The Center for Children's Books


Graduate School of Library and Information Science
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Libraries in Literature - September 2013

Selected and annotated by Natalie Molnar


Bernheimer, Kate. The Lonely Book. Schwartz & Wade, 2012. 40p. 6-9 yrs.
When our book protagonist first arrives in the library, it is so popular that it hardly spends any time at all on the shelf! Eventually, however, it becomes faded, worn, and forgotten, and is left to gather dust forever in the library’s basement with the other old books…or is it?

Bottner, Barbara. Miss Brooks Loves Books! (and I Don’t). Knopf, 2010. 26p. 5-7 yrs.
Miss Brooks loves books. Missy, on the other hand, can’t stand them. Although Miss Brooks helps her students find books they love, Missy dismisses them all as “too flowery, too furry, too clickety, too yippity.” What book will finally win this reluctant reader over? Miss Brooks is determined to find out!

Brown, Monica. Waiting for the Biblioburro. Tricycle, 2011. 32p. 5-8 yrs.
Ana loves stories and books, but she's already read all of them in her little village. Soon, however, the day comes when the sound of clip-clopping hooves awakens her to an amazing sight: an entire library carried on the backs of two burros! With all of the stories she could ever have dreamt of reading, Ana can't help but be inspired to make one of her own. Based on the work of real-life Colombian librarian Luis Soriano and his biblioburro.

Gaiman, Neil. Chu’s Day. Harper/HarperCollins, 2012. 32p. 3-7 yrs.
Chu might be just a little panda, but he has a monstrously big sneeze! How will he make it through a library full of the dust of old books, a peppery-aired restaurant, and a trip to the circus?

Gephart, Beth. Olivia Bean, Trivia Queen. Delacorte, 2012. 288p. Gr. 4-6.
Olivia Bean loves to watch Jeopardy and with the chance to try out for the show’s weekly kids’ day coming up, it seems like nothing can stop her from becoming a contestant—if only she could get the hang of geography. Luckily, Olivia’s friends, family, and librarian are all there to help her out.

Jones, Diana Wynne. House of Many Ways. Greenwillow, 2008. 404p. Gr. 7-10.
Charmain Baker wants nothing more than to work in the Royal Library, and she’s just received a letter from the prince and princess themselves with such a job offer! Charmain must only get through the remainder of her house-sitting gig for her great uncle, who also happens to be a Royal Wizard with some very interesting (and for Charmain, problematic) companions.

Kalman, Maira. Looking at Lincoln. Paulsen/Penguin, 2012. 32p. 5-8 yrs.
Who exactly was Abraham Lincoln? After passing an oddly familiar, tall, bearded man in the park, one little girl is determined to find out and is equally amazed at what she learns from her library: how the president had a dog named Fido and a wife who baked the best vanilla cake around.

Kessler, Christina. Trouble in Timbuktu. Philomel, 2009. 355p. Gr. 7-10.
Twins Ahmed and Ayisha aren’t quite sure what to make of the tourists who have hired Ahmed to guide them around Mali’s museums and libraries. They seem all too interested in in ancient manuscripts and the twins become protective of their precious heritage. Determined to stop the crooks, Ahmed and Ayisha make a desperate trek through the Sahara Desert and down the Niger River and finally to the port city of Korioume, bringing readers along with them in a story that deftly combines survival, adventure, and a celebration of Timbuktu’s rich history. 

Kephart, Beth. Nothing But Ghosts.  Geringer/HarperTeen, 2009. 288p. Gr. 9-12.
Katie’s house seems far bigger and lonelier after her mother dies, leaving Katie with only her eccentric father. A summer job seems like a good escape, but ends up pulling Katie, her coworkers, and the glamorous town librarian into a mystery unlike any other. Throughout it all, Katie continues to grieve and come to terms with the fact that it can be much easier to try and deal with someone else’s ghosts rather than your own.

Pinborough, Jan. Miss Moore Thought Otherwise: How Anne Carroll Moore Created Libraries for Children. Houghton, 2013. 40p. 6-9 yrs.
At one point in history, people didn’t really think kids needed to read a lot, much less be able to borrow books from the local library. Luckily for everyone, Miss Anne Carroll Moore thought otherwise! Find out how she started the first children’s room and won borrowing privileges for readers of all ages at the New York Public Library.

Portman, Frank. Andromeda Klein. Delacorte, 2009. 424p. Gr. 10-12.
Andromeda Klein has been getting a lot of texts from her best friend Daisy lately, which wouldn’t really be a big deal if Daisy hadn’t died a year ago. With the help of the occult and paranormal section at her local library, Andromeda is certain she can figure this and all of the other mysteries out in her life.

Reed, M.K. Americus. First Second, 2011. 216p. Gr. 7-10.
This graphic novel follows the story of one library’s fight against challenged books. Neil is a boy who just wants to be able to read his favorite fantasy series, but with the community rallying to censor the library’s collection, Neil must decide to what lengths he will go to defend his (and others’) reading rights.

Salas, Laura Purdie. Bookspeak: Poems About Books. Clarion, 2011. 32p. Gr. 3-5.
What happens when the lights go out at the bookstore? How do characters feel when their book ends on a cliffhanger? What’s it like to be a library book getting checked out? In this collection of twenty-one whimsical and zany poems, books are finally given a voice, answering these questions and more.

Schmidt, Gary D. Okay for Now. Clarion, 2011. 368p. Gr. 5-8.
Things aren’t going too well for Doug. His dad is an abusive jerk, the entire town (including the police and teachers) think he’s a nothing but a “skinny punk.” It’s not until he meets Lil Spicer, a young woman who doesn’t just dismiss him as a lost cause, that Doug discovers the strength he needs to endure his struggles and unexpectedly finds a safe haven in his local library.

Schwab, Victoria. The Archived. Hyperion, 2013. 328p. Gr. 7-10.
Mackenzie Bishop's father maintained the enormous Archives where the deceased--called Histories--are laid to rest. Now that he's dead, she's grown into a Keeper equally as ruthless. However, she soon finds her job becoming even more dangerous: someone is eradicating and altering the Histories. If Mackenzie can't stop them in time, the Archive itself might crumble and fall.

Welsh, M.L. Mistress of the Storm: A Verity Gallant Tale. Fickling/Random, 2011. 320p. Gr. 4-6.
It all started at the library after a stranger handed her a dusty old book. Suddenly, Verity is the only one in her small coastal town of Wellow who can stop an ancient and powerful witch who controls the ocean. But will Verity be able to save herself, her family, and the rest of the town from the evil woman now also claiming to be her grandmother? With the help of two friends, Henry and Martha, she just might stand a chance.

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