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The Picture-Book Club > March 2012: Discuss Our "Library" Club Reads HERE

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message 1: by Kathryn, The Princess of Picture-Books (new)

Kathryn | 4068 comments Mod
In March, the Picture Book Club will celebrate libraries! Here are our official picks:

That Book Woman
The Librarian of Basra: A True Story from Iraq
Waiting for the Biblioburro
The Boy Who Was Raised by Librarians
Miss Dorothy and Her Bookmobile

Sixth/Alternate:
The Library

I have read most of those books in the past and loved them. Hope you are all able to find copies! I look forward to beginning our discussion in March.


message 2: by Manybooks (new)

Manybooks | 4365 comments I have requested the first five books from the library. The library does not have the alternate, but I think I will not try to get it through ILL (five books is more than enough).


message 3: by Crystal (new)

Crystal Marcos (crystalmarcos) | 477 comments I reserved 2 of the selections. Love the theme! I want to reserve more but I better see how it goes first. Eager to participate. =)


message 4: by Lisa (new)

Lisa Vegan (lisavegan) | 1025 comments Wow! Two 5 star, two 4 star, and 2 already on my to-read list. Hope I'll join in but I can tell from the books, the group members, and the previous months' discussions, that this should be a wonderful month for the picture book club.


message 5: by Kathryn, The Princess of Picture-Books (new)

Kathryn | 4068 comments Mod
Crystal wrote: "I reserved 2 of the selections. Love the theme! I want to reserve more but I better see how it goes first. Eager to participate. =)"

Yay! Glad you've got a few to start with :-)


message 6: by Kathryn, The Princess of Picture-Books (new)

Kathryn | 4068 comments Mod
Lisa wrote: "Wow! Two 5 star, two 4 star, and 2 already on my to-read list. Hope I'll join in but I can tell from the books, the group members, and the previous months' discussions, that this should be a wonder..."

I hope you can join in, Lisa, if you have time :-) I'm really looking forward to this theme, too.


message 7: by Lisa (new)

Lisa Vegan (lisavegan) | 1025 comments Kathryn wrote: "I hope you can join in, Lisa, if you have time :-) I'm really looking forward to this theme, too. "

I will try, but I don't seem to be managing participating. I love the theme; there are so many good books!


message 8: by Tricia (new)

Tricia Douglas (teachgiftedkids) | 312 comments I have all the book selections for our library theme, but time is fighting me for the freedom to read! I did read Waiting for the Biblioburro and loved the dedication of the "librarian." Not only did he bring the books, but read and taught the children. The little girl was the best character to me when she wrote her own story and passed it along to the librarian for him to read to others. The book was short and to the point. How nice that there are those who really appreciate the written word.


message 9: by Rosella (new)

Rosella Calauti | 2 comments I think its a great topic! I just requested them all!


message 10: by Cheryl, Newbery Club host (new)

Cheryl (cherylllr) | 4358 comments Mod
I'm having trouble waiting for March - they look so interesting!


message 11: by Kathryn, The Princess of Picture-Books (last edited Feb 27, 2012 08:32AM) (new)

Kathryn | 4068 comments Mod
I love that we are using libraries to request books about libraries! :-) Do any of you have friendships with the librarians at your branch? A few months ago, I switched from a branch that was all self-checkout with rather grumpy librarians who never wanted to check in books for me (despite the fact that their automated system missed many books and I even ended up having to pay for one that I DID return) to a branch that is much more cozy and old-fashioned. I like that the librarians can chat with me while they check out books, and sometimes they have some wonderful suggestions, too. Though, I haven't yet got them all up to speed on the fact that I do not yet have any children of my own and that I am just an adult who loves picture books ;-)


message 12: by Cheryl, Newbery Club host (new)

