Books in a Box: Lutie Stearns and the Traveling Libraries of Wisconsin
by Stuart Stotts. Nonfiction. 96 pages. Grades 3-6.
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This is a quiet, fictionalized biography about the work of Lutie Stearns. Around the turn of the century she traveled throughout Wisconsin providing boxed sets of books which circulated from town to town. Funded by state taxes these were the first free libraries for many communities. This is a good nonfiction companion to novels and picture books set in the time period.
This book brings back Lutie's passion for books and her belief in the power they can have to change lives. In a time when so many of us take libraries for granted this book reminds us of their scarcity in the past and the power they still hold.
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The Librarian of Basra: A True Story from Iraq by Jeanette Winter. (2005, Harcourt. ISBN 9780152054458. Order Info.) Picture Book. 32 pages. Gr K-2.
A librarian in Iraq loves books and knows their value to people and to a country. When war threatens her library she rallies people to move the 30,000 books to various homes thus preserving them when a bomb hits the library. This true story of the effects of the United State's Gulf War in Iraq on one librarian is an effective tale of commitment and overcoming obstacles even while it leaves vague the details of the war and the United State's role in it. This works wonderfully with a young audience but can also be used as a vignette in a broader discussion of the war with older students.
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