cover image Book Uncle and Me

Book Uncle and Me

Uma Krishnaswami, illus. by Julianna Swaney. Groundwood (PGW, dist.), $14.95 (96p) ISBN 978-1-55498-808-2

Nine-year-old Yasmin loves to read. Luckily, a man known as Book Uncle has set up a free lending library on a nearby corner in her Indian city. Yasmin loves his book stall, but the mayor thinks it’s unseemly and needs to go. However, it’s election time, and Yasmin becomes determined to get Book Uncle and his stall back. Cooperation and progress are central themes in this thoughtful look on the power of words and grassroots activism, which emphasizes that even a child can make a difference. Augmented by newcomer Swaney’s delicately detailed spot illustrations, Krishnaswami’s (The Problem with Being Slightly Heroic) story immerses readers in Yasmin’s daily life and the people in it. “They all want votes,” a fruit vendor tells Yasmin as the election heats up. “Then when they get elected, they don’t do anything.” Politicos who fall short and people eager for change are just a couple of the cross-cultural similarities readers may recognize in this brisk chapter book, originally published in India. Ages 7–10. Author’s agent: Ginger Knowlton, Curtis Brown. Illustrator’s agent: Anne Moore Armstrong, Bright Agency. (Sept.)