Cheryl (cherylllr) | 4358 comments Mod
Most of my librarians probably recognize me, but, although they are beautifully civil and amiable, they seem reserved, maybe a bit aloof. I can't seem to get as close as it seems some of you, or some characters in the books we read, can get. For example I couldn't dream of asking for an overnight privilege on a non-circulating book. And when I ask for guidance to a subject or theme, they can't seem to dig even as deeply as I easily can.


message 13: by Randie (new)

Randie D. Camp, M.S. (randie87) | 158 comments We love our local library and librarians, they are super helpful. Many of the children's librarians visited the preschool my son attended, so he knows them by name. They are really good at suggesting books that he likes. I am friendly with a few of the librarians too. I am working with a librarian, as well as one of my committee professors on a bibliotherapy project. It is neat to be able to work with the library on a professional level but still go in just as a patron.

Kathryn- We have an automated system and self-checkout too. My son loves to use the self-checkout but I still prefer to go to the main desk for checkout (usually because I have books on hold). We have paid for 2 books that I am positive we returned...a 3rd book, I actually found on the shelf and they refunded me. Technology isn't always better lol.


message 14: by Kathryn, The Princess of Picture-Books (new)

Kathryn | 4068 comments Mod
Randie wrote: "We love our local library and librarians, they are super helpful. Many of the children's librarians visited the preschool my son attended, so he knows them by name. They are really good at suggesti..."

Great to hear about your wonderful librarians, Randie! And, yes, I imagined that the self-checkout would be great fun for kids. I know I would have LOVED it. Well, if we are still in this area when we have kids, maybe I'll have to take them to the automated branch for check-out and we'll return them at the non-automated ;-)


message 15: by Kathryn, The Princess of Picture-Books (new)

Kathryn | 4068 comments Mod
Cheryl in CC NV wrote: "Most of my librarians probably recognize me, but, although they are beautifully civil and amiable, they seem reserved, maybe a bit aloof. I can't seem to get as close as it seems some of you, or s..."

Too bad. Well, I guess they can't all be Miss Dorothy (you'll see when you read her Bookmobile story!) but at least they are courteous and amiable. The ones at my automated branch weren't even that. I feel fortunate I have another library close by that I could easily switch to. Since I reserve most of my books through online holds, I can pick them up at any branch.


message 16: by Kathryn, The Princess of Picture-Books (new)

Kathryn | 4068 comments Mod
I hope you've all been able to get all, or most of, the books by now. I actually read many of them already and loved them! I'm waiting on The Librarian of Basra and I cannot get the biblioburro one, though I did read another biblioburro story a year or so ago.

Here are my responses to the four titles I've already read:

That Book Woman
Loved it!!! The beauty of this touching story just crept upon me and I was surprised by how touched I was in the end--perfectly matching the way a love of reading gently but assuredly enveloped the boy in this story! I love the way the story is told, using Appalachian-style phrasing without sounding cliche, and the boy is just such a vivid character from his initial lack of interest (even dislike) of the chicken scratchings in books (which his sister loves) to his growing curiosity as he begins to wonder what makes books so powerful. "That Book Woman" is the person who gets him thinking--she braves the back-country trails through rain and snow on horseback and for what... to bring books to his family (and others in the rural Appalachian communities). Now, what could be so special about those books!? Of course, those of us who love books already know, but it's achingly beautiful to see this young boy fall under the magic spell of literature. Best of all, this story alerted me to an amazing aspect of US history when women (and a few men) did travel to rural parts of the country--the Pack Horse Librarians(part of the WPA program) the early (and very brave!) counterparts of our Bookmobiles today.

Speaking of which, I found Miss Dorothy and Her Bookmobile to be a charming story and one that would probably appeal to book-lovers and librarians, alike. I appreciated how we still saw Dorothy's frustration and disappointment at times, in that her life as a bookmobile librarian wasn't the type of position she had dreamed of all her life; yet, overall she was very happy to bring books to so many people, and she was proud of the work and of her town. After awhile, she didn't miss that brick library anymore and was very happy and satisfied with the one she and her community built. This is a good reminder especially for children today who are used to going to nice libraries that some people don't have access to books in that way. I am definitely grateful that I live a short five minutes' drive from a well-stocked library, but I am also proud that our county has a bookmobile since much of our county is rural and it would be challenging for its members to get to the branch libraries.

