Little Libraries, Big Heroes

"For thousands of years, people have loved stories about heroes. Mythical heroes, historical heroes, and even... ordinary heroes. Like this guy: Todd."

Todd Bol was "pretty ordinary." As a child, he found reading difficult and was often in trouble in school. His mother, a teacher and book-lover, "told him he was gifted and had something big to offer the world." Years later, when Todd's mother died, he comforted himself with memories of her, including her teaching kids how to read. This gave him an idea: he would create a tiny "library" to "share his mother's love of reading." Made from an old door and "hammered... together to make a tiny one-room schoolhouse," this was the very first Little Free Library.

Miranda Paul's (Nine Months) straightforward, accessible text walks readers through Little Free Library's history, from Bol's first mini schoolhouse in Hudson, Wis., to the more than "75,000 registered LFLs" now found around the world. Paul dives into specifics, telling readers about six-year-old Nikki, who became an LFL "steward" after distributing hundreds of books in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina; librarian Ms. López, who built Texas's first LFL to bolster the school district's reading program; volunteers who set up both a school and an LFL in Uganda in a refugee camp. John Parra's (Frida Kahlo and Her Animalitos) fully saturated, acrylic illustrations are lively, each many-hued page full of motion and unrestrained energy. The award-winning pair both dedicate Little Libraries, Big Heroes to their childhood librarians, happily pointing out that ordinary book heroes can be found on the street and in the open arms of a child's local library. --Siân Gaetano, children's and YA editor, Shelf Awareness

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