Saturday, February 19, 2011

In Praise of Librarians: A Collection of Books Made In their Honor

Gloria Houston’s (2011) new picture book, Miss Dorothy and Her Bookmobile opens: “When Dorothy was a young girl, she loved books and she loved people, so she decided that she would become a librarian.”

The opening captures easily what I have known to be true about all librarians: their love of books is only overshadowed by their love of people.  In this collection of recommended texts, librarians figure largely. As a child visiting in the country, I can recall waiting with my mother for the bookmobile.  The sound of tires crunching on gravel signaled its arrival. At home, our town's library was housed in a restored Victorian--a place we went to at least twice a week, if not more often.  I can still recall sitting at a tall window with a pile of books at my feet, waiting for my mother to finish browsing. My childhood was formed and informed by libraries and kind librarians, especially my mother who volunteered as a librarian's assistant at an elementary school. It was she who inspired me to love books, simply by sharing the habit of reading and the habit of visiting public libraries.

Librarians are often characterized as being seemingly quiet, yet we well know that they are the insistent force for social justice in our local communities, bringing opportunity to people who in other circumstances would not be privileged.  They are the very people who understand the importance of public libraries to a democracy and fortunately for all us, they are well organized and work to secure our rights to uncensored reading. From very celebrated librarians such as Pura Belpré (The Storyteller’s Candle/La cvelita de los cuentos) to less known ones, librarians are our neighbors, friends, spouses, siblings, parents and teachers. They stand for others, encourage all, and place into hands--young and old--possibilities.

This blog post is dedicated to librarians in our lives who have made and continue to make critical differences. I urge all to look carefully at proposed local, state, and federal budgets to make sure public libraries in towns, cities and schools are funded.

Mary Ann

Appelt, Kathi. 2001. Down Cut Shin Creek: The Pack Horse Librarian. Illustrated by Jeanne Canella Schmitzer. NY: Harper Collins.
Best, Cari. 1995. Red Light, Green Light, Mama and Me. Illustrated by Niki Daly. New York: Orchard Books.
Bloom, Becky. 1999. Wolf. NY: Orchard.
Blue, Rose. 2009. Ron’s Big Mission. Illustrated by Corinne Naden. NY: Dutton.
Brown. Monica. 2011. Waiting for Biblioburro. Illustrated by John Parra. San Francisco: Tricycle.
Bunting, Eve 2008. Our Library. Illustrated by Maggie Smith. NY: Clarion.
Child, Lauren. 2005. But Excuse Me, This is My Book. NY: Dial.
Deedy, Carmen Agra. 1994. The Library Dragon. Illustrated by Michael P. White. Atlanta, GA: Peachtree.
Gonzalez, Lucia. 2008. The Storyteller’s Cande/La velita de los cuentos. Illustrated by Lulu Delacre. San Francisco: Children’s Book Press.
Henson, Heather. 2008. That Book Woman. Illustrated by David Small. NY: Atheneum.
Houston Gloria. 2011. Miss Dorothy and Her Bookmobile. Illustrated by Susan Condie Lamb. NY: Harper Collins.
Hot cityJoosse, Barbara. 2004. Hot City. Illustrated by R. Gregory Christie. NY: Philomel.
King. M.G. 2010. Librarian on the Roof! A True Story. Illustrated by Stephen Gilpin. NY: Albert Whitman & Company.
Kirk, Dan. 2007. Library Mouse. NY: Abrams.
Lasky, Kathryn. 1994. The Librarian Who Measured the Earth. Illustrated by Kevin Hawkes. NY: Little Brown.
Lewis, J Patrick. 2006. Please Bury Me in the Library. Illustrated by Kyle M. Stone. NY: Gulliver Books.
Malaspina. Ann. 2009. Finding Lincoln. Illustrated by Colin Bootman. NY: Albert Whitman & Company.

McKissack, Patricia. 2001. Goin' Someplace Special. Illustrated by Jerry Pinkney. NY: Atheneum Books.

McQuinn, Anna. 2001. Lola at the Library.Illustrated by Rosalind Beardshaw. Watertown, MA : Charlesbridge.

Richard Wright and the Library Card bookcoverMiller, William. 1999. Richard Wright and the Library Card. Illustrated by Gregory Christie. NY: Lee & Low.
Mora. Pat. 2009. Book Fiesta!: Celebrate Children's Day/Book Day: Celebremos El dia de los ninos/El dia de los libros. Illustrated by Rafael Lopz. NY: Rayos.

------------. 2002. A Library for Juana: The World of Sor Juana Ines. Illustrated by Beatriz Vidal. New York: Knopf.

------------. 2000. Tomás and the Library Lady. Illustrated by Raul Colon. NY: Dragonfly Books.

From Tomas and the Library  Lady. Illustrated by Raul Colon.

Morris, Carla.  2007. The Boy Who was Raised by Librarians. Illustrated by Brad Sneed. Atlanta, GA: Peachtree Publishers.

Oppenheim, Joanne. 2006. Dear Miss Breed. NY: Scholastic.
Pearson, Debora. 2002. When I Went to the Library Writers Celebrate Books and Reading. Toronto: Groundwood Books.
Pearl, Sydelle. 2007. Books for Children of the World: The Story of Jella Lepman. Illustrated by Danlyn Iantorno. NY: Pelican.
Pinkwater, Daniel. 1992. Aunt Lulu. NY: Aladdin Books.
Polacco, Patricia. 1996. Aunt Chip and the Great Triple Creek Dam Affair. NY: Philomel.
Ruurs, Margriet. 2005. My Librarian is a Camel: How Books Are Brought to Children Around the World. Honesdale, PA: Boyds Mill Press.
Smith, Lane. 2010. It’s a Book. NY: Roaring Brook Press.
Spinelli, Jerry. 1998. The Library Card. NY: Scholastic.
Stewart, Sarah. 1995. The Library. Illustrated by David Small. NY: Farrar, Straus & Giroux.
Stamaty, Mark Alan. 2004. Alia’s Mission: Saving the Books of Iraq. NY: Knopf.
Stotts, Stuart. Books in a Box: Lutie Stearns and the Traveling Libraries of Wisconsin. Big Valley Press.
Terry, Sonia. 2006. L is for Library. Illustrated by Nicole Wong. Upstart Books.
Ungar, Richard 2004. Rachel's Library.Toronto: Tundra Books.
Waxman, Sydell. 2004. Believing in Books: The Story of Lillian Smith. Tornoto: Napolean Publishing.
Williams, Suzanne. 2001. Library Lil. Illustrated by Steven Kellogg. NY: Puffin.
Winter, Jeanette. 2010. Biblioburro: A True Story from Columbia. NY: Beach lane Books.
Winter, Jeanette. 2005. The Librarian of Basra: A True Story from Iraq. NY: Harcourt.
Yoo, Taeeun. 2007. The Little Red Fish. New York : Dial Books for Young Readers. 


  1. In Brooklyn Bridge, by Karen Hesse, the main character's sister starts a home annex for the library at their shop. She's not a professional librarian, so maybe it doesn't fit here. But it's a great book, and I loved that peek into history. (I'm assuming that was a real thing that happened.)

    I love The Library by Sarah Stewart!

  2. An awesome list. The timing of finding it is perfect, as I am now compiling a major book order list.

    Thank you from a librarian.


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