I think those two were my favorites. I also liked the other two, though.

The Boy Who Was Raised by Librarians
Wonderful story about the power of friendship (especially from adult mentors) the joys that result in a quest for knowledge, and the wonders that can be found in the library! I don't know that the illustrations were quite my style, though.

The Library, I like Sarah Stewart and David Small's collaboration work (The Gardener is good, too!) I thought this one was a sweet, humorous poetic tribute to the love of books! The illustrations are marvelous with lots of charming, amusing touches. Stewart's poem flows smoothly (for the most part) and makes a cohesive, interesting and touching story without succumbing to the "gimmicks" of many tales told through rhyme. I did find that the portrayal of Elizabeth was a bit stereotypical--book-lover who has no interest in dating, like to sip tea surrounded by kitty-cats, ends her days a spinster, etc. (Not that there is anything wrong with that, of course!) However, I did feel it was done lovingly (especially the way The Library is founded!) and I think all book-lovers can see themselves in dear Elizabeth to some extent or another. (Also, it is dedicated to the real-life Elizabeth, which was sweet and so obviously the book is meant as a loving tribute.)


message 17: by Randie (new)

Randie D. Camp, M.S. (randie87) | 158 comments I have all of the books checked out but need to survive my midterms before I can enjoy them...I did read "Miss Dorothy and Her Bookmobile" a week or so ago and felt it was a very touching story with soft, serene illustrations to emphasize the caring nature of Miss Dorothy. I loved the letters from her patrons grown up. However, I am most fond of the message that although we may not end up fulfilling the dream we set for ourselves, we can still inspire others to pursue their dreams...as long as we are doing what we love.


message 18: by Kathryn, The Princess of Picture-Books (new)

Kathryn | 4068 comments Mod
Randie wrote: " did read "Miss Dorothy and Her Bookmobile"...I loved the letters from her patrons grown up. However, I am most fond of the message that although we may not end up fulfilling the dream we set for ourselves, we can still inspire others to pursue their dreams...as long as we are doing what we love. "

I loved the letters and the message, too, Randie! It was just beautiful.

(Good luck with your midterms, by the way!!!)


message 19: by Randie (new)

Randie D. Camp, M.S. (randie87) | 158 comments Kathryn wrote: (Good luck with your midterms, by the way!!!)

Thank you. Luckily, I only have one exam and one paper to write. But, I am doing some TA work for a children's literature course and have about 50 assignments to grade...the hard part is that reading and grading their book reviews makes me want to read/buy the books and/or get on GR to see what everyone on here thinks about the books...I'm such a bookworm :-).


message 20: by Manybooks (new)

Manybooks | 4365 comments Randie wrote: "Kathryn wrote: (Good luck with your midterms, by the way!!!)

Thank you. Luckily, I only have one exam and one paper to write. But, I am doing some TA work for a children's literature course and h..."


Midterms are a pain. But they are a pain for the instructors as well (I am going to be up to my ears marking next week). And having midterms, papers and TA work, yeah, I know what that feels like (but I still miss being a university student and taking courses, sigh).


message 21: by Kathryn, The Princess of Picture-Books (new)

Kathryn | 4068 comments Mod
Gundula wrote: "the hard part is that reading and grading their book reviews makes me want to read/buy the books and/or get on GR to see what everyone on here thinks about the books...I'm such a bookworm :-)"

Haha, same with me ;-)


message 22: by Kathryn, The Princess of Picture-Books (new)

Kathryn | 4068 comments Mod
Gundula wrote: "(but I still miss being a university student and taking courses, sigh)."

