Picture Books About the Library

September is Library Card Sign-Up Month! There are so many amazing picture books about books and the library, so here are just some of the many out there.

D.W.'s Library Card by Marc Brown

D.W.’s Library Card by Marc Brown

D.W. practices writing her name, gets her first library card, learns about waiting her turn to check out books, taking care of library items, and renewing.

Funny, nostalgic, and succinct

No T. Rex in the Library by Toni Buzzeo, illustrated by Sachiko Yoshikawa

No T. Rex in the Library by Toni Buzzeo, illustrated by Sachiko Yoshikawa

Tess is being too loud in the library. When she’s left alone for 10 minutes, she pulls a T. Rex from a book and they go on adventures, while Tess begins to prioritize taking care of the books.

Random and incorporates different characters like knights, cowboys, and pirates

The Library Book by Tom Chapin and Michael Mark, illustrated by Chuck Groenink

The Library Book by Tom Chapin and Michael Mark, illustrated by Chuck Groenink

Based off the song by Tom Chapin (it’s catchy, give it a listen!)

I love the color scheme, with the greens and reds and browns

Everything in its Place: A Story of Books and Belonging by Pauline David-Sax, illustrated by Charnelle Pinkney Barlow

Everything in its Place: A Story of Books and Belonging by Pauline David-Sax, illustrated by Charnelle Pinkney Barlow

The main character hides out in her school library during recess and loves shelving books. She also spends time at her mom’s diner and meets a woman named Maggie who rides a motorcycle and bestows some life wisdom upon her. Ultimately this is about the main character getting out of her comfort zone to make friends.

Cool illustrations, strong writing spaced out well, references to Dewey decimal numbers for specific topics (astronomy, 520’s), has a “everything in life is a risk” type message

Planting Stories: The Life of Librarian and Storyteller Pura Belpré by Anika Aldamuy Denise, illustrated by Paola Escobar

Planting Stories: The Life of Librarian and Storyteller Pura Belpré by Anika Aldamuy Denise, illustrated by Paola Escobar

A biography of Pura Belpré, who immigrated from Puerto Rico to New York City in 1921, and how she became a librarian who brought stories to Spanish-speaking children through story times, curating books, and translating.

The illustrations are so pleasant to look at and the story is wonderful

The Midnight Library by Kazuno Kohara

The Midnight Library by Kazuno Kohara

A library which is only open at night and depicts the different ways librarians help others, such as showing a noisy band of squirrels to the activity room, reading with a fox, and signing up a tortoise for a library card.

Very cute and I like the little unexpected moments, like when it starts to “rain” but it’s actually the fox crying over a book

Ronan the Librarian by Tara Luebbe and Becky Cattie, illustrated by Victoria Maderna

Ronan the Librarian by Tara Luebbe and Becky Cattie, illustrated by Victoria Maderna

Ronan comes across a useless treasure one day (a book) but when he accidentally gets hooked on the story, he becomes a voracious reader, raiding “like a good barbarian” only to run home and read afterwards. When his collection of books becomes overwhelming, he opens a library. The next dilemma arises: the barbarians don’t read, until Ronan piques their interest by reading aloud.

Very cute, I liked the repetition of “invaded, raided, read” throughout the book

Moose's Book Bus by Inga Moore

Moose’s Book Bus by Inga Moore

A medley of animals, all who live out in the woods, have no books, so Moose builds a bus and brings books out to the forest, but no one can read, so Moose teaches a few animals, who teach other animals… And literacy and literature abound.

Detailed and careful illustrations, heartfelt message, lots of animal names, a great story about a bookmobile!

Book Fiesta!: Celebrate Children's Day/Book Day by Pat Mora, illustrated by Rafael López

Book Fiesta!: Celebrate Children’s Day/Book Day by Pat Mora, illustrated by Rafael López

Children’s Day/Book Day is a Mexican holiday celebrated April 30. This book is written in both English and Spanish, with both languages appearing on each page, describing children reading books in different situations, such as at the library, in a hot air balloon, or on a train.

Vibrant illustrations, simple text, won the Pura Belpré award for its illustrations in 2010

The Not So Quiet Library by Zachariah OHora

The Not So Quiet Library by Zachariah OHora

The story is kind of random and silly, which will probably work for kids who like to be caught off guard by goofy characters and events

Love the art style and colors

Library Babies by Puck, illustrated by Violet Lemay

Library Babies by Puck, illustrated by Violet Lemay

This is a board book that depicts babies and toddlers enjoying different aspects of the library.

The last page has some great suggestions for how to enhance the reading experience with kiddos

Dear Reader: A Love Letter to Libraries by Tiffany Rose

Dear Reader: A Love Letter to Libraries by Tiffany Rose

The main girl loves books and reading but points out how a lot of books have primarily Caucasian representation, and when there is Black representation in books, it’s usually about suffering and pain. The narrator reassures that she still loves the stories with white characters, but she wishes she could read stories about people like her, too. In the end, she resolves to write her own stories about “superheroes with locs” and “afro puffs on other planets.”

The story has a good flow and a well-paced conclusion, but addresses the singular reader of the book (not libraries), so this doesn’t really feel like a love letter to libraries. But it is certainly an empowering narrative of a girl who loves libraries deciding to write her own stories

Schomburg: The Man Who Built a Library by Carole Boston Weatherford, illustrated by Eric Velásquez

Schomburg: The Man Who Built a Library by Carole Boston Weatherford, illustrated by Eric Velásquez

A biography about Arturo/Arthur Schomburg, who amassed an unprecedented collection of diaspora literature which was previously undervalued by society. Schomburg had African, Spanish, and Taino Indian heritage and grew up in Puerto Rico. He arrived in New York City in 1891 and studied African, Caribbean, and Latin American history. In 1926, his collection was bought and donated to the New York Public Library, comprising the third story of the 135th Street branch.

His story is incredible, and the illustrations are impressive, but it’s pretty wordy, with lots of references to other important historical figures, including Phillis Wheatley, Frederick Douglass, Toussaint Louverture, and Paul Cuffee

"L" is for Library by Sonya Terry, illustrated by Nicole Wong

“L” is for Library by Sonya Terry, illustrated by Nicole Wong

Not sure you’ll be able to find it, but it was in our collection. It’s a little outdated by now but has solid examples of library terminology like “G for guide word”

Love in the Library by Maggie Tokuda-Hall, illustrated by Yas Imamura

Love in the Library by Maggie Tokuda-Hall, illustrated by Yas Imamura

Maggie Tokuda-Hall recounts how her grandparents met in a Japanese American incarceration camp during WWII, her grandmother having worked in the library.

Beautiful pictures, bittersweet, so amazing


For more book lists from Slanted Spines, click here.

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