Return of the Library Dragon

library dragon“A book..unlike a television program, moving picture or any other ‘modern means of communication’…can wait for years, yet be available at any moment when it happens to be needed” -Joseph Wood Krutch

I was happily surprised when my daughter brought home Return of the Library Dragon by Carmen Agra Deedy from her school library. When I first began reading the book with my children, I thought it was a just a book about a dragon, but quickly realized that the story was about something much more meaningful. Return of the Library Dragon is about a librarian named Miss Lotty who is retiring from her position at Sunrise Elementary School. When Miss Lotty goes to the sleep the night before she retires, she falls into a peaceful slumber without any idea of what was to come the next day at the elementary school. When she arrives at the school the next morning, a large truck has already arrived to take all of the library books away. All of the books are being replaced with computers. The new librarian, Mike Krochip states “Books stain and tear and take up room. Check out the Book-Be-Gone 5000. It’ll kindle your fire!” All of the students are devasted to have a library without books!!

Why have books instead of a computer? One student says “I like that I can give a book to a friend”. Another student says “My grandma can read me the very same book her grandma read to her”. Ms. Lotty takes over the situation and gets her books back by recruiting a new librarian that treasures books the way she does. 

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A couple of years ago, I was having a conversation with an acquaintance at a party regarding my children’s book, The Monkey Balloon. He told me that he thought books would be obsolete in ten years. I remember him saying “Why have books when you can have a computer?” I responded that I hope this will never be the case because books can never be replaced by computers. We can live in a world that we can enjoy both. For a child, the experience of reading the book, turning the pages and exploring a book is an integral part of developing early literacy skills.  I also find that an electronic device with thousands of books can be distracting for a young child. Why finish that book when you have a thousand others at the touch of a screen?

Share Return of the Library Dragon with your child and discuss your own memories with books. Ask your child, “What do you think if your library had no books left?” Work on expanding vocabulary with the books with words such as “booknapping”, “gloat”, “smug”, “motherboard”, etc. Ask your child, “What is the difference between the word byte and bite?”

Do you want to help your child or student respect their books? Check out this excellent packet by Toni Buzzeo here to help teach your child or student take care of their books with care and respect.

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