So do I!


message 23: by Dolly (new)

Dolly (dollymart) | 250 comments We've read all of the selections for this month except for Waiting for the Biblioburro, which we have already borrowed and will likely read soon. We recently read Biblioburro: A True Story from Colombia, so we already know the basics of the story, but I'm looking forward to reading about Luis Soriano's efforts from a child's perspective.

Of the others, we really liked them all, but I have to say that my favorite is Miss Dorothy and Her Bookmobile. After all, I'm a Dorothy too, and I really connected with that story.


message 24: by Cheryl, Newbery Club host (new)

Cheryl (cherylllr) | 4358 comments Mod
I can't imagine trying to read Miss Dorothy to my children. "Miss Dorothy said a library is a building, and then all of a sudden they're buying a bookmobile - why? Why do the books from the neighbors go down to her basement and then back up to the bookmobile?? When did this take place, cuz it seems weird the school is integrated, even though it's in the South???"

The concept and the pictures are lovely, but the understanding to be gained from the text is really not there. It reads, and looks, a bit like Miss Rumphius but is not as graceful and luminous. I'm disappointed - imo it could have been much better.


message 25: by Crystal (new)

Crystal Marcos (crystalmarcos) | 477 comments Was able to read The Boy Who Was Raised by Librarians. My toddler related to this one well because we spend time at the libraries. We both liked reading about the boy and the librarians bonding. I hoped the author who is a librarian had similar experiences with children and then I read the dedication and found out she had. Though somewhat predictable it is a heart-warming fun story.


message 26: by Cheryl, Newbery Club host (new)

Cheryl (cherylllr) | 4358 comments Mod
Once I got past my disappointment that there wasn't the extra drama that there would have been if the title had been literally true, I liked The Boy Who Was Raised by Librarians, too. Now, I've never known a librarian quite as dedicated as any of those, but I'm sure they're out there. A sweet story.

The only issue I have with the book is that all too often the characters' noses are turned up just enough to make it look like their smelling something nasty. Sorry for sharing, but it was annoying me.


message 27: by Crystal (new)

Crystal Marcos (crystalmarcos) | 477 comments Cheryl in CC NV wrote: "Once I got past my disappointment that there wasn't the extra drama that there would have been if the title had been literally true, I liked The Boy Who Was Raised by Librarians, too...."

I thought that too from the title. I just flipped back through the pages to look at their faces and can see how you would think that. Lol!


message 28: by Cheryl, Newbery Club host (new)

Cheryl (cherylllr) | 4358 comments Mod
Another reviewer says the faces of the librarians, especially Marge, looked scary.

Speaking of awkward illustrations, I mostly loved the art in Waiting for the Biblioburro but couldn't stand the oversized heads. I loved how the story was mostly charming and fairly light, sweet, and predictable, but it had a couple of little twists that made it special. (view spoiler)


message 29: by Michele (new)

Michele | 180 comments Hello. This is my first participation in the picture-book club; so if there is some kind of guideline that I am missing--let me know. :)

I am a librarian, although I've never worked in a public library. I work in an elementary school. Previously, I worked in a community college library. The children's librarian in my small town public library is quite friendly. I know her because she also visits my school once or twice a year. I don't know the librarians "upstairs" at all.

I have read all the books except for Waiting for the Biblioburro, although I think I may have read that in the past. I am waiting for it to come in from another library.

So far, That Book Woman is probably my favorite. The writing really evokes the feelings of the boy (Cal). It leaves me with a strong, but subtle impression of the impact of the "Pack Horse Library Project." When I first saw this book a few years ago, I didn't think much of the illustrations, but now I find that the images of Cal when he is working out the reasons the woman comes with the books, and when he decides to learn to read are powerful and perfect.

My second favorite book is The Librarian of Basra: A True Story from Iraq. I've actually read this book to third graders. It gets an interesting response. I like that it is simple and straight-forward writing. It tells a story without too much politics. It shows that people value books and libraries, and the efforts they will go to protect them. I like that it is a true story.

