One of the main goals libraries set out to do is promote literacy in their communities. For younger audiences, this can look like getting them excited about the library and its materials. Here is a list of books that discuss the importance and power of libraries and storytelling in a variety of ways.
Dear Librarian by Lydia M Sigwarth (2021) – Lydia Sigwarth tells the story of her connection with the library, the space, and the friendly librarian. She shows the importance of having an inclusive space for all at the library, having become a librarian herself when she was older to create a welcoming space for others.
The Librarian’s Stories by Lucy Falcone (2020) – The librarian reads aloud stories outside in the square of a war-struck town. The villagers are hesitant to listen to her at first, but eventually her stories remind them of happier times and provide hope for them to start again when the war is over. The book is based on the burning of libraries and censorship throughout history.
I am a Story by Dan Yaccarino (2016) – Dan Yaccarino writes about the power of stories and the changing ways they have been told, presented, made and housed throughout history.
The Midnight Library by Kazuno Kohara (2014) – The librarian at the Midnight Library helps the animal patrons find what they are looking for and tells them about different library services, such as issuing library cards and providing spaces for squirrel band practice.
Stanley’s Library by William Bee (2021) – Stanley the hamster takes his mobile library to the park and connects with various patrons on book recommendations based on their hobbies and interests. He then sets up and hosts a book reading event on the first where attendees dress up in astronaut costumes and the author presents her book on the first mouse in space.
This Is Not a Picture Book by Sergio Ruzzier (2016) – This book discusses learning to read and discovering the different emotions that can come from words and stories.
Waiting for the Biblioburro by Monica Brown (2011) – The bibliotecario (librarian) brings his moving library on his two donkeys to regions in rural Columbia to spread literacy with the local children who he invites to read with him. Based on a real library service.
Thesaurus Has a Secret by Anya Glazer (2020) – Thesaurus is a dinosaur who has a secret: he loves to read. He is afraid to let the other dinosaurs know because dinosaurs don’t read. One day, he accidentally reads out loud and notices all the other dinosaurs are interested in listening to his story.
The Library Bus by Bahram Rahman (2020) – Pari is a young girl who is a library assistant to her mom, the bookmobile driver in Kabul, Afghanistan. Her mom educates young girls on reading and writing in English and Farsi. Together they hand out notebooks, pencils, and books to other young girls in the city and neighboring areas as well as in refugee camps. Her mom explains to her the importance of girls’ education, as she was not allowed to go to school publicly when she was young and studied in her grandfather’s basement.
Nia and the New Free Library by Ian Lendler (2021) – Littletown Library has been destroyed by a tornado. The townspeople are deciding what to do with the empty library. Nia is the only one to suggest the rebuilding of the library. When no one gets on board, she decides to write stories for her own free library. As the townspeople read her stories, she invites them to add their own elements. Soon enough she has many of the townspeople writing their own stories. When they need a place to store them, a new library is built to benefit the community.
No Buddy Like a Book by Alan Wolf (2021) – The “Book Express” can take readers on many journeys alongside their imaginations. This book represents the different things readers can learn and the places they can go while reading.
What have you read in your local library that encourages early literacy? Let us know!