Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels
- Age: 4 to 7
- Grade: p to 2
- Reading age: 4 to 7
Inspired by true events, a fictionalized retelling of how one woman brought a world of books to children in Germany after World War II, and changed their lives forever.
Anneliese and Peter will never be the same after the war that took their father's life. One day, while wandering the ruined streets of Munich, the children follow a line of people entering a building, thinking there may be free food inside. Instead, they are delighted to discover a great hall filled with children's books --- more books than Anneliese can count. Here, they meet the lady with the books, who encourages the children to read as much as they want. And she invites them to come back the next day. Eventually, she will have a greater impact on the children's lives than they could ever have imagined.
This moving picture book, written by beloved and award-winning author Kathy Stinson, is based on the real-life work of Jella Lepman, founder of the International Board on Books for Young People (IBBY) and the International Youth Library. Lepman's collection of children's books from around the world traveled throughout Germany after World War II in the hope of building “bridges of understanding” between countries. Brought to life by highly acclaimed illustrator Marie Lafrance, this book carries an important message about international cooperation that still resonates with world events today. It includes further information about Lepman and her work as well as historical photos. This story of the children who survived the war offers a unique and often unexplored perspective for history lessons. It also makes an excellent choice for character education lessons on resilience. A portion of the author's royalties will be donated to IBBY's Children in Crisis Fund.
About the authors
Kathy Stinson is a familiar name in children’s literature. She wrote the award-winning Red is Best and Big or Little?—two of the first picture books for preschoolers in Canada. Both were a huge success and have since achieved international acclaim. Red is Best 25th Anniversary Edition was released in 2006 a newly illustrated Big or Little? was published in 2009. Kathy’s latest book, The Man with the Violin (2013), was greeted with rave reviews, including starred reviews in Kirkus and uill & uire. Illustrated by Duan Petricic, this beautifully evocative picture book tells the true story of world-renowned violinist, Joshua Bell, who conducted an experiment by anonymously playing his priceless violin in the Washington D.C. subway station. Kathy grew up in Toronto. “My love affair with books began as a child,” she says. “I remember regular visits to the library, getting stacks of books to read.” She still has a notebook of stories that she wrote when she was in grade four. She believes that reading a lot is the key to becoming a good writer. In the early 1970s Kathy attended university while teaching elementary school. In 1981, she took a course called “How to write and get published.” The titles she has published in the years since range from picture books to young adult novels, from historical fiction chapter books to short stories in the horror genre. 2008 sees the publication of her first brand-new picture book in sixteen years! Kathy enjoys visiting schools across Canada, and especially talking with fellow writers. In 1987 she traveled to England as part of an exchange of Canadian and British children’s authors. She has helped students across Canada pursue their own creative projects through the Writers in Electronic Residence program, and in many communities has conducted writing workshops for children and for adults. When she’s not busy writing or reading, Kathy is a self-proclaimed jigsaw puzzle addict. Her children now grown, she lives with her partner, editor Peter Carver, in a hamlet not far from Guelph, Ontario.
Marie Lafrance est née à Québec. Après des études en graphisme et un long séjour aux États-Unis, elle décide de se consacrer à l'illustration. Ses œuvres lui ont valu des nominations au prix du Gouverneur général et elle a remporté le Prix Ruth et Sylvia Schwartz de littérature jeunesse pour le livre Une poule pour Izzy Pippik qu'elle a illustré. Marie vit à Montréal.
MARIE LAFRANCE has spent her whole life drawing pictures, at first to keep from biting her nails, then for magazines, newspapers, posters, billboards and board games. Now she illustrates picture books, including The Lady with the Books, Oscar Lives Next Door, and Bunny the Brave War Horse. Her book A Hen for Izzy Pippik won the Ruth and Sylvia Schwartz Award. Marie lives in Montreal, Quebec.
- Short-listed, Elizabeth Mrazik-Cleaver Canadian Picture Book Award, IBBY Canada
- Winner, Outstanding International Books List, USBBY
- Winner, Books of the Year list, A Might Girl
Quill & Quire, starred review
... a notable reminder of the potent healing abilities of literature.
... a poignant and powerful picture book ...
Globe and Mail
In today's global political climate, the spirit of Jella Lepman seems a supremely important one to foster and this beautifully told story is a wonderful way to start.—Association of Jewish Libraries
The digitally colored graphite illustrations are equally adept at conveying the deprivation of post-war Germany and the power of stories to unlock hope.—The Horn Book
A story for book-loving children and adults who believe in the power of literature.
Other titles by Kathy Stinson
Other titles by Marie Lafrance
trésor d'Oma, Le
The Brass Charm
Curieux comme un petit chat !
Nous voilà tout oreilles !
Un vrai coup de maître !
Franz Joseph Haydn
We Are All Ears!
Gemma and the Giant Girl
A Brilliant Plan!
C'est mon piano, monsieur!
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Curiosity Killed the Cat!