Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Librarian of Basra: A True Story from Iraq” as Want to Read:
The Librarian of Basra: A True Story from Iraq
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Librarian of Basra: A True Story from Iraq

4.17  ·  Rating details ·  2,684 ratings  ·  425 reviews
"In the Koran, the first thing God said to Muhammad was 'Read.'"*
--Alia Muhammad Baker

Alia Muhammad Baker is a librarian in Basra, Iraq. For fourteen years, her library has been a meeting place for those who love books. Until now. Now war has come, and Alia fears that the library--along with the thirty thousand books within it--will be destroyed forever.

In a war-stricken
...more
Hardcover, 32 pages
Published January 1st 2005 by HMH Books for Young Readers
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Librarian of Basra, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about The Librarian of Basra

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 4.17  · 
Rating details
 ·  2,684 ratings  ·  425 reviews


More filters
 | 
Sort order
Start your review of The Librarian of Basra: A True Story from Iraq
Manybooks
Mar 08, 2012 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: older children interested in the Iraq War, older children interested in brave women
According to Jeannette Winter's excellent and informative author's note, Alia Muhammad Baker (who was the chief librarian of Basra, Iraq, and indeed even that fact is remarkable, as it shows that while Saddam Hussein might have been in many ways a vile dictator, in his Iraq, women were obviously often employed in important and leadership potential careers) managed to save 70% of the Library of Basra's collection of books before the library burned in April 2003. Not only is it amazing that this ...more
Calista
A love story about books. The opening quote "In the Koran, the first thing God said to Muhammad was 'Read'." This is said by Alia Muhammad Baker, the librarian of Basra. During the war of Iraq, she saved 30,000 books from burning. This is a short and succinct story. She was brave and she obviously loved the word. I had never heard this story and it's powerful. I would think any book-o-phile would appreciate someone saving a library during war. That's a big thought; what books would you decided ...more
Jon Nakapalau
Alia Muhammad Baker is one of the unsung heroes of the war in Iraq. Her dedication to saving books for future generations is a true silver lining to this oppressive cloud of war.
Mariah Roze
Apr 17, 2017 rated it really liked it
Fantastic book that I read with my students! So educational and explains what war can do to a country and how important books are.
Stephanie Anze
Feb 16, 2018 rated it really liked it
"In the Koran, the first thing God said to Muhammad was 'Read' " - Alia Muhammad Baker

description

Alia was the chief librarian at the Al Basrah Central Library in Basra, Iraq. A meeting place for discussions and connections, Alia loved her job. When war loomed and grew more imminent, Alia wanted to move the books to a safer location. When denied help by government officials, she took matters into her own hands.

I just love books about books and I particularly love this story for the sheer courage and
...more
Mohamedridha Alaskari محمد رضا العسكري
A true story of Mrs. Alyaa the manager of Basra Library whom saved over than 3000 priceless books during the US invasion in Iraq.

I encourage everyone to read it. Very interesting true story! Feel proud of this Iraqi Woman.

The story is available pdf using this link:
http://www.4shared.com/office/foTaVVL...
Randie D. Camp, M.S.
The Librarian of Basra: A True Story from Iraq : I really enjoyed this book. It is important for readers to think about how people in other countries are impacted by events, such as war, from other perspectives. Many children know of the war in Iraq but from the American perspective. I am appreciative of Jeanette Winter for sharing Alia Muhammad Baker’s story and letting us see how the war affected the library and the residents of Basra, Iraq. I also appreciated that Winter noted that the Basra ...more
Kathryn
Mar 15, 2012 rated it really liked it
I'm quite torn over my feelings about this picture book which tells the true story of Alia Muhammad Baker, a librarian in Basra, Iraq, and how she personally endeavors to save the precious books in her library when war reaches Basra. On the one hand, it is a deeply touching story about how one person can make a difference in his/her community, even against all odds, and even inspire others to help. In this case, it is even more poignant in that Alia wants save books--treasure troves of her ...more
Selwa
Sep 30, 2014 rated it really liked it
Man, I hate writing reviews for books I don't have in front of me, but the book was due at the library and I couldn't renew it. So, here we go!

First off, I need to confess my bias ... I'm the kid of Iraqi immigrants so I might have a warmer, fuzzier case of the warm fuzzies for this.

