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Tomas and the Library Lady by Pat Mora
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Tomas and the Library Lady (1997)

by Pat Mora

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3722429,102 (4.15)5
Recently added byprivate library, NancyMORourke, rrr2day, Susana.Oliveira, ElizabethPeters, fnqteacher
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    Amelia's Road by Linda Jacobs Altman (madu)
    madu: Both stories relate to children of migrant farm-workers
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The Pura Belpre award winning book, is about the man whom it is named for. Tomas discovers the library, and in return begins his love of education and stories. Beautiful illustrations.
  Emily.Small | Feb 22, 2014 |
7. Tomas and the Library Lady, by Pat Mora, illustrated by Raul Colon, and published in 2000 by Dragonfly Books, is a Biographic picture book about the late Tomas Rivera and how books changed his life. I thought this was a really good book with stunning visuals, a great message, and nice plot suspense. The illustrations actually start out very boring and simple. They come alive full of color and detail when Tomas opens his first book in the library. At this point a huge dinosaur takes over the page. The illustration is very detailed as I could make out the scales on the T-Rex’s body. The illustrator also carries this over to the next page but makes the images smaller as Tomas is finishing up the books. When he is done the vast images go away. But the illustrations stay vibrant and detailed. I liked the symbolism of the illustrations. That books can take you to far off places in your head and create great details in your head as well. The main theme and big idea in this book is that books can take you to other worlds in your head and can offer you an escape from the busy world that we live in. Tomas discovers that books can ease his pain when his immigrant family has to move from state to state to find work. Tomas gets so into the world of books that we see him spending more and more time in the library. One plot twist is when Tomas has to move. He has found a great library with great books and a great librarian. He is sad to leave but the librarian gives him some books and tells him that there are libraries all around with many stores. The biggest “plot twist” is at the end when I found out that this is a biographic on the real Tomas Rivera. This book was based on his life as a migrant worker who valued books and education. The postscript goes on to say that he obtained a PhD and has a library named after him. I thought that this was a great book that explored the topic of imagination through books. ( )
  cbower6 | Nov 26, 2013 |
This is a pretty interesting story, partly because it's true. I enjoyed reading about this budding little storyteller, who gets lots of encouragement from his family as well as from the "library lady." Nice illustrations as well. ( )
  dukefan86 | May 29, 2013 |
Every summer, Tomás and his family would travel from their home in Texas to the corn fields of Iowa, where his parents worked as farmhands. Sitting in the shade of a tree with their grandfather, Papá Grande, on the hot afternoons, Tomás and his brother Enrique would listen to his many wonderful stories. When Tomás completed one of those stories for him, Papá Grande suggested that it was time for him to find some of his own... at the local library. And so began a wonderful summer of discovery, in which a kind library lady pointed Tomás towards a wealth of informative and entertaining books, about everything from dinosaurs to tigers.

Based upon the life of Mexican-American poet and educator Tomás Rivera, the son of migrant farm-workers, who eventually became the chancellor of the University of California, Riverside, Tomás and the Library Lady is a lovely tribute to a remarkable man, and to the woman who first set him on his journey of discovery. It emphasizes the joy of reading - its transformative and transportive power - as young Tomás becomes so absorbed in his books that Iowa, Texas, the entire world, all fade away as he reads. I was reminded, in fact, of one of my favorite early readers - also about a library - Crosby Bonsall's Tell Me Some More..., and that is high praise! The accompanying artwork by Raul Colón is beautiful, accentuating the magical aspects of Tomás' reading. All in all, a wonderful picture-book, highly recommended to all young bibliophiles and library lovers! ( )
  AbigailAdams26 | Apr 17, 2013 |
I think what I appreciate most about about this simply wonderful picture book is how sensitive, caring and culturally aware the Library Lady is towards Tomas. She not only inspires his love of books, she is very much aware of his potential problems and requirements. The first time Tomas arrives at the library, the Library Lady gives him a cool glass of water to drink, and she actually signs out the library books for him in her own name. Not only does this show her sensitivities to the possible needs of migrant farm workers (lack of money, lack of owning a library card, that Tomas would probably be hot and thirsty after his long walk), the Library Lady trusts that Tomas will return the books that she has signed out in her own name (a less sympathetic and sensitive person might have had negative attitudes towards migrant farm workers and Latinos/Latinas, so this part of the story really touched me, and continues to touch me).

The Library Lady also shows interest in Tomas' mother tongue, asking Tomas to teach her some Spanish words. For her Spanish is a language, a beautiful language to be learned. Both she and Tomas respect each other's traditions, and the Library Lady never assumes that English and/or Anglo-American culture is in any way superior. A final wonderful touch is the fact that when Tomas brings his (probably uni-lingual) grandfather to the library, the Library Lady greets him respectfully in his own language. I love this story, and the illustrations accompanying the text are warm, enticing and really capture both the magic of books and the feelings and emotions of the characters.

Finally and for me, very importantly, I also I think that [b:Tomas and the Library Lady|1372657|Tomas and the Library Lady|Pat Mora|http://photo.goodreads.com/books/1183058122s/1372657.jpg|1362528] clearly demonstrates the responsibility and obligation that teachers, librarians and the like have or should have towards making the educational experience wonderful and rewarding for everyone. For if a librarian or a teacher act respectfully to a stranger, to a recent immigrant, to a member of a visible minority, this might very well cause others to imitate this behaviour (or to learn from this behaviour). Conversely, a bigoted teacher or librarian might also cause his/her students and others to imitate and accept bigotry. Tomas' Library Lady should be seen as a wonderful role model, of how strangers, members of visible minorities, immigrants should be approached, namely with respect, kindness, admiration and acceptance.
( )
  gundulabaehre | Mar 31, 2013 |
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0375803491, Paperback)

Sometimes you read a story and it almost seems too nice. This book may seem to be one of those at first, but the difference is that this story is true! Tomás and the Library Lady is the wonderfully illustrated tale of Tomás Rivera and the kind librarian who helped him learn to love books. Tomás started his life as a migrant worker and, when he died, was a university chancellor. (The UC Riverside library now bears his name.)

This tribute to Tomás and his mentor reminds us of the power of stories and those dedicated librarians who have changed the lives of so many people. (Recommended for ages 4-8; it's great for new English readers and is also available in Spanish.)

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:48:52 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

While helping his family in their work as migrant laborers far from their home, Tomas finds an entire world to explore in the books at the local public library.

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