The Magical World of Libraries! by Julee Murphy

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The Magical World of Libraries! by Julee Murphy

First came the storytellers, and then came the books. 

In the beginning of time, people came together, worked hard to build shelters and eventually built communities. Once communities were established and individual work loads lessened, people began to crave something else. They wanted to be entertained. As the ‘story’ goes, one day, an old man sat upon a rocky outcropping and began to spin words together, telling a tale. People stopped their daily toil to gather round and listen. It was on this day that magic entered into the world. This person became known as a storyteller.  As language and writing developed, stories were eventually written down on paper.  Single sheets of paper evolved into books; storytellers to  librarians.  Librarians hold stories deep in their hearts and release them into the world to help it grow and become a richer place to live.

The following are a small collection of well presented books that capture our imagination and help us to understand the magical world of libraries and of the librarians who manage these enchanting worlds of books and resources.

1: The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore by William Joyce.

THe Flying books of Mr. Morris Lessmore

Theme: Inspired by Hurricane Katrina, Buster Keaton, The Wizard of Oz, and a love for books, “Morris Lessmore” is a story of people who devote their lives to books and books who return the favor.

Explore the book here:

Book app on Vimeo

Video book trailer

What makes this a terrific read aloud?

  •  It is a simple story that is a highly imaginative and beautifully illustrated.
  • “Everyone’s story matters, ” said Morris. And all the books agreed. (Awesome line!)
  • There is a app for that (the book)


2: Wild About Books by Judy Sierra; Illustrated by Marc Brown

Wild About Books

Theme: A librarian introduces zoo animals to a love of reading.

This rhyming adventure begins when librarian, Molly McGrew, mistakenly drives her bookmobile into the zoo and then decides to make the best of a unique opportunity. She launches into a read aloud that has all the animals stampeding to find out about something called reading. It is a fun read aloud and many classic children’s book titles are sprinkled throughout. Many libraries adopted a “Wild About Books” theme when this title was first released.

What makes this a terrific read aloud? 

  • The story is humorous and contains a well crafted rhyme structure.
  • The story teaches us that we should look for opportunities even when we take a wrong turn just like Molly McGrew did when she drove into the zoo.
  • All the animals become so excited about reading that they decide to turn their zoo into a Zoobrary.   

Curriculum Connection Activities

Discussion Guide from Scholastic

“Books are Wild” printable 


 3 : Library Mouse by Daniel Kirk

Library Mouse

Theme: A library mouse discovers his inner author and writes books for children to discover and read.

Sam is a mouse who lives in a hole behind a wall in the children’s book section of a library. At night, he creeps out to read to his heart’s content. One night, with a mind so filled with ideas and imagination, Sam decides to write and illustrate his own books and add them to the shelves. Children soon discover Sam’s little books and love them. The librarians like them too and began to share them through read alouds. Everyone wants to meet Sam and the head librarian invites him to a “Meet the Author Day” but Sam is too shy so he sets up an alternative display to everyone’s delight.

What makes this a terrific read aloud?

  • Great illustrations that clearly show what a library looks likes and even highlights call numbers on the spines of a library book.
  • Touches on types of literature genres.
  • Lets children know they can become authors too.
  • Awesome read aloud for teachers looking for ways to inspire kids to enjoy writing.
  • Terrific resources to build into a lessons on writing and authorship.

Curriculum Connection Activities

The Little Mouse Book by Sam

How to make a little book

Bookmarks by Sam “Keep Reading” “Keep Writing”

We Love to Read printable coloring poster by Daniel Kirk


4: Tomás and the Library Lady by Pat Mora; Illustrator: Raul Colón


Theme: A lady librarian befriends and shares books with the son of migrant workers and he shares the stories with his family.

What makes this a terrific read aloud?

  •  Families are part of this reading experience. Tomás shares the stories that he reads with his family.
  • The role of a librarian as a reading advocate is well presented. Librarians are more than a providers of books-they are teachers, counselors, mentors, and good examples of how reading changes lives.
  • The book is based on a true story of a librarian who inspired the boy who became Dr. Tomás Rivera, a national education leader. The library at the University of California at Riverside bears his name.

Curriculum Connection Activities

Teaching Guide from the Harvard Family Research Project

Teacher Resource Guide and Lesson Plan Activities from Children’s Theater of Charlotte


5: That Book Woman by Heather Henson ; Illustrated by: David Small


Theme: A pack horse librarian inspires a young boy to learn to read.

Every two weeks, a librarian on horseback trudges along rocky Appalachian trails bringing books to Cal’s family. Although Cal’s sister loves the books, he insists he doesn’t care anything about reading, but is puzzled why this book woman travels so far on dangerous trails in bad weather just to bring his family books.

What makes this a terrific read aloud?

  • The characters are interesting–especially the librarian who rides on horseback.
  • This book is a good introduction into historical fiction and students can follow up with research on packhorse librarians or bookmobiles.

Curriculum Connection Activities

That Book Woman Bluebonnet Book Club activities and additional research resources

That Book Woman Reading Guide


 6: Bats at the Library by Brian Lies

Bats at the library

Theme: Bats explore the library at night after the doors have closed for the night.

