Alia Muhammad Baker is the librarian of Basra, a city in Iraq. Her library is a meeting place to discuss books, but also to discuss war. Alia worries that fire from the war will destroy the books, which are very precious to her. She asks the governor for permission to move the books to a safe place, but he refuses. Alia decides to protect the books herself and secretly brings books home every night. Finally, war reaches Basra. Alia asks her friend, Alia Muhammad, who owns a restaurant next to the library to help save the books. They quickly remove the books from the library and hide them in the restaurant. Only nine days later, a fire burns the library to the ground. They move the thousands of books to her house and friends’ houses to protect the books from harm.
The Librarian of Basra: A True Story from Iraq is a true story about a brave women in Iraq. War is a sensitive issue and I thought this book demonstrated that a community can work together to save precious books. The text is straightforward and doesn’t become too graphic when discussing war. It’s a good book to start a discussion about war with children. The pictures are vibrant and beautiful.
Celebrate National Library Week!
April 8-14, 2012
- The Librarian of Basra: A True Story from Iraq (childrensbooksheal.com)