The best picture books about the magic of libraries

The Books I Picked & Why

Ronan the Librarian

By Tara Luebbe, Becky Cattie, Victoria Maderna

Book cover of Ronan the Librarian

Why this book?

The first thing that attracted me to this book is the terrific title – and the cover illustration. My kids and I enjoyed the humor, adventure, and unexpected twists in this entertaining tale about a barbarian clan that finds a treasure box of books. I’m not sure what made the kids giggle more – the fact that barbarians make terribly odd library patrons, or the little flyers and other details in the illustrations. (Definitely don’t miss reading the little flyers in the illustrations!)


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If You Ever Want to Bring a Circus to the Library, Don't!

By Elise Parsley

Book cover of If You Ever Want to Bring a Circus to the Library, Don't!

Why this book?

I’m a big fan of Elise Parsley’s books, so of course, I had to read this one when it came out. My kids and I laughed a lot while reading this. Magnolia wants to set up a loud and messy circus, complete with a human cannonball routine in the library. The kids quickly pointed out that this goes against commonly accepted library behavior – though, of course, it takes Magnolia quite a while before she notices that everything is wrong with her plan.


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Madeline Finn and the Library Dog

By Lisa Papp

Book cover of Madeline Finn and the Library Dog

Why this book?

My kids and I loved this heartwarming story about a little girl, Madeleine, and Bonnie, the library dog who loves being read to. We were rooting for Madeleine to read to her new kind and patient dog friend! The kids mentioned how much they wanted to meet Bonnie and read to her, and wondered if our local library has events with reading dogs. They also wanted an immediate re-read. (Of course, my family likes books with adorable cuddly dogs in general.)


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Planting Stories: The Life of Librarian and Storyteller Pura Belpré

By Anika Aldamuy Denise, Paola Escobar

Book cover of Planting Stories: The Life of Librarian and Storyteller Pura Belpré

Why this book?

I picked up this book because of the illustrations on the cover, and the kids and I ended up loving the story! I didn’t know anything about Pura Belpre prior to picking up this book, and neither did the kids. We found her story fascinating and learned so much about her. (She was the first librarian, puppeteer, and author of Puerto Rican descent in NYC). Also, the artwork in this book is so beautiful!


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Schomburg: The Man Who Built a Library

By Carole Boston Weatherford, Eric Velasquez

Book cover of Schomburg: The Man Who Built a Library

Why this book?

As my kids are getting older, I keep my eyes open for longer, more complex picture books – and this book attracted my attention. It’s a great non-fiction biography for kids who like learning about notable historical personalities. It took roughly 45 minutes to read this book with the kids, and we all learned so much about Schomburg and his quest to collect literature by and about people of African descent worldwide. One thing that really impressed the kids and me was how he managed to keep this humongous collection in his home. (The kids and I were wondering if the whole family was sleeping on books instead of beds)!


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