When I Went to the Library: Writers Celebrate Books and Reading


128 pages
ISBN 0-88899-423-0
DDC jC813'.0108357





Edited by Debora Pearson

Susannah D. Ketchum, a former teacher-librarian at the Bishop Strachan
School in Toronto, serves on the Southern Ontario Library Services


According to Debora Pearson, “the public library … has always been
an important part [of my life] ... [and I] wanted to give something
back.” Hence this delightful volume.

Nine authors, eight of them Canadian, including Sarah Ellis, Jean
Little, and Paul Yee, have contributed original selections about
“libraries, books, and reading.” The opening chapter, in which Ken
Roberts’s protagonist, Cara, writes a letter to Mr. Winston,
apologizing for bringing a snake into the library—and losing it
therein—sets the tone. The reader is hooked. Other highlights include
Celia Barker Lottridge’s amusing story-in-verse about a library book
that was passed from person to person to person, and Tim Wynne-Jones’s
distinctly spooky tale about the boy who wanted to be the first
person—and he did NOT mean Balboa—to see the Pacific. Budge
Wilson’s gentle narrative, “Carlotta’s Search,” is an object
lesson for the grownups fortunate enough to read it. Nine-year-old
Carlotta is mad at the world because, although her mother has leukemia,
everyone tells Carlotta that she is “too young to worry.”
Fortunately, an understanding teacher takes Carlotta to the school
library and helps her find information and a novel about leukemia.

The selections are all short, and the typeface generous, making the
book accessible to quite young readers. However, adults should consider
reading some of the stories aloud, both for their own pleasure and to
stimulate discussion.


“When I Went to the Library: Writers Celebrate Books and Reading,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed May 27, 2024, https://cbra.library.utoronto.ca/items/show/21924.