Imagine that you are a young boy, uprooted every few months as your parents drive from place to place, following the work available to them. The road is dusty and long, the days are hot and dry.
Now imagine that into the midst of this life comes an almost magical being, one with the gift of limitless adventure and the means to escape the drudgery of everyday life.
Tomás is the son of migrant farm workers; with his parents, brother, and grandfather, he travels between Texas and Iowa as the seasons change. The work is hard, but the strength of the family prevails. Papá Grande, Tomás’ grandfather, tells stories in Spanish to keep his grandsons entertained. One afternoon, he tells Tomás to visit the local library in search of new stories.
Feeling shy and out of place, Tomás hesitates on the steps of the vast building. His fear is short-lived, however, as the library lady invites him inside for a drink and a chance to read anything and everything he wants.
Tomás accepts, opening the door to friendship and endless possibilities.
As a lifelong library patron, I don’t remember the first time that I wandered the stacks. What I do remember is the sense of reverence that I feel, much like Tomás feels, every time I visit a library. Tomás and the Library Lady is a truly beautiful book, visually and emotionally. Based on the early life of University of California Chancellor Tomás Rivera, Pat Mora’s story is accompanied by warmly inviting illustrations by Raul Colón.
For any parent seeking diversity in children’s literature, or a way to recapture the sense of awe that comes with knowledge, Tomás and the Library Lady is an excellent choice.