My daughter owns a copy of The Library. We read it when she was small. We both always liked it, primarily for two reasons. One, it has good reading-out-loud text, and two, because it has depictions of a girl who has so many books they are piling around her. Our house has looked a bit like that from time to time....once, we were all upstairs in bed, but not yet sleeping, when we heard this loud crash that sounded like something had exploded in our house! I crept downstairs expecting someone had broken in our house, when all that had happened was that a five foot tall pile of books had collapsed!

I've never been that fond of The Boy Who Was Raised by Librarians. It seems silly since I am a librarian myself, but, I want something to actually happen in the book. I cannot tell you why I don't think this about The Library. I don't hate The Boy Who Was Raised by Librarians, but I don't feel compelled to buy it for my school library either. Reading it aloud to kids would seem a lot like self-gratification somehow. I think that it is probably a tribute to librarians, which is nice, but...I don't know. I guess I just like some other tributes better.

As for Miss Dorothy and Her Bookmobile, I liked it. I also liked the illustrations. I liked the description of the bookmobile. I even vaguely remember using a bookmobile, once as a child (it was in a friend's neighborhood). I didn't love it, but I think kids might find it interesting to read. Especially if I get to read that biblioburro book and can compare and contrast them.

Ok. 'Hope I did that right!


message 30: by Crystal (last edited Mar 04, 2012 10:47PM) (new)

Crystal Marcos (crystalmarcos) | 477 comments Michele wrote: "Hello. This is my first participation in the picture-book club; so if there is some kind of guideline that I am missing--let me know. :)

I am a librarian, although I've never worked in a public l..."

Hi Michelle, welcome to club! This really is a fun group. You did a great job on your posts. =) Thank you for your thoughts. I won't be able to read all the selections this month so it is nice to read others thoughts. My next read will be Miss Dorothy and Her Bookmobile. Glad to hear you liked it. As for The Boy Who Was Raised by Librarians, I enjoyed it but I was also looking for more too. I guess I kind of wanted it to be about a boy who was actually raised by librarians. =) I'll let the moderators fill you in on any information about the group.


message 31: by Kathryn, The Princess of Picture-Books (new)

Kathryn | 4068 comments Mod
Michele wrote: "Hello. This is my first participation in the picture-book club; so if there is some kind of guideline that I am missing--let me know. :)

I am a librarian, although I've never worked in a public l..."


Welcome, Michele! So happy to have you here. Yes, your posts are perfectly appropriate and I quite enjoyed hearing your thoughts. I was laughing about the bit about how you thought maybe burglars were in the house but it was just one of your many stacks of books toppling over. Haha! I can relate ;-)

(If you didn't already see it, we do have a few welcome threads for the Picture Book Club letting you know how you can get in on nominating themes, books, etc. if you want to check that out.)


message 32: by Cheryl, Newbery Club host (new)

Cheryl (cherylllr) | 4358 comments Mod
9I know Spoilers are ok here, but just in case someone would still prefer to try to avoid them, be aware that I have some below:)

I can see a librarian thinking that buying the The Boy Who Was Raised by Librarians would be self-aggrandizing. But considering that the boy grows up to be a librarian, and is raising his son similarly, one could consider it a 'Careers' book, maybe? Like 'People in our Neighborhood' - ?
And besides, it's totally a good thing to remind children that libraries may be havens from bad home situations. So, what I'm saying is, don't let a sense of modesty be the deciding factor about whether to buy the book. :)


message 33: by June (new)

June (june_krell) | 121 comments Kathryn wrote: "I love that we are using libraries to request books about libraries! :-) Do any of you have friendships with the librarians at your branch? A few months ago, I switched from a branch that was al..."

I can give you the opposite view. I recently moved to a small neighborhood branch, where a number of patrons have come up and introduced themselves to me and welcomed me to the branch. (Unfortunately, so many that I am not keeping names straight.)


message 34: by Kathryn, The Princess of Picture-Books (new)

Kathryn | 4068 comments Mod
June wrote: "I can give you the opposite view. I recently moved to a small neighborhood branch, where a number of patrons have come up and introduced themselves to me and welcomed me to the branch."

