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Tomás and the Library Lady
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Tomás and the Library Lady

4.16  ·  Rating details ·  1,662 ratings  ·  254 reviews
A young Texan finds refuge in his new Iowa town's library, where the librarian offers him cool comfort from hot summer days and whirlwind adventures through reading. Colon's beautiful scratchboard illustrations, in his textured, glowingly colored, rhythmic style, capture the warmth and the dreams that the boy finds in the world of books.

A 1999-2000 Texas Bluebonnet Award
Hardcover, 40 pages
Published 2000 by Alfred A. Knopf (first published September 23rd 1997)
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Average rating 4.16  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,662 ratings  ·  254 reviews

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Mar 31, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: children interested in the history of migrant farm workers, children interested in libraries
I think what I appreciate most about Pat Mora's biographical Tomas and the Library Lady is how sensitive, caring and culturally aware the so called Library Lady is towards young Tomas. She not only inspires his love of books, she is very much aware of potential problems and requirements. The first time Tomas arrives at the library, the Library Lady gives him a cool glass of water to drink, and she actually signs out the library books for him in her own name. Not only does this show her sensitivi ...more
May 06, 2010 rated it really liked it
I really appreciated the kind and wise library lady in Tomás and the Library Lady. I love how perceptive she was about Tomás' circumstances, always making sure he got something cool to drink, and being so encouraging of him sharing his language with her--it made it so they were equal learners in the process and I think that is just so darn important! Kids need to know that they can share things with adults! I also loved the sharing across generations, with the grandfather telling his stories and ...more
Lisa  (not getting friends updates) Vegan
Apr 26, 2010 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: anyone who has found joy and transformation because of books, libraries, librarians
This is a lovely and inspiring story. If not for the note about the story at the end of the book, which gives information about Tomås Rivera’s life, I’d have thought the ending of the story was sad though.

I loved the illustrations. The way color is used is wonderful, and I like the muted quality of the pictures.

I appreciated how this migrant worker boy was helped by a librarian to find so much joy in books. Both the story and illustrations do a fabulous job of showing how the stories in books ca
Apr 12, 2019 rated it really liked it
A lovely and affecting story about how a young boy and his migrant worker family's lives are enriched by a helpful librarian. ...more
Jan 20, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Young Bibliophiles & Library Lovers
Every summer, Tomás and his family would travel from their home in Texas to the corn fields of Iowa, where his parents worked as farmhands. Sitting in the shade of a tree with their grandfather, Papá Grande, on the hot afternoons, Tomás and his brother Enrique would listen to his many wonderful stories. When Tomás completed one of those stories for him, Papá Grande suggested that it was time for him to find some of his own... at the local library. And so began a wonderful summer of discovery, in ...more
Jul 09, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: latina-o
Tomás and the Library Lady by Pat Mora
Illustrated by Raul Colón
Ages K-4
32p Publisher: Dragonfly Books 2000

This book is based upon the real life experiences of Tomás Rivera, the son of migrant worker parents, who valued education and eventually became the chancellor of the University of California at Riverside. In Tomás and the Library Lady, Tomás is the young son of migrant laborers who leave their home in Texas to find work in Iowa. When it became too hot in the fields, Tomas liked to hear his
Apr 13, 2009 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: ages 4 to 8
Tomas is young boy who loves stories. His parents are migrant farm workers who spend the winter in Texas and the summer in Iowa. Tomas meets a friendly librarian and discovers a world of imagination in books.

Founder of El Dia de los Ninos, Pat Mora is a Mexican-American author. This book explores the Mexican-American family experience. Tomas is an authentic character. His story was written by a Chicana and is based on the true story of Tomas Rivera, a national education leader. The vivid illust
Crystal Marcos
Apr 26, 2010 rated it really liked it
I enjoyed reading it. The book's dedication was written in memory of Tomas Rivera, who loved books, and for librarians who lure us in. I appreciate that the author dedicated it to librarians. They play a very important role in the world of books with children. I like how the author also makes a point that you don't have to have money to enjoy books. As for the illustrations I found them interesting. I don't recall a book off the top of my head that I have seen illustrated quite like this. I like ...more
I absolutely and totally love this book. The illustrations are beautiful, as is the story. It is about how a librarian touches the life of a young boy - the son of a migrant worker.

