inner city block, bored, dreaming and looking out at the rain. No one can rouse her from her apathy, not the milkman or the postman or the baker or her aunt – or even the prince. But when at last a letter is delivered, it contains news that has Rapunzel on her feet again. She has a new job at the library! And suddenly her life is busy, sparkling, exciting and stimulating.
Wanted! Ralfy Rabbit, Book Burglar by Emily Mackenzie
Ralfy is a book lover. Unfortunately he loves books just a little too much, even those that belong to others. Frankly I have a bit of sympathy with Ralfy, so many gorgeous books it’s tempting to want to own them all. Sadly this is not really possible. So hurrah for the library! This is a great way to introduce a discussion with children about right and wrong and not taking things that don’t belong to you. A book to spend some time over as there is a lot to look at in the illustrations with plenty of visual humour.
Some rabbits dream about lettuces and carrots, others dream of flowering meadows and juicy dandelions, but Ralfy dreams only of books. In fact, he doesn’t just dream about them, he wants to read them ALL THE TIME. Soon his obsession sends him spiralling into a life of crime!
These are some of my favourites but there are several more wonderful picture books celebrating libraries of all sorts that I’ve shared successfully over the years and I’ve included pictures of these below in case you want to try them too. Perfect for Libraries Week but worth reading any week!