Library Girl

Nan­cy Pearl once trav­eled in the back­seat of our car to a con­fer­ence in the north­ern Wis­con­sin woods. Sev­er­al years lat­er, she intro­duced us to Karen Hen­ry Clark, who had just moved to Min­neso­ta. Nan­cy and Karen met work­ing in a book­store in Oklahoma.

I was eager­ly wait­ing for this book, Library Girl: How Nan­cy Pearl Became America’s Most Cel­e­brat­ed Librar­i­an.

I wasn’t pre­pared to fall in love with this book, which I most def­i­nite­ly have.

Library Girl
Library Girl

A bright palette lifts the reader’s mood toward joy, con­trast­ing well with the white chalk out­lines that depict young Nancy’s imag­i­na­tion. Illus­tra­tor Sheryl Mur­ray draws Nancy’s expres­sive eyes in such an engag­ing way that we are root­ing for her. Peri­od details like sad­dle shoes, milk trucks, and Nancy’s bike Charg­er set the time peri­od. The imag­i­nary Charg­er, Nancy’s horse, makes me feel five years old again. I want a ride on that horse!

illus­tra­tion © Sheryl Mur­ray, from Library Girl:
How Nan­cy Pearl Became Amer­i­ca’s Most Cel­e­brat­ed Librar­i­an
,
Lit­tle Big­foot / Sasquatch Books, 2022

When books show young Nan­cy “I can be any­thing when I grow up,” my heart melt­ed. Yes! This is what books do. They make every­thing seem possible.

Karen Hen­ry Clark’s spare but descrip­tive text tells Nancy’s sto­ry with con­vic­tion. As always with Ms. Clark, word choice is spot on.

The ten­sion in the book occurs when the two librar­i­ans at Fran­cis Park­man Branch Library in Detroit, Michi­gan, ask Nan­cy to give a book­talk to oth­er young readers.

Brave was nev­er how she felt around oth­er kids.” Have you or your young ones felt that way? I cer­tain­ly did. 

This is a book for all of us: the library lovers, the horse lovers, the read­ers, the shy ones. Dream big.

High­ly recommended.

Library Girl: How Nan­cy Pearl Became America’s Most Cel­e­brat­ed Librar­i­an
writ­ten by Karen Hen­ry Clark
illus­trat­ed by Sheryl Mur­ray
Lit­tle Big­foot / Sasquatch Books, 2023
ISBN 978−1−63217−318−8
sug­gest­ed for ages 4 and up

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Heidi Hammond
10 months ago

Thank you! A librar­i­an as the hero of a book! I won­der how many books will be writ­ten about brave librar­i­ans of today fight­ing the increased book chal­lenges. Those will be inspir­ing sto­ries of defend­ing the right to read.

Debra Shumaker
Debra Shumaker
10 months ago

I love this book!

Bonnie
Bonnie
10 months ago

It is no sur­prise that you would love this book, Vic­ki! You are a library girl as well.

Karen Henry Clark
9 months ago

Thank you for these love­ly words. Every cham­pi­on begins some­where, and Library Girl presents the piv­otal moment in Nan­cy’s young life. She often says that librar­i­ans saved her from an unhap­py child­hood, and she means it with all her heart. Her work with books and libraries here and around the world is invalu­able to readers.