cover image This Is a Story

This Is a Story

John Schu, illus. by Lauren Castillo. Candlewick, $17.99 (40p) ISBN 978-1-5362-0452-0

Starting in close and pulling back, this love letter to libraries foregrounds their gift for connecting each reader with just the right story. Schu (This Is a School) starts with books’ basic element—“This is a word”—then widens out from word to page, page to book, book to shelf, and to the world, “full of humans,” who sometimes need help “connecting.” In thick-lined ink, watercolor, and pastel art from Castillo (The Ramble Shamble Children), the first book shown—Chris Butterworth’s Sea Horse—is just right for a pale-skinned child who totes an unwieldy seahorse kite into the library after visiting a New York City park. A light-skinned librarian knowingly proffers the title, and the child is soon belly down with it on the round rug. Subsequent pages introduce variously diverse “readers/ with minds full of questions,” whose visits lead to finding a book that aligns with their interests. Realistically drawn, recognizable book jackets cover the pages, creating jumping-off points and sparks of recognition in a title that’s both the next best thing to an actual library visit and fine preparation for a first foray. Ages 4–8. Author’s agent: Molly O’Neill, Root Literary. Illustrator’s agent: Paul Rodeen, Rodeen Literary Management. (Mar.)