Thanks to Goodreads’ friends Gundula, I have a copy of this of my very own, which I am happ...moreI read this book in this omnibus edition: Booky: A Trilogy.
Thanks to Goodreads’ friends Gundula, I have a copy of this of my very own, which I am happy to lend out. Another Goodreads friend offered to let me borrow her copies of the three books. What a wonderful site this is! What’s infuriating and disappointing though is how many books from faraway, and not all that far away, places are sometimes not available. Yes, this book is old, but it’s reprinted, and yet it’s not available at my public library. I’ll bet if the events in the book took place in the U.S. and not in Canada, our near neighbor, my library would have the book.
The cover has a painting of a young girl and normally I like deciding for myself what characters look like but turn the first page and there is a photo of a girl who looks exactly like the painting on the cover, and there are more photos. These are autobiographical novels with some non-fiction components.
The storytelling and writing style engaged me from the start. Booky’s narration is wonderful, her story lovingly drawn. So, despite the hunger and poverty and the hitting and yelling and other disturbing content, this book definitely qualifies as a comfort read for me. There was quite a bit of humor. There was a nifty appearance of the book Anne of Green Gables. The author’s vivid and genuine memories of childhood had universal appeal. The relationships and situations felt very genuine. And there was so much hopefulness.
Unfortunately, when I read books about hungry people is when I’m most prone to overeat and Booky’s descriptions of her hunger and the hunger experienced by her family members was vividly told, as were the descriptions of the foods they did eat.
The photographs of people and places and things and events from the time, including some of the author when young, really added to my pleasure of reading the story. It brought the historical fiction even more to life.
What a treasure! It’s ridiculous that just because this book’s events take place in Canada and it’s by a Canadian author, that it’ so difficult to obtain in the U.S. My library should have this edition (it has no Booky books) and I think I’ll recommend they purchase it for lending out. Thanks to Goodreads’ friend Gundula I own this lovely book, and thanks also to Goodreads’ friend Abigail who offered to lend me her 3 Booky books.
I expect this will be my favorite of the three books. The child narrator is so entertaining; in this book she goes in age from shortly before her 10th birthday until shortly after her 11th birthday.
If I’d read this when I was 9, 10, 11 it would have been one of my favorite books. My father talked about the Great Depression some when I was young. He was a young adult by then, but when he was Booky’s age he also lived in extreme poverty, no happy ending for him until he was older than Booky.(less)
Whew! My last picture book at home. There was quite a pile. Of course, more are in the pipeline, but I really am trying to cut back on children’s pict...moreWhew! My last picture book at home. There was quite a pile. Of course, more are in the pipeline, but I really am trying to cut back on children’s picture books so I have more time to read other types of books.
I did love this one. There was more background and more explanation. I love how the story didn’t start in the middle, but earlier. the frames show Alia as a librarian, recommending books to patrons and helping them. It gives the back story from Alia’s childhood of why she loved books so much. It explains how she started saving the books by bringing them to her home and only then to the restaurant next door to the library, and it does tell more about the war, about the the cultural importance of the books, about Iraq’s dictator and which countries were bombing Iraq. And what happened to Alia and the saved books after the fire. And why Alia had cause to worry about the books in their location in the library. It’s a full enough story.
There is a wonderful and informative page in the back that touches on the stories of other libraries and the history of Iraq and the Middle East as it pertains to the written language. Mentioned is the Alexandrian Library, the clay tablets of Ebla, the Nizamiyah library, and an update (as of when this book was published in 2004) of the future of the Basra Central Library, Alia’s library.
This book is definitely for independent readers. The pages are too full and chaotic for this to be a good read aloud book to pre-readers. The cartoons are in black & white. Some pages are sparse but many are incredibly detailed and busy.
As a lover of libraries and books, I was emotionally touched by this story.(less)