Where does the magic happen? For young readers, it’s often the public library

Growing up for most children includes trips to the library, whether it is a school library or a local public library.

During a child’s early years, the magic of reading begins to unfold and new adventures begin as a child enjoys their first story time, learns to read, or discovers their favorite book, author or series.

When I was growing up, the library was a weekly routine. I couldn’t wait to walk out with as many books as my arms could carry.

It was a place I used for research with homework, summer reading fun and just a place to stop in and visit when in the downtown area. Libraries have changed over the decades, but they’re still the best place to find your next adventure, enjoy your first story time, and use books or databases for your research project.

The library is a community center and hub for those who need access to free books, internet, help with learning a new language, or just a place to share your love of reading. Come and enjoy these new and old favorite library tales along with your child at the Fort Worth Public Library.

The Magician’s Hat

By Malcolm Mitchell

Orchard Books, 2018

Ages 4 and up

“Follow your dreams and they will take you wherever you want to go.” This debut picture book by a former Super Bowl Champion and early literacy advocate is a winner! Family Fun Day at the library is filled with all kinds of events — scavenger hunts, storytelling, reading rallies, and last but not least — a real magician! This magician doesn’t just perform magic tricks, he dazzles his audience with a story about a young boy who wandered into a reading room and discovers his favorite new book that took him to places he’d only dreamed of. He captivates the crowd and asks the children in the crowd what they want to be when they grow up and one by one, they reach into his magic hat and discover their own special magic book that can unleash their future. We are playfully reminded of what a magical time it is to be a child and how special it is to find oneself in your next adventure filled library book.

Tomás and the Library Lady

By Pat Mora

Alfred A. Knopf, 1997

Ages 5 and up

This timeless tale of a migrant child who befriends a librarian will fill your heart with all that is good about libraries and librarians. Tomás travels from Texas to Iowa every summer with his family of migrant workers and discovers the town library and a helpful librarian who shares books with him. Tomás becomes the new storyteller in his family and shares his love of stories with them in the evenings. Tomás eventually leaves to go back to Texas with his family but not without a heartfelt goodbye and a brand-new book from a librarian who taught him the value of friendship and gave him encouragement to read.

The Library Book

By Tom Chapin and Michael Mark

Atheneum Books for Young Readers, 2017

Ages 3 and up

What do you do on a rainy day? You visit the library! Using the lyrics to Tom Chapin’s “Library Song,” this picture book celebrates the magic of reading children’s books through libraries. Sing along with this toe-tapping song down the rows of shelves as you meet Winnie the Pooh, Cinderella, and Pinocchio too.

Waiting for the Biblioburro

By Monica Brown

Random House, 2011

Ages 5 and up

Libraries aren’t just buildings. Book wagons, floating book boats, donkey-drawn mobile carts, and even bookmobiles are all versions of traveling libraries. Meet the Biblioburro from Columbia. This true story is a celebration of the teacher and librarian Luis Soriano Bohorquez. He inspired a love of books and reading to children in the remote villages of Colombia with his two donkeys—Alfa and Beto by delivering books to children who would not have had access to books otherwise.

Lost in the Library

By Josh Funk

Henry Holt and Company, 2018

Ages 5 and up

Meet Patience and Fortitude in this charming picture book sharing pieces of history about the infamous New York Public Library. Just outside of the library are two large plinths where the two huge stone lions sit. One morning, Fortitude awakens and Patience is gone! Follow Fortitude’s journey into the huge halls of the library until finally, Patience is found reading in the children’s department. In the 1930’s, former Mayor Fiorello Henry La Guardia named the lion’s Patience and Fortitude and hoped that all New Yorker’s who saw them would recognize the qualities they would need to survive during the era of the Great Depression. Journey through the many halls and floors of the NYPL in this picture book and learn some history until Fortitude finds his lost friend.

Richard Wright and the Library Card

By William Miller

Lee & Low Books, 1997

Ages 7 and up

There is no greater inspiration about the importance of reading and having a library card than this fictionalized account about the famous African American author, Richard Wright. He grew up in a time where he was not allowed to get a library card due to his race. He befriended a coworker and was able to borrow a library card. Richard Wright believed in the power of reading and that educating oneself was the key to freedom. With every story and book he read, he became more understanding of the people and experiences that shaped him. Libraries and a library card give you access to more than books nowadays. You can have access to e-books, music, movies, computers, internet hotspots, and programs for families, children, and adults. Richard Wright sums up the importance of reading and a library card during this poignant time in his life, with this powerful quote--“Richard remembered the books he had read. Every page was a ticket to freedom, to the place where he would always be free.”

Dawn Guest is the library assistant at the Fort Worth Library.