Oh, how wonderful! That is very sweet. I love the more personalized nature of my local branch, the friendliness and getting to know the librarians and clerks. It's perfect because I can reserve books online from any of the branches in the district, but pick them up at my nice neighborhood branch. I feel so spoiled :-)


message 35: by Becky (new)

Becky Stutzman | 4 comments Cheryl in CC NV wrote: "Most of my librarians probably recognize me, but, although they are beautifully civil and amiable, they seem reserved, maybe a bit aloof. I can't seem to get as close as it seems some of you, or s..."

Hi Cheryl, I am a Children's Librarian in a fairly large library in New York State, and the other Children's Librarians and myself are very proud of how well we know children in our community. I am wondering if the ladies who check out your books are clerks and not librarians, and if you search a little further in the library you will find a Children's Librarian who is waiting to get to know new patrons. Not that clerks aren't friendly in my library, it is just that they don't usually have as much time to spend with the patron as the librarians do.


message 36: by Cheryl, Newbery Club host (new)

Cheryl (cherylllr) | 4358 comments Mod
Thanks, but I've been attending this library for 15 years and have talked with them all about various matters and watched them learn new duties to fill in for each other, etc. etc. They're qualified and amiable - just not as warm and enthusiastic as the ladies of The Boy Who Was Raised by Librarians - or as I would hope to be, myself, if I were a librarian. Good of you to point out that possibility, though!


message 37: by Michele (new)

Michele | 180 comments I'm going to need to look at The Boy Who Was Raised by Librarians again. I didn't catch that he grew up to be a librarian. I thought he grew up and brought his child to the library. However, the book is downstairs.....

Thanks for the info about the group...I will try to check out the introductions thread...


message 38: by Jenny (new)

Jenny | 722 comments I have read The Boy Who Was Raised by Librarians several times. I think it holds a special interest to me because the author is a librarian at the Provo library. That is the library I went to while in college. It has a great childrens section. I d on't remember the librarian and don't know if I ever met her, but I love the connection and the idea that librarians can have such a powerful influence on children. The illustrations aren't my favorite but I didn't find them frightening...it just seemed as if they were drawn from the perspective of a small child looking up at the adults.

I also really liked The Library. Although the illustrations showing her books piled up everywhere honestly bothered me a bit. I have a lot of books and admit that they aren't organized that well and I do have books in a number of locations. But my grandma was a hoarder..a pretty serious hoarder... And one of those illustrations evoked such unpleasant memories that unfortunately every time I think of the book , that is my first thought...my grandma's house...that still isn't cleaned out completely nearly two years after her death and the bitterness she held toward her children for trying to clean it up a bit after she had a serious car accident. I was so relieved when the character donated her books to create a library. I liked the verse form and appreciated the story other than the overwhelming amount of books pictured.

I have read most of the others and will be back soon to comment on them.


message 39: by Jenny (new)

Jenny | 722 comments One quick comment. I do not mean to imply that people who have many books or piles of books are hoarders. Just that one illustration so clearly evoked memories/images of my grandmother's home and my experiences with her hoarding. I do not want to hurt or offend anyone. Other than that illustration, I enjoyed the story. I just had a strong emotional reaction to that illustration.


message 40: by Kathryn, The Princess of Picture-Books (new)

Kathryn | 4068 comments Mod
Jenny wrote: "I have read The Boy Who Was Raised by Librarians several times. I think it holds a special interest to me because the author is a librarian at the Provo library. That is the library..."