Do you know what really happens when the library lights go out each night? Books and bats come out to read and play. At least author and illustrator Brian Lies would have you think so. In his beautifully illustrated, rhyming story, bats come out to read classic tales, splash in the drinking fountain, and celebrating the joys of reading.

What makes this a terrific read aloud?

  • Are you kidding? What’s cooler than bats reading books?
  • This fiction account will motivate children to want to learn more about real bats.
  • The illustrations are rich and beautifully created.
  • The rhyme structure adds to the fun of the book as a read aloud tool.

Brian Lies has written a series of Bat books: Bats at the Beach, Bats at the Ball Park, and Bats at the Library.

Curriculum Connection Activities

Brian Lies “The Bat Wing” a collection of everything batty-photos, activities, and bat facts.

Bats in the Library Reading Guide


7: Waitingfor Biblioburro by Monica Brown; Illustrated by John Para


Theme: Teacher, Luis Soriano, brings reading education to children in rural Colombia on the backs of his donkeys, Alpha and Beto.

What makes this a terrific read aloud?

  • Children are not only surprised to learn that a burro can deliver books but that some children are rarely or never exposed to books or libraries.
  • Spanish words are incorporated into the story.   
  • Introduces children to other cultures and experiences.
  • The story is useful to compare and contrast with The Book Woman, Tomás and the Library Lady and stories other about libraries and librarians.
  • The story allows children to see that librarians will go to great lengths to put books into the hands of readers.
  • The story was inspired by a real person helping children in rural communities.

Curriculum Connection Activities

Watch this CNN video to see the real Bibliotecario who inspired this story.

book collage 2

 8: Our Librarian Won’t Tell Us Anything by Toni Buzzeo;  Illustrated by Sachiki Yoshikawa

Our Librarian won't tell us anything

Theme: A librarian teaches children an important lesson in library research skills.

This colorful librarain won’t tell the children anything; she wants the students to leanr how to find things themselves  using the catalog and other appropriate library information.

What makes this a terrific read aloud?

  • The story is a good introduction to ways of conducting research.
  • The story demonstartes how librarians guide (instead of doing) research.
  • Children learn that, with the right tools,  they can find answers by themselves!
  • The story was written by a school librarian.

Curriculum Connection Activites

Our Librarian Won’t Tell Us Anything Reader’s Theater

Our Librarian Won’t Tell Us Anything Curriculum Guide

Research Project: learning about animals in natural habitats.

9: The Wonderful Book by Leonid Gore


(This is a book about a read aloud but it must be included)

Theme: Animals discover a lost book in the woods and try to figure out what it is.

 Deep in the woods, a rabbit finds a mysterious thing.

“What is this?” asks the rabbit.

“It looks like a wonderful house for me.”
So he wriggles inside and there he stays
until a big grumpy bear lumbers by.

“What a beautiful hat,” says the bear..

A lost book in the woods is discovered by a series of animals trying to decide its purpose. Is it a home, a table, or a hat? A boy walking in the woods finds it and begins to read it aloud. The animals all gather around to hear the wonderful story.

What makes this a terrific read aloud?

  • Younger children will find the animals amusing as they try to figure out whether the thing they found is a hat, table, or a house.
  • The story evolves into a read aloud within the story.
  • It is a story that celebrates reading.
  • The story can serve as an introduction into learning what a book is and the parts of a book.

Curriculum Connection Activities

Parts of a book dictionary from

School Home Link-a letter and activity for families to complete together.


10: What Happened to Marion’s Book? by Brook Berg; Illustrated by Nathan Alberg (currently out of print)

Mrions' Bppl

 Theme: This is the book I use for Kindergarten-second grade library orientation. I purchased it with my Scholastic dollars earned through school book fairs.

What makes this a great read aloud?

  • Children connect well with Marion because they have also gotten books dirty or torn a page.
  • Marion learns that her librarian is an understanding and forgiving person.
  • It comes with lesson activities for educators and printable templates and a coloring page.
  • There are printable band-aid bookmarks and Marion finger puppets that will help children retell  the story to their families of how Marion learned to take care of books.
  • The story supports library learning objects on care and treatment of library materials.

Curriculum Connection Activities

Here is the awesome “What Happened to Marion’s Book” Library Lessons


c31e1ca6896c82f73934074a066608cbABOUT JULEE: Julee Murphy is a teacher-librarian in a dual language elementary-middle school and university level Education Specialist. She obtained her B.A. in Psychology and M.S. in Early Childhood Education from Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi. She actively advocates for literacy in her community through early reading intervention programs and is a member of many professional organizations that support reading. Julee believes readers come in all ages and anyone can develop into a reader at any point in their lives. Her hobbies include reading, using technology tools to engage her students, performing science experiments at home, and entertaining her grandbabies.

Follow Julee:  Twitter: @JuleeMurphy  Google+   Pinterest   Julee’s bookclubs  Julee’s blog



This post was written exclusively by Julee Murphy for Bonbon Break Media, LLC and Mission Read

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