Anyway, this is the tale of a librarian who, knowing war was coming, was determined to save the books in her library. She had no official help (i.e., from local government), so she went ahead and did what she could
...more
Nadin Adel
Apr 21, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A real worthy book aimed for kids to teach them part of what happened in Iraq through a simple illustrated story and to raise the awareness of the importance of learning, books and reading.

Sincerae
I just bought this book in ebook format today and completed it. I was prompted to read The Librarian of Basra because of the recommendation of it by one of my Goodreads friends who is Iraqi and the controversy this innocent book has caused in this country.

I am always skeptical when a Westerner, especially American, writes about a non-Western country or culture because many of these authors have a bad track record of making fantastically false presentations and setting up propaganda to make the
...more
Krista the Krazy Kataloguer
A true librarian! I probably would have done the same thing were I in her shoes. The thought of destroying books-- unthinkable!
David
The Librarian of Basra: A True Story from Iraq by Jeanette Winter, based on a New York Times article of July 27, 2003, tells the story of Alia Muhammad Baker, head librarian of Basra, Iraq who helped save 70% of the library's collections before the library burned during the Iraq War. An author's note gives backgound at the end of the book. This was a March 2012 selection for the library topic for the Picture Book Club at Goodreads.

Winter's colorful, bold illustrations were done in acrylic and
...more
S.Baqer Al-Meshqab
Nov 02, 2016 rated it liked it
Well, I was not expected the booklet to be that short. It is directed for children, I suppose, so that's why. The picture book shows moderate artwork, and the story is OK for kids. I think it would give them a boost on how valuable books are that even at the times of dismay, Alia couldn't just leave them be. A Book is a treasure, and a treasure must be treasured by all means.

Cool lesson, from a true story.
Amina
Nov 05, 2016 rated it really liked it
An amazing true story of an amazingly brave librarian!
Thanks for the rec Ridha!
Lisa Vegan
Oct 19, 2008 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: discussions about war, collaboration, bravery, friendship, books, libraries
Well, I am impressed by the true story and by the Librarian of Basra. I’m not as big a fan of this book as are most Goodreads’ members. (I took a look at the ratings.)

One thing about which I’m perplexed is if the saving of the books happened in exactly this way, their survival was a matter of chance. Maybe the restaurant and not the library could have been bombed?

So, I didn’t really like the spare text. I didn’t like that the story (sans beginning quote and author’s note) seems almost generic.
...more
Dolly
Dec 31, 2009 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: parents reading with their children
This is a sad, but heartwarming tale about how war tears apart the foundations of society. One librarian strives to protect her precious books, books that are hundreds of years old and cultural relics.

It's sad that the library is burned to the ground during the conflict, but inspiring that Alia was so dedicated to preserving her piece of Iraqi culture and language. Our girls enjoyed watching the story on the Tumblebooks website. (tumblebooks.com)

This story was selected as one of the books for
...more
Julie
Inspiring story of Alia Muhammad Baker, the librarian who rescued 30,000 books from the Basra library during the Iraq War in 2003 and hid them in her home, the homes of friends, and a nearby restaurant. I read today in the National Coalition Against Censorship's e-newsletter that one of Ms. Winter's other books, Nasreen's Secret School: A True Story from Afghanistan, is being challenged by parents in Wisconsin, but that book was checked out so I found this one. This is a lovely piece about the ...more
Dov Zeller
A beautiful picture book that tells the story of Alia Muhammad Baker, a librarian in Basra who goes to great lengths to protect her library's books during wartime. There's not much text in it. It's very short and simplified. I think even in a kids book there could have been a tiny bit more in the way of detail about Baker and the war and her wartime activities. But, it's still lovely and I'm glad I read it and I imagine it could be a great conversation starter when talking to kids about any ...more
Syu
Borrowed this from PNM via Overdrive. I love the illustration. But the story-telling pace is a bit off for me.

Can't imagine the actual struggle to take good care of the books Alia Muhammad Baker owned from one place to another safely. 30,000 books!!! When you love books and realize the importance to preserve it, no difficulty come in the way will be able to stop you.
Tara
Apr 21, 2009 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: anyone.
I'd like to develop some sort of "librarian appreciation" unit that injects a little world view, and came across this book as a recommendation in the NYSUT newsletter.

Although this is a child's book, (primarily recommended for 3rd - 5th grade), I would like to try using this as a read aloud to kick off the unit in conjunction with the New York Times article ...

http://www.nytimes.com/2003/07/27/int...

