In this testament to the librarian resistance, new school librarian Rita B. Danjerous moves into the town of Appleton, Illinois, a town that’s been dwindling. Heck, Rita’s there because the school received a “When All Else Fails” grant, and by enrolling Rita’s daughter, May B Danjerous (you’ll notice there’s no period after the B), the school will hit their minimum enrollment of 20 students to be allowed to stay open. Appleton Elementary School is not quite ready for a librarian like Rita, or a kid like May, but they’ll be glad the two are there: this is a mother-daughter duo who see things a little differently than most of the folks in Appleton, and they’re going to have to lock horns with the school board president, Ivana Beprawpa, who has her own ideas about how the school should be run… and dressed!
I loved this fun story that puts us librarians in such a good light! Rita is smart, savvy, and ready to work with what she’s got to make her library – in this case, a custodial closet, and then an apple cart – work. She creates a scandalous “Green Dot Collection” for kids who may be a little embarrassed to ask for books about certain subjects (which totally has my brain wheels turning for when my library opens back up); she pushes back against silly bureaucrats who operate with their own special interests in mind; and she encourages her daughter, and her library kids, to question everything and think independently. Written as a series of emails, newspaper articles, memos, sketches, and other forms of written communication, kids will devour this awesome book about the power of one person who sees things differently. A great idea for a book club read, too.
Kate Klise is the award-winning author of the 43 Old Cemetery Road series, which is a big hit in my library. Her author website has info about her books – most of which are illustrated by her sister, M. Sarah Klise! – and links to her blog and workshop information.