I’m really excited to share this list of the best children’s books about libraries and librarians. A subject close to my heart, I scoured the internet to find books that make us library folk look cool. (Or does our inclusion make the books cooler? You decide.) You might notice some classic library books aren’t here, titles like the brilliant Library Lion by Michelle Knudsen and Library Mouse by Daniel Kirk. That’s on purpose, as I wanted to display books that aren’t the same ones most associated with this topic. One more omission: Anika Aldamuy Denise’s Planting Stories: The Life of Librarian and Storyteller Pura Belpré because you can (and should!) read more about Belpré and that book in my post here.
The Midnight Librarian by Kazuno Kohara
A whimsical little librarian manages a library that only opens at night, and her owl assistants help her keep it organized. Their animal patrons are quiet and well-behaved until one night a band of squirrels show up to rehearse—and create total commotion! The librarian helps them find a room they can practice inside, but complications continue to arise. This is a surprising, charming book with unexpected plot turns that will keep young readers on their toes.
Lyric McKerrigan, Secret Librarian by Jacob Sager Weinstein and Vera Brosgol
Lyric McKerrigan has to save the world’s books from Dr. Glockenspiel, and what follows is hilarious, ridiculous and very fun to read. The story itself features a brave, clever librarian at the center of a bunch of hectic good guys vs. bad guys action, and readers will enjoy the silly humor (Dr. Glockenspiel escapes from the “Depository for the Criminally Naughty”—a very Moira Rose-esque way of describing jail, I think). Also, I’m a big fan of Brosgol’s art and it’s definitely at its brightest and wackiest here.
Luna Loves Library Day by Joseph Coelho and Fiona Lumbers
I love this sweet story about Luna and her dad’s day at the library. Coelho’s story implies that Luna’s parents are separated, and shows how the library helps keep her and her father connected as they spend the day together. So, regardless of if you are looking for a book about divorce or one about libraries, this is great for both.
The Book Without a Story by Carolina Rabei
Dusty is a library book without a reader to call his own! Unborrowed, he sits atop a too-high shelf in the children’s section of the library and wishes that someone would find him. Guess what? Eventually, Jake does and we all get a happy ending. (It turns out that Dusty is about dinosaurs so, really, plenty of kids would be interested.)
Bunny’s Book Club by Annie Silvestro and Tatjana Mai-Wyss
The illustrations and story are perfectly, heartwarmingly adorable. Bunny loves books and listening to outdoor storytime, but isn’t sure if he’s allowed in the library to get books of his own. Once the season changes and storytime moves inside, he yearns for books to read at home and so breaks into the library. It is all very sweet. Also, because I own a dress very similar to the librarian in the story, I felt seen.
Nonfiction Picture Books
Schomburg: The Man Who Built a Library by Carole Boston Weatherford and Eric Velásquez
Arturo Schomburg was an Afro-Puerto Rican book collector, historian, and activist, eventually building a library with his collection. While aimed at older kids, this beautifully illustrated book will introduce children to iconic African American historical figures.
Waiting for the Biblioburro by Monica Brown and John Parra
Inspired by the story of Luis Soriano, a real-life librarian in rural Colombia who created a mobile library using two burros (donkeys) packed with books. In this adaption, Ana loves stories but only has access to a single book, and because her teacher left town she knows she won’t be able to find another. Then, the BiblioBurro arrives, bringing new books and a promise to come back again with more. I love the incorporation of Spanish words into the text, and the delightful, heart-warming story.
Easy Chapter Books
The Scary Library Shusher by Andrés Miedoso and Víctor Rivas
This book is #5 of the Desmond Cole Ghost Patrol series. Desmond loves the library—usually— though maybe less so when there is a ghostly old woman haunting the place? This is an easy, engaging chapter book with a fun premise.
Book Uncle and Me by Uma Krishnaswami and Priya Kuriyan
Yasmin loves reading—in fact, she reads a new book daily. On her way home from school, she always stops by Book Uncle’s lending library to pick up another of his recommendations. Until one day, she finds him packing up his books because he doesn’t have the necessary permit to run his library. Yasmin then realizes she needs to find a way to help Book Uncle, making this a meaningful story about activism and friendship.
These children’s books about libraries and librarians are great reminders of our best qualities—you know, like how we battle evil while still sharing stories? Or run late night libraries in the company of helpful owls? Well, okay, those are unlikely, but librarians do find incredible ways of reaching their communities (the BiblioBurro, for example, or even the kind librarian in Bunny’s Book Club). When children are taught to value the library from a young age, they are more likely to become loyal lifelong users—hey, it worked for me. So check out some of these children’s books about library life and get your kiddos jazzed for their next visit.