I love to read to kids, particularly my own, but I also love the opportunity to read to the kids that come into the library. I try (with varying success in the middle of drama rehearsals, karate classes, piano lessons, etc) to read to my kids every night. It doesn’t matter that they are 11 and 16 and perfectly able to read by themselves, there is something about sharing a story aloud and sharing it as a family. Sometimes it’s a picture book, sometimes a classic, sometimes a new juvenile or young adult chapter book that has appeared on the library shelves, but we all enjoy the time in the evening, curled up on the couch, sharing a story.
Children’s books are no less engrossing than those written for adults. Whether they are teaching a moral lesson, taking you on an adventure, or just plain silly, these books really can be enjoyed by people of any age, and are always best when they are shared.
I have a special affinity for picture books. I can get lost in the illustrations which can add so much to a story, taking you to different times and places, making you laugh, or just awing you with the works of art contained within the pages of a children’s book. As a self-admitted bibliophile, what could be better than picture books about books? Below are some of my favorites. No matter your age, if you love books, they are worth a look, and the illustrations alone make them worth owning.
Elizabeth Brown loves books, spends all her time with books, and is always reading.
Preferred a book
To going on a date.
While friends went out
And danced till dawn,
She stayed up reading late.”
Following Elizabeth from her birth through her old age this beautifully illustrated book tells the story of a true bibliophile. When her house is so full of books that there is no longer room for her, Elizabeth donates her collection to the town to create a public library and spends her old age walking to the library each day with her friend, still enjoying her books while others do as well.
Title: The Library
Author: Sarah Stewart
Genre: Children’s Fiction
Publication: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, April 1995
My favorite thing about this book is definitely the illustrations. It tells the story of Peter and his cat, characters from a book themselves, on a quest for the one missing book in a library that holds all the books ever written. The book is How to Live Forever, and in a library that comes alive at night, containing the world within its pages, they discover the Ancient Child who has the book and need to decide whether to read it. For every bibliophile who ever dreamed of a world within books, and built of books, the beautifully detailed illustrations provide a dream come true.
Title: How to Live Forever
Author: Colin Thompson
Genre: Children’s Fiction
Publication: Knopf Books for Young Readers, April 1996
This is a book of poems, about books, written for children. Again, the illustrations are fantastic, a little on the dark side, but definitely engrossing. Little kids seem to love the poems – some are silly, some offer great plays on words, some are touching, and some are even a little sad. My favorite is definitely the title poem:
“Please bury me in the library
In the clean, well-lighted stacks
Of Novels, History, Poetry,
Right next to the Paperbacks,
Where the Kids’ Books dance
With True Romance
And the Dictionary dozes.
Please bury me in the library
With a dozen long-stemmed proses.
Way back by a rack of Magazines,
I won’t be sad too often,
If the bury me in the library
With Bookworms in my coffin.”
Title: Please Bury Me in the Library
Author: J. Patrick Lewis
Genre: Children’s Poetry
Publication: Harcourt Children’s Books, April 2005
The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore is by far my favorite book about books. The illustrations are truly magical, as is the story of a man who spends his life being surrounded by, caring for, and being cared for by, books. And as his story is finished, the cycle begins anew, with the books remaining the one constant. As much as I love the book, and I do, immensely, the short animated film that preceded the book is perhaps even more fantastic (and I NEVER say that about a film!). It won the 2011 Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film and can be found on iTunes. I highly recommend that any book lover own both!