Morris, Carla. The Boy Who Was Raised by Librarians. Illustrated by Brad Sneed. Peachtree Publishers, 2007. 32 pages. $16.95. ISBN 9781561453917.
Young Melvin doesn’t live in the Livingston Public Library, but he spends lots of time there! Melvin is curious about the world, he likes the organization of the books, and he loves the librarians who worked at the reference desk. These ladies are curious, too, and always happy to help Melvin on his information quests, whether its information on snakes, insects, or fish. His baseball collection sparks the librarians to explain possible ways he might organize them, as well as online price guides and archival boxes. “But the Spend the Night in the Library party was the best! ...Melvin curled up in his sleeping bag near the encyclopedias. Surrounded by thousands of books, he felt rich and happy.” Melvin grows up and goes to college, but he misses the library and the librarians. “Morris clearly gets what makes librarians tick, and Sneed's humorous watercolor illustrations capture the soul of "how librarians are" in his perfect renditions of the mission-driven Marge, Betty and Leeola in action. Kids should get a kick out of the geeky Melvin, his supportive clan of nurturing bibliophiles and his so-very-logical career choice” (Kirkus Reviews, 2007).
The friendly and enthusiastic tone of this book (really a love letter, of sorts, to librarians) is perfect for enticing students into the wonders of the library. A big part of this story is the relationship that Melvin forges with the librarians and how that develops over time. They take an interest in his interests and him. This is a positive message to share with young children.
For librarians, library-lovers, and booklovers, this book may be poignant. Many of us remember a special librarian or library from our childhood. I loved the warm illustrations and watching Melvin grow and the librarians get a little gray!
Realistic Fiction, Reading, Bibliophilia
Calvin Can’t Fly (Berne) is a book about another curious bookworm who likes to read and spend time in libraries.