The Magic of Books

Staff PicksNortheast Library

The Magic of Books

Celebrate the Joy of Libraries and Books and the People Who Love Them

Any librarian or author will tell you that libraries hold a special place in their heart. Often it's because one librarian treated them kindly or the library stood in as a safe place to escape from senseless troubles. Sometimes, it was the unseen world found in books that ignited a hidden creative talent. In this selection of books for young readers, celebrate the magic of books and the discoveries that follow when you surround yourself with stories and people who love them.  

Waiting for Biblioburro by Monica Brown
A retired teacher from Colombia has to do something about the gigantic piles of books spilling out of the rooms in his house. In a moment of inspiration, he buys two donkeys, Alfa and Beto, who carry his books with a sign that reads biblioburro to remote villages. His treks take him across streams and up high mountains to places where no libraries exist. Ana is a young girl for whom the unexpected arrival of the biblioburro opens a new world. A colorful companion to this book is Biblioburro:  A True Story from Colombia about the real teacher, Luis Soriano Bohórquez, and his intrepid burros.  

Schomburg:  The Man Who Built a Library by Carole Weatherford
This book is a poetic tribute to Arturo Schomburg, an activist, historian and bibliophile who amassed enough books, art, letters, and music by and about African-Americans in America and Africa to start a library.  And that is exactly what happened.  Dissatisfied with commonplace omissions of black heritage from biographies of prominent figures, such as Alexandre Dumas and John James Audubon, Schomburg began collecting works that unearthed the long-hidden contributions by “Africa’s sons and daughters.” Schomburg’s ambitious life-long mission to create a storehouse of rich material became the foundation for New York Public Library’s Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture.
That Book Woman by Heather Henson
1930s Appalachia is the setting of this hopeful story about stubborn Cal, a “no scholar-boy” who was not born to “sit so stoney-still a-staring at some chicken scratch.”  His sister, Lark, is the avid reader, but she wouldn’t be if it weren’t for That Book Woman who rides her horse up the rocky mountainside in all kinds of weather to deliver books to Lark and Cal’s family farm.  Set in prose beside stark illustrations of ink, chalk, and watercolor combined, this heart-warming story recalls the work of The Pack Horse Library Project from FDR’s Works Progress Administration that brought books to remote regions where there were few schools and no libraries. Read to find out how Cal comes to love reading and gains respect for that book woman.  

The Not So Quiet Library by Zachariah Ohora
Oskar and his dog Theodore go to the library for some quiet reading in the Children’s section while Dad goes to the “nap department.”  A giant multi-headed monster disturbs their lovely day by trying to eat them and destroy all the books. Thank goodness, Ms. Watson the librarian, steps in and saves the day. Kids will appreciate the goofy drawings and the monster’s silly antics, plus parents will love the ending about finding a solution to a big problem in a library book. 
The Library by Sarah Stewart
From the author of the poignant book The Gardener, Sarah Stewart brings us a witty rhyming story about a lady who loved books from infancy to “a ripe old age.” Elizabeth Brown read at “an incredible rate” and never stopped reading or collecting books. That is until she couldn’t get out her front door. Then, she donated her library to the town, moved in with a fellow bookworm, and visited the library “day after day, and turned page after page.”  Beautifully illustrated with watercolors and small ink drawings, this book will become a favorite of book lovers far and wide.  Dedicated to the real Mary Elizabeth Brown: “librarian, reader, friend.”
Library Mouse by Daniel Kirk
What a quiet, humble mouse Sam is. He’s an author, illustrator, and inspiration. Sam lives in the Children’s Room at the library, and at night, he leaves his carefully crafted books for children to find.  The librarian can't figure out who the mysterious author is, but leaves a note and asks him to come meet the children. Sam, being a mouse, gets nervous since “mice, as a rule, are very shy.” Read this cute tale to see how the tiny mouse makes a big splash with the kids. 
The Midnight Library by Kazuno Kohara
In this sweetly imaginative book, a library opens at midnight and closes at dawn. It’s only for animals who love to read, hear stories, and play music.  The little librarian and her three assistant owls easily solve problems when the usually quiet library gets some noisy visitors.  Cleverly drawn pages, edged in black and dappled with tiny stars, give readers a sense of “night” at the cozy library.  A perfect bedtime read for ages birth to 3. 
Tomás and the Library Lady by Pat Mora
Tomas has to leave his home in Texas every summer so his parents and grandparents can work the fruit and vegetable fields in a small Iowa town. Tomas longs to read and write stories like those his grandparents have been telling him for years. Tomas works up the courage to go to town and visit the small library.  Fortunately for all of us, a kind librarian shares books with the young migrant boy whose life is forever changed by his love of literature and learning.  Based on the life of Tomas Rivera who becomes a poet, author, nationally known educator, and a university chancellor.  Sun-drenched, earth-toned illustrations by Raul Colón warmly convey the humble beginnings for this gifted and distinguished author and educator. 
Library Lion by Michelle Knudsen
Books are magic. In the Library Lion, a large African lion turns an ordinary library into a magical place where he sits for story time, dusts the shelves with his tail, and makes himself an invaluable part of the community.  Award-winning illustrator Kevin Hawkes brings the kind lion to life with yellow, brown and white hues in a bright, humming library with vivid pink walls. Knudsen admits she wrote this story because the libraries she remembers as a child were magical places.  I have no doubt more than a few kids (and parents alike) would love to sprinkle some fairy dust in their library to make some magic happen!
Madeline Finn and the Library Dog by Lisa Papp
Madeline Finn does NOT like to read anything anywhere – not books or magazines, not in class, at home, or at the park.  She’s a reluctant reader who too often gets the words wrong. Her teacher says she needs to keep trying.  Madeline Finn is frustrated and tired of her classmates’ giggles when she reads. That all changes one day when Madeline meets a sweet white dog named Bonnie. Click here for info about how you can meet some special dogs like Bonnie at a DC Public Library near you - these dogs love to sit, stay, and listen.