The Librarian’s Stories

Falcone, Lucy. The Librarian’s Stories. Brooklyn, New York: POW!, 2020.
The National Library of Sarajevo was bombed in 1992 during the Bosnian War. Steven Galloway wrote about this tragedy in The Cellist of Sarajevo, a novel for adults. And now Lucy Falcone, a former children’s television writer, has written a picture book inspired by that novel. Every day, a librarian sits on a bench outside the burned-out library and reads a book aloud to give people hope and courage. Illustrated by Anna Wilson, this story about the power of stories is recommended for readers 7 to 11 years old. 

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The Boy and the Gorilla

Kramer, Jackie. Azúa. The Boy and the Gorilla. Somerville, Massachusetts: Candlewick Press, 2020.
A young boy, missing his mother, converses with an imaginary gorilla. Where do loved ones go when they die? How do we remember those no longer with us? How do we learn to go on with life? Softly illustrated by Cindy Derby, this short gentle story will prompt reader’s own conversations about death and grief. Recommended for children 5 to 8 years old.
P.S. Always take the time to look at a picture book by Candlewick Press.

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Good Enough to Eat

Cole, Brock. Good Enough to Eat. New York: Farrar Straus Giroux, 2007.
A tall tale, a folktale, a cautionary tale… When an ogre threatens a town, the people offer him a young girl. Scraps-and-Smells is poor and homeless, the perfect person to give away, they think. But she outwits them all. A marvellous story reminiscent of The Little Red Hen but far more joyful, this picture book is recommended for readers 7 years old and up who like to see people get their comeuppance. 
P.S. Anything written and illustrated by Brock Cole is worth reading. Look for his books! 

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Digging for Words

Kunkel, Angela Burke. Digging for Words: José Alberto Gutíerrez and the Library He Built. New York: Schwartz & Wade Books, 2020.
A night-time garbage collector, Señor José collects books from the trash of wealthy homes. Then, every Saturday, he opens the doors and welcomes eager children into his neighbourhood library. Set in  Bogotá, Columbia and based on a true story, this inspiring picture book – illustrated by Paola Escobar and accompanied by a detailed author’s note – will appeal to readers 7 to 12 years old who already know the joys of using imagination to enter new worlds. 

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Biographies

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A Map Into the World

Yang, Kao Kalia. A Map Into the World. Minneapolis, Minnesota: Carolrhoda Books, 2019.
How do you find your way in a new world? A little girl settles into a new home with her parents and grandmother in this quietly hopeful picture book by an award-winning Hmong American writer living in Minnesota. As the seasons pass, Paj Ntaub welcomes her twin brothers into the world, befriends a grieving neighbour, and enjoys the beauties of nature in her neighbourhood. Softly coloured, full-page illustrations by Seo Kim help tell this story recommended for readers 7 to 11 years old.  

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Skunk and Badger

Timberlake, Amy. Skunk and Badger. Toronto: HarperCollins, 2020.
There is Frog and Toad by Arnold Lobel. George and Martha by James Marshall. Snake and Lizard by Joy Cowley. And now there is Skunk and Badger! Two mismatched roommates become the best of friends in this hilarious story illustrated by Jon Klassen. Badger is happy living alone – working on his important rock collection – until Skunk appears at the door, apparently permitted to move into the brownstone by Badger’s Aunt Lula. Badger’s quiet orderly life is abruptly upended by this noisy messy Skunk. What is to be done? How are the two going to resolve their differences? This 122-page little novel is most highly recommended for readers 7 years old and up. Especially readers who like to laugh. Especially readers who appreciate the joys of unexpected friendships.

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Do Not Rake Your Garden in a Party Dress

Bissonette, Aimée. Do Not Rake Your Garden in a Party Dress. Petaluma, California: Cameron Kids, 2020.
A young girl is swept away into an adventure in this gently imaginative tale. A circular story somewhat similar in style to If You Give a Mouse a Cookie, this softly illustrated picture book is recommended for readers 6 to 9 years old who enjoy quiet humour.

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