cover image Nia and the New Free Library

Nia and the New Free Library

Ian Lendler, illus. by Mark Pett. Chronicle, $18.99 (40p) ISBN 978-1-4521-6686-

A brown-skinned, noodle-limbed child named Nia unites Littletown by reminding it of libraries’ importance in this “Stone Soup”–inspired tale. When the Littletown Library, already old and abandoned, is carried away by a tornado, the town’s residents wonder what to do with the empty lot. Nia, apparently the library’s sole visitor, crafts a selection of tales from memory, calling the collection the New Free Library and offering it to residents. When her fellow citizens complain about errors, clever Nia merely hands them a pencil and paper to fix things. Lendler relays the tale in rhythmic, dialogue-heavy prose, offering allusions to classics (“What exactly is a rumpus?”). Pett illustrates in warm washes of color, with comic-style panels featuring a cast of figures of varying ages and skin tones. An entertaining narrative extolling the community-building virtues of libraries. Back matter includes an author’s note. Ages 5–8. [em](June) [/em]