It's based on a true story, and a biographical note is included at the end. If you ever wonder about the possibility of making a difference in a young person's life, pick up this book. It will encourage you. Who would have guessed the impact that one librarian would have on a migrant, and where it would lead him.

The b
Aug 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A wonderful book for anyone who has every loved the library.

As the son of migrant workers, Tomas spends some of his time at the library while his family works in the fields. The library offers a place for him to get out of the hot weather, plus he learn news things from the many books. The librarian is kind and encourages Tomas with his reading.
Robert Ellington
Mar 15, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Really liked this book. I love a book about a library with a happy ending.
Pat Mora's story and Raul Colon's imaginative illustrations combine to share the story of a boy who is able to immerse himself into more stories by visiting the Library and the Library Lady who helps him. Along the way, she herself learns and grows from Tomas as she learns Spanish.

A fun read about the power and appreciation of both family, language, spoken oral storytelling and reading;
Jessica Martinez
Oct 11, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Tomás's parents are migrant farm workers who pick vegetables and fruits in Texas during winter and in Iowa during summer. Summer has begun, and Tomás reluctantly boards his family’s rusty car and sadly waves goodbye to his Texas home. After traveling in the heat for many hours, Tomás is relieved when his family finally arrives at the home they will share with other migrant workers. Papa Grande, Tomás’s grandfather, is the best storyteller Tomás knows. Tomás and his brother, Enrique, enjoy listen ...more
Zainab Faridi
Oct 10, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This text deals with a child named Tomas who lives with his extended family including his grandfather, Papa Grande. Tomas enjoys listening to his grandfather's stories but he yearns for more, so Papa Grande tells him about the library. Tomas meets the "library lady" who introduces him to all types of stories and books. She gives Tomas a book to keep for his own and forever ignites his interest in reading. The story has a rich plot and will keep young readers interested until the end. This is als ...more
Stephanie Bange
Sep 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Rereading an older, classic title...

Tomas and his family have moved from Texas to Iowa because his Papa and Mama are migrant workers. While his parents are in the fields picking corn, Tomas and his brother Enrique sit in the shade listening to their Papa Grande tell them stories. When Tomas knows all of Papa Grande's stories by heart, he is encouraged to go to the library to learn more. The rest of this story is about the joys that Tomas finds because of the friendly librarian who takes him unde
Jun 16, 2012 rated it it was amazing

6 star book

this one made my cry. there is a one paragraph afterward that tells the truth of this story.

an immigrant boy, his family following the harvesting seasons from texas to iowa to texas and back is told by his grandfather he is old enough to go to the library. the boy, tomas, is invited in and encouraged in his readings by the library lady. encouraged to the point that the campus library at u.c. riverside wears the boy's name - the boy that would grow up to be Dr Tomas, uc rive
Mar 04, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: parents reading with their children
This is a true story about a little boy who gained inspiration, support and knowledge from a kindly library lady. His family members were migrant farmers and they moved around a lot. But for one summer, he was able to see the wonders of reading and how great it is to spend time in a library. And that was the start of a remarkable education and a successful career that touched many student's lives.

This story was selected as one of the books for the May 2010 - Latino reads at the Picture-Book Club
Jan 26, 2010 rated it it was amazing
This beautifully illustrated picture book tells the story of a boy named Tomas whose working family travels from Texas through Iowa following the crops. Tomas' enjoys listening to his grandfather tell his stories each day as they rest in the shade of the tree. One day Grandfather suggests that Tomas check out the library for some new stories. The librarian welcomes him and Tomas finds himself far away from the crops and in places only books can take you. Tomas shares his new stories with his fam ...more
September Michaud
- an exploration of a Mexican-American family experience
- a socially conscious librarian who allows a young boy to check out books under her own name
- two individuals from very different cultures working together to build a bridge
- beautiful, imaginative illustrations
- quite a lot of text. Might make for a longer story time.
- Spanish vocabulary

This is a Texas Bluebonnet Award Winner and is inspired by the true story of Tomas Rivera, a chancellor of the University of California Riverside.
Linda Lipko
A librarian who reinforced a love of reading, changed my life. And, such is the case with Tomas Rivera who was born in Texas to a migrant working family. Becoming a success later in life, Tomas never forgot the importance of libraries and librarians. Valuing education, he became a professor and a university administrator.