Jenny, that's so cool that you have a personal connection with the Provo library. Wow! That must be really neat to see it in the book since you know it so well in real life :-)

I'm sorry that you had such a negative emotional reaction to that illustration in "The Library", though. I do understand what you mean, though, often we bring our own experiences to stories/illustrations that aren't necessarily what the author intended, but is still very powerful for us. Thank you for sharing.


message 41: by Kathryn, The Princess of Picture-Books (new)

Kathryn | 4068 comments Mod
Becky wrote: "I am a Children's Librarian in a fairly large library in New York State, and the other Children's Librarians and myself are very proud of how well we know children in our community"

Yay! I hope you are enjoying the books this month, Becky. I am having such a good time celebrating libraries and good librarians like yourself :-)


message 42: by Jenny (new)

Jenny | 722 comments I loved both That Book Woman and Waiting for the Biblioburro. Both showed such dedication to deliver books to those who wouldn't have had access otherwise. The book woman (and all the real women of Appalachia) seemed especially amazing...to climb those mountains in the winter. We're having a large snow storm here right now, and I don't even like to drive a few miles in it...I often have to, but I don't like to. I can't imagine climbing a mountain on a horse or mule in a snowstorm. That is real dedication!

We appreciated that Waiting for the Biblioburro takes place in Colombia. My kids loved that it had Spanish words peppered throughout since they are becoming bilingual.

I think it can be a good reminder at times to read books like these and realize how fortunate we are. We have 2 different libraries within a five minute drive of our house...and we can get books from all over our county. Not to mention that we have tons of books in our home, and the girls can get books from their school library and I can get books from my school library. We are so fortunate to have so much access to books when many others do not...and especially not without a great deal of sacrifice.


message 43: by Kathryn, The Princess of Picture-Books (new)

Kathryn | 4068 comments Mod
Jenny wrote: "I loved both That Book Woman and Waiting for the Biblioburro. Both showed such dedication to deliver books to those who wouldn't have had access otherwise. The book woman (and all the real women of Appalachia) seemed especially amazing...to climb those mountains in the winter. We're having a large snow storm here right now, and I don't even like to drive a few miles in it...I often have to, but I don't like to. I can't imagine climbing a mountain on a horse or mule in a snowstorm. That is real dedication!"

Oh, absolutely! I think it would take a special person to be so dedicated and brave, even today, let alone back in the day when not much was expected of women as professionals or adventurers. Just wonderful what those "book women" did! :-)


message 44: by Manybooks (last edited Mar 07, 2012 08:07AM) (new)

Manybooks | 4365 comments Kathryn wrote: "Jenny wrote: "I loved both That Book Woman and Waiting for the Biblioburro. Both showed such dedication to deliver books to those who wouldn't have had access otherwi..."

And for both of these books, there is not only love of learning present, there is also an organic, beautiful and unobtrusive love of books. In "That Book Woman" the little boy himself decides to give "reading" and "learning" a try, he is not forced either by his family or the librarian (and all the thanks she wants is that he reads to her). And in the book about the biblioburro, not only does the librarian deliver books, he reads to the children and teaches the younger ones their ABCs (and encourages Ana not only to write her own "cuento" but then reads her story to the other children, an author is born).


message 45: by Cheryl, Newbery Club host (new)

Cheryl (cherylllr) | 4358 comments Mod
I really enjoyed That Book Woman when I read it over a year ago. The same fascinating history is covered in more detail in an excellent short history book, Down Cut Shin Creek: The Pack Horse Librarians of Kentucky.


message 46: by Kathryn, The Princess of Picture-Books (last edited Mar 07, 2012 10:55AM) (new)

Kathryn | 4068 comments Mod
Cheryl in CC NV wrote: "I really enjoyed That Book Woman when I read it over a year ago. The same fascinating history is covered in more detail in an excellent short history book, [book:Down Cut Shin Creek..."

That sounds wonderful! What is the age group? Would it be suitable for children who enjoyed the picture book and want to know more?


message 47: by Cheryl, Newbery Club host (new)

Cheryl (cherylllr) | 4358 comments Mod
Elementary school. Better shared with a parent or care-giver (or teacher), esp. if the child is age 9 or younger.


message 48: by Kathryn, The Princess of Picture-Books (new)

Kathryn | 4068 comments Mod
Cheryl in CC NV wrote: "Elementary school. Better shared with a parent or care-giver (or teacher), esp. if the child is age 9 or younger."

