As a writer, I love books about books, libraries and reading. One of my all-time favourites is Jeremiah Learns To Read by Jo Ellen Bogart, as is The Wednesday Surprise by Eve Bunting – both are beautiful picture books about illiteracy.
I like picture books like The Library Lion by Michelle Knudson, or The Girl Who Hated Books by Manjusha Pawagi and Too Many Books by Gilles Tibo.
I admired entire novels based on fairytales, like Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine. One of my favourite novels about a school library is The Tiny Hero of Ferny Creek Library by Linda Bailey where brave Eddy the bug saved the school library by knowing how to read.
I hope you have read Souperchicken by Mary Jane Auch? It’s a very funny story about a chicken who saves lives by learning to read.
I wasn’t sure if I’d like Ink Heart by Cornelia Funke because it is fantasy, and I’m not fond of fantasy. But, in a Harry Potteresque way, I found the book spellbinding and was fascinated by the plot, and the good writing. I’m not sure I’ll read all books in the trilogy but I did very much enjoy the first book.
And then I saw the book I just finished reading: Ban This Book by Alan Gratz. I read it in two evenings and loved it. This is a brilliant, funny story based on a very real concern, that of banning books in school libraries. Gratz skillfully deals with both sides of the issue in a great way. He leaves the power to solve the problem to the kids but manages to show parental concern, the responsibilities of school boards and – most of all – the importance of having a real librarian in the school library and the influence books can have on a child’s life. The book shows how school libraries can be critical to the development of children. His main character grows and changes throughout the story. Gratz neatly quotes real titles, real authors (Dav Pilkey is a visiting author in the story) and real book banning cases, wrapping up all loose ends in a satisfying manner. Highly recommended for kids, activists, parents, school administrators and all library lovers.