This book tells the story of Tomas who discovered libraries and through reading, doors opened into his imagination.

Sharing the stories in the books with his family at night rein
Ms Threlkeld
Sep 04, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: picture-books
A sweet book about the son of migrant workers who discovers the magic inside a library.The pictures are detailed and done in an interesting style and though the plot is simple, it sends a powerful message. There's a lot of text on each page, so this book would be better for upper elementary readers. ...more
Nov 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: zoe
I'm not crying, you're crying!

Seriously, for the librarians out there. Read this one. It is food for our librarian souls.

It is also lovely, well-illustrated, inclusive, and reading-positive. So read it to the kiddos too!
Jan 31, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: younger-kids
This book taught my son a bit about the life of a migrant family. Also, good for bilingual children!
Alyse Liebovich
May 02, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: children-s-books
I liked that this book was based off a true story about the impact of libraries and librarians and that the dedication states, "For librarians who lure us in." ...more
Nou Jed
Aug 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Reading takes us almost anywhere we want to go -- in our imagination and our life.
Megan Huckaby
Jan 14, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
In this realistic fiction picture book, the son of migrant farm workers discovers the library. Tomas travels with his family from Texas to Iowa each year for the harvest. His family works hard in the fields all day, then relaxes at night while enjoying Grandfather’s storytelling. Grandfather encourages Tomas to visit the library and discover new stories for himself. Tomas is nervous, but goes to the local library and meets the kind “library lady” who brings him cold water and helps him discover ...more
Leah D
Nov 18, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Genre: Diverse (Free Choice)
Awards: None
Audience: Grades 1-5
A. This book emphasizes the Hispanic culture. The main character was raised with aspects from that culture by his family.
B. His mom made sweet bread that's specific to the Hispanic culture for the library lady before they left Iowa. Also, some Spanish words are used in the book. Tomas teaches the library lady different Spanish words.
C. The author portrayed the Hispanic culture positively because the library lady was grateful and happy t
Hannah Humphreys
Nov 17, 2019 rated it liked it
Genre: Free Choice- Diverse Literature
Awards: Bluebonnet List
Audience: 3-7 years
A. The culture emphasized in this book is Mexican-American.
B. The book includes many Spanish words and references to Spanish foods. The plot of the story is also based on the seasonal/ agricultural work that many Mexican immigrants did when coming to America in the 1900s particularly.
C. The author portrays Tomas's experience and his Mexican culture positively. Having to move for seasonal work ended up being a great
Nov 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A true story based on the life of Dr. Tomás Rivera. Born into a family of migrant workers, Tomás' family worked the Iowa fields in the summer. Whenever he could, Tomás visited the local library in his temporary Iowa town. The librarian encouraged Tomás' reading, and Tomás also taught her Spanish. He would take his books home in the evening to read aloud to his family, thus beginning his reputation as a wonderful story teller. The best part? Tomás went on to become a "writer, professor, a univers ...more
Camryn Grider
Nov 18, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Genre: Biography
Awards: Texas Bluebonnet Award
Audience: Ages 3-7

A. Tomas and Library Lady is a partial biography or memoir. The author tells part of her story, reflecting on the importance of this part in her life.
B. This story is fictionalized is that it is not captured through eyewitness accounts, but based on careful research. The author creates dramatic episodes from known facts using imagined conversation between Tomas and the library lady.
C. Do Tomas and the library lady still know each ot
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CMLE Librarians E...: * Dec. 2017 book: Tomas and the Library Lady 1 4 Dec 04, 2017 09:23AM  

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Pat Mora (born 1942) is a female Mexican-American author and poet. Pat Mora was born in El Paso, Texas. She is married and has 3 grown children.

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