Thanks for the clarification.


message 49: by Manybooks (new)

Manybooks | 4365 comments I really loved That Book Woman. It is an absolute delight, touching, poetic, with illustrations that, while neither flashy nor overly expressive, do a simply wonderful job mirroring the feel of the narrative, portraying the mood of the story and its cast of characters. I love how the story is told from Cal's perspective, from the perspective of the doubter, the one person in the family with seemingly no desire for books (and who, at the beginning of the narrative, has a negative, even hostile attitude towards both his bookworm of a sister and the "Book Woman"). Seeing Cal's attitude towards learning, towards reading slowly change is both enchanting and satisfying (and part of that change is not simply that he begins to appreciate books, but more importantly, that Cal finally realises that if the "Book Woman" will risk snow, ice and freezing temperatures to distribute books to remote homes and farms, that there must be something special, indeed, about books, about reading)

The poetic text, interspersed with splashes of local dialect, reads smoothly and flowingly (there is just enough dialect usage to give the feel and timbre of authenticity, without reducing general comprehensibility). However, if I were reading That Book Woman with or to younger children (or children whose first language is not English), I would probably explain some of the dialect words and their spellings beforehand (if only to make sure that children listening to the story, or reading along did not memorise and learn the dialect words and expressions as supposed standard English).

That Book Woman is highly recommended to and for children who love reading/learning about books and librarians (and the history of the Pack Horse Librarians of the Appalachian Mountains of Kentucky in particular). The informative author's note at the back is an added bonus, not only presenting enlightening historical details, but also listing online resources as well as some suggestions for further reading (making That Book Woman not only a wonderful and touching story in and of itself, but also a story that could be of use in a preschool or elementary school classroom, perhaps as part of a unit on libraries and/or American history).


message 50: by Manybooks (new)

Manybooks | 4365 comments Waiting for the Biblioburro (with a wonderful and evocative text by Monica Brown and lovingly illustrated by John Parra) is an inspiring and thought-provoking story about a librarian in Colombia, who delivers and distributes his library books, not from the distribution desk of a building, not even from a motorised bookmobile, but using two trusted mules, Alfa and Beto. And of course, this book is also about a little girl named Ana, who loves stories (cuentos) and patiently waits for the biblioburro to return, bearing gifts of books, new ideas, new cuentos, tales she can read for herself and then tell to her little brother.

Considering that so many of us (both children and adults, and especially in North America and Western Europe) seem to take books and the ready availability of books, of libraries very much for granted, Waiting for the Biblioburro is a good story to demonstrate that, even today, in many parts of the word, books are not only considered special and precious, they are often quite expensive and difficult to obtain, both for purchasing and borrowing. Many, if not most of us simply order our books at the local library and then go and pick them up a few days, sometimes even just a few hours later (but for children like Ana, there are no libraries, no books readily available, and these children must depend on brave and resourceful librarians to personally deliver precious library books on horseback, astride mules, on foot etc.).

Waiting for the Biblioburro feels both authentic and realistic (the use of Spanish throughout the text increases that perception of authenticity, and also provides some basic Spanish language instruction in a fun and unobtrusive way). The reader empathises with Ana, feeling and appreciating her longing for books and more and more books (I almost felt like I was Ana, patiently waiting for the biblioburro to return). And of course, one also empathises with the librarian (his love for books, learning and teaching, for delivering the joy of reading, the gift of education to the children, to the people of Ana's village, is almost palpable, a warm, pleasant, and simply wonderful sensation).

I don't think that on their own, John Parra's folk art illustrations would be personal favourites (and I have to agree with my GR friend Cheryl that the oversized heads are a bit off-putting). However, in conjunction with and to the narrative, the illustrations provide an almost perfect complement to the text, providing a warm and authentic feel for Colombian life and traditions.


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