Dear Librarian by Lydia M. Sigwarth

Dear Librarian by Lydia M. Sigwarth
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Genre: Children’s (0 – 6 y.o.), Non-Fiction, Contemporary
Rating: 5 Stars
Reviewed by Astilbe

When Lydia was five years old, she and her family had to leave their home. They hopped from Grandma’s house to Aunt Linda’s house to Cousin Alice’s house, but no place was permanent. Then one day, everything changed. Lydia’s mom took her to a new place ― not a house, but a big building with stone columns, and tall, tall steps. The library.

In the library, Lydia found her special spot across from the sunny window, at a round desk. For behind that desk was her new friend, the librarian. Together, Lydia and the librarian discovered a world beyond their walls, one that sparkled with spectacular joy.

Paired with warm art by newcomer Romina Galotta and a foreword by Ira Glass, Dear Librarian is a “thank you” to anyone who has offered a child love and support during a difficult time.

Homelessness comes in many forms, including ones that involve children and young families.

I appreciated this picture book’s gentle but honest approach to the topic of homelessness. It explained everything clearly while remaining sensitive to the questions young children might have about why some people don’t have a home to call their own. This was something I’d eagerly read to the little ones in my life in order to explain this topic to them.

Public libraries serve so many important roles in a community, from providing free educational resources to giving everyone a chance to find something entertaining to do over the weekend. I hadn’t spent much time thinking about how libraries can help people or families who need a safe, quiet place to go and forget their troubles for a while, though! There is something so valuable about giving everyone the chance to do just that, and I loved seeing how Lydia and her family used their local library while her parents worked to make their lives better.

The ending was beautifully written. After learning about the difficulties Lydia and her family experienced when she was a little girl, I was eager to find out more about her life. My curiosity was satisfied in the most wonderful way. It was almost as if I’d gotten the chance to meet her in real life and ask her a few questions about what it was like to be homeless at five years old. That’s how detailed and memorable those scenes were!

Dear Librarian was a joyful and heartwarming read. Anyone who loves their local library or would like to read about one woman’s true story of overcoming adversity should pick this tale up!