I think it might work best with middle school students, but I'd use it in high school as well, as
...more
KamReadsBooks
Jul 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction
It was wonderful!

This book is set against a backdrop of an invaded Iraq. A librarian who finds her library in danger of obliteration by the hands of the soldiers moves all the books to her and her friends' place.

This is a story which celebrates the joy of reading books. It is rare to find people who are ready to give up their lives to save books. This picture book narrates in a benign manner how books can become more cherished and dear to your heart than even your life. Books have empowered us
...more
Carolynne
Mar 05, 2010 rated it really liked it
Illlustrated with bright, bold acrylic and pen illustrations, _The Librarian of Basra_ tells a story of the horrors of war in a balanced way, not too frightening for young children. (There is no mention that it is U.S. planes that bomb the city, although an American soldier is pictured at the door in one illustration.) Alia gets no help from the Governor of Basra in trying to preserve the 30000 books in the library when war is imminent, so she takes it upon herself to move them with the help of ...more
BookDrunkard
Jun 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Another banned books selection. This true story is about a librarian who saved 70% of her library's books knowing that the likelihood of our being bombed and burned was high. Another one I wouldn't hesitate to put in the hands of a child. I would love to find out more about this woman!
Ch_jank-caporale
Feb 03, 2010 rated it liked it
Shelves: info-bios
The culture of a nation is contained in its books. A library, therefore, becomes the Fort Knox of one's culture. In 2003 in Basra, Iraq, a librarian feared that bombings would destroy the precious repository resting within library walls. The "government" had other things to worry about so she took the matter into her own hands and cleared the library of over 70% of its contents, storing nearly 30,000 volumes in her home and the homes of her friends. The library structure did, in fact, burn to ...more
booklady
Jun 29, 2008 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: anyone who loves books
Recommended to booklady by: Krista the Krazy Kataloguer
A wonderful true story about a devoted librarian who went to a great deal of trouble to rescue and protect the assets of her library when the invasion of Iraq reached Basra on April 6, 2003. The story is told in very few words with bright colorful pictures. It is suitable even for very young children, but will be best appreciated by those who love books!
Jenny_E1
Aug 26, 2018 rated it really liked it
This book captures the love people have for books in Iraq. Even though the library was bombed, she still kept on protecting the books no matter how hard it was. I think it is awesome seeing how much people care about books.
Dna
It's wonderful that this story was reported and turned into a children's book. I love stories out of and about Iraq, because it's where my family is from.
Suad Alhalwachi
Jun 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Ok, I must admit, I am half Iraqi (my mother is Iraqi) and my husband is Iraqi. And to this day I didn’t hear of this amazing story which had happened during the war. Alya Baker is surely a courageous woman, risking her life to save these invaluable books!! People in Iraq were busy saving themselves and maybe involved in some other activities. Maybe the libraries in other areas of Iraq were also full of valuable books that were either burnt or looted. Who knows. To me this is an act of ...more
Claudia
Alia Muhammad Baker is a librarian. Her biggest concern about her home being the scene of was was her beloved library and books. All the books. Her boss would not take her warnings seriously,so Alia took matters into her own hands. She recruited friends, and saved the books when the library was destroyed. Humanity thanks her for saving books.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
WALTON- The Librarian of Basra 1 2 Jun 21, 2019 04:01PM  

Readers also enjoyed

  • Stepping Stones: A Refugee Family's Journey
  • That Book Woman
  • Waiting for the Biblioburro
  • Golden Domes and Silver Lanterns: A Muslim Book of Colors
  • I Am Jazz
  • Lubna and Pebble
  • How to Build a Hug: Temple Grandin and Her Amazing Squeeze Machine
  • Malala's Magic Pencil
  • Pancho Rabbit and the Coyote
  • Mama's Nightingale: A Story of Immigration and Separation
  • And Tango Makes Three
  • Thank You, Mr. Falker
  • In Our Mothers' House
  • One Plastic Bag: Isatou Ceesay and the Recycling Women of the Gambia
  • Hiawatha and the Peacemaker
  • This Is the Rope: A Story From the Great Migration
  • Last Stop on Market Street
  • The House That Jane Built: A Story about Jane Addams
See similar books…
“In the Koran, the first thing God said to Muhammed was 'Read.” 24 likes
“Her library is a meeting place for all who love books. They discuss matters of the world and matters of the spirit.” 11 likes
More quotes…