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Author: Susan L. Roth and Karen Leggett Abouraya

Illustrator: Susan L. Roth

Reserve at the Library

Publisher: Dial Books for Young Readers,

Material: hard cover

Summary: To find freedom in Egypt, people went to the library. A safe haven for ideas. In 2011, as the frustration reached a boiling point, Egyptians took to the streets in an effort to force out Hosni Mubarek's government. The violence threatened to destroy Egypt's national library. Until some people took action. This picture book offers an historical look at saving the library in Alexandria, Egypt.

Type of Reading: playtime reading, independent reading, read aloud book

Recommended Age: read together: 4 to 9; read yourself: 10 and Up

Interest Level: 5 to 10

Reading Level: 5.1

Age of Child: Read with and by an 11-year-old girl.

Young Reader Reaction: "Cool" was the single word used to describe the book. Our pre-teen was fascinated with the artwork and hung to every word of the story. She was frustrated that she could not read the protest signs (until we found the transliterations in the back).

Adult Reader Reaction: Beautiful on so many levels. The collage artwork is wonderful and the story is very well told. I particularly loved all of the extras in the back - photographs of the actual events and library; the author's personal story; and the detailed descriptions about the artwork (colors, patterns, styles).

Pros: People of all ages will enjoy this picture book. It is a wonderful way to introduce culture and history to young audiences.

Cons: None.

Borrow or Buy: Borrow, at least. This is a beautiful book that will be read and explored over and over.

If You Liked This Book, Try: OUR LIBRARY   AMADI's SNOWMAN   THE MIDDLE EAST (Kingfisher Knowledge)

Educational Themes: Beyond enjoying the story, there is a lot of history and social studies (including geography!). With older children it would be an excellent model for narrating historic events for younger children (writing project); in the art classroom it is an exceptional resource, too.

Notes: The publisher donated a copy of this book knowing that we would consider it for review and provide an independent, unbiased profile. This book will be given to a nonprofit to help readers in need.

Literary Categories: Fiction - picture book, history, library, multicultural, geography

Date(s) Reviewed: November 2012

Other Reviews: See Critics Reviews at; and reader feedback at


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