February is “Love Your Library” month! During this month, and all year round, we invite you to come in to your local OC Public Libraries branch and get a library card, attend an event or use our many online resources. In honor of this themed month, I thought I’d share some of my favorite picture books which involve libraries. However, this is just a small sampling of the picture books that OC Public Libraries has for you and your children to check out. For the complete catalog of our collection, please click here. Happy reading!
A Library Book for Bear by Bonny Becker
In lovely brown, rose and blue shades, Becker and illustrator Kady MacDonald Denton relate the story of Bear. He already has a grand total of seven books at home, and thus in his mind, doesn’t see much need to go to the library. But he reluctantly agrees to accompany his friend Mouse. Once they arrive, Bear is at first overwhelmed by the quantity of books inside. Eventually a librarian approaches Bear and invites him to join her storytime, causing comical and delightful changes in Bear’s feelings and facial expression, from belligerent to shy to enthralled.
Calvin Can’t Fly: The Story of a Bookworm Birdie by Jennifer Berne
What first caught my attention about this book were Keith Bendis’ simple yet whimsical illustrations of the starlings that are its focus. While Calvin’s starling brothers and sisters are into things like grass, worms and water, Calvin loves reading. While his siblings are learning how to fly, Calvin spends his summer in the library. Because of this, however, when it comes time to fly south, Calvin’s siblings have to tow him along wrapped in string and cloth. But when a hurricane comes into their flight path, it is Calvin who saves the day with the knowledge he’s gained from reading.
Ron’s Big Mission by Rose Blue and Corinne J. Naden
This picture book, gorgeously illustrated by Don Tate, is based on a real childhood incident in the life of Ron McNair, the late astronaut. When Ron was nine years old in South Carolina he was a dedicated regular of his local library. However, because he was African-American, he was not permitted to get his own library card due to the discriminatory policies of that time. Despite this, Ron decided that getting a library card was very important to him. So one afternoon he bravely and persistently requested a library card in his name, even in the face of law enforcement. Librarian Mrs. Scott decides to honor her “best customer” by issuing him a card.
Waiting for the Biblioburro by Monica Brown
In striking acrylic on board illustrations, Brown and artist John Parra tell the story of a little girl named Ana who lives in a Latin American village far from any traditional library. Because she only owns one book, she creates her own stories, which she tells her brother at night. One day a wonderful thing happens, and the Biblioburro librarian arrives in town. His two donkeys, Alfa and Beto, carry lots of library books which children can borrow and then exchange for new books the next time the librarian returns. The book was inspired by an actual librarian in Colombia, Luis Soriano Bohórquez, whom author Brown came to know.
Mind Your Manners, B. B. Wolf by Judy Sierra
B. B. Wolf, who has just received an invitation to the library’s Annual Storybook Tea, doesn’t think he even likes tea. But his friend, a crocodile, gives him the priceless advice that you don’t go to an afternoon tea for the tea, you go for the cookies. Thus inspired, B. B. Wolf begins prepping himself by consulting an etiquette book. Determined not to burp or bite anyone, he joins all the other storybook characters at the tea. Unfortunately, however, he does commit a potentially ungraceful misstep. But the librarian is so impressed by the wolf’s attempt to handle the situation politely that she rewards him with a delicious treat. The story is humorously and brightly illustrated by J. Otto Seibold.
The Little Red Fish by Taeeun Yoo
This story is beautifully illustrated in brown and creme drawings etched and hand-colored by the author herself. JeJe is a little boy whose grandfather is a librarian at a library inside a forest, a place the child is one day allowed to visit. Carrying his red fish in a bowl, JeJe explores the library, eventually falling asleep. When he awakens, he notices that his fish is no longer in its bowl. JeJe begins searching for his fish, finally opening a book from which a whole school of red fish jumps. When JeJe realizes that his own fish could be inside this book, he enters the book and embarks on a wonderful adventure.