Children’s books about books and writing

Four new books celebrate the unlimited possibilities of books, old and new. Two that focus on libraries show the power of collecting and protecting the past. The other two explore what inspired present-day authors when they were kids and how they pursued their craft. Any and all of these books could inspire you to write down your own ideas and stories.

Books! Books! Books! Explore the Amazing Collection of the British Library

By Mick Manning and Brita Granstrom. Ages 8 to 12.

The British Library has 400 miles of shelves, 15 floors (five below the ground) and 150 million items, so this slim, dynamically illustrated book can only hint at what it holds and preserves. Highlights include the library’s oldest book (dating from the 7th century), its biggest (a gigantic atlas that requires six people to lift), as well as the original manuscripts of such famous books as “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.” An early set of William Shakespeare’s plays is so valuable that it’s kept deep underground in a bombproof room.

Schomburg: The Man Who Built a Library

By Carole Boston Weatherford.
Illustrated by Eric Velasquez.
Ages 9 to 12.

Arturo Schomburg (1874-1938) was a treasure hunter who was interested in historical knowledge rather than money and jewels. He searched for the important but little-known contributions that people of African heritage had made to the world. Carole Boston Weatherford’s descriptions and Eric Velasquez’s illustrations make clear how tirelessly Schomburg searched for books, pamphlets and art that could “tell our stories, proclaim our glories.” They also provide intriguing mini-portraits of the people (such as Benjamin Banneker and Phillis Wheatley) who inspired Schomburg. Although he died about 80 years ago, his library in New York City is a national historic landmark, as big and bustling as ever.

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