Everyone knows that all CAPS = yelling. So, yes, I AM, in fact, yelling the title of Jenna Beatrice’s debut picture book THE LOUD LIBRARIAN at the top of my lungs. Please don’t shush me because this book (April 2023, Atheneum/Simon & Schuster) is just TOO DARN ENDEARING to keep quiet about! (Plus, I’m having too much fun writing with CAPS!)
Everyone also knows that libraries are supposed to be quiet places to read and study. Even Penelope understands THAT! After all, she dreams of being a librarian someday. But “quiet” is just NOT Penelope’s forte. Penelope is LOUD. REALLY LOUD. Like, the International Space Station can hear her kind of LOUD. It’s not really a problem for her until one morning, Penelope’s teacher pulls her name (Finally! She’s been waiting all year for this opportunity!) from the hat and declares her the student-librarian for the day. She’s SO EXCITED, she can hardly stay put in her chair. Having practiced many librarian duties at home, (like alphabetizing food items in their pantry, for example) Penelope’s ready.
Penelope’s classmates, on the other hand, are not so ready. Author Jenna Beatrice didn’t need a single line of dialogue to convey the students’ reactions. She left that part to talented illustrator, Erika Lynne Jones. Once you’re holding your own new, shiny copy of the book , take one look at the kids’ faces when Mr. Park picks Penelope’s name from the hat. They know exactly where this day is headed!
As the student-librarian, Penelope is responsible for pushing the book cart across the library, taking charge of the student computer sign-in sheet, and assisting eager readers at the reference desk. Sounds easy enough, right? WRONG! Have I mentioned that Penelope is LOUD? REALLY LOUD? Like, books spill off the book cart and kids fall out of chairs kind of LOUD. Even with support and gentle reminders from Ms. Berry, the calm, patient librarian, Penelope manages to wreak havoc on the library with her loud voice. Bookshelves tip over and lighting fixtures crash to the floor. Some kids take cover under a table. Others flee the scene to play dodgeball instead, claiming it’s safer. (That line made me LOL). If you look closely at Jones’ brilliant illustrations, you’ll notice that Penelope is so loud the “Good Choices Use Library Voices” poster tore in half – sheer irony!
Discouraged yet determined, Penelope finds her own way to put her booming voice to good use at the library. Turns out, Penelope’s LOUD voice is perfect for a read-aloud. Her classmates giggle as they gather around her to listen to her story. Ms. Berry offers an enthusiastic thumbs up. She even earns a shout-out from the astronauts in the SPACE CENTER! But MOST importantly, she’s proudly donning her student-librarian badge once again.
Congratulations to this dynamic writer and illustrator duo on their debut picture book!
Biography from jennabeatrice.com
Meet Illustrator Erika Lynne Jones
Her debut as an author illustrator will happen in 2024 with Harper Collins (details TBA)!
Erika’s creative mission is to show every child they are worthy of good and deserve positive representation of themselves in literature. She loves working in mixed media and collage because it reminds her of time spent with her mother, who helped make sure all of her school projects had that special artistic shine. Erika illustrated a second picture book Black Girls: A Celebration of You (written by Dominique Furukawa) which arrives this summer!
Biography from erikalynnejones.com
This sounds so fun! Love the idea of a loud librarian! Congrats!
Love this book! Congrats to Jenna and Erika!!
I have this one on order from the library and can’t wait to read it. Penelope sounds like my kind of gal. Thanks for your review.
What a FUN book, full of SILLINESS and HUMOR! Congrats to Jenna and Erika. Look forward to reading Penelope’s story 🙂
This picture book sounds delightful, not only for adults who will read it aloud to children, but also for the little ones themselves! I can’t wait to read it. Congratulations, Jenna and Erika!!
It sounds like a great book for kids like ME!!!
Keri, this post is such a hoot! I look forward to reading this BOOK!
I can’t wait to read this fun book. The story sounds hilarious and sweet and the illustrations are amazing.
I have to read this! Wonderful piece, Keri.
Sounds adorable in every way! Added to my wish list!