By: Ian Lendler

Illustrated by: Mark Pett

Published: June 1, 2021

Publisher: Chronicle Books


As a resident of a small town and member of our library board, I know how important a library can be to a community. We built a new library in our town several years ago and being a part of that committee, raising money, and making decisions about the design is one of my proudest accomplishments.

Nia lives in Littletown and the town’s library had slowly become unnoticed by the residents of her community. The hustle and bustle of life had taken over and no one seemed to notice the library, except for Nia. It was her favorite place. Then a tornado came and took the library away. When the town came together to decide what to put in that empty space, no one suggested a library, except for Nia.

Nia made the residents see that they too missed the library with a bit of childhood reverse psychology and soon a new library was being built. But, it took the entire community to come together to make it happen.

I love the message in this story and think every library needs to have a copy of this book sitting on its shelf. Nia brings her community together for a purpose, building and restocking a new library. But, beyond that, she also makes the citizens realize that they NEED a library in their town.

Pett’s illustrations have a 1970s “Schoolhouse Rock” feel and his people illustrations are so fun…giving each community member their own role and personality in the story. The illustrations give the story that personal feel where kids reading this book will feel like they too could make a difference.

I love how this book shows that kids can have big ideas too. Reading this book may just encourage you to visit your library too!

Ian Lendler is an award-winning author of picture books, non-fiction, and graphic novels. His most recent middle-grade non-fiction, THE FIRST DINOSAUR was voted Kirkus Best of 2019, an NSTA Best of 2019, an Orbus Pictus Recommended Title, a Crystal Kite Honor, and Cybil Award winner. It was also selected by the Junior Library Guild. His graphic novel series, THE STRATFORD ZOO PRESENTS…, was voted Best of 2015 by a number of state library societies as well as being a Junior Library Guild Selection. For more information, check out his website, HERE.

To purchase a copy of NIA AND THE NEW FREE LIBRARY, click the photo below:

Summer Read-to-Learn

All summer I’ll be sharing books for kids of all ages on topics that will interest them or offer them a new interest to learn about. Most of the time these will be nonfiction books, but sometimes we can learn how to be better people or learn empathy from fictional stories too.

So, I hope you will stay tuned to these posts. They will always have Summer Read-to-Learn in the title and in the tags. There will be books from some of my favorite publishers like National Geographic, plus, some from independent publishers. See them all, HERE.

Other posts you might like:

Thanks to the publisher for sending a copy of this book for the purpose of this review. This review is my honest opinion. If you choose to make a purchase through the above links, I may receive a small commission without you having to pay a cent more for your purchase.
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