This Book of Mine by Sarah Stewart & David Small

This Book of Mine by 
Sarah Stewart & David Small
Review Copy from FSG Books for Young Readers
I am happy to be reminded of just what is special about a book, and this is exactly what Sarah Stewart and David Small do with This Book of Mine. Even better, this gently rhyming picture book ode is perfect for emerging readers newly entering the amazing experiences of getting lost in a book, being comforted by a book, being transported by a book, being inspired by a book and beyond.

Stewart's poem is elegantly simple and emotionally powerful, as are Small's illustrations that range from gestural sweeps to detailed faces. Stewart begins this book with a promise, "I take this book . . ." to be: a friend, a chew toy, a comfort item, and to "think about what I just saw - then close the book and try to draw." Books also inspire expression, be it reciting on a stage or acting in your own backyard. And, of course, books lead us to "find knowledge and happiness . . . and pleasure." I especially love that Stewart and Small include an image of violinists, reading sheet music from a book - one form of reading a book that, as far as I know, is still only read in a tangible, paper format and not a digital one. And, perfectly as you would expect from a book like this, Stewart and Small bookend their book. The first page shows a young woman, hugging her book, leaving the New York Public Library and passing one of the famous lion statues (Patience?). as the book ends, a young girl leaves the library, hugging her book and smiling, her little brother next to her, his nose in a book, a lion (Fortitude?) behind her. Not only is this a beautiful image of how special a book can be, but it is a powerful reminder that there are places where books - and knowledge - are free to anyone. I'll leave you with a few quotes about libraries and librarians . . . 
The very existence of libraries affords the best evidence that we may yet have hope for the future of man. T.S. Eliot
The only thing that you absolutely have to know, is the location of the library.Albert Einstein
The health of our civilization, the depth of our awareness about the underpinnings of our culture and our concern for the future can all be tested by how well we support our libraries.Carl Sagan
Whatever the cost of our libraries, the price is cheap compared to that of an ignorant nation. Walter Cronkite
Libraries: The medicine chest of the soul.Library at Thebes, inscription over the door
A library is a place where you learn what teachers were afraid to teach you.Alan M. Dershowitz 

Literacy is the most basic currency of the knowledge economy. Barack Obama

 A few more books by Stewart & Small

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