Carnegie until his family sailed for America in 1848. There he helped
support them with jobs as a bobbin boy, a messenger, and a telegraph
operator. Carnegie, who loved reading and learning, frequently vis-
ited a private library that was open to him each Saturday. Years later,
Carnegie became wealthy and returned to Scotland to build a library
in his old village, one of more than 2,500 public libraries he would
build around the world. The book’s back matter offers more details
of Carnegie’s life and achievements. Straightforward and accessible,
the text tells a familiar rags-to-riches immigrant story with an unusual
ending—unusual in that the man became one of the richest in the
world and his philanthropy built libraries “so that someday someone
like you could feel the joy of borrowing a book like this.” The large,
painterly illustrations use simplified forms and areas of flat color in
pleasing compositions. An effective and quite pleasing showcase of an
important literary figure. —Carolyn Phelan
Read! Read! Read!
By Amy Ludwig VanDerwater. Illus. by Ryan O’Rourke.
Sept. 2017. 32p. Boyds Mills/Wordsong, $17.95 (9781590789759). 811. Gr. 2–5.
Lifelong readers can relate to similar milestones: that incredible surge
of excitement when letters suddenly begin to make sense; the insatiable stage spent reading everything from street signs to sports pages
to cereal boxes; collecting cool words; spewing obscure facts; and being
transported far away. This collection of poems celebrates these experiences, usually told in first person, generally in present tense. Topics
might resonate with school-age audiences—bringing the class guinea
pig home for the weekend, crying at the end of Charlotte’s Web—and
the satisfying meter and rhyme schemes, along with some fairly sophisticated (but still accessible) vocabulary, make sharing enjoyable for
adults. Poems are superimposed over imaginative full-page illustrations
that align perfectly with each selection’s tone, helping young readers
interpret imagery and appreciate nuances. Many of these offerings can
stand on their own, but the sequencing and variety also makes this
attractive as a read-through. April may be Poetry Month, but this collection is worth sharing at any time. —Kathleen McBroom
Schomburg: The Man Who Built a Library.
By Carole Boston Weatherford. Illus. by Eric Velasquez.
Sept. 2017. 48p. Candlewick, $16.99 (9780763680466). 973. Gr. 4–7.
Lifelong bibliophile Arturo Schomburg would be pleased by Weatherford’s prose-poem biography, which praises his passion for researching
and collecting books, manuscripts, and other written materials relating to black heritage and history.
Puerto Rico–born New Yorker Schomburg’s quest
began when he was a student. Meticulous, he continued his avocation while working as a law clerk
in New York City. The centerpiece of the book is
a poem called “Whitewash,” in which Schomburg
reflects on a number of famous people with historically unacknowledged African roots: John James
A rich book to add to all collections. —Karen Cruze
Just in time for summer reading programs, here are five new books taking close looks at books, libraries, and the people behind them
Books! Books! Books! Explore the Amazing Collection of
the British Library.
By Mick Manning and Brita Granström. Illus. by the authors.
Sept. 2017. 48p. Candlewick, $17.99 (9780763697570). 015. Gr. 2–5.
Children who think a visit to the British Library and its vast holdings might be on the dull side will quickly learn otherwise from this
enchanting (and cleverly conceived) book. The authors know how to
focus in on the items that will pique kids’ interest,
starting with St. Cuthbert’s sixth-century Bible—
the image of Cuthbert’s skeleton, with the gospel
alongside him in the coffin, makes for an eye-opening start. Throughout, the thoughtful design
combines humor and information, which comes
in both introductory text and clever sidebars that
focus in on an element of the holdings. For instance, a two-page spread of da Vinci’s notebooks
tells a bit about Leonardo and shows a close-up of his flying machine,
while, illustrated with the authors’ own drawings, a sidebar explains
more about the notebooks. Which brings us to the terrific illustrations
that Manning and Granström provide. Using the book’s oversize format
to best advantage, they combine collage, pencil drawing, watercolors,
and digital artwork to provide some images that are in-your-face and
others that need to be seen close to be appreciated. Shakespeare, Jane
Austen, Charles Dickens, and Sherlock Holmes all make appearances,
and though no people of color get a spread, there are people of other
races in supporting roles. Book lovers as well as budding artists will find
this quite the buffet to dip into. —Ilene Cooper
The Library Book.
By Tom Chapin and Michael Mark. Illus. by Chuck
Oct. 2017. 40p. Atheneum, $17.99 (9781481460927); e-book, $17.99 (9781481460934).
782.42. PreS–Gr. 3.
This cheerful picture book opens on a rainy Saturday morning. While
her dad’s snoring and her brother’s watching TV, an African American
girl walks down to the library. Looking
around, she spies old friends (Winnie the
Pooh, Sleeping Beauty, Madeline, the Cat
in the Hat, etc.), who all want to go home
with her. Soon a happy crowd of fictional
characters is parading down the street. On
the wordless last page, the girl’s on her
bed, reading contently beside Winnie the
Pooh. Written in 1989, with upbeat lyrics,
natural-sounding rhymes, and a catchy tune, the song “The Library” creates a surprisingly good text for a picture book. The words can be read
aloud easily, as the cadence is evident when the words are spoken, but the
effect is more magical when the words are sung (the tune is readily available online). Groenink, the illustrator of Evan Kuhlman’s Hank’s Big Day
(2016), brings the song to life on the page through his pleasing pencil-and-digital artwork. From the rainy-village street scene to the library
interiors to the child’s cozy bedroom, the pictures are well structured
and full of intriguing details for children to find and enjoy. Fun for story
hours and satisfying for reading one-on-one. —Carolyn Phelan
The Man Who Loved Libraries: The Story of Andrew Carnegie.
By Andrew Larsen. Illus. by Katty Maurey.
Aug. 2017. 32p. Owlkids, $16.95 (9781771472678). 338.7. K–Gr. 3.
A tiny cottage in a Scottish village was home to young Andrew
Summer Reading about Libraries